Types of school accreditation - the guide!
Accreditation is an important and frequently misunderstood topic! National vs Regional? Academic vs Nursing? Which is which? What do they mean? Knowing the difference can make the difference in getting a job or furthering your education.
There are national and regional accreditation for both an academic institution as a whole and specifically for an institution's nursing program.
There are so many labels and types that this topics frequently misunderstood by pre-nursing students as well as nursing students and nurses! Make sure you know the differences and what accreditation the schools your are considering posses It is important for your future employment, career advancement, and academic opportunities. Let's explore the different accreditation types and accrediting bodies!
Nursing Program Accreditation:
Your State Board of Nursing
Sometimes it is called accreditation, other states call it licensing, clearance, permission, or permitting. Without it, students cannot sit for NCLEX in that state or receive an RN license. You can verify a programs status on your state's BON website.
National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission NLNAC
American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education AACN-CCNE
NLNAC accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. CCNE accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs as well as post-bacc nurse residency programs. These are often desired/required by employers for employment and by academic institutions for further nursing education. For example, the VA, the nations largest employer of RNs, will only consider applicants from NLN/CCNE programs. Many RN->BSN and MSN/DNP programs will not accept applicants from non-accredited programs.
You can search a nursing program's national accreditation status here:
Academic School Accreditation:
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
These bodies accredit colleges and universities, private and public, mostly non-profit (some for-profit). Accreditation by these bodies improve credit and degree acceptance without specific articulation agreements between individual institutions. Credits from unaccredited institutions are likely to be rejected forcing students to retake them as a prerequirement for further degrees. Institutions will state their academic accreditation status on their website (sometimes you have to look).
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
These bodies are "predominantly organized to educate students for occupational, trade and technical careers, and institutions that offer programs via distance education." For example, ITT-Tech is academically accredited by ACICS. These bodies have come under criticism for having board members that are controlling owners in the for-profit schools they accredit. This is known as having the fox watching the henhouse.
State Nursing Accreditation: MANDATORY
National Nursing Accreditation: High Importance
Regional Academic Accreditation: High Importance
National Academic Accreditation: Low Importance
Your school of choice certainly needs state BON clearance at a minimum if you want to take NCLEX and become a licensed RN after graduation. While accreditation is not a guarantee of quality, it is a somewhat reliable indicator. In a highly competitive world, attending a program with national nursing and regional academic accreditation can open many doors that would otherwise be closed in both the job market and in future academic pursuits.Last edit by Joe V on Nov 2, '12
About SummitRN, BSN, RN, EMT-B
SummitAP wants to make sure that pre-nursing students and others have the information they need when making important choices about their nursing future.
SummitRN has '4' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ICU'. Joined Oct '07; Posts: 1,407; Likes: 3,233.Nov 2, '12This was accidentally put up closed. It is now open. Please reply with your thoughts or ask questions!Nov 2, '12One clarification NLNAC will also accredit LPN/LVN programs though most don't avail of this service.Nov 3, '12Just a counter point - my ADN is from a non-NLN accredited county community college and not only did we have an outstanding pass rate of NCLEX, my fellow grads are employed in all of the major and minor area hospital systems and in every specialty you can think of. Also, many of us, myself included, are pursuing BSNs at well-known and well-respected universities.
THis is anecdotal, to be sure, but national accreditation is not the end-all, be-all. The school's reputation and pass-rate are most importatnt, in my opinion.Nov 4, '12I was getting ready to post a question about this but I saw this post. Thank you! If a school has national accreditation but is on conditional approval with the state BON, would that school be a good choice or should it not be considered? One of the schools I am looking at has this situation going on now. Someone I talked to said it was based on the NCLEX scores for the past couple of years.Nov 4, '12Check with the board of nursing where the school is located. If the school does not provide a remediation plan to the board of nursing to improve scores they will lose their BoN approval. No BoN approval = denial of license and inability to sit for the NCLEX. It's public record from the BoN regarding a school's approval status.Nov 4, '12Quote from JustBeachyNurseI have checked the site and my state (GA) board minutes. It said it reviewed and recommended the plan. However, they still have to stay on conditional approval do to the scores not reaching 80% or better for the past 4 years. I really like that program has part time program but I am not sure if the program will be full approval by the time I would like to start, Spring 2014.Check with the board of nursing where the school is located. If the school does not provide a remediation plan to the board of nursing to improve scores they will lose their BoN approval. No BoN approval = denial of license and inability to sit for the NCLEX. It's public record from the BoN regarding a school's approval status.Nov 4, '12Personally, I wouldn't enroll in a program that wasn't fully accredited, but that's just me. It can take a long time to go from conditional to accredited. I would hate to see you waste your time on it only to be unemployable.Nov 4, '12Quote from rubatoThanks rubato! You answered what I was wondering about. I didn't want to waste my time going to this school just because it has a wonderful schedule. I was also wondering how long it would take them to be fully accredited. This post was very informational!Personally, I wouldn't enroll in a program that wasn't fully accredited, but that's just me. It can take a long time to go from conditional to accredited. I would hate to see you waste your time on it only to be unemployable.Mar 13, '14If I get my RN at the regional level but then get my BSN at a nationally accredited school, does that mean I can say I have national Accredidation if an employer requires it? I want to work at the VA at some point and I know they require national accredited nurses.Mar 15, '14Quote from Msmedic68wIf your RN ADN program does not have ACEN (NLNAC's new name), you would have to complete an ACEN or CCNE accredited BSN program before VA could hire you.If I get my RN at the regional level but then get my BSN at a nationally accredited school, does that mean I can say I have national Accredidation if an employer requires it? I want to work at the VA at some point and I know they require national accredited nurses.Mar 16, '14Becker College is accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.The Associate Degree of Science in Nursing (ASN) program is approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN) and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
so is my school nationally accredited? ACEN? Help! I don't want to go to a non accredited school . Thank you in advance!
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