Accreditation Information for Students

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental process that uses peer review to determine if academic programs meet public confidence.

The ACEN provides specialized accreditation for programs of nursing education, both postsecondary and higher degree, which offer either a certificate, a diploma, or a recognized professional degree (clinical doctorate, master’s, baccalaureate, associate, diploma, and practical).

Programmatic accreditation is voluntary, meaning that the process is initiated by each nursing program, and not all nursing programs are accredited. In order for an individual to be considered a graduate of an accredited nursing program, the date of graduation must fall within the nursing program’s accreditation period.

What if my nursing program isn’t accredited?

In order for programmatic accreditation to apply to a nursing program graduate’s education, the date of graduation must fall within the nursing program’s accreditation period. Accreditation is not retro active, and there are no policies of grandfathering for previous cohorts. Additionally, the ACEN accredits nursing programs, not individuals. If the effective date of ACEN accreditation is not inclusive of your date of graduation, you have not graduated from an ACEN-accredited program.

You may find that some employers, nursing programs, and State Boards of Nursing require that you have graduated from a nationally accredited nursing program as part of their employment, admissions, or approval policies. These policies are specific to each employer, nursing program, and agency.

As you research your options for employment or continuing your nursing education, it would be best to inquire with the employers or programs directly regarding their requirements.

Impact of Accreditation

Testing for Licensure
Advancing Education