Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Nightingale has met the needed standards of quality that an accrediting body has put its seal of approval on our school and programs. Nightingale College is nationally accredited through ABHES, a health care education accrediting agency. Each of our programs is also programmatically accredited. Our ADN Program is accredited by the ACEN, and our RN-to-BSN Program is accredited by CCNE.
Why do schools need to be accredited?
The Department of Education’s website reads, “The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.” Accreditation simple proves that the institution has met all requirements necessary to run a successful educational program as determined by the accreditor.
What types of accreditation are there?
According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, there are four types of accreditation:
- Regional (Usually public, non-profit schools)
- National Faith-Related (Religiously affiliated schools)
- National Career-Related (Usually private, for-profit schools)
- Programmatic (Concerning specific programs, such as health care or law)
When picking a school, the type of accreditation matters depending on what your plans are.
Regionally-accredited schools sometimes only accept credits from other regionally-accredited schools, so if your plan is to continue your education, regionally accredited schools could be your best choice. However, these schools tend to have long waitlists for programs, and are very competitive to get into.
Nationally accredited schools are ideal for quick entry into the workplace because they are less competitive and have fewer and shorter waitlists. However, these schools do tend to be more expensive.
Make sure that your program is accredited. Do not assume that because a school is accredited that a certain program of that school is. Check out this infographic:
Why do accrediting agencies have authority?
Just as Nightingale has to uphold certain standards to be an accredited nursing school, our accreditors have to uphold certain standards to be accreditors. There are many different accrediting agencies, and they vary in quality. To make sure you have a reputable accrediting body backing your school, make sure that the school is listed in the Department of Education’s database of recognized accreditors. To access that database, click here.
Do employers accept degrees from unaccredited schools?
Often, employers will not accept degrees from unaccredited schools because there is no way to verify that the education you obtained is of high quality. It takes a lot of work for schools to meet all the standards the accreditors have set.
Think about it this way. We eat foods that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When foods aren’t approved by the FDA, we have no way of knowing if the food could possibly be harmful to us, or be rotten. It’s the same principle with accreditation.
Accreditation gives employers a clear indicator that your educational institution met certain quality standards and is reassurance that you didn’t receive a “rotten” education.
What happens to current students when a school loses its accreditation status?
When a school fails, current learners have the most to lose. When a school loses its accreditation, many times they cannot afford to pay back the learners. As a result, learners are unable to complete their education. Many learners will begin to look for accredited programs elsewhere, decreasing the school’s enrollment (and ultimately, reputation).
The Colleges and Degrees website explained “This is because most colleges and universities operate like a business, and you invest into this business by paying for your education. If your school goes bankrupt they cannot afford to refund any money, and your investment is just considered a loss.” They also emphasize that learners cannot transfer their credits from a now-unaccredited institution to an accredited one, which is why it is so important to pick a quality program from the start. Past learners, who graduated from a then-accredited school, can still say that they graduated from an accredited institution.
When selecting a school and program to attend, research the institution’s accreditation status and history. It may unfold important information that will help when deciding which school to attend.
How can I make sure my school is accredited?
There are two steps to making sure that you’re attending a quality school. One, make sure that your school is actually accredited by who they say they are. Go to the accreditors’ website and make sure that you can find your chosen school listed under their accredited programs. Second, go to the Department of Education database linked above to verify that the accreditor is legitimate.
In the end . . .
Attending an accredited school and program is the first thing prospective learners check when searching for the right school, and it is the right first step to take after determining what program is of interest. Remember, accreditation is the quality seal that can make or break your educational experience. Spend some time learning about accreditation to help make the right school decision.
Nightingale College offers two accredited nursing programs, the ADN Program for those ready to jump start their nursing career and the RN-to-BSN Program for licensed nurses looking to advance their knowledge and skills.