Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus in Alaska or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Alaska for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Alaska healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alaska medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Alaska hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.