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Picking a College for Your Nursing Degree

5 Factors to Consider When Picking a College for Your Nursing Degree

Clinical nurses are responsible for aiding in treating patients dealing with an illness, injury, or disease. It’s a rewarding industry that offers a variety of career paths and educational opportunities throughout your career. The field requires hard work, discipline, a strong work ethic, and various other skills.

When choosing a nursing degree, you have to consider countless factors. Attending college is a unique experience for everyone and every individual has different motivations. Whatever your deciding factor is, there are several things you should keep in mind before deciding where to study for your nursing degree so that your investment of time and money is worth it.

1. Accreditation

When you are looking at colleges, many factors need to be considered. One of them is the approval and accreditation of the program. You need to verify state approval. An accredited school has been evaluated by the state government or other authorities regarding its educational standards, curriculum, and faculty members’ qualifications, and thus it meets the standards set by the US Department of Education.

The internet can come to your aid to see what program you can choose from that meets all the requirements set by the state. Websites like best value colleges assist students in making this tough decision. You can look up rankings of schools, verify their accreditation, observe their course outlines and confirm their fee structures. This platform is an excellent guide to making the right choice.

It is important to understand here that school accreditation and program accreditation aren’t the same. An accredited school may offer a nursing program still in the pipeline to be approved. So make sure the nursing program you wish to enroll in is already state-approved.

2. Nursing Program

The nursing degree is a very important one because it is an entry-level degree that can lead to a career in many different areas. It is important to choose the right college for your needs and choose the best program for your future.

Different nursing programs offer different benefits to students. For example, some programs offer more clinical training than others, so if you want to get into the field right away and start working immediately, then you might want to consider taking a program with more clinical hours available. Here are some pointers to consider before finalizing your pick:

  • Duration of the program – When you look at programs, your schedule and priorities will be important considerations. Do you want to start working in the industry immediately, or would you like to get a graduate degree first? Different programs will have varying results and durations.
  • Classroom structure– you can choose programs that offer large-classroom settings or an individual-based learning setup. Many students opt for the flexibility of online classes.
  • Specialties offered – if you have a specialty in mind, choose a program that offers more clinical time in it. If you aren’t sure, opt for a program that offers choices and a broad range of knowledge.

3. Campus

The distance from home to school will vary from student to student, but if you’re planning on being close to family and friends, consider schools located within an hour or two of your house. You might be able to save money by living at home, but it’s also important to consider the social aspect of college life — where you meet new people and make connections with classmates.

On-campus life for students can also be a factor in choosing where to attend school. The facilities at each institution should be taken into consideration before deciding where to pursue your nursing degree. This includes housing, dining, campus amenities, and extracurricular activities.

Some students also need to work alongside their education. If you’re one of them, the location of your school would be a deciding factor as you’d have to research opportunities near your chosen school. You may even consider a program that offers placements.

4. Rankings

Nursing schools are ranked by various organizations and you should consider these rankings when choosing a school. The most important thing to consider is how well each school ranks compared to its competitors.

Nursing school rankings can be categorized based on quality, cost, accreditation, NCLEX pass rate, and outcomes. The best way to compare nursing programs is by looking at their statistics against other similar programs in your area or across the country. Some factors that may be considered are:

  • Quality of education– Does the school offer high-quality programs? Is it accredited? Are the instructors qualified?
  • Cost– Will your tuition be affordable? How much will you have left over after paying for housing and food? Do you have any financial assistance options available?
  • Outcomes– How much would you have spent on books alone if you took classes at this institution? What’s the return on investment (ROI) compared with other schools in your area or across the country?
  • NCLEX – The National Council Licensure Examination(NCLEX) is required to become a registered nurse. The ranking of a college strongly depends upon its passing rate on this examination.

5. Career placement programs

Colleges that offer career placement programs usually rank higher on the charts. A college career placement program is a service offered by the university to assist students in securing a job after graduation. Some colleges have partnered with local businesses, while others have developed their own programs. The services offered vary from school to school, but typically include an interview process, resume assistance, and mock interviews. Some programs even provide on-the-job training for students interested in pursuing employment as an RN after graduation.

These programs allow you to meet with representatives from various companies to determine which position might be a good fit for you as a nurse. You can also ask them questions about what it’s like to work at their company and see if there are any positions open that match your education and experience.

Conclusion

Not all nursing schools are created equal. There will be tough decisions to make when choosing where to study. Of course, getting your nursing degree from the best nursing school isn’t enough—you have to complete it. Your chosen program, hard work, and determination are key here. Research, visit potential schools, and ask a lot of questions. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time at this school over the next several years of your life—it’s worth doing your due diligence in picking one out.

Read also: Considering A Nursing Career? Here are 8 Good Reasons

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