Many nursing schools list their accreditation. Some schools are not accredited. Other schools have either state or national, but not both. BSN accreditation is something nursing students should look for as some employers do consider it when a graduate applies. It is an important thing that can affect a nurse’s future career choices.

What is BSN Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

BSN accreditation means a school’s program meets all professional standards. The process is completed by an outside organization. The two US nationally recognized organizations include the ACEN and CCNE. A school is not required to be accredited and must seek the accreditation. Both the school and the program may be accredited.

Accreditation does matter. It can affect several aspects of a student’s education and career such as:

  • Ability to transfer credits to other schools
  • Access to financial aid and grants
  • Ability to take licensing exams
  • Access to jobs

Students attending schools that are not accredited may not receive the same level of education and experience. Employers prefer accredited schools as they meet all the necessary educational requirements to effectively prepare students for nursing careers.

Featured RN to BSN Programs

CCNE Accredited. Online RN to BSN Programs*

Accreditation Commission For Education In Nursing (ACEN)

The ACEN was formerly known as the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. All levels of nursing programs may apply for accreditation. The process begins with the school applying for candidate status. This requires a fee and the evaluation of:

  • Faculty’s qualifications
  • Program’s plan of study
  • Resources used in the program
  • Evaluation plan
  • Catalog of courses

If candidate status is approved, the school has two years to complete the required accreditation process to meet ACEN standards. The school only receives accreditation after the successful completion of these requirements. Accreditation is maintained through regular visits and checks.

Commission On Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

The CCNE accredits bachelor’s, master’s and residency programs. Accreditation is voluntary. The organization’s goal is to improve the quality of nursing education through regular assessments of participating schools’ programs. The CCNE evaluates programs based on:

  • Missions and goals of the program
  • Performance of program
  • Utilization of resources
  • Integrity of the program

The organization relies upon visits, self assessments and peer reviews to maintain accreditation once it is given. The goal of the CCNE is to help schools grow through self regulation to consistently improve upon existing goals.

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CCNE Accredited. Online RN to BSN Programs*

Differences Between CCNE And ACEN

The main difference between the two licensing organization is the CCNE only accredits bachelor and master’s degree level programs. ACEN accredits all levels of nursing programs from practical to doctorate. The ACEN also works more closely with government agencies, allowing them to provide student assistance programs. This includes financial aid, counseling and job search services.

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Both have their own unique accreditation process, but both meet all national standards. One is not necessarily better or worse than the other. The CCNE uses more self regulation while the ACEN prefers to follow a strict set of their own guidelines. The ACEN is the older organization which means it has had more time to perfect its process.

Both agencies are constantly evaluating their own standards to improve the quality of nursing programs. Schools may choose either organization and may achieve accreditation as long as they meet all necessary requirements. They may even choose to switch between the two depending on the school’s needs.

BSN Regional Accreditation

BSN programs can also seek regional accreditation. These agencies only work with schools in specific regions. The biggest difference for students is in how credits transfer. Credits from nationally accredited schools may not transfer to regionally accredited. Most nationally accredited schools accept transfer credits from both types.

There are currently six recognized regional agencies including:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools

Some schools may seek accreditation both regionally and nationally. National is more widely recognized. Regional accreditation is not bad. Students should carefully consider the following before choosing this type of accreditation:

  • Moving to another region during the program
  • Working in other regions
  • Transferring credits
  • Number of accredited schools in the region
  • Proximity to accredited schools

Nurses who move to another region in the middle of a program may have to start over depending on whether or not credits transfer. Some schools accept credits for preliminary coursework only. If a student transfers to another accredited school in the same region, credits should transfer.

Some employers base their hiring process on whether or not the student attended an accredited program. They often look for CCNE or ACEN accreditation first as the standards are more commonly recognized. Students should check with local employers to see if regional accreditation is acceptable or not.

Types Of Accredited Programs

Current LPNs should only consider accredited schools. There is not just one type of program that receives BSN accreditation. Many schools offer several options to best fit their students’ needs. The CCNE and ACEN accredit many types of nursing programs including:

  • Traditional LPN to BSN programs
  • LPN to BSN online programs
  • Traditional LPN to RN programs
  • LPN to RN online programs

Students may not find CCNE accreditation for some LPN to RN programs as these may not require a bachelor’s or higher degree. Look for ACEN accreditation instead. This applies to both traditional on-campus and online programs.

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Purdue University Global

Offered as: Online
Accredited by: CCNE


Colorado Technical University

Offered as: Online
Accredited by: CCNE


Grand Canyon University

Offered as: Online
Accredited by: CCNE


Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

Offered as: Online
Accredited by:


A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree could help registered nurses (RNs) seek broader professional responsibilities and career opportunities. If you are an RN and want to advance your career, Purdue Global’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program could help you pursue new opportunities in specialized nursing and nursing management.* Study to enhance your critical thinking skills and clinical judgment to better meet the demands of patient care while you prepare for your future in nursing. The baccalaureate degree in nursing at Purdue Global is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE). This program may not be available in all states. Speak with an Admissions Advisor for more information. * Purdue Global cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. Additional certification or licensing may be required to work in certain fields. Although certain programs at Purdue Global are designed to prepare students to take various certification or licensing exams, the University cannot guarantee the student will be eligible to sit for or pass those exams. In some cases, field experience, additional coursework, and/or background checks may be necessary to be eligible to take or to successfully pass the exams. Students should research the requirements in the state in which they intend to seek employment. Interested in going from RN to BSN fast? Colorado Technical University has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program designed to help you prepare to take on more complex nursing responsibilities. Better yet, at CTU you can earn your BSN in as few as 9 months for $12,500.   Perfect for busy RNs. With CTU’s simple and quick enrollment process, you can start classes before the application process is complete. Plus, CTU’s BSN degree program offers eight start dates a year, so it’s easy to find one to fit your schedule. And you can keep moving forward fast because each course is only five and a half weeks.   Take a look at CTU’s CCNE-accredited curriculum. Designed by nurses for nurses, CTU’sRN to BSN program is structured so you can apply what you learn in the classroom to your job right away. Courseworkfocuses on nursing classes from day one and is conveniently accessible from anywhere with CTU’s mobile app.You may explore how to: ·         Assess team communication and decision-making dynamics to achieve quality outcomes. ·         Apply healthcare policy, finance, regulation, accreditation and trends as a patient advocate. ·         Use information and technical resources to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error and support decisions. ·         Navigate patient preferences and designee control to provide compassionate, coordinated care. ·         Design and analyze strategies to improve quality and safety. ·         Apply appropriate evidence-based practices based on clinical expertise and patient preferences and values.   Are you in? Go from RN to BSN. See if CTU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is right for you.   Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org. Find employment rates, financial obligations and other disclosures at www.coloradotech.edu/disclosures. CTU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at Colorado Technical University  is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org). Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN). The RN to BSN program is designed for registered nurses with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. The format and courses of the regionally accredited program are tailored to meet the needs of the adult learner RN, and to maximize strengths that the working RN possesses. A bridge course facilitates the transition of the working RN into the baccalaureate program. Courses are taught by experts in their respective fields who share knowledge and experience in areas of clinical patient care, health care management, and professional nursing practice and leadership. Opportunities are provided to apply concepts, theories, and research in the RN’s clinical practice. Both the science and art of nursing are integral components of the program and are woven throughout. The curriculum covers nurse competencies, management and leadership, health assessment, statistics, research, trends and issues, ethical decision-making, family-centered health, public health, and spirituality in health care. In addition, the student’s learning will culminate in project proposal to resolve and issue or problem in the nursing practice. Graduates of the program are prepared to become effective leaders in the nursing profession.
  • 100% Online, finish in 18 months fulltime
    Designed for working nurses
    Complete 7-week sessions taught by field experts
    Lead the design of your practicums
    High-quality education from a STEM-focused university with diverse peer networks
    Part-time option available
    Affordable, competitive tuition


 The Harrisburg University RN to BSN program offers the strong online BSN program you would expect from a STEM-centered university. Like other offerings you may have seen, the HU BSN program is an 18-month online program that builds on your prior education and experience as a registered nurse with an associate degree or hospital diploma. However that’s where the similarities end.
At Harrisburg University, we deliver a level of nursing education that goes beyond what you can expect (and get) from other programs. Your instructors are experienced in the healthcare and nursing field and offer an interdisciplinary-centered education that utilizes experts in Genetics, Epidemiology, Ethics, and Informatics.
You’ll combine academic coursework with professional practice while completing your BSN program. Coursework in evidence-based practice and science not only prepares you to meet every employer expectation for a BSN, but also preps you for a future graduate program. Your practicum components include an emphasis on advocacy and you have opportunities to gain practical experience in areas of special interest to you.
Research courses engage you with your actual practice or employment setting.  You are a nurse colleague at HU.  You’ll also experience the freedom of greater career mobility and be ready to pursue a graduate degree if desired. That’s the HU difference at work to give you extra knowledge, experience, and a boost in your nursing career.

The accreditation standards are the same for online and traditional programs. For online programs, schools may also be checked to see how well they assist students with finding local facilities for the required clinical hours. These programs are also judged based on quality of software and resources available.

These programs are offered in varying lengths. These may range from one to four years depending on the type of program. For instance, accelerated and bridge programs are designed to fast track students from an LPN to RN or BSN. Accreditation is available for all types of programs regardless of length.

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