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What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Palmer AK or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Palmer AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) together 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 important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Palmer AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Palmer AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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 prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Palmer AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.