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How to Choose a Nursing School

Today’s nursing school options extend beyond the traditional classroom. Now, through accredited online nursing schools, potential and existing nurses are able to complete coursework online, something that allows them to advance their careers without having to give up existing jobs or family obligations. Completing a LPN to RN bridge program or working to advance from an RN to MSN has never been easier with the flexible scheduling and entrance options distance learning an online nursing school provides. For more details and to find out if an online program might fit into your lifestyle, browse the nursing programs below.

Figuring out what nursing school to attend is a big decision, and you'll want to consider a number of factors to make sure you're choosing a program that works for you. In addition to logistical considerations such as format, location and cost, you'll want to consider program quality, faculty specializations and examination pass rates. Here's a look at five things to keep in mind when choosing a nursing school.

  • Accreditation: State licensure typically requires graduating from a state-approved nursing school, and accreditation by one of two bodies is one indication that your program meets recognized quality standards. In general, you should look for accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Check with your state's board of nursing to confirm your school meets their requirements as well.
  • Admissions criteria: Before applying, you should ensure that you meet a program's basic eligibility requirements, which could include prerequisite courses, admissions tests or prior health care experience. In addition to making sure you fulfill these criteria, find out how competitive admissions are, if the school has a waitlist and how often classes start.
  • NCLEX pass rates: Before beginning work as a licensed or registered nurse, you'll need to pass the National Council Licensing Exam, or NCLEX, for your field. Find out what percentage of students from each school on your list passed the NCLEX to get some indication of how well the school prepares students for this required test. This information may also be available from your state board of nursing, and most experts suggest going back five to ten years.
  • Faculty: Another way to evaluate the quality of a nursing program is to look at faculty. Programs should have a strong ratio of full-time to part-time faculty, and at least some faculty should have a doctoral degree in nursing. If you have a specific area of interest in nursing such as pediatrics or mental health, check to see if the school offers specialized courses or if faculty members have a background in those areas.
  • Clinical rotations: Nursing programs for first-time nurses require students to complete clinical rotations, and this hands-on component is critical to ensuring new nurses have the patient-care and hands-on skills necessary to succeed. Find out when and where clinical rotations are scheduled to ensure that you have plenty of clinical hours and gain experience in hospital settings. If you are attending part-time or online nursing school, find out how clinical requirements can be fit into your schedule and where they are located.
  • There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a nursing school, but with some research, you can identify the elements that are crucial to you. Once you've made a list of schools that meet your basic criteria, make a campus visit or arrange to speak with program representatives on the phone to get your questions answered and find out if the program seems like a good fit for you.
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              5 Program(s) Found
              • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
              • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
              • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
              • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
              • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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              • Home of the Harold D. Buckingham Graduate School, which offers flexible study options for master’s programs in business, management, and nursing.
              • Students may choose online or on-campus programs to better accommodate their work or personal schedules.
              • Programs are designed to help students take what they learn in class and apply it at work the next day.
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              • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
              • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
              • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
              • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
              • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
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              • Offers accredited online bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctor of nursing programs to help both working professionals and recent graduates advance their careers.

              • Provides graduate nursing programs that teach cutting-edge professional knowledge and skills to prepare students for today’s dynamic, evolving health care industry.
              • Teaches through an online learning system that allows students to complete coursework with the flexibility to fit their schedule, while a cohort structure helps them to collaborate with fellow students.

              •Provides scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid to those who qualify.

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              Iowa Wesleyan University is a transformational learning community whose passion is to educate, empower and inspire students to lead meaningful lives and careers.

              Learning in Community: An Academic Vision

              The story of Iowa Wesleyan University is a story of community; its founding, an act of community; its long history, an affirmation of community. Its defining vision draws on a community of memory even as it forges a dynamic future.

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              • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Physician Assistants in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
              • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
              • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
              • Offers counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline to students at no extra charge.
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              • Committed to empowering students with education and skills to help them reach their goals since 1979.
              • Online programs include business management, criminal justice, RN to BSN, and more.
              • Technical assistance for students is available 24/7.
              • Institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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              •        Ranked among the top 20 Regional Universities in the West in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

              •        Listed as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes Magazine in 2014.

              •        More than 97% of tenure-track faculty holds a terminal degree in their field.

              •        Student to faculty ratio of 15:1, and 47.5% of classes have fewer than 20 students.

              •        Accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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              • Six Campuses across Northern CA: Fremont, San Jose, Sacramento, S. San Francisco, Hayward, and Concord.
              • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, with programmatic approvals from the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians and the Board of Registered Nursing.
              • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating since 2010.
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