Choosing your nursing school can be a challenge. While you are excited about your new career path, you still must consider important factors like financing, location of the school, and flexibility of the course schedule. One thing you definitely need to look into is accreditation. All nursing schools are accredited by the state in which each school is situated, so don’t be fooled by this; it is important to check and be sure that the school has national accreditation, either by the NLN-AC or the CCNE. This ensures the school’s nursing program has surpassed state requirements. While national accreditation is not required of colleges and universities and there is no government oversight, attending a school that has it will assure you of the best education available.
What Is Accreditation?
Accreditation is an approval process that determines if a college or university can provide a quality education in a certain program, such as nursing. The standards are not set by the government, but rather a peer review board, and the members of the board are faculty members from several different schools. With accreditation, a school can verify the education it offers is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. It is important to realize that your school may be approved to have a nursing program and for you to take licensing exams, but this does not mean that they are accredited. Checking for proof of this national level nursing accreditation is essential before you start applying to colleges.
National accreditation shows a school is serious about producing graduates who will be competitive for a successful career. Oversight of the accreditation is accomplished by peers of the school, not the government, which allows for a practical and accurate form of accountability. What’s more, many financing options use federal funds, and this money is only available to nationally accredited schools.
Safeguard Your Career
Remember, many employers want to see a graduate from a nationally accredited school for these same reasons, so it only makes sense for your career to keep your doors open to all potential job leads; otherwise, you may be limited to working only in the state where you received your diploma. Additionally, if you choose to continue your education and pursue an advanced degree, as you start to look at how to find the best nurse practitioner programs, you will see that many graduate schools limit admissions to students who received their initial degrees from nationally accredited programs.
Here are the questions to ask before choosing a school
- Which organization accredited the school?
- Is the nursing program itself accredited?
- Has the school’s nursing program been approved by the state board?
Once you are certain you have the right answers to these questions, you can concentrate on admissions with full confidence that your education is in the right hands.