A nursing education unit seeking initial accreditation must apply for Candidacy. Candidate status is granted after an ACEN professional staff review of a nursing program’s potential to achieve ACEN accreditation. Programs must provide evidence of current State Regulatory Agency for Nursing approval and the governing organization’s accreditation/approval status (where appropriate).

Please note that Candidacy does not constitute pre-accreditation as defined by the U.S. Department of Education.

A program seeking accreditation completes an application for Candidacy including paying the required fee. Candidate status does not guarantee that a program will achieve initial accreditation.

Programs that achieve Candidate status must publically disclose the following information exactly as illustrated below.

This nursing education program is a candidate for accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, GA 30326 404-975-5000


Once eligibility for Candidate status is established in accordance to ACEN Policy #3, programs will be asked to submit information* addressing:

  • Faculty academic and experiential qualifications;
  • The curriculum/program plan of study;
  • Resources to deliver the program;
  • The systematic plan of evaluation; and
  • Catalog (where appropriate).

All materials submitted are reviewed by the ACEN professional staff. Applicants are notified if approved for Candidate status. A program that has achieved Candidate status must complete the accreditation process within two (2) years.

For information on the International Candidacy Program, please visit the Resources for International Programs section of our website.

* Additional information related to the preparation of the Candidacy presentation is available online in the Resources for Nursing Programs page.