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Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Atascadero CA or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Atascadero CA 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 looking at 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 displeased 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 Atascadero CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Atascadero CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.