What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus in California or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some California 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 colleges 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the California healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with California hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.