Eligibility is a process that affirms that a nursing program and its governing organization meet all ACEN requirements to be granted initial accreditation. The eligibility process also provides the ACEN with contact information and an overview of the size, scope, and delivery methods of the program or programs applying, allowing the ACEN to work with programs as they pursue ACEN accreditation.
Prior to seeking initial ACEN accreditation, your program should determine if it meets the ACEN eligibility requirements.
For governing organizations/institutions that do not hold governing organization/institutional accreditation by a governing organization/institutional accrediting agency recognized by the ACEN:
The nurse administrator of the nursing program is responsible for immediately informing the ACEN Chief Executive Officer in writing of any change of status with any agency that accredits and/or approves the governing organization/institution. The notification must occur before the ACEN Board of Commissioners makes its initial accreditation decision.
Institution grants a diploma, certificate, or degree in nursing and holds governing organization/institutional accreditation through an ACEN-recognized governing organization/institutional accrediting agency.
School/system/district grants a postsecondary certificate and holds accreditation through an ACEN-recognized governing organization/institutional accrediting agency or the governing organization is supervised by a state education department, public school system, or district.
Hospital grants a diploma, certificate, or degree in nursing and the hospital holds governing organization/institutional accreditation through an ACEN-recognized governing organization/institutional accrediting agency.
Institution grants a diploma, certificate, or degree in nursing degree and holds governing organization/institutional accreditation through an ACEN-recognized governing organization/institutional accrediting agency.
Nursing programs currently not accredited with the ACEN should contact an ACEN Director to begin the eligibility process.
The program should complete an in-depth self-study of the program in relation to the ACEN Standards and Criteria, ACEN policies, and required ACEN processes and timelines. This step ensures that a program is prepared for the accreditation process before investing time and resources.
To initiate the eligibility process, the program should submit a Candidacy Eligibility Application (CEA). The applications are slightly different for nursing programs in the United States and its territories and international programs.
Under the guidance of an ACEN Director, the nurse administrator, the program faculty, and administrative officers of the governing organization determine when the program is ready to apply for candidacy.
Nursing education programs located outside the United States and its territories must meet additional eligibility requirements.
See International Nursing Education Program Eligibility Requirements in the Accreditation Manual Supplement for International Programs.
Upon receipt, the application is processed, and the applicant program is then notified regarding its eligibility to begin the Candidacy process. Once an applicant program and its governing organization are deemed eligible, the program will have up to one calendar year to begin the actual Candidacy process.
The program will provide the ACEN with a signed Authorization for Candidacy form and submit the required Candidacy application fee before the candidacy process begins.
For more information or answers to specific questions about ACEN accreditation, please contact the ACEN at (404) 975-5000.