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, 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.
The goals of the ACEN are to:
- Promulgate a common core of standards and criteria for the accreditation of nursing education programs.
- Strengthen educational quality through assistance to associated nursing education units by evaluation processes, functions, publications, and research.
- Advocate self-regulation in nursing education.
- Promote peer review.
- Foster educational equity, access, opportunity, mobility, and preparation for employment based upon type of nursing education.
- Serve as gatekeeper to Title IV-HEA programs for which the ACEN is the accrediting agency. (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.)