Online NLN Accredited Degree Programs

The National League for Nursing (NLN) has championed quality nursing education for many years. Through the development of professional accreditation standards, the NLN has provided leadership in establishing quality assurance and improvement processes in nursing education since 1893. The organization offers nursing programs a public mark of educational excellence when applied through the accreditation process.


NLN-Accredited Programs Overview

A membership organization for nursing faculty and educators, the NLN represents nursing educators and nursing faculty. The National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education (NLN CNEA) is part of the NLN and assesses and accredits nursing programs across the United States. 

What Are NLN-Accredited Schools? 

Accreditation is the process of ensuring that educational programs conform to professional standards. The NLN CNEA accredits associate, bachelor, master, clinical doctorate, and postgraduate certificate programs. Each state recognizes nursing programs accredited by NLN CNEA. 

Benefits of Earning a Nursing Degree From an NLN-Accredited School

With the high demand for well-qualified nurses, education is highly sought-after. Obtaining accreditation means an accrediting body has rigorously reviewed the quality of a nursing program. Student education is designed to ensure you receive the most effective training and learn the skills needed to deliver quality patient care.

Scope of Curriculum Review

Faculty and staff of the school and the accrediting body undergo an intense accreditation process. To achieve accreditation, the institution must complete several steps, including a self-study, peer reviews from other institutions with similar standards, and regular site visits from the accrediting organization. As a result, you can trust a curriculum that’s been thoroughly checked and balanced.

Eligibility for Financial Aid

Scholarships and loans provided by federal and state agencies to students should be used wisely. The reason for this is that college and university funding usually requires accreditation. You are more likely to receive federal and state government financial aid if you attend an accredited nursing school.

Ability to Transfer Credits

Other schools rely on accreditation to determine the quality of coursework from other institutions. Continuing your education beyond your BSN and master’s degree as a Direct Entry Nursing student presents an issue if you wish to pursue a master’s degree in another clinical specialization or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Value to Employers

RNs with a BSN from an accredited nursing school are in high demand by employers in the healthcare industry. Nursing schools with accredited nursing programs are more aware of how nursing education impacts patient safety and nursing professionals’ advanced critical-thinking skills.

What Can You Do With a Degree From an NLN-Accredited School?

An accredited degree makes students more competitive in the job market since employers know their education adheres to national standards. Accreditation of programs is a requirement for many employers. Without an accredited undergraduate degree, you may not be eligible for a graduate program if you decide to continue your education.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you could become an anesthetist, nurse midwife, and even nurse practitioner. However, you may need a master’s degree in anesthesiology and other advanced nursing roles. You’ll also need to pass a national certification exam.

NLN-Accredited Nursing Program Salary and Job Outlook

No data shows average salaries for graduates from NLN-accredited schools. However, the median pay for a registered nurse in the United States is $81,220 per year or $39.05 per hour, according to the BLS. Salaries for these nurses vary according to skills, education, position, department, location, and departmental management.

Also according to the BLS, registered nurse job openings are expected to grow by 177,400 between 2022 and 2032. The positions are often open because workers transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force altogether.  

How Much Does an NLN-Accredited Program Cost?

NLN-accredited degree tuition varies in cost depending on the program and location. Students also have the cost of books, living expenses, and transportation. Prestigious or elite programs can easily double the costs of attending an NLN-accredited Program. 

Nursing Scholarship Information 

Hundreds of nursing scholarships are available for your NLN-accredited program. Your eligibility will depend on where you’re located, your educational background, and your financial need. Here are a few scholarships you should explore. 

Scrubin Uniforms – AACN Scholarship

Scrubin Uniforms/AACN Scholarships are available to nursing students in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs. You’ll need to enroll at AACN member schools and agree to a formal affiliation with Scrubin Uniforms. The scholarship provides $2,500 three times each year.

NurseThink – AACN Scholarship

The NurseThink® AACN Scholarship may support you if you’re enrolled in master’s and doctoral nursing programs. You must be enrolled at an AACN member institution with a desire to become nursing faculty. From now until 2026, the fund will award $5,000 in scholarships to students twice a year.

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship 

This scholarship program provides $5,000 in support. To be eligible, you must be an outstanding nursing student in a baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral program, enrolled in CastleBranch, or have applied to nursing’s centralized application service, NursingCAS. To apply, visit the Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship page.

CastleBranch–GNSA Scholarship 

The CastleBranch-GNSA Scholarship recognizes your work if you’re an outstanding graduate nursing student. You must be looking to advance in the nursing profession. Commit to innovation, leadership, and mentorship. This scholarship awards $2,500 scholarships to eligible students each semester. To apply, visit the CastleBranch-GNSA Scholarship page.

Deborah E. Trautman Future Nurse Leader Scholarship

Funded by Liaison International, AACN’s partner in NursingCAS, this scholarship and leadership development program was created in honor of AACN’s President and CEO, Dr. Deborah Trautman

Uniform Advantage/GNSA Scholarship

This scholarship program provides $5,000 in support to master’s and doctoral students who are committed to positively impacting the nation’s health and health care. 

AfterCollege/AACN Nursing Scholarship Program

The AfterCollege/AACN Nursing Scholarship Program supports students seeking a baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing. Special consideration will be given to students in a graduate program to become a nurse educator. You should be completing an RN to BSN. You may even be pursuing the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. You may be enrolled in an accelerated nursing program. 

NLN-Accredited Program Requirements 

The standard NLN-accredited program requirements are similar to many other health- or medical-related degree programs. These are just basic requirements, so they do not reflect what you might be required to complete if you have a more popular, competitive focus. 

  • High school biology with a C+, one year
  • High school chemistry with a C+, one year
  • College-preparatory math with a C or better, two years
  • GPA of 2.75 or higher, ADN program 
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher, BSN program
  • SATs or Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)

If you apply for more competitive programs at elite institutions, you must consider ways to stand out from the many qualified candidates. Particularly now, with the current demand for nurses, additional requirements may be needed to earn a placement in the program. 

Common Courses in Nursing Programs 

The standard courses in nursing follow a general area of study. Depending on your focus and specializations, courses may diverge or expand to ensure a complete understanding of that field’s topics. Here’s a quick overview of the courses you might expect in NLN-accredited programs.

Advanced Pathology

In this MSN course, you’ll evaluate clinical presentations using various theories and frameworks. By integrating patient, family, and community preferences into teaching methodologies, advanced practice care can be delivered in a patient-centered manner.

Advanced Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of medications. In this MSN course, you will gain a fundamental understanding of pharmacology and learn about pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenomics, and pharmacodynamics. There will be a focus on age, culture, ethnicity, funding, gender, and pregnancy for pharmacological therapy. With this course, you’ll understand the fundamentals of pharmacology to ensure patient safety and answer patients’ questions. 

Care Transitions

Care transition programs aim to teach students how to move patients from one health environment to another, change treatments, or discharge them. You’ll also develop an understanding of patient information, how to transfer it, any adverse reactions experienced, and how to include them in your report.

Clinical Study

The clinical study is a vital test that ensures you know how to be prepared and ready to become a nurse. You’ll learn hands-on in various healthcare specialties and settings. The content of this class makes it essential for your future as a nurse.

Clinical Theory

Clinical theory courses discuss health and healthcare, taking a strategic approach to the study. These classes are essential to you as a nurse if you’re preparing for leadership, healthcare management, or advanced practice nursing jobs.

Community and Environmental Nursing

This course studies essential nursing aspects, including community safety, pollution, and its impact on health. Urban, suburban, and rural community design are discussed in this course. As frontline health workers, you’re one of the first individuals to be in direct contact with those who need information on environmental hazards or infectious diseases. 

Ethics in Nursing

You’ll cover responses to unethical behavior, conflicts of interest, diversity and inclusion, professional conduct, and health equity. Ethics classes combine theory, so be prepared to analyze ethical issues critically.

Leadership Management

Since leadership management requires broader nursing knowledge, it is typically offered later in the RN curriculum. This course studies management theory and case studies and how theory applies to real-life nursing situations. When you take it as part of your MSN program, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge required to provide leadership in a nursing education setting.


Microbiology studies microorganisms — any organism that’s too small to see without a microscope. You’ll study viruses, bacteria, and certain types of fungi. This course includes lab work as well as classroom work.

Nursing Fundamentals

Nursing fundamental courses give you an overview of nursing. You’ll learn the basics of healthcare, how it works, and how you can pursue potential careers and roles for nurses. This course focuses on patient care and fundamental nursing skills. 


Physiology studies the human body. You’ll learn how the body works and the names and functions of different body parts. You’ll learn how they all work together in a healthy person and throughout illnesses and injuries. Physiology also includes essential topics for your health and safety, such as how to lift and move patients safely. 

Population Health & Prevention

This MSN course explores public health theories and information within the context of complex healthcare systems, such as access to health care, promoting healthy behaviors, and promoting equity in health. You will learn concepts of public health as well as evidence-based recommendations for risk reduction and health promotion.


Nursing programs often require students to take an introductory psychology course as a prerequisite. It explains psychology as a medical discipline and how nurses can apply psychology in their roles as nurses and communicators.

Psychology and Mental Health

Understanding the psychological aspects of health is essential to many other nursing school classes. These courses cover mental health conditions. You’ll also study mental health treatments. You’ll explore special legal and ethical considerations and how to care for patients with mental health conditions.

Women and Infant Health

Women and infant health covers women’s health topics, such as reproductive health, pregnancy and delivery, and infant development. In addition, this course covers general nursing concepts. These courses can cover topics in pediatrics, gynecology, or obstetric nursing.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an NLN-Accredited Nursing Program?

Depending on your education level and which nursing program you choose (ADN or BSN), it takes around 2-4 years to become a registered nurse. If you continue pursuing further training and knowledge, you can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program. The NLN-accredited nursing program will likely take less than two years for you to complete. You can take some courses online, which allows you to continue working as you advance your education. 

What Is the NLN?

The National League for Nursing pursues the highest standards of nursing in the United States. Established in 1883 as the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses, the NLN says it’s the premier organization for faculty and leaders in nursing education and represents learning programs at colleges, healthcare organizations, and agencies. 

The NLN provides the following services for almost 45,000 individuals and over 1,000 institutional members:

  • Nursing research grants
  • Networking
  • Assessments
  • Professional development
  • Public policy advocacy 

The organization’s current headquarters are in Washington, D.C.


A board of governors, elected by members for three-year terms, leads this organization. Together, they make decisions that help the NLN advocate for equality in nursing education, inform public policy, and provide information about laws and regulations that influence student nurses and graduates working in healthcare. Dr. Beverly Malone, NLN’s current president and CEO, was named one of “Modern Healthcare’s 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives” in 2023. 

The organization is a member of the Tri-Council for Nursing, which says it champions nursing education, research, and practice. The NLN is also a founding member of the Nurses on Boards Coalition, which represents the efforts nurses make to build healthier communities.


The NLN has had many milestones in its 139-year history. In 1884, the organization held its first convention in New York City to create a universal benchmark for training and developed a standard curriculum for nursing schools in 1912. In 1957, it published a bill of rights for patients, stating that nursing personnel must “respect the individuality, dignity, and rights of every person regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, and social or economic status.” 

In recent years, the NLN has continued to unite nursing education and practice for safer patient care. In 2003, it piloted the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) program in Baltimore, which formally designates registered nurses. In 2015, student nurses around the world could take the CNE. 


The NLN’s core values are as follows:

  • Caring: The organization fosters a culture of caring in the nursing sector that promotes healing. Healthcare organizations should understand the needs of patients and act in the best interests of stakeholders.
  • Integrity: The NLN also promotes a culture of integrity, championing ethical decision-making, humility, and open communication in organizations. 
  • Diversity and Inclusion: The NLN supports inclusive cultures in organizations that don’t discriminate against people based on gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, and other factors. 
  • Excellence: Finally, the NLN encourages organizations to promote a culture of excellence that embraces transformation and rejects mediocrity. 

Online NLN-Accredited Degree Programs Conclusion 

The NLN has transformed nursing education since 1893, making it one of the most important and reputable organizations in the healthcare sector. 

By studying at one of the many NLN-accredited schools, you can receive the highest quality training, further your career, and potentially provide better patient care. Like many degrees, enrolling in one of these programs can be expensive. However, you can apply for various forms of financial aid to support your studies, including scholarships and grants. 

If you need more information about nursing degrees, Campus Explorer has you covered. Check out our college profiles and career resources to find the perfect program for your budget and schedule.

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