Questions about school/program accreditation.

Nurses General Nursing


I am having a hard time making a decision. I am on a waiting list that is 2 years long at a local cc that is fully accredited (school and program). I also have most of my gen eds done for this school's program. It is an ADN program. A for profit school here just opened up an ADN program. The school itself is accredited, but the nursing program is not (they say because they have to have a class graduate before they can apply). Most likely my gen ed credits will transfer to the new program, and I can start in Dec and be done in one year(since I have most gen eds done).

With the for profit school not being accredited in the nursing program, but the school as a whole, what does this mean for me as far as financial aid?

How do employers look at for profit schools? Especially if the program is not yet accredited? I am guessing not that good. I live in a middle sized city, so most hospitals will know that the program at this school is new, will that work in my favor or not?

I will be going to an informational session this next week for the school. I know they will sugar coat everything, and I think I will still be undecided on what to do.

So I can take the chance with the new program, get my adn in about a year, or wait on the fully accredited community college, and have it in about 3-4 years. What would you do?:confused:

You have to first investigate what TYPE of accredidation they have and from WHO. This is a major source of confusion with students. A school may have state accredidation from their Board of Nursing but not neccessarily from a professinoal nursing organization such as NLN or CCNE. Now it is true for almost all professional accredidations you must graduate a class first, and even then you are usually put on a probationary accredidation for a few years, depending. NLN and CCNE accredidation are the two major certifications you want to look for. Keep in mind each program (ASN/BSN/MSN) must have its own accredidation along with each campus and delivery method. The campus in one city may not have accredidation while a sister campus does. Also, as in my current school, the physical campus program may not have accredidation but the online school does.

As far as fincancial aid is considered all they care about is state BON accredidation.

Employers, in my professional experience, do not care about the name of the school but rather the type of degree...that is if they care at all. Experience is king in finding nursing employment. Employers would rather hire Billy with an ASN degree from "Joe's Nursing School and Bait Shop" who has 5 years of acute care experience than Joan with a DNP/MSN/MBA from Stanford with 0 experience.

I went to a school that was NLN and CCNE accredited but had only graduated 3 classes prior to mine. The accredidation was all fine and good but the disorganization and restructuring that went with establishing a new program was horrible. It takes many years for a school to establish their"groove" or their accademic culture.


What would I do...what DID I do...well I knew that I always wanted to go on for further education. I had looked into RN to BSN/MSN programs and for the most part found that they generally only wanted to know that I was a RN or not. Many of these programs would give a working RN a certain number of transfer credits reguardless of prior school (this is so the old diploma nurses could advance their education, state grants and funding to the schools helped create this). I figured I could receive my RN a couple years sooner through a private school, gain a couple years experience and come out the other end as an experienced nurse with a MSN. Economically this worked in my favor too. Before becoming a nurse I made $30-$35k a year. I currently make around $90-$95k a year as an infusion nurse (relatively high pay, my average classmates salary is around $55-$65k). I more than made up the $35-$40k in tuition I paid for private school in the first year of becoming a nurse. Average wait time in my state was 1.5-2 years for nursing school.

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I would ask the Board of Nursing in your area about the accreditation issue. It makes sense that a class has to graduate in order to evaluate the program outcomes. I doubt the lack of accreditation is a big issue as long as the state's education requirements are met. Better check.

As for future employers - they could not care less about where you got your education. The question is "do you have a license?" There are good and bad nurses from every type of program. It is always your choice to be the shining star.

As for future employers - they could not care less about where you got your education. The question is "do you have a license?"

This is not necessarily true. There are a growing number of healthcare employers (including, often, the more desirable facilities/employers, like the VA system) that will only hire graduates of NLNAC- or CCNE-accredited programs. Not all employers, certainly; not even most -- but why close off any future employment opportunities to oneself this early in the process??

OP -- there are two different accreditation issues when you're talking about a nursing program. One is general academic accreditation, and the other is nursing (NLNAC, in the case of ADN programs) accreditation. Both of these matter when you're looking at a proprietary (private-for-profit) nursing program. Most proprietary career schools tell students, when they ask, that they (the school) are accredited, and most prospective students don't know to inquire any further. However, when those schools say they're accredited, they're usually not talking about the regional accrediting organizations that accredit "regular" colleges and universities. The proprietary schools are typically accredited by organizations that have been created specifically to accredit (only) proprietary career & tech/voc schools. These organizations have different (lower) standards than the groups that accredit "regular" colleges and universities, and that's why credits from these schools typically won't be accepted by "regular" colleges and universities for credit. That might not matter if you're going to school to be a pastry chef, but it can matter a great deal in nursing. You might think right now that all you ever want to do is basic bedside nursing, and once you get licensed you'll never want to go back to school -- but many, many nurses started out thinking that and, after a few years in nursing, started noticing how much wider a range of career opportunities and possibilities they'd have with a BSN. If decide in the future that you want to return to school, it's unlikely that any courses, including general ed courses, completed at a proprietary career school will be accepted for credit by a BSN program, and you would basically have to start all over again.

Also, many nursing degree programs to further your education require that you be a graduate of an NLNAC- or CCNE-accredited program. (In addition to the issue with some employers I already mentioned.)

I've been in nursing and nursing education for many years, and I can't think of a good reason to pay tuition for courses that can't be accepted by other schools for credit, and I can't think of a good reason to pay tuition for a degree that may limit your educational and employment opportunities in the future -- especially when the proprietary schools typically charge so much more than appropriately-credentialed programs!

If you haven't seen the documentary "College, Inc." on PBS (it's an episode of the Frontline series), I really encourage you to do so before you make a decision. The documentary can be viewed (for free) on the PBS website: FRONTLINE: college, inc.: watch the full program online | PBS

You may also want to do a quick search for articles about the various Federal and state investigations of proprietary schools around the country.

Best wishes for your journey! :balloons:

Thank you all for the time you took to answer my questions. They have helped so much!

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