How to Become a Nurse with a Biology Degree: 6 Steps

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If you’re wondering how to become a nurse with a biology degree, you’ll be pleased to know you don’t have to go back to school for four more years. Instead, you can enroll in an accelerated nursing program, earn your BS in Nursing, and qualify for the licensure exam.

nurses in class

You could do many things with a biology degree, but what if you decide you want to be a nurse? With a biology degree, switching from biology to nursing without going through another four-year program is possible. Here, you will learn how to become a nurse with a biology degree in six steps.

At the College of Mount Saint Vincent, it’s possible to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BS in Nursing) degree in as few as 16 months with our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Prior nursing education is unnecessary, but you must meet the admission requirements and complete any lingering prerequisites. Ready to work toward a rewarding nursing career? Below are six steps that will lead you to becoming a registered nurse (RN).

Should You Switch From Biology to Nursing?

Before learning how to become a nurse with a biology degree, it’s a good idea to ensure it’s the right move for you. There are lots of reasons why you might pursue a career in nursing, including:

  • Having the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others
  • Enjoying a career that keeps you on your toes and doesn’t trap you at a computer desk all day
  • Being able to work across a range of settings—from hospitals to private homes to cruise ships to schools—and many more possibilities
  • Pursuing job advancement through additional education and nursing certifications

Plus, nurses are well-compensated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses (RNs) had a median annual salary of $81,220 as of 2022. RNs also have a job growth rate of 6% from 2022 through 2032, faster than average, which indicates that healthcare employers expect to hire more than 177,400 new nurses during this period.

Switching from biology to nursing can be even more lucrative if you pursue the graduate education and certification necessary to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), such as a nurse practitioner (NP). According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $125,900 as of 2022. They also have a projected job growth rate of 38% from 2022 through 2032, much faster than average.

Earning your BS in Nursing and becoming an RN is worth it. If you choose to make the career change, you will have an exciting career ahead and opportunities for growth.

smiling nurse holding a clipboard

Why should you earn a BS in Nursing degree? Explore 7 reasons why a BS in Nursing is worth it here.

How to Become a Nurse with a Biology Degree

If you decide that switching from biology to nursing is the right move, you’ll be happy to know that biology provides an excellent foundation for nursing education. You’ve already learned about scientific principles and processes and worked through some lab classes. Plus, a biology degree generally teaches analytical reasoning and critical thinking skills, which are crucial for aspiring nurses.

1. Find the Right Nursing Program

It’s not necessary to enroll in another four-year undergraduate program to earn a BS in Nursing. Instead, look for an accelerated nursing program that builds on your existing academic foundation, such as the one at the Mount. Our ABSN program allows you to graduate in 16 months over four semesters. You won’t have to pay four more years of tuition and can enter the nursing workforce much sooner.

The ABSN program at the Mount requires applicants to have completed a degree in a non-nursing field, such as biology. You’ll attend classes and labs at one of two sites in New York City: Riverdale or Long Island City. Your clinical rotations will take place at nearby partner hospitals.

2. Meet the Admission Requirements

After you’ve found the right nursing program, the second step to switching from biology to nursing is ensuring you meet all admission requirements. At the Mount, a dedicated admission counselor will walk you through the process and review your transcripts.

nurses smiling

The admission requirements include:

  • A prior bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 from an approved institution
  • Official transcripts and a completed application
  • Consent for a criminal background check
  • Immunizations
  • Proof of First Aid Certification and CPR Certification

3. Complete Any Lingering Nursing Prerequisites

The third step is completing any lingering nursing prerequisites. When considering how to become a nurse with a biology degree, one major advantage is that biology graduates have already taken science courses that can often apply to the prerequisites.

At the Mount, you must have completed all science prerequisites with a minimum grade of B, while the minimum grade for non-science prerequisites is a C. All prerequisites must have been taken within the last five years. If you’re missing any required courses, your admission counselor will help you create a plan to complete them before your ideal start date.

4. Submit Your Application

The fourth step in switching from biology to nursing is putting together and submitting your application package. The required components for admission applications will vary from one nursing school to the next. At the Mount, your dedicated admission counselor will help ensure you’ve gotten everything together properly. For example, you’ll need one letter of recommendation, official transcripts, an essay, and the application itself.

5. Graduate from Nursing School

The fifth step is to complete nursing school successfully. Every ABSN program is different, but they all encompass three core components: nursing coursework, labs, and clinical rotations. In your courses, you’ll learn about nursing concepts like pathophysiology and patient assessments.

nurse outside

You’ll develop nursing skills in your nursing skills labs and practice responding to clinical situations in nursing simulation labs. You’ll also complete multiple clinical rotations at nearby healthcare facilities, where you’ll learn to deliver direct patient care under the watchful eye of trained healthcare staff.

6. Pass the NCLEX-RN

Once you graduate from nursing school, the last step to switch from biology to nursing is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). It’s best to begin studying for this rigorous exam shortly after you start nursing school. Although you need to understand nursing concepts to take this exam, the NCLEX tests candidates more on their ability to assess clinical situations and form appropriate responses.

Before your exam date, you should review the official NCLEX Candidate Rules and understand what to expect. It’s important to follow the rules and procedures precisely to avoid disqualification. You can retake the exam if you don’t pass it the first time, but it’s definitely ideal to pass it the first time. After passing the exam and obtaining state licensure, you’ll be ready to work as an RN.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner with a Biology Degree

nurses laughing

Once you’ve successfully switched from biology to nursing, you might consider climbing the career ladder. For example, you might become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). A nurse practitioner is one type of APRN, as are certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).

To become a nurse practitioner or another type of APRN, you must return to school to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Then, you’ll need to pass a certification exam in your chosen specialty.

Switch From Biology to Nursing at the Mount

Are you ready to make the switch and refocus your career? The friendly admission team at Mount Saint Vincent is here to support you. When you enroll in our accelerated nursing program, you could earn your degree in as few as 16 months and graduate as a practice-ready nurse.

Contact an admission counselor today and take the first step toward a rewarding career.