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Is there a difference between NLN accredited and non-NLN accredited schools?

tatempole tatempole (Member)

I've recently been accepted to a non accredited NLN school; however, it's still accredited by the state board of nursing enabling them to grant RN licenses.

Am I at a disadvantage if I attend this school in terms of employment opportunities and further education?

Some students informed me that it's difficult to seek out employment if your school is non NLN accredited and that most universities look down on RN's coming out of non-NLN schools.

Actually, what does it mean when your school is NLN accredited? What is it? Is it an organization? A networking system? A union/sponsor? I'm so confused and scared. I might not even attend the school anymore. It's a two year community college and not one of those for profit technical schools.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

There are two entities that accredit nursing programs: the NLN (National League for Nursing) and the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education). Since an associates degree program is an undergrad program, it would be accredited by the NLN, since the CCNE only accredits baccalaureate and graduate level nursing programs.

A community college RN program that lacks NLN accreditation can pose a few problems down the line in job opportunities and advancement of education. If you want your BSN degree someday, very few schools will accept credits earned from a nursing program that lacks any kind of specific accreditation from an entity that accredits nursing programs. Some hospitals will not hire applicants who graduated from schools that lack the NLN or CCNE accreditation. The Dept. of Defense, Veterans Administration, and other government entities will not hire an RN who graduated from a program that lacks the NLN or CCNE accreditation.

Basically, accreditation from the NLN or CCNE indicates that the nursing program meets certain quality standards and specific criteria. Accreditation is voluntary, but it goes above and beyond to show that the school does meet established standards of quality.

subee, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 49 years experience.

Why don't you google National League for Nursing? Personally, I would avoid any non-NLN accredited school. You could be losing a lot of money in transfer credits. Good luck.


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

made this a sticky in our pre-student forum since question repeatedly asked...answered well by the commuter.

accreditation is granted by these 2 nationally recognized organizations:

national league for nursing accrediting commission (nlnac)

is responsible for the specialized accreditation of nursing education programs(clinical doctorate, master’s degree, baccalaureate degree, associate degree, diploma, and practical nursing program). the commission has authority and accountability for carrying out the responsibilities inherent in the application of standards and criteria, accreditation processes, and the affairs, management, policy-making, and general administration of the nlnac. the nlnac is nationally recognized as a specialized accrediting agency for both post-secondary and higher degree programs in nursing education.

search for nlnac accredited nursing programs

aacn - ccne - accreditation

officially recognized by the u.s. secretary of education as a national accreditation agency, the commission on collegiate nursing education (ccne) is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public's health. ccne ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.

ccne serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices. as a voluntary, self‑regulatory process, ccne accreditation supports and encourages continuing self‑assessment by nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and post-baccalaureate nurse residency programs.

search for ccne baccalaureate & graduate nursing programs

new nursing programs need to have at least one graduating glass completing nclex exam, apply for accreditation and meet organization standards to become accredited. process takes minimum 2-3 years from accreditation application and is retroactive to previous classes.

ccne new applicant
baccalaureate & graduate nursing programs

Edited by NRSKarenRN

I have a question....how is it that schools within the same "system" don't all have accreditation? For example.. Ivy Tech in Indianapolis is accredited but none of the other school within the Ivy Tech system are? The only school that is listed is the one in Indianapolis.


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

Each separate program must be evaluated on its own merits --- good question to ask of IVY if they have applied for accreditation.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I've got something else to add because another member was confused about this same issue over in the General Nursing Discussion forum today. So, I'll simply paste my reply over here for the sake of time.

There is not one state board of nursing in the U.S. that requires accreditation for nursing programs. Many people get accreditation confused with approval and tend to use these terms interchangeably.

In order for graduates of any school of nursing to be eligible to take NCLEX and become an RN or LPN/LVN, they need to have completed a nursing program that is approved to operate by the state's board of nursing. Accreditation is an extra, voluntary measure taken by nursing schools to affirm that their programs are meeting specific standards of quality that go above and beyond. There are many graduates of unaccredited programs who are working as nurses today because they attended nursing schools that were merely approved to operate by the board of nursing.

The NLNAC (National League for Nursing) accredits LPN, ADN, BSN, and graduate nursing programs. The CCNE (Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education) accredits only baccalaureate and graduate level nursing programs.

For example, community college nursing programs all possess regional accreditation, and most (but not all) have national accreditation from the National League for Nursing. However, many trade schools and vo/techs offer nursing programs that lack regional and national accreditation. Graduates of these schools still take and pass NCLEX due to the program's approval to operate; however, these nurses will encounter difficulty if they want to further their education or work for a government entity such as the VA, Department of Defense, or federal prisons. Most BSN and MSN completion programs want the ADN to have been earned at a regionally and nationally accredited school, and most government entities will not hire an RN who attended an unaccredited program.

I hope that my post clarifies things.


Specializes in PCU / Telemetry. Has 9 years experience.

Personally, I will never consider a school that was not accredited, or even a school that has applied for accreditation and is under review. I am not comfortable being a guinea pig of sorts for a school seeking CCNE or NLNAC backing when there are many other accredited schools I can attend. I also want to avoid problems down the road when I continue my education.

each separate program must be evaluated!!!

Hi I am lookong into st pauls nursing school in staten island. they are not accredited yet they told me they are in the process now. i went on nlnac site and there name didnt come up on their waiting list. im asking how long does it take to get accredited. they are waiting for 1 1/2 years

Wow I was actually un-aware of that distinction between "approved" and "accredited" - thanks for clarifying. My next question would be: why do approved programs even exist if they are not accredited? Are they all seeking accreditation?


Has 4 years experience.

Hey hunnypi32, dont waste your time with St. Pauls. I know nursing is competitive, but you dont want to be have a degree and not be able to progress to a BSN.. I was considering this school as well, but going with my guts to apply elsewhere.

For nursing a school has to be accredited either by NLN or CCNE. Make sure you have at least one of these otherwise i wouldn't recommend it, otherwise it would be tougher down the line.

rio hondo is approved by board of registered nursing rn.ca.gov but is not nln accredited