The University of Alaska, Albany State University and Normandale Community College are all NLN accredited schools. There are also NLN accredited programs in Guam, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Scotland and Virgin Islands. In 2010, there were approximately 3,000 nursing programs in the United States; of these, 1,222 were NLN accredited.
The National League for Nursing is a national organization for nursing educators and leaders. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission was a subsidiary of the NLN and oversaw all accreditation activities related to nursing programs. In the latter part of 2013, the NLNAC changed its name to the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or ACEN.
As reported by the ACEN, participation in the accreditation process is completely voluntary. Becoming accredited is intended to demonstrate to the public that a nursing program has clear and suitable learning objectives and is actively striving to meet those objectives. In order for programs to become accredited, they must comply with certain standards and criteria.
There are risks associated with attending non-accredited nursing schools. Students may not qualify for financial aid; it may be difficult or impossible to transfer credits; and job prospects may be limited if someone chooses to attend a non-accredited program.
The ACEN website offers a searchable database to find programs that are accredited throughout the areas where accreditation is available. There is also the option of searching for schools that are seeking accreditation but haven't achieved that status yet.