Accredited Online MSN Programs Can Reward
Many nurses who have completed a BSN program in an effort to improve their skills may look into enrolling in an online MSN degree program to supplement their education even further. While there are many factors involved in choosing an online nursing program, possibly the most important is for prospective students to determine whether or not the school is accredited. It is important that both the university and the college (school) each hold respective accreditations.
What Does University Accreditation Mean?
Accreditation is a form of quality assurance in higher education designed to distinguish schools/universities that adhere to rigorous research-based quality standards. The accreditation process is voluntary and examines all facets of the institution to determine both the quality of its programs and how well the school is prepared to meet the needs of their students.
Universities and schools seeking accreditation must complete internal assessments, demonstrate adherence to the accrediting body’s set of standards, and successfully complete an external review process. Accrediting boards also scrutinize the school’s overall performance, integrity, and quality. They may also examine the school’s mission, administration, policies, financial status, and student services. Accreditation is a significant achievement towards establishing an institution’s quality of education.
By Whom is Your University Accredited?
In the United States, there are six accreditation bodies for degree-granting colleges and universities. Each body accredits schools in certain states and some also accredit international schools. Prospective MSN students should choose a school that is accredited by one of the following accreditation bodies:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS)
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Online colleges may also be accredited by:
- Board of Online Universities (BOUA)
- International Accreditation Agency for Online Universities (IAAOU)
- Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation (UCOEA)
- World Online Education Accrediting Commission (WOEAC)
Is the Online Nursing School Accredited?
Nurses who are looking for the best online nursing school to attend should choose a school whose school or college of nursing also holds accreditation. This is a separate accreditation than the university at large will hold. A school of nursing holds supplemental nursing accreditation by either the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Both the CCNE and NLNAC serve higher education institutions throughout the United States by ensuring the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency degree programs in nursing.
Why Choose an Accredited Program?
For students seeking an MSN degree, whether through an online nursing school or traditional campus, it’s important to choose a university that is accredited as well as its college of nursing. Attending an accredited MSN program has several advantages:
- Acceptance of course credits in the event the student changes schools mid-degree or wants to pursue an advanced degree (PhD) at a different institution.
- Compliance with higher education standards required by many major healthcare employers.
- More options for financial aid, including eligibility for federally funded financial aid, such as grants, loans, and scholarships.
- Assurance of quality curriculum and faculty that will prepare students for the next level in their nursing career.