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The Value of ACEN Accreditation in Nursing Programs

If you are thinking of earning a BSN, you'll want to make sure the program is accredited. Accreditation means that a school's program meets or exceeds professional nursing standards and criteria for educational quality. There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program.

The online RN to BSN program at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

ACEN, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, is the nation's oldest accreditation agency, dating back to 1938. It is considered the leading authority in nursing education.

ACEN-accredited schools are periodically re-evaluated by a group of independent, qualified nursing professionals. The process fosters ongoing assessment and points out areas for continuous improvement.

Benefits for Students at ACEN-Accredited Programs

"ACEN is the only accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a specialized accrediting agency for all six types of nursing programs, from practical to doctorate," says Dr. Marsal Stoll, Chief Executive Officer of ACEN. "That means that students in those programs have access to federal student aid and other types of support from state agencies and some foundations."

Graduating from an ACEN-accredited program gives nurses a competitive advantage. A degree from an ACEN-accredited program signifies to potential employers that you were educated in a quality program, making you more attractive for the positions you are seeking.

"To be hired as a nurse in the U.S. Military and the Department of Veterans Affairs, nurses must have graduated from an accredited program, and many other employers also require nurses to have graduated from an accredited program," says Stoll.

In addition, she says that having a degree from an accredited program facilitates the transfer of credits to another institution and is required by many graduate nursing programs for admission. Many states now mandate that nursing programs be accredited.

Keep in mind that approval by a state board of nursing does not mean that the school is accredited by a national accrediting organization, such as ACEN.

Accreditation and Online RN to BSN Programs

The benefits of accreditation apply to online nursing degree programs as well as those found on campus. ACEN holds online programs to the same standards, and there is an additional layer of review for distance or online education.

Faculty who teach online programs need to hold the same qualifications as those who teach on campus. ACEN reviews whether faculty have the skills to teach online, and the agency also looks at how the students and professors interact online.

Nursing Accreditation's Long History

ACEN was formerly known as the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and is a not-for-profit subsidiary of the National League of Nursing (NLN). ACEN's and NLN's origins evolved from a long history of organizations, beginning in 1893 with the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses. This accrediting body sought to establish and maintain a universal standard for the training of nurses. The American Society was later renamed the National League of Nursing Education, and in 1917, it published the Standard Curriculum for Schools of Nursing. In 1920, various organizations began accrediting activities.

In 1938, accreditation was consolidated under the National League for Nursing. Since then, ACEN's reputation has expanded as the prominent, nationally recognized accrediting agency for nursing programs and schools. ACEN also has an international footprint as the accreditation agency for nursing programs in several countries around the world, including Turkey, Jordan, Scotland, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

"It's very interesting to see how nursing is practiced in other countries," says Stoll. "There are many cultural and technological differences; however, when you get right down to it, nursing is nursing."

Learn more about TAMIU's online RN to BSN program.



Sources:

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

All Nursing Schools: Advantages to Attending Accredited Nursing Schools

American Nurses Credentialing Center: The Value of Accreditation for Continuing Nursing Education: Quality Education Contributing to Quality Outcomes

US News: 4 Things to Know about Accreditation in Nursing

Dr. Marsal Stoll, CEO of ACEN (telephone interview Nov. 30, 2018)

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