Accreditation of educational institutions is widespread. Various accrediting bodies are in business to accredit general post-secondary institutions, and include Higher Learning Corporation, Distance Education and Training Council, and the Commission on Higher Education. But what accrediting agencies handle accreditation for nursing schools?
Two main accrediting agencies manage the accreditation process of general nursing schools:
A few more specialized nursing school programs have their own accrediting bodies:
All are non-government organizations and nursing school accreditation is voluntary.
Accreditation status indicates that nursing schools definitively meet certain educational parameters common to accredited peers and accepted nursing standards. Generally accredited schools must meet certain criteria according to a set of standards based on quality and effectiveness. This is not to say necessarily that unaccredited schools are not up to snuff. But voluntary accreditation seems to speak to a school’s willingness to self-evaluate, measure curricula to standards, and officially launch a regular improvement process to maintain certain agreed upon standards of educational excellence. And the “accreditation” seal of approval goes a long way when it comes to nursing schools.
The beauty of accreditation is in understanding that the criteria by which a nursing school is measured during accreditation must be in accordance with a hard and fast set of criteria based on a set of quite rigorous standards. Each accrediting agency has its own standards, but they reflect similar factors. Standards for accreditation generally include the following:
These are just a few of the questions each standard addresses. But you can see how application of any of these criteria forces an institution to conform to rigorous academic and curriculum standards.
The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc.
According to the Department of Education, the NLNAC is a “specialty” accrediting agency since it exists outside general post-secondary education and is in business to work accrediting nursing schools. The NLNAC has jurisdiction over accreditation for practical nursing programs, doctoral nursing programs and all degree levels between them.
The agency accredits based in 6 standards:
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Also a specialty accrediting agency by Department of Education standards, the CCNE has the authority to accredit Bachelors and Masters level nursing programs. The agency accredits based on 4 standards: