Skip to main content

Arkansas State University

Accreditation in RN to BSN Programs

“Accreditation” is one of the most important words to nursing programs and their students. It complements the stringent professional standards of the nursing field, and it ensures that RN to BSN programs meet certain criteria for quality education.

A major accrediting body for nursing programs is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), which provides accreditation for various types of nursing education, including associate, diploma, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. When a nursing program achieves ACEN accreditation, it has met or surpassed established standards for quality education.

Why Accreditation Is Important

ACEN accreditation serves many purposes. Most importantly, it ensures accountability among nursing programs by helping them maintain the high standards the profession expects. One way it holds programs accountable is by performing evaluations on an ongoing basis and making recommendations about how accredited programs can improve. Accrediting bodies also publicize which programs are accredited, so prospective students can make informed decisions about which programs to choose.

Accrediting bodies also promote certain key standards. Because they help accredited nursing programs with research, publications and evaluation processes, the accrediting bodies improve educational quality, which strengthens the nursing professional overall. They also encourage peer review and self-regulation.

The Importance of Accreditation for Nursing Students

Since accredited programs have proven that they uphold the high standards of the nursing profession, when nurses graduate from these programs, they have the foundation they need to start or continue their nursing careers. Further, as graduates, they are also eligible to apply for other accredited programs for even more advanced education, such as a master’s degree.

Accreditation is also helpful on the job market. Nurses who have graduated from accredited programs are more attractive to potential employers than those who have not. Employers know that nurses who have graduated from accredited programs have been trained under strict national standards.

How Nursing Programs Gain ACEN Accreditation

Nursing programs seeking national accreditation must undergo stringent evaluation to prove that they offer high-quality education. Many steps are involved, including a curriculum review and an evaluation of the faculty. The process examines the availability of resources and the program’s ability to meet student needs. The following are some typical steps involved in the accreditation process:

  • Program administrators complete a self-assessment indicating how well the program is meeting accreditation standards.
  • Representatives of the accrediting body travel to the program’s location, where they ensure that the self-assessment is accurate.
  • The evaluators complete an assessment of the nursing program. In it, they explain both what is and what is not meeting the accrediting body’s standards.
  • The nursing program can then take the necessary steps for compliance. If necessary, the nursing program provides any additional information to the accrediting body.
  • ACEN determines if the nursing program meets the requirements for accreditation.

After nursing programs successfully complete all steps in the ACEN process, they receive formal accreditation.

Prospective students should only apply to accredited RN to BSN nursing programs. Attending an unaccredited program means graduates will face limited job opportunities, as employers prefer candidates who have graduated from accredited programs.

In addition, accredited programs may not accept students from non-accredited programs who want to earn an advanced degree. This could limit your future educational opportunities.

Learn more about the Arkansas State University online RN to BSN program.


Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing: ACEN Accreditation Manual

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing: ACEN Standards and Criteria

Related Articles

Request Information

Submit the form below, and an Enrollment Specialist will contact you to answer your questions.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Or call 866-621-8096

Ready to go?

Start your application today!
Or call 866-621-8096 866-621-8096
for help with any questions you have.
  • Choose All That Apply