The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) supports the interests of nursing education, nursing practice, and the public by the functions of accreditation. Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or transition-to-practice programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality. Accreditation also assists in the further improvement of the institutions or transition-to-practice programs as related to resources invested, processes followed, and results achieved. The monitoring of certificate, diploma, and degree offerings is tied closely to state examination and licensing rules and to the oversight of preparation for work in the profession.
The purpose of the ACEN is to provide specialized accreditation for all levels of nursing education and transition-to-practice programs.
Nursing Education Accreditation:
The ACEN is recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) as a specialized accrediting agency for nursing education programs located in the United States and its territories.
The ACEN is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for nursing education programs in the United States and its territories as well as for international nursing education transition-to-practice programs.
The ACEN accredits all types of nursing programs, including clinical doctorate/DNP specialist certificate, master’s/post-master’s certificate, baccalaureate, associate, diploma, and practical nursing programs.
The ACEN accredits nursing programs in secondary, postsecondary, and hospital-based sponsoring organizations that offer certificates, diplomas, or degrees.
The ACEN serves as a Title IV-HEA Gatekeeper for some practical nursing programs and hospital-based nursing programs eligible to participate in financial aid transition-to-practice programs administered by the United States Department of Education or other federal agencies.
The ACEN accredits non-credit transition-to-practice programs at all levels of nursing licensure.
The ACEN accredits transition-to-practice programs offered by academic institutions (e.g., university, college, career center) and/or healthcare agencies (e.g., hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities).
As the leading authority in nursing accreditation, the goal of the ACEN is to be a supportive partner in strengthening the quality of nursing education and transition-to-practice programs through:
- Supporting nursing education and transition-to-practice programs in obtaining and maintaining accreditation
- Promoting peer review
- Advocating for self-regulation
- Fostering quality, equity, access, opportunity, mobility, and preparation for practice or transition-to-practice at all levels of nursing preparation
- Developing standards and criteria for accreditation