Choosing an RN Program in New York
The New York Office of the Professions has provided a list of nursing programs organized by region of the state (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/nurse/nurseprogs-lpn.htm). Some regions have many, and there can be significant differences between programs.
Private and Public Institutions
Nursing programs may be state-supported (CUNY or SUNY) or private. A 2010 – 2011 study noted some interesting differences between programs. SUNY and CUNY programs had more tenured faculty than private school. CUNY programs employed a more diverse faculty with more minority representation. Private programs typically had more seats and, not surprisingly, a majority of the state’s nursing students attended private schools. It’s not uncommon nationwide for students to turn to private colleges when seats are at a premium. (http://www.ahec.buffalo.edu/reports/2012/NYS_Institute_Nursing_Schools_and_Faculty_Report_2010-2011.pdf)
As a future RN, you may earn an associate degree, diploma, or baccalaureate degree. You may even opt for a program that allows you to earn an associate in nursing en route to a bachelor’s.
You are not destined to stay at the level that you do your pre-licensure education. There will be opportunities to enroll in degree completion programs later. However, you will need to balance the initial cost of education against your job prospects after graduation.
The Admission Process for NY RN Programs
It’s important, when selecting a nursing program, to give consideration to the admission process; selection is a two-way process. If you are one of the top candidates, you will probably not be relegated to a waitlist. New York nursing schools have selective admission. You typically need to complete some college level coursework before you are admitted to the nursing major. Your grades are a part of what will earn you a seat. You will likely also need to take a test; testing requirements will vary somewhat from school to school.
While baccalaureate programs may set requirements steeper than associate programs, even associate programs are forced to turn away students. Since New York schools lack the faculty, budgets, and clinical placement sites to admit all potentially qualified applicants, you may need to do more than meet the stated minimum requirements.
While some schools do have waitlists, they are often simply list of alternates. Some applicants who are accepted end up not enrolling.
NCLEX Pass Rates
The NCLEX is a national examination that assesses competent entry-level practice. NCLEX scores may reflect admission and retention policies as well as instruction, still, they are often used as a means of evaluating and comparing programs. Pass rates are public and can be found in the site of the New York Office of the Professions (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/nurse/nclexpn2008-12.htm).
NY Nursing Program Accreditation
Accreditation, while not as fundamental as state approval, can be desirable. Many programs are accredited by ACEN or CCNE.
Programs may also be distinguished by their facilities and by the technologies they employ.
You may even consider faculty qualifications. While the doctoral degree is considered the terminal degree in academia, a majority of New York nursing faculty have education at the master’s level.
At some state supported schools, an associate degree in nursing costs less than $10,000; this figure includes fees as well as tuition. Private schools often cost significantly more as do bachelor’s degrees.
The average salary for a New York RN is $74,100, according to the BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm). It usually takes some time to reach the mean, and many nursing students rely on financial aid. The Office of the Professions has compiled a list of resources (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/nurse/nurse-education-scholarships-grants.htm).
There are many innovative programs in New York, include some online options. Just make sure to avoid unauthorized programs. The Department of Education has issued a warning about these.
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