Skip To Content

As you research nursing schools, accreditation is bound to be a term you’ll encounter. So what is accreditation? Let’s start with accrediting agencies. These are organizations that evaluate either an entire school or specific programs to assess factors like academic standards and commitment to ongoing improvement. If the expectations of the accrediting agency are met, that school or program is considered accredited. Organizations that focus on the entire academic institution award institutional accreditation. Those that focus on specific programs award programmatic accreditation.

Essentially, when a school or program is accredited, that is one signal of that institution’s and/or program’s ability to provide the education you need to pursue your goals.

What is CCNE Accreditation?

CCNE accreditation is something you’ll hear South University mention when we talk about our nursing programs and our programmatic accreditation. The first thing to know is that CCNE stands for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. CCNE is a national accrediting agency focused solely on nursing programs. According to their website, CCNE assesses baccalaureate, graduate, and residency nursing programs to identify those “that engage in effective educational practices.”

Before designating any program as accredited, CCNE works to ensure that a nursing program’s goals, mission statement and outcomes help prepare individuals to:

  • Fulfill their expected roles in the nursing field
  • Meet the needs of patients, employers, colleagues and the entire nursing profession
  • Become lifelong learners, effective professionals and socially responsible citizens

When CCNE is deciding whether a school’s nursing programs should be accredited, they also consider faculty qualifications, program curriculum, course content, student retention and completion, exam pass rates, and student resources. Assessing a nursing program for CCNE accreditation involves a team of outside evaluators as well as many of the program’s faculty, students and administrators.

By ensuring that nursing schools around the country are being held accountable, living up to expectations, and working toward continuous improvement, CCNE provides potential nursing students with important information as well as helps to continue the growth and advancement of the overall nursing profession.

Why Should You Look for an Accredited Nursing Program?

In almost all cases, to take the NCLEX-RN exam and practice as a registered nurse, you will need to earn a degree from an accredited undergraduate nursing program. The program could be accredited either by CCNE or by the other primary nursing program accreditor: the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). If your program is not accredited, you may not be able to take your licensing exam. A lack of accreditation could also impact your ability to transfer credits to other schools and to receive financial aid.

In addition, a primary purpose of accreditation is to ensure nursing students receive an effective education. If you apply to an accredited program, you’ll know that the program has passed evaluation by a credible organization. Additionally, healthcare employers want to hire professionals who are adequately prepared to enter the workforce, and not graduating from an accredited program could prevent you from getting hired.

Finally, if or when you decide to return to school to advance your nursing education, many graduate programs require candidates to have previously graduated from an accredited nursing program. To become an advanced practice registered nurse, you’ll also need to earn a master’s degree from an accredited program.

As of 2020, South University is proud to announced we have received full CCNE re-accreditation status of all undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate nursing programs. The Baccalaureate, Master’s, and DNP programs received accreditation for 10 years until 2030. The Post-graduate certificate APRN programs received accreditation for 5 years until 2025.

Learn More about the Nursing Programs at South University

Whether you’re brand new to the nursing field or an experienced nurse ready to prepare for an advanced nursing practice, educator, informatics, or leadership role, South University can help.

South University offers CCNE-accredited programs to help nurses at every stage of their career.

(The Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Post-Graduate APRN Certificate Programs at South University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Our faculty and staff provide a warm, welcoming environment, where you can get the support and guidance you need as you learn and develop new skills for your nursing career. Explore our programs to find one that’s right for you, and request information to learn more about how we can help you.