How to Become a Nurse with a Biology Degree: Start Where You Are

Earn a BSN in 16 months - Nurse in blue scrubs

You’re probably wondering, “How do I become a nurse with a biology degree?” The answer is less complicated than you might think. As we’ll see a little later in this post, the classes taken to attain a bachelor’s in biology provide the educational foundation you’ll need to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

Many students choose biology as an undergraduate major with hopes of becoming a doctor. Others plan to work in research labs. But once they’ve attained a biology degree, students sometimes decide that medical school isn’t right for them. And after spending four years in science labs, the idea of working in a lab as a career may have lost its appeal. So what else can you do with a biology degree? If you’re looking for a rewarding career, becoming a nurse is an excellent option. But how do you become a nurse with a biology degree?

Perhaps the most efficient way to become a nurse using your biology degree is to enroll in an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program like the one at Averett University in Norfolk, Virginia. The ABSN program at Averett allows you to leverage your previous bachelor’s degree to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months. And the program offers three start dates per year — in January, May and August — so you can start your studies sooner.

Let’s look at the steps required to parlay your biology degree into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

1. Make Sure You Meet the Admissions Requirements

You don’t need prior health care experience to enroll in the ABSN program at Averett University, but you do need to meet the following requirements before you can begin the admissions process.

To be eligible for admission to the Averett ABSN program, applicants must have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree OR at least 60 non-nursing credits from a regionally accredited higher education institution — with a minimum cumulative 2.8 GPA.

nursing student sitting at desk with textbooks

Prospective students must also:

  • Complete all prerequisites.*
  • Pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) V exam with a score of 65 percent or higher (taken within one year of application).
  • Have passed all math and science courses with a grade of “C” or better.
  • Have no prior nursing program dismissals (grades below “C” in nursing courses).
  • Complete a certified criminal background check.

*Students with prerequisite courses in progress will receive provisional admission into the program, subject to their successful completion of remaining prerequisites taken at Averett University.

2. Complete the Admissions Process

Application to the Averett ABSN program involves a four-step admissions process.

1. Speak with an admissions counselor.

You need only complete our contact form to start the admissions process. As soon as you reach out, an admissions counselor will contact you. He or she will serve as your main contact throughout the entire process.

Your counselor will first schedule a call with you to discuss your eligibility for the ABSN program. During this call, you’ll explain your interest in the program, your prior degree in biology and your career goals, for example.

Once the admissions counselor determines that you’re a good fit for the Averett ABSN program, he or she will request copies of your unofficial undergraduate transcript(s).

2. Create an academic plan.

Once he or she has reviewed your transcript(s), your counselor will work with you to devise a personal academic plan, which will include a targeted start date for enrollment in the program. He or she will help you identify any requirements you have left to meet, including prerequisites.

3. Complete prerequisites.

nursing student sitting in class

You must fulfill our academic requirements to qualify for enrollment. Your admissions counselor will help you determine which prerequisite courses (if any) you need to take, enroll in those courses and stay on track to complete them according to our grade requirements — all on a timeline compatible with your targeted start date. This is where your previous education comes into play. If you’ve wondered how to become a nurse with a biology degree, check out our list of prerequisites. Those science courses you’ve already completed will come in handy.

Most prerequisite courses are available to complete online through Averett University, using the same learning management system you’ll use to complete your online coursework in the ABSN program.

4. Apply.

Once you have completed the previous steps, your admissions counselor will let you know that it’s time to apply. Be sure to include any required documentation with your application. If you have any questions or concerns, your counselor is there to help.

3. Begin Nursing School

The 16-month Averett ABSN program consists of four full-time semesters and 66 total credit hours. The program follows a blended learning model that includes online coursework, hands-on labs and in-person clinical placements.

Online Coursework

You’ll complete your nursing fundamentals and theory coursework online. Featuring a combination of real-time video conferences, chat sessions, discussion forums, interactive simulations and more — our intuitive e-Learning platform caters to a variety of learning preferences. While you’ll be required to meet assignment deadlines, online study offers you the freedom to complete lessons anytime and anywhere it’s convenient for you.

Skills and Simulation Labs

In skills labs, you’ll practice and hone nursing skills — from the basic to the complex — in a safe and nurturing environment. You’ll learn how to assess vital signs, treat wounds, insert IVs and more.

In simulation labs, you’ll treat mock patients – including fellow students and lifelike manikins – in a supervised setting. Instructors control the manikins from behind the scenes, maneuvering them to display realistic symptoms and reactions to care. So you’ll learn to think on your feet and prioritize care steps with no fear of harming an actual patient. This experience helps build the confidence needed to thrive in a clinical setting.

Clinical Placements

Averett nursing student listening to another nursing student's breathing

Due to our nursing program’s accelerated format, you can expect to begin clinical rotations during your first semester. Clinical experiences will introduce you to specialty areas of care including obstetrics, mental health, pediatrics and community health. The first semester typically involves learning how to interact with patients. In later semesters you’ll take on more responsibility in performing clinical tasks and developing patient care plans, all under the watchful eye of instructors and preceptors.

4. Pass the NCLEX-RN®

Your Averett ABSN education will prepare you to sit confidently for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN®). You must pass this exam to gain certification as a registered nurse.

The national average first-time NCLEX pass rate for students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree was 91% in 2019. In contrast, the first-time NCLEX pass rate for Averett University’s traditional BSN track that year was 100%.

5. Find a Job

While not guaranteed, ABSN students sometimes receive an employment offer during their clinical placements (contingent on passing the NCLEX). So it’s important to always do your best and display a positive attitude during your clinical rotations. We recommend networking with fellow health care providers as much as possible.

Reach Out Today

If you’d like to know more about how to become a nurse with a biology degree, please contact us. Once we hear from you, a dedicated admissions counselor will be in touch to discuss your options.