Finding the right nursing school is a critical step on your journey to a rewarding healthcare career. Whether you aspire to become a registered nurse or you’re aiming for an advanced nursing degree, your nursing education is an investment of time and money. Answer the five questions below to determine which nursing school is right for you.
1. What nursing degree do you want to pursue?
Here’s why it’s important to determine what nursing degree you want:
- Some nursing schools only offer registered nurse (RN) diplomas.
- Others offer associate degrees in nursing.
- Some offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees.
- Other nursing schools only offer BSN completion programs for RNs who don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree.
- Some nursing schools offer a variety of degree programs, with BSN degrees, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees, nurse practitioner degrees like Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees.
As you can see, there are many types of nursing degrees. Once you know which degree you want, you can look at schools that offer that degree, which will help to narrow down your choices. If you want to get a BSN degree now but think you may want to get a master’s degree in nursing in the future, consider a nursing school that offers multiple degree programs. Schools often offer alumni tuition discounts, and returning to a familiar nursing school can make the process of earning an advanced nursing degree easier.
2. Where do you want to attend nursing classes?
Going to nursing school can give you the opportunity to experience a new city. Or maybe staying close to home is most important to you. Thanks to technology, you have this question to answer: Do you want to complete your nursing coursework in a physical classroom or online?
If you want to attend nursing school on campus, you have two choices: find out which schools are in your town or nearby, or research ones located in a city where you’d like to live. If the flexibility of learning from anywhere suits you best, discover which schools offer online nursing degree programs. Some schools have campuses in many locations, whereas others have only a single campus in one place. Some nursing schools offer both online and in-person nursing degree programs, while others offer only one or the other. Determine the learning experience that is best for you and which schools offer that.
3. Is the nursing school accredited?
Once you know what nursing degree you’re seeking and which schools offer the campus location or online learning experience you want, it’s a good idea to make sure your top nursing school choices are accredited at the university and program levels. Institutional accreditation — such as through the Higher Learning Commission, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education — validates the quality of a university’s academic programs. Nursing program accreditation ensures that the education provided meets quality standards for the profession.
4. Is the nursing school approved in the state you plan to be licensed in?
If you aren’t already a licensed nurse, you’ll need to obtain your license after you complete your nursing degree in order to work as a nurse. All 50 U.S. states offer registered nurse (RN) licensure and nurse practitioner (NP) licensure. However, each state sets its own criteria for licensure, which generally requires nurses to achieve a certain level of education and pass an exam. Before you enroll in a nursing degree program, make sure that the nursing school you choose is an approved education provider in the state where you wish to live and work. And make sure the degree you earn meets the state’s requirements for the type of licensure you wish to acquire.
5. How much will nursing school cost?
Like other higher education options, nursing school is an investment — so it’s important to consider cost. Find out what tuition and fees are for the nursing degree program you’re interested in. Costs will vary from school to school. And remember, there may be grants, scholarships, work-study programs or financial aid opportunities available, for those who qualify, to help offset the costs.
Once you’ve found the degree, university, program and location you want, at a cost that suits your budget, you’re ready to apply for nursing school!
One school to consider is Chamberlain University. Chamberlain has the largest nursing program in the U.S. With a proud 130-year history of preparing healthcare professionals, it offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing. Chamberlain also has numerous campuses across the U.S. providing Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs, as well as online degree programs at the BSN, RN to BSN, Master’s and DNP levels. Chamberlain is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and its nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Chamberlain is committed to student success. Each new student receives a customized support plan and a coaching team. By taking extraordinary care of its students, Chamberlain hopes to graduate extraordinary nurses capable of making a significant, positive impact on healthcare in their communities and around the world. If you’re ready to begin your studies, apply to Chamberlain today.
Chamberlain University, an accredited institution, offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral and certificate programs in nursing and healthcare professions. With a growing network of campuses and robust online programs, Chamberlain continues to build on more than 130 years of excellence in preparing extraordinary healthcare professionals.
Chamberlain University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Chamberlain University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE).
By Chamberlain University
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