Choosing the Right Nursing School Is All About These 7 Criteria

When it comes to choosing the right nursing school for you, hours may be spent researching which is the best accelerated nursing program in Massachusetts. No two programs are exactly alike, so how do you start comparing one to another?

choosing-the-right-nursing-school-Northeastern-UniversityThese 7 criteria are the best way to decide which ABSN program is the right fit for your nursing education.

  1. US News & World Report Rankings
  2. Program Requirements & Prerequisites
  3. Program Cost
  4. Credit Hours & Program Length
  5. Program Format
  6. NCLEX Pass Rates
  7. Number of Annual Starts

Let’s take a look at why each of these criteria are important when choosing the right nursing school and whether or not Northeastern University’s Accelerated BSN program is for you.

1. US News & World Report National and Regional Rankings

Every year, the US News and World Report compiles a list of the best colleges. The top colleges in the nation are picked based on empirical data (such as student retention, acceptance rates, and graduation rates) and overall reputation of the academic institution. A university’s ranking provides an unbiased assessment of the quality of its education.

There is only one university that offers an accelerated BSN program in Massachusetts that is nationally ranked in the top 50—Northeastern University.

In the latest report, Northeastern is ranked #42 nationally by the US News and World Report.

2. Program Requirements & Prerequisites

When choosing a nursing program, you’ll need to be aware of what the application requirements are. Knowing if you qualify will determine early on if the ABSN program is right for you.

Most accelerated BSN program requires a prior bachelor’s degree so that most core and liberal arts classes are already completed. Some programs also have limitations on how long ago the bachelor’s degree was received.

Northeastern University’s ABSN program requires students to have a previous bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. In addition, there are eight specific ABSN prerequisites an accelerated nursing student must complete before entry into the program:

  1. Microbiology (with lab)
  2. Human Anatomy & Physiology I (with lab)
  3. Human Anatomy & Physiology II (with lab)
  4. Introduction to Chemistry (with lab)
  5. Statistics
  6. Social/Behavioral Sciences
  7. Development Psychology
  8. Nutrition

3. Program Cost

Money is not always an easy topic to discuss, but nonetheless an important criterion to pay attention. Choose a nursing program you can afford as well as one that will give you a good education. Neither the cheapest nor the most expensive is automatically the best.

In the state of Massachusetts, Northeastern falls in the middle third in terms of ABSN program expense.

4. Credit Hours & Program Length

Going to school is a full-time commitment. It would be very taxing on you physically and mentally to be a full-time ABSN student and working either part-time or full time. You should know how long your ABSN program of choice will take to complete. In Massachusetts, accelerated nursing programs range from 12 to 20 months. Depending on the program you choose, this could mean between 43 and 80 credit hours.

Northeastern’s accelerated nursing program is 16 months long and has an above-average number of credit hours at 67.

5. Program Format: Online or Traditional

For those looking for an accelerated BSN program in Massachusetts, you have the option of either an online ABSN program or a traditional, on-ground program. Either education track should provide you with hands-on, in-hospital training and experience. The main difference will be how didactic, or lecture, coursework is completed.

Northeastern University’s online Accelerated BSN program utilizes online learning modules for lectures and activities for all didactic coursework. In addition, the online learning platform is used by students to submit assignments, complete interactive assignments, and engage in discussion with faculty, classmates, and groups of peers.

Learning online or on-ground is somewhat of personal preference criteria. Sometimes people choose a nursing program that is on-ground and more traditional because they haven’t taken college coursework online before.

6. NCLEX Pass Rates

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) is a licensure exam every nursing graduate must take in order to become an RN. The national average for students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree of 88%. How your school of choice compares to this average is a very good indicator of the nursing education quality.

The complete list of Massachusetts’ nursing schools’ NCLEX pass rates are available on the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing’s website. In this list, all Bachelor of Science in Nursing education tracks are lumped together to calculate the passing percentage.

7. Number of Annual Starts

Last, but not least, you should pay attention to the number of annual starts when choosing a nursing program. If you are wanting to get accepted to a nursing program that only starts students once per year, you have a good chance of getting stuck on a waitlist. Not everyone has the luxury of waiting when they want to start a new career.

Northeastern University is the only accelerated BSN program in Massachusetts with three starts per year.

Making the Decision & Choosing Your Nursing School

Each of these seven criteria have to be weighted according to personal choice to find the right nursing program that is best for you. Some may find NCLEX pass rates to be the most important criteria, while for others it may be the program’s requirements and prerequisites.

Choosing a nursing school is a personal choice. Make sure you are well informed and get yourself the best education you can. Nurses save lives. It’s a career you should be well-prepared for.

For more information on Northeastern University’s 16 month, online Accelerated BSN program, you can contact an advisor or call 866.892.3819 to speak with someone right away.

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