Since the late 1990s, the number of online education programs has grown steadily. In 1997, more than 1.3 million students were participating in online college classes. That number has ballooned to 3.5 million students today.
Of these students, thousands are nurses who want to expand their job possibilities and job security by enrolling in online RN to BSN programs. Choosing a program is an important part of the process, and one of the first steps is to assure that the RN to BSN program you choose is accredited.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is the process of verification by an outside, legitimate authority that a college or university provides an education that meets certain standards. Accreditation is voluntary, but reputable schools always participate to assure their own success. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes seven regional accreditors, while the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes six. In addition, both groups acknowledge fewer than a dozen national accrediting agencies.
Besides the accreditation that schools acquire, nursing programs also should be accredited. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) offers accreditation for six types of nursing degree programs: clinical doctorate, master’s, baccalaureate, associate, diploma and practical. The online RN to BSN program offered by Louisiana State University of Alexandria is accredited by ACEN.
Why is ACEN accreditation important?
ACEN accreditation is important for an online RN to BSN programs because many colleges and universities do not accept transfer credits from schools that do not have valid accreditation. Additionally, some employers, such as the Department of Veteran Affairs, require graduates to have degrees from accredited programs. Some employers will not reimburse tuition for unaccredited programs. Accreditation status may affect your eligibility for licensing and options for future educational opportunities. Without accreditation, thousands of nursing students could lose access to federal student aid and federal grant programs.
ACEN accreditation provides assurance that there is oversight of instruction in RN to BSN programs and that the programs have the authority to issue degrees. Do not hesitate to ask about ACEN accreditation when you are considering enrolling in the online RN to BSN program at LSUA.
Haynie, D. (2013, October 16). How to Tell if an Online Program Is Accredited. Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2013/10/16/how-to-tell-if-an-online-program-is-accredited?int=9f6e08
Philosophy of Accreditation. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.acenursing.org/philosophy-of-accreditation/
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