Nursing School Accreditation

Learn the benefits of choosing an accredited nursing school.

Advantages to Attending Accredited Nursing Schools

girl researching accredited nursing schools

Nursing school accreditation creates a gateway for nursing students to participate in federally funded and state entitlement programs. Graduates from accredited nursing school programs also qualify to attend other accredited schools to pursue advanced studies, including RN-to-BSN and master’s programs. It can also make you more competitive in the job market; employers prefer to hire accredited practitioners because they are trained under nationally established standards for nursing education.

The Accreditation Bodies

Two national organizations accredit nursing education programs:

  • The Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits all types of nursing education programs including master's, baccalaureate, associate's and diploma
     
  • The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits programs that offer only master's and baccalaureate level nursing degrees
     
  • The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) accredits nurse anesthesia programs at the certificate, master's and doctoral degree levels
     
  • The American College of Nurse-Midwives Division of Accreditation (ACNM) accredits midwifery education programs

Different Nursing School Accreditation for Different Programs

Most nursing school accreditation organizations use the same standards and criteria to accredit each nursing program type. However, nursing school accreditation is granted for specific periods of time that differ between individual schools and programs. Check with the nursing school or the accrediting body to determine the length of time for which the school is accredited.

How to Find out if your Nursing School is Accredited

NLNAC-accredited programs are identified on AllNursingSchools.com by a clearly marked logo next to the nursing school/program name.

What "Approved" by State Board of Nursing Means

Each state sets standards for and approves schools that can train nursing students to be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) examination in that state. However, approval by a state board of nursing does not mean that the school is accredited by a national accrediting organization. In general, though, every accredited nursing school is also approved by its state board of nursing.

Attending a Nursing School That is Not Accredited

Some nursing schools are approved by their state board of nursing but are not accredited by a national nursing accreditation body. You should exercise caution in considering attending a non-accredited school.

While it does not mean that you will not receive a quality education or that you will be ineligible to sit for and pass the NCLEX examination, it generally does imply that you will not be qualified to attend an accredited nursing school in pursuit of additional education (for example, an RN-to-BSN or a master’s degree program). That, in turn, might limit your progression in your professional nursing career.