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What is CCNE Accreditation and its Benefits for Aspiring Nurses?

If you’re interested in going back to school to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), you may be trying to determine the type of nursing program that's best for you.

A nursing program's accreditation status is important to consider because it reflects the quality of education. Graduating from an accredited program will give you the best starting point for your new nursing career.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is one accrediting agency for nursing programs in the United States. So, what is CCNE accreditation, and what are the benefits of choosing a CCNE-accredited program? Continue reading to find out.

What is CCNE Accreditation?

CCNE accreditation is a voluntary process that evaluates whether nursing programs meet specific quality standards. The process is administered by CCNE, a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education since 2000.

CCNE accredits the following types of nursing programs:

  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Post-graduate advanced practice registered nurse certificate
  • Entry-to-practice nurse residency

CCNE standards for accreditation identify nursing programs that prepare nurses for professional practice and foster continuous improvement in nursing education. The standards are the same whether the nursing program delivers coursework online or in-person.

Locating CCNE-Accredited Programs

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the United States is home to more than 1,000 CCNE-accredited nursing programs.

You can search for them using the CCNE database or the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP).

What is the CCNE Accreditation Process?

The CCNE accreditation process depends on the type of nursing program under evaluation.

For baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs, the process consists of:

  • Self-Assessment: The nursing program conducts a self-assessment to identify and explain how it achieves CCNE standards.
  • Peer Evaluation: A team of peers appointed by CCNE evaluates the nursing program on-site to validate self-assessment findings.
  • Accreditation Decision: The CCNE board reviews the findings and issues an accreditation decision. It can grant, deny, or withdraw accreditation.

CCNE periodically reviews accredited programs to make sure they are complying with CCNE standards and progressing on action plans for quality improvement. The reviews occur every 10 years or less, depending on the program's success.

What Are CCNE Standards for Accreditation?

Accreditation standards are the specific criteria used to assess the quality of nursing programs. CCNE is a nongovernmental, autonomous accrediting agency that develops its own accreditation standards.

There are four CCNE standards, which focus on the governance, curriculum, student support, faculty, and expected outcomes of nursing programs.

1. Program Quality: Mission and Governance

CCNE-accredited programs have missions, goals, and expected outcomes that align with the parent institution, adhere to nursing standards, and cater to the community’s needs. Faculty and students actively participate in program governance and efforts to improve program quality.

2. Program Quality: Institutional Commitment and Resources

Parent institutions of CCNE-accredited programs provide the necessary resources, including faculty and staff, to achieve the program's mission, goals, and expected outcomes.

3. Program Quality: Curriculum and Teaching-Learning Practices

The curriculum of a CCNE-accredited program reflects the program’s mission, goals, and expected outcomes. It also adheres to professional nursing standards and the community’s needs. Accredited programs also use teaching practices that effectively support achieving the expected outcomes.

4. Program Effectiveness: Assessment and Achievement of Program Outcomes

CCNE-accredited programs achieve expected outcomes, including those for students and faculty. The programs collect and use data on program effectiveness to drive continuous improvement.

LHSON ABSN students during on-campus immersion

What Are the Benefits of CCNE Accreditation?

Earning your nursing degree from a CCNE-accredited program will benefit your future nursing career. A program that meets CCNE standards will adequately prepare you for professional licensure, employment, and advanced nursing education.

Professional Licensure

After you graduate from a nursing program, you’ll need to obtain professional licensure from the state where you plan to work as a registered nurse. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia require nursing graduates to show evidence of graduating from a nationally accredited nursing program.

Attending a CCNE-accredited nursing program will ensure you are eligible for professional licensure.


Some employers require or prefer nurse applicants who’ve graduated from an accredited program. By graduating from a CCNE-accredited program, you can feel confident that you have the educational preparation for nursing employment.

Advanced Nursing Education

If you're interested in advanced nursing education, graduating from an accredited nursing program does matter.

Many advanced practice nursing programs require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing school. So, choosing a CCNE-accredited nursing program will allow you to pursue advanced nursing education.

Become a Skilled Nurse with Baylor University’s CCNE-Accredited Distance ABSN Program

Earning your BSN from a CCNE-accredited program will prepare you to thrive in your nursing education and the nursing profession.

If you live in Texas, one option for a CCNE-accredited nursing program is the Distance Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program offered by Baylor University. Professionals with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing discipline can complete this intensive, full-time program in one year.

As a Baylor Distance ABSN student, you will learn from nationally recognized faculty, benefit from strong academics and a well-earned reputation, gain clinical experience, and study nursing through a Christian worldview.

Take the first step toward fulfilling your calling as a nurse and get your program brochure.

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