How to Become an RN with a Biology Degree

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Use Your Biology Degree to Become a Nurse - nursing student in lab coat

There are many career paths you can take with a bachelor’s in biology, many of which make good money. The catch, though, is that short of landing a job in pharmaceutical sales, which may not appeal to you, most high-paying biology-based careers require a master’s or even doctoral degree.

The good news is you don’t have to spend years in medical school to make the world a better place with your biology training. Nor do you need to spend all your time in a lab setting. Instead, you can use your degree to become a nurse and enter the profession in a little more than a year.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to become a registered nurse (RN) with a biology degree, as well as why biology degree-holders make great nurses. But first, let’s talk about why nursing is a good career in the first place.

Why Become a Nurse in Texas?

Texas has a problem on its hands. According to the Texas Department of State Health ServicesNurse Supply and Demand Projections, 2015-2030, the Lone Star state has too few registered nurses to keep up with demand, with Texas anticipating a shortage of nearly 60,000 registered nurses over the next 10 years. Only California is expected to have a larger deficit of RNs.

2 UIW students working together in a clinical setting on a manikin

Considering that the number of Americans 65 and older is larger than ever before — not to mention, more Americans of all ages are living with chronic conditions — the nursing shortage is cause for concern, as more and more people require greater levels of care. At the same time, a high proportion of nurses themselves are nearing retirement age, contributing further to the projected demand.

It’s not just the long-term projections that have officials concerned, either. As the Dallas Morning News reports, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how dire the need is for nurses right now. It’s also led to a number of states amending clinical hour requirements (among other licensure requirements) to help ease the demand.

There’s an upside to this though. By using your biology degree to become a nurse , you’ll be able to leverage your previous education to make a difference in people’s lives. Or, as we like to say at the University of the Incarnate Word, our goal is to be the Word in the World. In fact, when our founders, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, arrived in San Antonio in 1869, it was to help the city face a cholera epidemic.

Not only are nurses there for us in times of greatest need; the exceptionally high demand translates to strong job security and relatively high pay. In May 2019, nurses in Texas earned a median annual wage of $74,540 — that is $35.84 an hour.

So now that you have a better understanding of just how great the need is for nurses in Texas, let’s talk about how to use your biology degree to become an RN.

Switching Careers from Biology to Nursing

You might not have realized it when you were in school, but a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree makes you a prime candidate to become a nurse. That’s because so much of what nursing students learn about is based in anatomy, physiology, chemistry and other related scientific studies. After all, nurses must understand the complexities of the human body, how and why treatments work, disease processes and more. On top of that, nurses must thoroughly understand these concepts in order to clearly educate their patients.

male nursing student in UIW scrubs examining syringe

A biology degree doesn’t just give you an advantage when it comes to making sense of your nursing coursework, though.

With the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track at University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, if you hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you can earn your BSN degree in as few as 16 months. Consisting of convenient online coursework, hands-on skills and simulation labs at our state-of-the-art ABSN learning site, and clinical rotations at top health care providers, our track provides a comprehensive nursing education. Upon graduating from our track, you’ll be well positioned to sit for the NCLEX — the licensure examination all nurses must pass in order to practice — and enter the field with confidence.

How soon you can start depends on your previous area of study. Because our accelerated nursing curriculum focuses exclusively on nursing concepts, applicants must first take any outstanding prerequisite courses in order to enroll. As a result, students who hold previous degrees in the sciences, such as biology, are more likely to have already taken the prerequisite courses than students with prior degrees in liberal arts areas, and may be able to start our ABSN track sooner.

Are ABSN Tracks as Good as Traditional BSN Tracks?

Even with UIW’s reputation for academic and nursing excellence, you may still be unsure about whether a 16-month accelerated nursing track is as good as a traditional, four-year BSN track. The answer is yes.

UIW’s ABSN is every bit as rigorous as a traditional BSN track. The difference is that with a traditional BSN track, prerequisite courses are part of the curriculum. Our Accelerated BSN track was designed specifically for second-degree students and, thus, consists solely of nursing coursework.

There’s also another reason our ABSN track is able to consolidate your nursing education into just 16 months. With an accelerated nursing track, you don’t get a summer vacation. Rather, you continue your studies, helping to prevent the loss of knowledge all students experience during long breaks.

Are You Driven to Make a Difference?

If you’re ready to put your biology degree to use to become a nurse, the University of the Incarnate Word can help. Call us to find out if our 16-month Accelerated BSN track is right for you, or complete the form to have an admissions counselor contact to you.