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What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

RN reading with Bessemer Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Bessemer AL or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Bessemer AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Bessemer AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bessemer AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

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