Written by Lisa M. Davila, BSN, MS
Lisa M. Davila, BSN, MSLisa received her bachelor's degree in nursing and spent the first fifteen years of her professional career as a registered nurse. Her main specialty area was critical care. She also worked in a busy medical practice and as a visiting nurse for home intravenous therapy patients.

If you are going to spend your hard-earned money on a nursing education, you may want to consider choosing an accredited program.

Accreditation is a voluntary process undertaken by a school. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) is the primary entity responsible for accrediting just about any type of nursing program, whether it’s an associate degree, diploma, baccalaureate or graduate nursing program.  

In addition, American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits bachelor’s and graduate nursing degree programs, as well as nursing residencies. These types of programs can apply for accreditation by both NLNAC and CCNE. NLNAC evaluates multiple criteria, whereas CCNE focuses on the educational quality of a curriculum.

Accreditation assures you that your school has some crucial elements:

  • The faculty is properly credentialed.
  • The educational program has all the necessary elements for you to succeed in nursing.
  • The majority of graduates pass their licensure exams.

Choosing an accredited school will help you secure low-interest governmental financial aid. Even if you don’t need it at first, your circumstances might change halfway through school.

Graduating from an accredited school gives you an edge when applying for a nursing job.  Employers know that you are better qualified than many other candidates. You’ll also have more flexibility if you want to further your education—institutions readily accept credit transfers from accredited programs.

Some non-accredited programs may be excellent, but you can’t know for sure whether a crucial element is missing.  Graduating from an accredited school gives you a solid foundation on which to build your nursing career.