Future of Approval Toolkit

Use this toolkit to learn about program approval and national nursing accreditation.

Current Processes Used by Boards of Nursing

This map depicts the current educational program approval processes used by boards of nursing (BONs) and will be updated as boards change their processes.

Model 1: BONs are independent of the national nursing accredit ors 

These BON approve nursing programs separately and distinctly from the national nursing accrediting bodies. Initial approval processes are conducted before accreditation takes place. 

Model 2: Collaboration of BONs and national nursing accredit ors 

BONs share reports with the national nursing accrediting bodies, and/or make visits with them, sharing information. However, the final decision about approval is made by the BON, independent of decisions by the national nursing accreditors. Initial approval processes are conducted before accreditation takes place. 

Model 3: Accept national nursing accreditation as meeting board approval 

BONs accept national nursing accreditation as meeting state approvals, though they continue to approve those schools that don’t voluntarily get accredited. The BON is available for assistance with statewide issues (i.e. the nursing shortage in that state); BONs retain the ability to make emergency visits to schools of nursing, if requested to do so by a party reporting serious problems; and the BON has the authority to close a school of nursing, either on the advice of the national nursing accreditors or after making an emergency visit with evidence that the school of nursing is causing harm to the public. Initial approval processes are conducted before accreditation takes place. 

Model 4: Accept national nursing accreditation as meeting board of nursing approval, with further documentation 

Similar to 3, these BONs accept national nursing accreditation as meeting state approvals, but they may require more documentation, such as complaints, NCLEX results, excessive student attrition, excessive faculty turnover, lack of clinical sites. Initial approval processes are conducted before accreditation takes place. 

Model 5: BONs require national nursing accreditation 

BONs require their nursing programs to become accredited by a national nursing accreditation body, and then they will use Model 3 or 4 to approve them. Initial approval processes are conducted before accreditation takes place.

Model 6: BON have no jurisdiction over programs that have national nursing accreditation 

Non-accredited programs are only initially approved by the BON and under specific statutory requirements. In 2019 all prelicensure programs will be required to have national nursing accreditation. 

Model 7: BONs are not involved with the approval system at all 

In this model the BON is not given the authority to approve nursing programs, though this is done by another state/jurisdiction authority.  

Toolkit Documents

National Nursing Accreditors

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)