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Hot Topics in Nursing: Accredited nursing programs open doors to quality education, state licensing and good jobs

Hot Topics in Nursing: Accredited Nursing Programs Open Doors to Quality Education, State Licensing and Good Jobs

Written by Deborah Sherman on October 31, 2022

Accreditation matters. Whether you want to transfer to another school, take the state NCLEX licensing exam or get a great job in nursing, choosing an accredited nursing program is critically important for students. It can be the difference between success and failure.

About Our Expert

Kelly Stamp, PhD, NP-C, RN, CHFN, FAHA, FAAN is an Associate Dean of Academic Programs and an Associate ProfessorKelly Stamp, PhD, NP-C, RN, CHFN, FAHA, FAAN is an Associate Dean of Academic Programs and an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing.


Dr. Stamp received her B.S.N. from Southeast Missouri State University, her M.S. in nursing education, post-masters in adult nurse practitioner and doctorate in nursing from the University of South Florida.


She is certified as an adult nurse practitioner and heart failure nurse. Dr. Stamp is president-elect of the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses and a fellow of the American Heart Association.

When a nursing program is accredited, it meets specific state and national standards about the quality of its education, has a culture of continuous improvement, faculty and staff are involved in evaluation and planning, and that criteria have been set for professional certification and licensure coursework.

We spoke with Kelly Stamp, PhD, NP-C, RN, CHFN, FAHA, FAAN, Associate Dean of Academic Programs, and an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing about accreditation. Two organizations accredit nursing programs in the US: The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). CU Nursing is accredited by CCNE for its baccalaureate, master's, doctor of nursing practice, and post-graduate APRN certificate. The master of science specializing in nurse-midwifery is accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Learn more about nursing accreditation and why it is important.

Q&A Header

Dr. Stamp, why should a student choose an accredited college like the University of Colorado College of Nursing?

“Nursing school accreditation ensures our students that we, as an educational institution, are following certain national standards in how we educate our students, and specifically in nursing, that we are following certain national standards. The accrediting bodies will come and visit us to make sure our curriculums are meeting national standards, that our faculty are well prepared in order to deliver the curriculum, and that they have the skills to do it. Nursing students will graduate from our programs and be able to move into the workforce of nursing in a very competent way. It's not a mandate in the United States that all programs are accredited. That's why it's important for students to really pay attention to which school they want to go to and if it clearly states which agency the program is accredited with.”

What happens if a student chooses a non-accredited nursing program?

“Graduating from an unaccredited program can have negative consequences. It may be difficult to get a job when you finish nursing school. Most employers will ask for your transcripts as proof that you graduated from an accredited institution. If you didn’t, they likely won’t hire you. Also, you can’t switch schools and take credits from a nonaccredited program and move them to an accredited program. So, it can impact your ability to transfer your credits around or transfer classes from one to another. Finally, graduates of non-accredited nursing programs will not be permitted to sit for the NCLEX exam, which is designed to demonstrate that they are qualified registered nurses.”

What tips do you have for students considering nursing programs?

“Look for red flags when researching nursing programs. The program may be extremely inexpensive, or it may promise that you can complete your course in less than a year. Since a nursing degree involves several classes, this is practically impossible.

However, there are accelerated bachelor’s degree programs that take approximately one year. For example, the University of Colorado College of Nursing Accelerated BS in Nursing is a 12-month, highly intensive, fast-paced program with a rigorous schedule. But a previous bachelor’s degree, science prerequisites, and healthcare experience are required for that.

If you want to find out if the nursing school you’re considering is accredited, go online to the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education and search the database of CCNE accredited programs from 1997 through today.”

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