Become a Nurse with a Biology Degree in 6 Steps

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If you have questions like, “Can you become a nurse with a biology degree?” we at Northeastern ABSN have answers. Biology can provide an excellent avenue for entering the field of nursing. Discover the steps to do so and the traits that will make this possible.

two men in lab using lab equipment

If you have a biology degree but are looking to enter the world of nursing, there is good news. You don’t have to start over with your university education. There are many benefits to choosing nursing as a career change from biology. Nursing is a great career overall, but you will also find that the classes in your biology program have prepared you for many applied courses you will take in a nursing program.

Many who wonder, “Can you become a nurse with a biology degree?” look for alternative routes to a career change instead of a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree. At Northeastern University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, you can leverage your previous degree toward a nursing degree and graduate in as few as 16 months.

Whether you want to switch from a bio major to nursing or any other degree, there is a place for you at Northeastern. Read on to learn how to become a nurse with a biology degree.

Steps from a Biology Degree to a Nursing Career

When you switch from a BS in biology to nursing, you must plan ahead before you take the leap. These steps will help you make the best decisions for your lifestyle and circumstances. Here are a few to remember when considering Northeastern University’s ABSN program.

nurse talking with patient

Why make the switch to nursing from biology? Here are 10 reasons to get into nursing.

1. Speak with an Admissions Counselor

The first thing you should do before anything else is speak with an admissions counselor. You can complete our online form or call our admissions team directly.

Your admissions counselor will help you evaluate your previous education, eligibility, what prerequisites you might need to take, and what it would look like to realistically succeed in the ABSN program. They will walk you through the admissions requirements and help advocate for you throughout the admissions process.

2. Complete Prerequisites

If you already have a biology degree, you are likely familiar with general science and humanities classes that help build a foundation for more career-specific courses. For example, you may have taken microbiology, anatomy and physiology, statistics, and psychology in your previous program. These are all prerequisites required before admission into the ABSN program.

Northeastern leverages these credits toward your nursing degree. That means your admissions counselor will consider any eligible credits that fulfill your prerequisite requirements. Using your previous credits toward prerequisites makes it possible to complete the nursing program in as few as 16 months.

nursing student taking notes

3. Submit Your Application

Once you have made an academic plan with your counselor and completed your prerequisites, you can submit your ABSN application. This includes any previous official transcripts as well as the application itself.

To be eligible for the ABSN program, you will need a bachelor’s degree or at least 62 non-nursing college credits, a minimum GPA of 2.75 based on all transferrable credits, and meet grade requirements for your prerequisite courses. Make sure you speak with your counselor about specific class requirements before applying.

4. Prepare for Nursing School

Upon acceptance into the ABSN program, you should begin preparing immediately. Since your counselor has already helped you create an academic plan, it is time to start focusing on your schedule.

The ABSN program is rigorous, so you should plan accordingly. Decide when you will complete online coursework and begin making space in your life to attend skills and simulations labs and clinical rotations. A structured plan beforehand will help you quite a bit in the long run.

5. Succeed in the Accelerated BSN Program

If you are switching from a BS in Biology to nursing, you have experience with hard work and self-advocacy. These skills will be beneficial because the ABSN program takes place on an accelerated timeline.

To succeed, you must manage your schedule by ensuring you are present at experiential labs and clinical rotations while balancing your course load. You have already completed labs in your previous degree, but these practical experiences differ because they are where you apply your learning and receive real nursing experience. Make sure you give each experience your everything and glean as much as possible in the shortened timespan.

nurse with patient

6. Take the NCLEX-RN® Exam

Once you complete the ABSN program, you must pass the NCLEX-RN® exam and earn your nursing licensure before beginning your career. While this will be a challenge and require much preparation, you can plan to take your exam confidently. Work with your counselor and instructors to ensure you are on the path to success. Network with nurses and find study methods that work for you.

Once you pass the exam, you can begin applying to healthcare facilities. You will receive documentation of your registered nurse license shortly after, and everything will be in place for you to start your career.

Applicable Skills from a Biology Degree to Nursing

Biology and nursing have significant overlap. Biologists and nurses might have more similarities than you think. If you are still trying to decide whether switching biology to nursing is right for you, explore a few essential skills that translate from your previous degree toward a nursing career.

Data Analysis

Biologists deal with significant amounts of data regularly, translating it into reasonable conclusions and actions to determine the next steps in the process. Nurses also work with data every single day. They observe patterns in patient health and advise other healthcare workers who may need to notice the minute changes. This skill is especially helpful for nurse leaders responsible for the activity throughout the hospital and ensuring things are running smoothly.

Analytical Skills

Biologists and nurses alike follow the scientific method. If the results of an experiment fail or a patient is not responding to treatment, they work to go back to the root of the issue and find a better solution. These analytical skills are at the core of what it means to be a nurse. Nurses must be compassionate and thoughtful, all while analyzing and solving problems in the day-to-day.

Northeastern nursing writing on whiteboard


Scientific terminology can be complex and difficult to communicate well. Biology often involves teamwork, whether with lab partners or coworkers. They must transfer information to others in a simple yet effective way.

Nursing also involves collaboration. Because it affects the lives and well-being of patients, information must be portrayed accurately and simply, especially to patients themselves. This practice in scientific communication can be a great asset as a nurse.

Helpful for Nursing Specialties

If you are worried you will have to leave your laboratory days behind, that should not be the case. Many specialties need nurses who have keen eyes for biology. Forensic nursing and pathology nursing are great examples of this. Forensic nurses regularly submit lab testing to help victims of assault and other traumas. Pathology nurses work to fight against infectious diseases and are the bridge between science and medicine. These are only a few nursing career paths that still strongly emphasize biology.

If you want to apply your biology skills to a nursing specialty, explore how to choose which specialty is right for you.

nurse with patient in hospital bed

Turn Your Biology Degree into a Career in Nursing

If you are looking for accelerated nursing programs for biology majors, Northeastern University’s ABSN program might be the perfect fit. You can begin a nursing career more quickly without sacrificing quality of education. Our hybrid program combines online classwork with on-site simulation labs and in-hospital clinical rotations so you graduate fully prepared.

So, can you become a nurse with a biology degree? Absolutely. Contact us today to learn how Northeastern University ABSN can help prepare you for a flourishing nursing career.

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