How to Choose Your Nursing School

If you’ve decided to take the important step and get a degree in nursing, your next major consideration will be which of the many nursing schools is right for you. This is an important stage in your path because the nursing school that you attend could quite literally shape your career for years to come.

In Focus: Study Tips for Nursing School Students

There are over 1,500 nursing programs to choose from, so it’s important that you keep a checklist nearby to keep track of what you do and don’t like about a school. Remember, the choices you make now will impact your future. Choosing a well respected school will enhance your future promotion opportunities and even help you get paid a higher salary. If you’re at this critical stage, let’s explore some of the things that you’ll need to consider.

  • Do They Offer Your Specialty? If you’ve decided on a career path, then you’ll have to make certain that any school you consider offers the courses necessary for you to get that degree. Of course, if you’ve decided to get a RN’s license or some other general degree, then you will have a wider selection of schools. You’ll be able to choose between private schools, community colleges and universities.
  • Is it Convenient? Depending on your family circumstances, you may need to consider the location of each school that you’re considering. Will you be able to move across the state, or even across the country, or is it necessary that you stay where you are? In addition, don’t forget to consider the accommodations offered at each school. Are they right for you?
  • Accreditation Standards. Once you have decided on a location, you should next check to see that the schools you’re interest in have met the proper accreditation standards. There are two accreditation standards: the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
  • Size. The size of the school can also give you an indication of the type of education that you can expect from it. Smaller class sizes and clinical instruction class sizes may mean that the type of learning offered is more individualized.
  • Exam Pass Rates. The exam pass rate should give you an indication of the effectiveness of the training offered. Ask to see the exam rare statistics for the past ten years.
  • Cost. The cost of nursing degrees will vary widely at different locations, and this may be an important factor to consider. Degree costs for nursing can differ by as much as tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the particular degree course chosen, and where you choose to study.
  • Visit the schools. Once you have made a short-list of the schools you’re most interested in, be sure to visit the campuses and talk to the staff, students and if possible, a few graduate students. If you visit all of the schools within a short time frame, you’ll be better able to get a “feel” of the schools to compare and contrast what they have to offer and where you feel most at home.

On the following pages we delve into some important topics related to going to nursing school:

Nursing is a rewarding and challenging career, and choosing the right school for you is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will need to make at any stage in your chosen career. The success of your training and your future career has its foundation in the choice of the school. Choosing a nursing school is daunting, but spending time researching before committing to a course will make the final choice much easier to make. So take advice from family and friends and past and present students. Thoroughly research your decision and make the best choice that you can and you’ll soon be on your way to a degree in nursing.


Learn More: Nursing School Class Prerequisites