If you know you’re interested in getting into nursing and have discovered nursing is for you, the next step is to choose the right nursing program.
Before You Enroll
There are several paths to consider:
- If you wish to spend less time in a classroom setting, pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a diploma from an approved program may be best, as both take between two and three years to complete.
- If you want an administrative position within the nursing field, consider enrolling in a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, and perhaps a Master’s in Nursing shortly after. More and more, the BSN is becoming an employers’ preference for admin positions. It’s also worth noting that specialized nursing fields require more schooling.
- If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may apply to certain nursing programs for medical training.
- If you are a registered nurse interested in more education, enroll in “bridge programs” (e.g., RN to BSN program) to improve your career and salary outlook.
Each level of education prepares nursing students for one of the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN), which all nursing students must pass one of in order to work as a nurse. Weigh the pros and cons of the different nursing paths on our site.
The Importance of Accreditation
Once you’ve decided what path you’d like to take, it is important to only seek nursing programs approved and accredited by either The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)*. Their stamp of approval indicates that the programs’ teaching and nursing standards are current.*Note: The ACEN is formally the NLNAC (National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission). See the ACEN’s statement here for more details.
The Dangers of Enrolling in Non-Accredited Nursing Programs
- You will be ineligible for federal financial aid and many scholarships
- Other institutions and training programs may not accept the credits previously earned, and you may have to repeat several courses to meet the standards of the accredited schools
- Some employers won’t recognize a degree from a non-accredited institution
The demand for well-educated nurses is on the rise. As the U.S. population ages, more knowledgeable individuals are needed to ensure and better our health. Take a look at some of your nursing program options ― we include nursing program name and details, educational institution, and accreditation records.
After selecting a nursing program — whether it’s a traditional program or an RNtoBSN program — use our career pages and state pages to get an in-depth idea of what it takes to become each type of nurse, from education and certification details, to what tasks, responsibilities and skills are required.