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NLN Accreditation Questions and Answers

What is accreditation?

Accreditation "is a process of recognizing educational institutions for performance, integrity and quality that entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public. In the United States, this recognition is extended largely through nongovernmental, voluntary membership associations that establish accreditation criteria, evaluate institutions against [those] criteria and approve institutions that meet the criteria." (Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities)

SCC's nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and is approved by the Washington State Nursing Quality Assurance Commission.

What is the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC)?

The NLNAC "is nationally recognized as a specialized accrediting agency for both post-secondary and higher education degree programs in nursing education." (National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission)

The NLNAC accredits all types of post-secondary nursing programs, including those offered by community and technical colleges.

How does program accreditation differ from program approval?

Program accreditation means a program meets specific national standards determined by an accrediting body, such as NLNAC.

Program approval means a program meets standards defined by state rules and regulations. In the case of nursing, a program also must meet rules and regulations defined by the state Nurse Practice Act. State program approval allows nursing graduates to sit for the national certification exam (NCLEX) to be licensed as registered nurses.

In Washington, nursing program approval is determined by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission under the state Department of Health. This means SCC graduates can sit for the national certification exam (NCLEX).

Is NLN accreditation mandatory?

NLN accreditation is optional, but a desirable credential for nursing programs to have. NLN accreditation of a nursing program indicates the program meets six NLNAC standards related to mission and administration, faculty and staff, students, curriculum, resources and outcomes. Each standard has between five and 10 criteria, each of which must be met to attain accreditation.

Why is NLNAC accreditation important?

Although the process is voluntary, accreditation indicates a nursing program meets the NLNAC's established standards for instruction and student development. Federal facilities, such as veterans' hospitals, require that job applicants graduate from a nationally accredited nursing program, and some colleges and universities have the same requirement for transfer students.

Is graduation from a nationally accredited associate degree in nursing required to pursue a baccalaureate or master degree in nursing?

Not all schools have this requirement, but you should ALWAYS check the admission requirements of your desired transfer school carefully.

Who should I contact if I've got more questions?

The following instructors and counselors are good resources for questions about SCC program:


Spokane Community College
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
For general information call:
509-533-7000 or
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