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Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Gardendale AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Gardendale AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Gardendale 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 programs 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Gardendale AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Gardendale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.