The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) supports the interests of nursing education, nursing practice, and the public by the functions of accreditation. Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality. Accreditation also assists in the further improvement of the institutions or programs as related to resources invested, processes followed, and results achieved. The monitoring of certificate, diploma, and degree offerings is tied closely to state examination and licensing rules and to the oversight of preparation for work in the profession.


The purpose of the ACEN is to provide specialized accreditation for all types of nursing programs, including clinical doctorate/DNP specialist certificate, master’s/post-master’s certificate, baccalaureate, associate, diploma, and practical nursing programs. The ACEN accredits nursing programs in secondary, postsecondary, and hospital-based governing organizations that offer certificates, diplomas, or degrees.


As the leading authority in nursing accreditation, the goal of the ACEN is to strengthen quality of nursing education through a common core of standards and criteria that:

  • Establishes supportive partnerships
  • Advocates self-regulation
  • Promotes peer review
  • Fosters educational equity, access, opportunity, mobility, and preparation of employment.
  • Serves as a Title IV-HEA Gatekeeper (These include some practical nursing and all hospital-based diploma programs eligible to
    participate in programs administered by the United States Department of Education or other federal agencies.)