Preparing for a career as a nurse is exciting.

You’ll start the semester with lots of energy during nursing school, only to eventually hit a wall. At that point, you’ll start looking ahead towards summer break.

But WAIT…is there even a summer break in nursing school? Find out below.

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Do You Get Summer Breaks in Nursing School?

Keep reading for more info or if you don’t want to watch the video. Make sure to go here to search for nursing schools.

Traditional 2-year nursing programs have summer breaks and the other standard school breaks. The exception is accelerated nursing programs that do not have breaks during the summer. Depending on the program, students may not have the regular school breaks either.

While you probably won’t get summers off in an accelerated program you’ll usually get the major holidays off. This includes Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

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Are Summer Classes Mandatory?

Summer classes are usually optional. However, they might be mandatory depending on your academic goals.

For certain accelerated programs, colleges offer mandatory summer courses to complete the program in the required time. These classes might include:

  • Anatomy
  • Pharmacology
  • Health Assessments
  • Pathophysiology

The best way to know for sure what your summer requirements are is to talk to your academic advisor for your pre-nursing program or for the nursing program you’re considering.

What to Do During the Summer Break?

thinking student

Getting a job (ideally a CNA position), volunteering, or relaxing are the three common options for nursing students during the summer break.

Any one of those is a great option depending on your overall goals.

Get a CNA Job

If you need extra money or just network at the unit, you’d like to work after you graduate, getting a job is a good option. (Check out the article I wrote on the best jobs for nursing students for a breakdown of good options.)

Basic nursing skills you can refine while working in a clinical setting include:

  • CPR skills
  • Bedside manners
  • Taking vital signs
  • Starting IV’s
  • Proper documentation
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical protocol and procedures

Although you can learn all of these skills before starting your full-time career, it’s best to get a head start.


Volunteering is a good option if you’re looking for an opportunity to give back to the community.

Rest and Relax

Resting and taking it easy is a good option if you don’t need the money and want to destress from the semester.

I still recommend getting a job at a hospital even if you’re only working one day a week because I think it can help you when you’re trying to get your first nursing job after school.

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When are Typical Nursing Classes Held?

If you’re a pre-nursing student, your class schedule will depend on your college, university, or private program.

Colleges and universities can schedule classes based on a quarter or semester system, with both having their own scheduling systems.

A quarter system has classes in 10-week increments, while semester courses last 15 weeks. However, both systems have summer terms that are optional for students.

Depending on your local college program, you will take classes during the fall, spring, and winter. During the summer, you can still take nursing classes if they are offered, such as elective courses and general education courses.

Key Takeaways

Whether or not you have a break will depend on the program. Pre-nursing students may need to take summer coursework to complete their nursing prerequisites.

Once you’re actually in a nursing program, you’ll probably only go the fall and spring semesters (will breaks unless you’re in an accelerated program)

If you get the summers off, take that time to relax, unwind or get ahead in your studies.

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, go here to find a nursing program that’s right for you.

Find Nursing Programs

Search our school database to find schools and get information on the right programs for you. (Don’t worry, it’s fast and free!)

Have You Read This?

Frequently Asked Questions

Unless it’s an accelerated program, you’re going to have the summers off along with the usual school breaks like fall break and winter break.

Nursing students who have the summers off can get a job or volunteer during the summer. Getting a job in healthcare is the best choice because it will allow the student to get hands-on experience dealing with patients and their family members.

A student in a traditional nursing program will get the usual school breaks during the school year. Those breaks will include winter and fall breaks and even the summer.

An ADN and BSN can qualify you to work as an RN if you pass the NCLEX or National Council Licensure Examination. However, some states are now requiring that nurses obtain a Bachelor of Science Nursing degree. If you don’t already have a BSN, you will have to attend college courses or programs that can help you bridge the gap between your ADN and BSN.

Yes, nursing programs will typically give students a break during major holidays such as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

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