Switching Careers-Any ABSN programs that allow pre-reqs to be taken after accepted?

by Engineer2Nurse? Engineer2Nurse? (New) New

I have my B.S. in Civil Engineering and have been working professionally in the field for 4 years without ever finding happiness in my career. Nursing has always been in the back of my mind as a career path and I've been trying to research programs.

I have been looking into ABSN programs within San Diego but all of them have pre-reqs (anatomy, physiology, o-chem, etc.). I currently am working full time and have to continue working to cover the life expenses I currently have (car payment, student loan from undergrad).

I realize that an ABSN program would more than likely require me to stop working altogether and live basically off students loans and grants. My question is, has anyone heard of a program where you can apply and do the pre-reqs after acceptance? I ask this because I just don't think it's feasible to keep my job while trying to take the pre-reqs on the side. Considering that anatomy, physiology and o-chem all have labs associated with them.

I want to make this career transition but I need to make sure its even possible first. I can't see my work being okay with me being out of the office on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9am-12pm to get my lab work done to pursue a career outside my current professional field.

If there's anyone whose faced the same dilemma-I'd love to hear back from you!


Specializes in ICU. Has 1 years experience. 634 Posts

I took my pre-reqs at night/evenings and on the weekends while working full time. Now that I've been accepted to an ABSN program I will be quitting my job and living off loans/grants/savings/scholarships.

I've found that community colleges are usually very flexible with class options - you can do sciences with labs and fit them in around a full-time work schedule! It just depends on what else you have going on in your life and what options are available to you. Just make sure whatever university you want to do an ABSN with will accept those transfer credits!

I found that by working while taking pre-reqs (and taking pre-reqs at a more affordable community college) I was able to pay for them as I went, and take them at whatever pace I needed, saving the job-quitting-living-with-no-income scariness for just the ABSN. :)



Has 7 years experience. 533 Posts

When I was searching far and wide for ABSN programs a few years ago, I did come across a couple that let you finish your prereqs after you applied. But, I believe you still had to have most of them done before applying. Sorry, I don't recall where these programsd were.

Anyway, even if you find one of those programs you will be at a big disadvantage if you don't have the prereqs completed. The application process is very competitive, especially for the ABSN programs, and most applicants that will end up being accepted will have prereqs done and with very good grades.

Many ABSN students, including me, completed prereqs at nights and on weekends like the above poster suggested while working full-time. I also did some online courses, including a science w/with lab (through Colorado Community Colleges online). I would recommend getting started right away with one or two courses a semester and then take more or less based on how it goes.

Good luck!



368 Posts

i have a BS in another field also. i decided over a year ago to start the nursing program, and no - i couldn't be accepted until i finished my pre-reqs (anatomy 1 and 2, and microbiology). it took a year to complete those because anatomy 1 had to be taken one semester and then anatomy 2 taken the second semester. it was very frustrating to already have a degree and have to wait a whole year to even be able to get considered for acceptance (and that it took a year to take THREE classes), but that's how it works.

however, my local college offers those classes online even though they have labs. i only had to go on campus for a midterm and a final (which were on the computer as well).

just a FYI - i wasn't eligible for any grants since i already had a degree (and i didn't have a job in the field of my degree). so, i wouldn't count on grant money if i were you. however, many hospitals offer scholarships to nursing students in exchange for a promise/contract to work for the for X amount of time after you graduate. that's the route i chose.

btw - i did get accepted before i finished my last pre-req (anatomy 2) but they had to have my transcript showing that i was enrolled in the class.



Specializes in School, FNP. Has 6 years experience. 50 Posts

Depending on the school, some classes (not the biggies like A & P) are available to get CLEP or DANTES credit. I tested out of 12 credit hours of classes just by cram studying for a few weeks and taking the test. I was able to get out of 6 credit hours of English with composition (they didn't like the English I had previously taken), Microeconomics (which I had never set foot in) and Principles of Public Speaking. You need to make sure the colleges you are looking at will accept these tests though. Good luck!



18 Posts

Hey there!

I completed an ABSN program through Eastern Kentucky University back in '02-'03 (16 month course) after obtaining a B.S. in Environmental Science. Our pre-reqs were Anatomy, Physiology, Micro, Stats, and Nutrition. I was allowed to take my Nutrition course online as this was the only pre req i had not completed with my prior degree. To be COMPLETELY honest, I do not see how in gods name you could take all of these pre-reqs and still be able to fit in your nursing courses AND clinicals in such a fast paced and INTENSE program. We took at least 18 hours each semester (sometimes 21), and we also took 14 hours in the summer! Not to mention we were doing 12 hour clinical days on the days we were not in the classroom. I did not work during the 16 month program. I took out LOANS. You mentioned living off "student loans and grants". I hate to tell you but if you have a Bachelor's degree already you are no longer eligible for any type of government student grant. You will only be eligible for student loans. I was lucky enough to find a hospital who gave me $10K to pay for some of my school expenses (I mainly used this for living and I lived in non-traditional student housing on campus, i.e. campus apts as I wasn't married or had kids), but I owed them 2 years of service after I completed the program and obtained my RN license. Had i flunked out during the program, or got fired/quit the hospital after I became an RN during my 2 year commitment, I would have owed this $10K back to the hospital with major interest and penalties. It was a gamble and I took it and it worked out very well for me as I had no problem with the ABSN program itself and the 2 years commitment went by quickly.

My ramblings aside, I just don't see how you would be able to manage Anatomy (with lab), Physiology (with lab), Micro (with lab), ETC along with Nursing courses and clinicals. It just seems impossible to me.

Hope this helps.



SummerGarden, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr. Has 14 years experience. 3,370 Posts

also, there are not many jobs for new nurses (called new grads) in most areas. before quitting a nice paying job that covers your current financial obligations to pursue more debt and a new career in nursing, check out your area to see if they are hiring new grads. it is easy to do.

read job descriptions of job openings. do not use big job websites because most of those are vague and are not posted by facilities rather they are the posted by agencies. read the job descriptions off of hospital and outpatient facility websites. in other words, do not stop reading at "rn needed" like most people outside of the nursing field. find out if no experience is required because that will be you when you graduate. if they want 1-2 years of work experience, then that will not be you. clinicals does not count no matter what a school tells you!

now count the number of jobs available for new nurses compared with the number of programs that graduate a class of nurses every semester and quarter in your area. do the numbers add up? does your area accommodate all the new nurses? if not, then you live in an area that is saturated with new grads. if this is the case, then you may also need to consider the reality that you will have to move away when you graduate to find your first nursing job.

in general, there is no nursing shortage. some areas are hiring new and experienced nurses while many others are not. however if you really want to be a nurse, you can make it happen. as the others have written you may need to wait due to competition and completion of courses. in the meantime, build up your savings to care for yourself when you must be unemployed due to school or while looking for your first nursing job. gl! :up:



Specializes in Perinatal, Education. Has 9 years experience. 640 Posts

There is a reason those classes are prereqs--you will build on the knowledge gained from those courses from day one in nursing school. I teach nursing fundamentals and beginning pharmacology and you better believe that I have an expectation that my students are already well versed in anatomy, physiology and microbiology before they reach me. I also need to know that they can communicate in writing and orally (English and speech). The responses to your post have been very insightful and helpful. From the reality that nursing school is overwhelming--even for those who have been very successful academically in the past--and taking courses concurrently is almost impossible to the reality that there may be more jobs in your current field. I am not discouraging you from entering nursing--it is a wonderful field--just know that there are reasons for the rules. Good luck to you!!



Specializes in pediatrics, public health. 827 Posts

Some nursing programs will allow you to apply before you've finished your prerequisites. There aren't any that I'm aware of that will allow you to start the nursing program with your prereqs not finished yet. And even if any such programs exist, I think it would be a very bad idea to even attempt to do a nursing program, especially an intensive ABSN program, while simulataneously trying to take your prereqs.

The ABSN program that I went to allowed completion of prereqs after applying but before starting, as long as you submitted your plan for finishing them, and could show they'd be finished at least one month prior to your start date in the nursing program. In previous years they had allowed students to be finishing up their prereqs right up until the day before their nursing classes started. However, they changed their policy when they had some students who flunked the prereqs and therefore had to be dropped from the program -- and some other students who lied about the prereqs being done and were still trying to finish them once the nursing program started. They instituted the one month gap and required transcripts to prove all of the prereqs were done.

Best of luck to you!



Specializes in Ortho/Neuro/Trauma. Has 5 years experience. 86 Posts

engineer2nurse - i also worked full-time in SD and did all my science prereqs during the evenings at San Diego mesa & miramar city colleges. There are also online options for nutrition and developmental psyc if you have yet to take that.

Those were the days when my schedule was 7am-10pm straight; sounds intense but it was necessary - especially when I didn't want to hint to my work that I had plans to go back to school.

As far as the prereq classes, I finished my ABSN at NYU and worked as an orientation leader for new students - so I know for a fact that they do accept students to their ABSN program who still have pending prerequsite classes. This would entail you to finish your remaining prereqs at NYU before starting the ABSN program--but at least you are in the program. Good luck!