The Importance of an Accredited Nursing School
If you're interested in pursuing a career in nursing, there's a lot to consider. Are you
planning to become an RN or an LPN, or do you want to take the shortest possible training course to work as a
nurse's aide while continuing your studies? Is online
classroom, or on-the-job training best for you?
In addition to these important questions, another critical consideration for prospective
nurses is whether they should choose an accredited nursing school. Is there a substantial
difference in the quality of education that comes with accreditation?
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a special credential held by many nursing schools, certifying that the
school meets certain requirements in terms of its curriculum, faculty, campus, and levels of excellence achieved
by the student body.
The National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) is the accrediting body for
all types of nursing education, while the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits only
masters and bachelor degree programs. The standards applied by these groups are virtually the same for every
nursing program, so in addition to these parameters, accreditation guarantees that a school will include certain
components and criteria as part of their educational curriculum.
Whether or not a nursing school receives accreditation, it can also be approved by its
respective state board of nursing. This recognition is not as significant as formal accreditation by the NLNAC
or CCNE, but it does speak to the quality of education and the level of preparation students receive for the
NCLEX nursing certificate exams.
Advantages of Choosing an Accredited School
Typically, accreditation attests to an improved quality of the education a school will
provide. This isn't always the case—it is possible for a school to deliver a top-notch education even if some of
the criteria for accreditation aren't fulfilled—but accreditation guarantees that certain ideals are met and may
provide a better education than a school that is not accredited.
Attending an accredited school also increases your hiring appeal. Many employers prefer to
hire nurses who come from accredited schools because it marks a dedication to high-quality training and
If you’re considering continuing your nursing education at a later date, it's especially
important that you attend an accredited school for your initial coursework. Most bachelor and masters degree
programs will accept students with LPN or RN qualifications (usually through an "LPN to BSN" or "RN to BSN"
bridge program), but it's much more difficult to get accepted to a bridge program without previous education at
an accredited school. If you obtain your LPN or RN training from a non-accredited institution, you may be forced
to repeat some earlier coursework to complete your BSN or higher education.
Disadvantages of Choosing an Accredited
The biggest drawback of attending an accredited nursing school is that it will usually cost
more than a similar degree at a non-accredited school. The difference in price allows the accredited
nursing school to cover the steep fees required to obtain and maintain their accredited status.
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