Hey i actually just got back from a Accelerated Nursing Program information session at Suny Brooklyn Downstate and i have some info to share.
From what i understand there is no difference between a traditional 4 year BSN and a Accelerated Nursing Program. ANP is for people who didnt major in nursing in college (i.e. myself, Public Health) and a person with a 4 year BSN knew from the get go that nursing was what they wanted to do. After you pass your ANP classes though you do have to pass the NCLEX to get Registered as a Nurse and i believe officially you are a RN that can work.
The difference between RN and Physician Assistant (keep in mind this is from what little i have gathered) is that a RN does pretty much the same thing as a PA (primary care, prescriptions) and need to have a doctors signature. I believe though that nurses deal more so with patients first hand. If you are a RN though you have the option to continue your education to go onto become a Nursing Practicioner, Nursing teacher, etc.
Employment opportunities though i have noticed that both are needed but again that varies by state, i live in Brooklyn NY and graduated from Rutgers NJ and i have noticed that there have always been open positions for in the help wanted's.
Pay varies as a RN due to how bad nurses are needed, where you work and responsibilities. I have heard hospital nurses make anywhere from 45k to 60k starting with progressive increases as experience goes up or education (an MS). I have heard that experienced and MS nursing specialties can make an average of about 110k. RN's that work part time make about $60-75/ hour and work the hours they want and are needed, so they make their own schedule. I have been told all this from a doctor and a nurse from a hospital i volunteered at in Brooklyn.
Finally here are the details of a ANP program (which are not universal but shouldn't vary much i am taking the creds from SUNY DOWNSTATE)
Pre-reqs: A baccalaureate degree from accredited college, min 3.0 GPA, A C or better in AP 1 and 2 (w/labs), Chem (with lab), Microbiology (w/lab), English Composition, English Elective, Statistics, 2 classes of Psychology and 2 of Sociology/Anthropology and 12 credits in Humanities/Social Sciences.
Out of the approx. 350 applicants for the 2006 class, 65 were accepted. Out of the 62 that were accepted in 2005 (which ends summer 2006) there are still approx. 57 students left.
Hope that helps good luck to you all.