Career Change - Nursing school


Hello all,

I am very new to this site (just heard about it today) and i've been reading the many posts on and found them very helpful. I do, however, have a few questions of my own that I hope I can get some input on.

A little background:

I have a Bachelor's degree from GMU in Political Science and Pre-Law (graduated in 2003) and I'm switching careers - I want to be a nurse!! I am currently pregnant with my second boy and I'm hoping to start my pre-reqs this coming fall at NOVA (hopefully) and take my time before applying to nursing schools.

here are my questions:

1- Is the NOVA program comparable to GMU? I mean which is better? Should I apply to NOVA or should I just go for the accelerated program at Mason? (second degree accelerated program)

2- Is NOVA significantly cheaper than Mason? I live in Ashburn VA so it's a good hour without traffic to get to the NOVA medical center... so that's another thing to consider.

3- Is it difficult to get into nursing school in general? I was not a top student during undergrad so are my chances slim to get into nursing school? is it realistic?

4- I am interested in becoming a CNA - how and where can I get certified?

Thank you in advance for your support and I apologize if my questions are redundant!


50 Posts

1. I'm pretty sure NOVA/NVCC has higher NCLEX pass rate than GMU. I'm sure someone can link the VABON site or it's on the top of this forum. What is your ultimate goal? Do you want to just be an RN? or do you think down the line you would want to be a NP or many other higher up nursing positions that require a BSN or MSN. Some schools require that you have a BSN to get your MSN, so research and think a little further down the line. I have one son and I know I'll have more kids down the line but I want to get my studies done asap so I can focus on my career and taking care of my kids. That was another factor I considered when choosing which program to apply to.

2. NVCC is cheaper as it's about $96 per credit, I don't know GMU but I'm sure it's at least $300 per credit.

3. Yes there is a lot of competition, Nursing is the new "hot" career. Since the media has said over and over that there will be a shortage of nurses, everybody wants to get into school and become a nurse. But as long as you apply yourself then go for it, don't let your past performance determine your future.

4. NVCC has a CNA program , I don't know of any others. I'm sure someone else can help you with that.

Has 10 years experience.

I'm in my last few days at NVCC Nursing program. I think it is fine, and having talked to recruiters, they say NVCC is a great program. With regards to NCLEX, last yr GMU at a 89.8% pass rate, while NVCC was only 83.2% Just head to and type in NCLEX (or nclex 2007, and it brings up the average over a longer time period) and it will come up. Over the past few yes, GMU I belive does have a higher avg. I guess it should be taken in consideration, but I don't worry what others have doen, worry about myself,lol

I have heard the GMU accelerated program is excellent, but a very demanding, time consuming course. Anytime one can have a higher education on your resume, most likely the better off you will be, thats just the way the world is, for some, they look at ones education and not at the person itself. But you already have the benefit of having a BSN, so that itself will be appelaing for employers. if ya have the time, go for the accelrated BSN. If you need to take any pre-reqs, so if you can take them at NVCC, as they are cheaper. From what I have been told (I havent really applied for jobs yet,lol) the hiring has really slowed down right now, bu thopefully once you are done with school, it will have picked up. Good luck

UVA Grad Nursing

1,068 Posts

The Accelerated BSN program at George Mason can be completed in 12 months. Yes, it is more expensive per credit but cheaper in the longrun.

The NVCC program is about $100/credit for a 2-year Associate's Degree. The Associate Degree to BSN bridge would be an additional 1-2 years at a 4-year school.

It depends on what type of RN you want to be, and if you might want to progress beyond the initial stages. Charge nurse positions, management positions, and advanced practice positions will generally require a BSN or higher. It also depends on where you want to practive. Magnet Hospitals (such as Georgetown, GWU, Inova, VCU, UVA, etc) are required to increase the number of BSN-prepared RNs. Some of these places will not hire new grads unless they are BSN-prepared; others are hiring mostly BSN-prepared RNs in the new grad positions. One employer in Virginia is hiring 50+ new grads this year (with 90% of slots going to BSN prepared).


2 Posts

Thank you all for your replies. The program that I am looking at at Mason is the accelerated second degree nursing program and it has no mention on whether it is a BSN or not. I do hope to go beyond just a nursing degree in the future so I guess it would make sense to see if this is a BSN or not. If the BSN accelerated program at Mason only takes 2 years, then it makes sense to just go ahead and do that (if it's not the same program i'm looking at, that is).

Does anyone know the amount of time that is allowed to pass between the pre-reqs and actually nursing school? If i start taking the pre-reqs this fall (2 a semester) it'll take me about 2 and a half years to finish but then i'm going to wait a couple more before applying to nursing school. That makes most sense in my case but I just wanted to see if my pre-reqs will still be valid!

Thank you again for your responses... I really appreciate it.


50 Posts

The accelerated program at Mason is working towards a BSN. I'm not sure the amount of time that can pass, most schools it's 5-10 years. You should sign up for an information session at GMU and I'm sure you'll find out all you need to know and get your transcript evaluated so you know what pre-reqs you need. I'm apply for the Fall 2010, and have yet to go to the information session. The times haven't worked. Also Marymount, and Howard have accelerated BSN programs. MU has Fall and Spring admissions, so that's an option for you as well. But thier program is a lot more than Mason.


18 Posts

I am applying to the traditional BSN program for the fall of 2010. I am currently a student at GMU taking my pre-reqs there. I found out that they are going to pull students who are "current" GMU students first, then transfer students... So if you can - take all your pre-reqs there... You are already familiar with GMU since you got your first degree there. It's a great school and I love it.

Plus, it's closer to where I live in Manassas.... Springfield is too far for me to drive to go to school...

Good luck everyone!


88 Posts

I am not in an accelerated program, so perhaps some of the other ladies and gentlemen can give more insight, but my understanding is that the accelerated programs are tremendously labor intensive. LOTS to learn in one year. Maybe something to consider with two little ones. Also, depending on finances, if you have one BS, may be more difficult to get financial aid for another BS degree. Have a friend with a Masters in another area who decided to go ADN route because of the cost difference and inability to secure financial aid. Best of luck whatever you decide.


39 Posts

Although I am attending another nursing program in the area, I thought I'd throw out, as something to consider, that I recently took a trip to Washington Hospital Center, and they told us from here on out, they are not going to be hiring nurses without BSNs, and the woman commented that, due to the shortage, lack of adequate resources, training, etc...she thinks hiring only BSNs will continue to be the trend in hiring, not only for WHC, but other major employers. Just something to consider when looking at your options - I know it struck a chord with me, even though I thankfully have already settled on getting a BSN.

This topic is now closed to further replies.