Accredited nurse programs is an important topic that is often overlooked.

Since we have been talking a bit about education lately, I thought I might follow up with some important information on accredited nursing programs. This is a little discussed and even less thought about topic for most nursing students.  However,

It is a critical issue if you are ever going to advance your education.

There are some where near 1500 accredited nursing programs in the US right now.  There are many, many more non-accredited nursing programs.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  First you should probably learn what this whole accreditation thing is.

Accreditation is, in its most simple form, a away to standardize the educational training that a nurse endures- I mean receives. To help with this standardization, the US Department of Education (DOE) has come to recognize certain agencies that help to regulate the standards.  The two most prominent agencies are the NLNAC (The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission) and the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education).  Wow those are a mouth full!

Basically the NLNAC and CCNE tell the nursing programs if they meet the standard accreditation guidelines, with which I will not bore you.  There are other secondary accrediting bodies like the The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs or the Joint Review Committee on Education for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and many more depending on your specialty.

There are even varying levels of accreditation.

Some are only regional- which means if you move to another part of the country- guess what?  Oops, you don’t have the right level of education to train here- go back and (re)take these accredited classes.

Are you beginning to see how this can drastically affect your nursing education and career?

The nursing programs sort of self regulate in the sense that they don’t HAVE to apply.  You see, even if you go through a non-accredited nursing program you most likely will still be able to sit for the NCLEX (depending on your state registration requirements).  So some times there are schools whom don’t quite make the cut, or they just don’t want to apply (who wants more paper work anyway).

Here’s the catch though.  In most cases, if you don’t go to an accredited nursing program, you cant utilize that education to move up (as in an RN to BSN or MSN degree).  Let me say that again,

If you don’t go to an accredited nursing program, you may not be able to get a higher degree later.

This can be very frustrating for you if you go get your RN at a non-accredited nursing program and then 5 years down the line you want to get into management and need a BSN and find that none of you previous schooling will apply!

Oh, and if your thinking about getting governmental financial aid- forget it.  The government wants you to be accredited so that is where they like to see the money go.  Now, you MAY be able to get governmental financial aid at a non-accredited nursing program but don’t hold your breath.

Nursing student beware!

Do a little research upfront before you start your program to be sure that they are accredited and at what level.  Here, just to make it easy on you, I have included a link to the NLNAC so you can go find yourself an accredited nursing program.

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