Are you looking for the best nursing programs? There are numerous factors to consider when looking for the best nursing school. However, put accreditation at the top of your priority list. On many levels, school accreditation is required. If you already have a valid registered nurse (RN) license and are looking for the best nursing school to further your education, you must complete an accredited nursing program.
There are many nursing programs available right now, and more are being added on a regular basis. It is critical to verify the accreditation of the school you have chosen. Consider how your nursing career may be impacted by your accreditation or lack thereof.
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Best Nursing Programs: What Is Accreditation?
An accrediting agency recognizes an institution’s level of educational standards through school accreditation. Simply calling yourself a school or offering an educational program is not enough. Quality education necessitates that the school meet specific criteria, and accreditation is how they demonstrate that level of quality.
Accreditation is a voluntary but important process that helps to define quality education. It also necessitates regular reevaluations to keep that accreditation, ensuring that students know the school upholds those standards even if the requirements change.
Accreditation is classified into two types: institutional and programmatic. As a student looking for the best nursing program, you should first consider institutional accreditation to ensure that the school meets the educational standards that employers expect.
Why Is It Important to Choose a Nursing School That Is Accredited?
Mind at ease. Institutional accreditation establishes the standard for the entire institution, not just the program. Making certain that the school you want to attend is accredited will give you peace of mind. You should receive an education that meets the standards set by the accrediting bodies if you attend an accredited school.
Transfers of Credit. Some schools consider another school’s accreditation status when evaluating potential credits for students who want to transfer between schools. The requirements differ by institute, and it is up to the receiving institute to accept credits from other institutions.
This is critical if you want to further your education as a nurse. For example, you could enroll in a bridge program from Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, such as the one offered by American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University. This program enables nurses with a two-year degree from an accredited school to continue their education online and earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Better Job Opportunities. Accreditation from a school is something that employers may look for as well. Even if an employer does not recognize the name of the school, they can check its accreditation status to learn more about the education it offers. Some employers may look into the accreditation of the school from which a potential employee graduated to ensure that their credential meets certain quality standards.
What Accreditations Should a Nursing School Have?
To begin, it is critical to distinguish between accreditation and licensure.
Licensure is a state-specific validation that the school is permitted to operate in the state and confer specific degrees. It certifies that the school meets the state’s quality standards; the state licenses and then accredits programs within the school. Post University, for example, is authorized by the Connecticut Office of Higher Education (CTOHE) to offer coursework and confer specific degrees.
National accreditation and regional accreditation are the two types of institutional accreditation.
Regional accrediting bodies, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), provide institutional accreditation within specific regions. This means that NECHE ensures Post meets or exceeds certain quality standards as an educational institution. There are six accreditation regions in the United States: New England, Middle States, North Central, Southern, Western, and Northwest. California has two commissions in the Western region, for a total of seven. These accrediting bodies oversee institutions, the majority of which are degree-granting and non-profit.
National accrediting bodies, on the other hand, provide institutional or specialized accreditations for degree-granting and non-degree-granting schools across the country, depending on the need. Industry-specific national accrediting bodies frequently provide programmatic accreditations.
Which is preferable: regional or national? According to the United States Department of Education (DOE), which accredits the accreditors, both provide students with a level of quality assurance. The DOE makes no distinction between regional or national associations when recognizing the value of different accrediting agencies.
Programmatic accreditations are concerned with education within or for a particular industry or career path. After you have verified the institutional licensure, you can look into the programmatic accreditations that the institution provides. Nursing programs should be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission of Education in Nursing (ACEN) (ACEN).
Nursing programs at all levels of study can be accredited by ACEN. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the DOE recognize this as an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing includes CCNE (AACN). The CCNE only certifies nursing programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and postgraduate levels. This organization does not accredit associate degrees in nursing.
Selected programs at Post University’s American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences are programmatically accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing or the Accreditation Commission of Education in Nursing.
The Bottom Line on Nursing Accreditation
Anyone considering higher education should begin by determining whether the school itself meets quality standards. They can demonstrate this with the appropriate institutional accreditation. That should be the first and foremost thought of any nursing student, even if they do not believe they will want to further their education. You have no idea where your career will take you five or ten years after graduation. Checking for appropriate school accreditation is an excellent way to prepare for the future.
Then, look for a nursing program that is programmatically accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN). Regardless of where you are in your nursing education, these accreditations can be extremely valuable. They are important for one-year programs, two-year associate’s degrees in nursing, and BSNs or higher levels of study.
American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University offers a CCNE-accredited RN-to-BSN nursing program that is 100% online. This program allows you to earn your degree on your own terms, with no mandatory login times and flexible scheduling to accommodate your hectic schedule.