If you're an LPN (licensed professional nurse), then at some point you might want to consider becoming an RN (registered nurse). To do this, you'll want to look into an LPN bridge program to RN. However, whether you're already an LPN or not, one thing that you'll want to make sure you do is to enroll in a nursing program that is accredited. Accreditation is extremely important--the last thing you'll want to do is complete a nursing program that's not accredited.
Why Nursing Program Accreditation is Important
Not all nursing schools bother to pursue accreditation. However, the following are a few reasons why you should enroll in a nursing program that's accredited:
- State and federal financial aid - If you go to a nursing school that's accredited, then you'll be eligible for state and federal financial aid programs. If you enroll in a nursing program that's not accredited, then you will not be able to use government grants, student loans, or work-study funds to help pay for your tuition.
- Other forms of financial aid - A lack of accreditation will also limit your ability to obtain scholarships from private foundations and companies as they often require that you attend a school that's accredited as well.
- Pursuing a graduate degree - If you want to apply to a master's degree program, then you're going to have to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program in order to apply. You likely won't be accepted for graduate programs otherwise.
- Transferring credits - It's much easier to transfer from one nursing program to another if you went to an accredited school. If the credits you've earned are from a program that's not accredited, they may not transfer.
- More employment options - A degree from an accredited program will be useful when you search for a job in the nursing field. Many employers will only hire nurses who received their education from an accredited program because of the fact that they are trained under specific nationally established nursing education standards.
What Nursing Accreditations to Look For
First of all, there are a lot of different types of accreditation. It's worth noting that most of the nursing school accreditation programs use the same standards and criteria when accrediting nursing programs. It's also worth noting that accreditation doesn't last forever. A nursing program will only receive accreditation for a certain period of time before they have to become re-accredited. To figure out how long a nursing program has been accredited for, you'll want to speak with the school or the accrediting body.
Secondly, just because a program has been approved by the state board of nursing does not mean that it is accredited. This just means that if you complete the program, you'll be eligible to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination). Keeping all of that in mind, the following are some of the main nursing accreditations to look for:
- ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing)
- ACNM (American College of Nurse-Midwives Division of Accreditation)
- CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education)
- COA (Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs)
- COE (Commission of the Council of Occupational Education)
Finding out if a nursing program is accredited or not is relatively easy. Any accredited nursing school will advertise the fact that they are accredited on their website -- it shouldn't be hard to miss.
Here at Athena Career Academy, we are accredited by the COE, an accreditation body approved by the Department of Education. For information about our LPN bridge program to RN, be sure to contact us at Athena Career Academy today.