How Do I Choose A Nursing School? 5 Tips to Help You Decide!
Selecting a nursing school can seem like a daunting process, but there are some simple tips to make your search easier. Follow the recommendations below to choose the nursing school that can best help you reach both your educational and career goals.
Choose An Accredited Nursing School
The single most important thing to consider when you are choosing your nursing schools is accreditation. Simply stated, if your nursing program is not accredited, you could encounter problems when it comes to getting your nursing license, applying for jobs, and continuing your education. If you wish to work as a Registered Nurse (RN), you’ll need to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), which means you’ll need to attend a school that prepares you well for this important test. Choosing a college that is accredited by state and national agencies ensures that you’ll receive a high-quality education.
The U.S. Department of Education keeps a database of accredited nursing schools in the United States, which can help you identify if the schools you are considering are accredited. Additionally, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education also provides a list of accredited nursing programs in its own database. You may also want to inquire with your future school about their pass rates for the NCLEX exam as this number can give you an idea of the quality of the school’s curriculum.
Every nursing school has a different credit hour tuition rate, so you will want to choose a school that fits both your budget and your standards. Even if you find that tuition is higher than you’d prefer, many schools offer different nursing scholarships and financial aid in the form of grants. Some schools also offer work study to help you pay for classes by working within your department, often in an administrative assistant role. If you are looking at graduate or doctoral nursing courses, you may look into working as an adjunct, or look into nursing fellowship options.
Public schools are often less expensive than private schools, but this isn’t always the case- so don’t limit your search. Reaching out to the financial aid department at several different nursing schools is a great way to learn about what kind of financial assistance is offered, how to apply, and which schools can provide you with the most financial aid. Student loans and grants are also available through the Department of Education though the amount of financial aid provided by different schools can vary.
While we hope that cost is not the only factor you consider when choosing the right nursing school, we do know it is essential to stay within your financial means. That’s why we also offer a $2500 nursing school scholarship quarterly, to help students like you succeed in nursing school.
Investigate Class Scheduling and Nursing Program Length
Nursing students come from many different backgrounds- maybe you just graduated from high school or maybe you have decided on a midlife career change. It could even be that you are looking for help choosing a graduate nursing program, and want some advice. Maybe you’re a working parent and wish to become a nurse, but aren’t sure if it’s possible to take classes on top of your other responsibilities.
This is where it becomes essential to look carefully at nursing programs, especially those that offer alternative scheduling. Some nursing schools may offer night and weekend classes that can help students like you attend school and still work. Other schools offer block scheduling, where you can plan to attend a full day of courses once a week, and still maintain your current schedule. You will also want to check into whether there are both full and part time option, what your clinical schedule may look like, and if there are any required campus visits or seminars, which is especially relevant if you are looking into online nursing programs.
Nursing programs can also vary in length from two or three years required for an associate’s degree, to the four years usually required for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. If your goal is to become an RN, you can gain eligibility to take your licensing test with an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, and then move on from there or get your BSN to start. Check with multiple schools to determine what their nursing program length looks like, as well as the options for full or part time study, as this could be an important factor in choosing a school.
Consider Your Future Goals in Nursing
Just as there are many avenues for becoming a nurse, there are even more specialties that you can consider after graduation. The nursing school you choose may better prepare you for a particular specialty than another because of its curriculum, program length, or degree type. For example, if you wish to study to become a nurse anesthetist or a nurse midwife, you’ll probably want to consider a bachelor’s degree program that will help you apply to graduate school in the future.
Alternatively, if your goal is to enter the nursing profession in an expedient manner, you may want to choose the path of the associate’s degree or nursing diploma. If you can devote yourself to full-time studies, there are also accelerated nursing programs to consider. These programs are especially popular if you already have a degree in a non-nursing field.
Over the next few years, the U.S. is expected to need thousands of new nurses to enter the healthcare profession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the United States to hire more than a half-million new RNs in the next decade. That doesn’t even include the additional nurses needed in advanced healthcare specialties like nurse midwifery, primary care and in nursing leadership.
Request Information and Learn About Several Different Schools
Choosing your nursing school wisely can help you get the job you want and reach your nursing goals. That is why it is so important to consider all of your options, do your research thoroughly, and make sure you’ve covered all of your bases when it comes time to apply to schools. The best way to get the information to compare is to contact the schools directly and then review the information they provide you.
Our main goal at BestNursingDegree.com is to help you do just this. Select the nursing program you are interested in, or use our search box to select your state and program, then click on the different schools to fill out an information request form. Speaking directly with nursing program advisers allows you to ask your questions, and get real answers in real time. Once you have compared each program and school, you should be able to choose a nursing school that will meet your needs. You can also contact us at anytime with questions.
Choosing the right nursing school is imperative to your future, so remember: Take your time, ask the questions you need answers to, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
Best of luck, and thank you for choosing to explore becoming a nurse or expanding your role. Nurses are the most important part of a well functioning healthcare industry, and can impact health and wellness across the nation in powerful ways!