Once you are ready to take a serious look at post-masters doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs online, you will find that there is no shortage of options. While there are many considerations, one of the most important is choosing a CCNE-accredited DNP program.
Why is accreditation important in doctoral programs for nurse practitioners?
The protracted nursing shortage in the U.S. has led to a flood of nursing school applicants, along with a flurry of brick-and-mortar and online nursing programs to meet the demand. This can make it tough to pinpoint which DNP programs are worth serious consideration. Accreditation is a key piece of this puzzle.
Accreditation is important for two reasons. First, it tells employers and patients that your level of education meets certain standards. Second, the U.S. Department of Education and other student loan providers require students to attend accredited institutions as a condition of eligibility for financial aid. Each state’s board of nursing must approve the nursing schools that operate within it, but nursing schools also tend to seek national accreditation. While this is voluntary, a vast majority of healthcare systems and facilities specifically, and in many cases exclusively, hire and recruit from nationally accredited nursing schools. Additionally, if you are seeking tuition reimbursement for your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree through your employer’s tuition reimbursement program, you should know that most employers only offer reimbursement for accredited programs, and many have a preference for CCNE-accredited DNP programs.
What’s the difference between a CCNE-accredited DNP program and an ACEN-accredited one?
The two national accrediting bodies for nursing schools in the U.S. are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Both agencies are influential in nursing education and in the nursing profession, and both set standards and evaluate programs according to nationally approved standards within the healthcare sector. One of the most notable differences, however, is that CCNE only accredits bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing degree programs, while ACEN accredits certificate and diploma programs in addition to degree programs. CCNE also tends to place greater emphasis on enforcement of its quality standards and accountability for results. This means that one of the standards for a CCNE-accredited DNP program is, for example, high placement rates among graduates.
Why is it important to choose a CCNE-accredited DNP program? There are many reasons, not the least of which is ensuring eligibility for financial aid and tuition reimbursement. Also, post-masters DNP programs must properly prepare you for all aspects of the work you will do after you graduate. CCNE accreditation assures you and your employer of the value of your educational investment.
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