New Year, New Career: 5 Steps to a New Career in Nursing

Many people start January with the good intentions of making a new year’s resolution. But as the weeks go by, few of them are able to maintain the discipline to stick to these resolutions. It’s hard to break bad habits, and it’s frightening starting on a new journey. Northeastern University's Accelerated BSN program can help your new year, new career resolution stick.

Just because it can seem intimidating doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started on a life you know is right for you.

New Year New Career

New Year, New Career

You may have spent the last year, five years, or decade unhappy in your current job or worried you made the wrong commitment to a different bachelor’s degree. But remember, it’s never too late for you to pursue your nursing dreams.

With the New Year and the guidance of a Northeastern admissions counselor, you can earn your bachelor’s degree in nursing and finally go down the path you know is right for you.

With these four steps, you can get started on your nursing education.

Step 1: Determine Which Nursing Degree to Pursue

When you know you are ready to get started on your career in nursing, it can be tempting to look for the program that will get you into the nursing field the soonest. However, it’s important to invest in your future nursing career by dedicating time to researching the options available.

Associate’s Degree

In an associate’s degree nursing program, you can earn your RN license in about two years.

With an associate’s degree, you are qualified to sit for the same National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, that those in bachelor’s degree programs sit for. Once you pass, you are able to start your nursing career.

However, an associate’s degree does not offer the longevity in your career as a bachelor’s degree offers. Although you can still work in similar entry-level nursing positions with an associate’s degree, you won’t be eligible for manager positions or to continue your education to earn a master’s degree or higher.

Additionally, more and more employers are hiring nurses with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and requiring currently employed associates degree nurses to earn their bachelor’s degrees.

Bachelor’s Degree

By earning your bachelor’s degree, you are set up for clinical and non-clinical RN positions, management positions, and opportunities to advance your education with a master’s degree or higher in nursing.

There are two paths you can pursue to earn your bachelor’s degrees.

1. Traditional BSN Program

The first option is a traditional bachelor’s program. Through a college or university, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in about four years.

2. Accelerated BSN Program

Another bachelor’s program option is pursuing your degree through an accelerated program, such as Northeastern University’s Accelerated BSN program. Through accelerated programs, you can apply your previous bachelor’s degree to earn your nursing degree in about 16 months.

An accelerated nursing program offers you the exact same education as a traditional BSN program within a compressed time frame. You will still complete clinicals at top-ranked area hospitals, work with high-tech manikins in simulation labs, and complete your classes online, offering you more flexibility than traditional bachelor’s programs.

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To get a better idea of how Northeastern's Accelerated BSN program work, download your free guide "What to Expect in Accelerated BSN Nursing School".

Step 2: Contact an Admissions Counselor

If you aren’t sure yet about whether the Accelerated BSN program is the right step for you, you can speak to an admissions counselor.

Your personal counselor will offer advice, give you program details, guide you through the application process, offer guidance on financial aid options, and help you determine a start date and graduation date.

Your counselor will also help you gather all official transcripts and other documents that need to be turned in when you apply for the program.

He or she will serve as your personal cheerleader, encouraging you and keeping you on track to your new life as a registered nurse.

Your counselor will be by your side throughout your admissions process, from the first moment you call in about the program until you start your nursing courses.

Step 3: Complete Prerequisites

Your ABSN prerequisites build an important foundation for your nursing education. Your advisor will help determine which prerequisites you have to complete before starting your nursing courses, therefore helping to determine a target start date.

The amount of prerequisites you have to complete may differ from your fellow nursing students. Some find they have credits that will transfer over from their previous degree. Your counselor will guide you through the process of determining transferrable credits.

Once you have your prerequisites complete, it’s time to apply for financial aid.

Step 4: Fill Out FAFSA and Apply for other Student Aid

Your first step in filing for financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Even if you aren’t sure you will qualify for federal student aid, you should still take the time to complete the application. You may find that there is some student aid money you can apply to books, school supplies, and tuition. Every little bit helps.

You can fill out your FAFSA as soon as January 1 for the following school year. Be sure to file as soon as possible.

To fill out the FAFSA, follow these steps:

  1. Apply for your FSA ID
  2. Go to to fill out your application
  3. Enter your personal information, such as name and date of birth, exactly as they appear on government forms
  4. Enter all of your financial information- you can use your previous year’s tax forms
  5. Be sure to input all of the schools you are applying for aid for, including Northeastern University.
  6. Sign the document- with the new FSA ID, you may have to wait up to three days to sign your document. Apply for your ID early to avoid waiting!

Once you have filled out your FAFSA and know how much you will get in federal student aid, you should look at your other options for financing your nursing education. Your counselor can suggest other resources, such as grants and scholarships, which you qualify for.

Remember, you are investing in your future by going through nursing school. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses are in high demand throughout the country, and salaries for BSN-educated RNs is higher than salaries offered to nurses with just an associate’s degree.

Step 5: Apply for the Program and Start your Journey

Once you have completed all of the above steps, all you have left to do is apply for admission to the Accelerated BSN program and get started on your nursing journey.

Your admissions counselor will walk step-by-step with you through the application.

Ready for your new career in the New Year? Speak to an admissions counselor today by calling 866-892-3819 or filling out the contact form.

Get Your Free ABSN Program Guide

Our ABSN program guide includes everything you need to know about the accelerated path to nursing.

Northeastern University ABSN program guide