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Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Alameda CA or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Alameda CA healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alameda CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Alameda CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.