Types of school accreditation - the guide!

by SummitRN 6,908 Views | 14 Comments

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.

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    Types of school accreditation - the guide!

    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:

    REGIONAL:

    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 BODIES:

    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:

    http://apps.aacn.nche.edu/CCNE/reports/accprog.asp
    http://www.nlnac.org/forms/directory_search.htm


    Academic School Accreditation:

    REGIONAL BODIES:

    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).

    NATIONAL BODIES:

    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.

    Summary

    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
    Halcyonn, Joe V, MedChica, and 1 other like this.
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  3. About SummitRN

    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 joined Oct '07. SummitRN has '2' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ICU'. Posts: 1,178 Likes: 2,203; Learn more about SummitRN by visiting their allnursesPage


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    14 Comments so far...

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    This was accidentally put up closed. It is now open. Please reply with your thoughts or ask questions!
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    One clarification NLNAC will also accredit LPN/LVN programs though most don't avail of this service.
    SummitRN likes this.
  6. 0
    Just 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.
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    I 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.
  8. 0
    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.
  9. 0
    Quote from JustBeachyNurse
    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.
    I 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.
  10. 0
    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.
  11. 0
    Quote from rubato
    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.
    Thanks 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!
  12. 0
    Bump to the top because of recent threads asking questions answered in this one.


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