Most registered nursing schools and colleges in the USA are accredited. Choosing an accredited school is crucial because it reflects the quality of training, and your potential employers will look for accreditation when they check qualifications. The USA has two primary forms of accreditation: ACEN and CCNE. We explore why these are important and then review the differences between ACEN vs. CCNE.
What Is Accreditation, and Why Does It Matter?
ACEN vs. CCNE accreditation is the quality standard a nursing school must meet to demonstrate that it correctly trains nurses. Schools have to show they meet the strict standards required to get accredited. Accreditation is important because if a nurse is unprepared to meet a high standard, they could cause harm to a patient by not having the knowledge or competence to provide appropriate care.
What Is ACEN?
ACEN, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, is responsible for standards in various programs, including diploma, practical, master’s, doctorate, and bachelor’s level nurse training. Criteria include the following:
- Training for preceptors and mentors
- Content requirements of programs
- Appropriate assessments to test competence
Policies that frame the programs and educational establishment offers are also included within the accreditation framework.
What Is CCNE Accreditation?
CCNE is the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education, and it is an accrediting agency. It is responsible for accrediting baccalaureate and master’s programs for nursing.
CCNE Accreditation Standards
CCNE accreditation standards receive approval from the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting agency. The CCNE process assures the integrity and standards of degree programs and fellowships in the USA that protect patient care by ensuring safe training standards.
What Is the Difference Between CCNE vs. ACEN?
Differences between CCNE accreditation vs. ACEN will affect how you train as a nurse. The main difference between the two organizations is that ACEN accredits all nurse education levels, but CCNE acts as an accrediting organization for graduate programs and fellowships. ACEN also works with several government agencies to ensure their programs meet required standards.
Both ACEN and CCNE have their set of accreditation processes and standards, but the two do meet national requirements. ACEN follows its set of standards with accreditation processes, whereas CCNE is more of a self-regulating organization. In addition, ACEN is an older organization. Both organizations are constantly updating their standards and procedures to meet the changing requirements of nursing.
How Does Accreditation Affect Your Choice of College?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses is set to grow by 9 percentthrough 2030, so it is a profession in demand. The nursing profession also has a vacancy rate of 8 percent due to retirements and people leaving the trade, so more places are needed to grow more registered professionals. That means there is a need to train more nurses, but it needs to occur in a standard way that meets quality requirements. When you look at a college offering a nursing degree or diploma, you want to ensure it is accredited.
You should now know what is ACEN, and what is CCNE accreditation. However, you might still be unsure whether it is worth taking a course with ACEN vs. CCNE accreditation standards when others may be cheaper. The short answer is that you should always go for the highest quality training.
In the USA, there is no obligation to have a program accredited with ACEN vs. CCNE. Other courses are just accredited for a region or state, which limits your work and future career. If you want to train as a nurse, take time to work out the level of training you plan to do. Will it be a diploma or a bachelor’s degree? Most registered nurses are required to have a bachelor’s degree now. If you pay for your studies, you should aim for high training standards. And that means looking for a program offering nationally accredited CCNE vs. ACEN education standards.
When you train as a nurse, your qualifications will be with you throughout your entire career. Therefore, enrolling in a nationally accredited degree program is essential for ensuring your training meets the national requirements and is recognized by employers within the USA and beyond. Above all, your patients expect the highest standards of care, so you need a program with the integrity and rigor to train nurses to give the best possible nursing care.
The nursing profession is one of the most highly respected globally, and there are many exciting career opportunities for people with the correct qualifications. Take time to research the colleges and schools offering nursing programs, and check out the qualification you will get at the end of the course. Make sure your nursing degree course is accredited with a nationally recognized authority such as ACEN or CCNE, so your program meets the quality requirements for nursing. And above all, enjoy your nursing career.