Choosing an RN Program in Ohio
Prospective RNs have a lot of choices. Ohio has approved more than 70 programs at the associate, baccalaureate, and diploma levels. Individuals who have already earned degrees in other fields have an additional option: they can select from direct entry master’s programs. The following is a guide for program selection.
RN Program Accreditation and Articulation
The majority of Ohio’s registered nursing programs hold accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing ACEN or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation/accredited-programs. Prospective students may do a search through the website of either organization to see which programs these are.
Accreditation is particularly important for students who may want to pursue higher degrees in the future. Students who will be staying in Ohio may also consider the articulation agreements between schools. The 2013 annual report notes that 24 of 40 associate programs and 2 of 4 diploma programs had articulation agreements with baccalaureate programs (http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/Education.htm).
NCLEX-RN Pass Rates in Ohio
Graduates of RN programs in Ohio need to pass the NCLEX before they can be licensed. Prospective students often inquire about NCLEX pass rates as this gives some indication of how well the program prepares them for the license exam and for competent entry-level practice. The Board makes available NCLEX scores by year and by quarter (http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/education.htm)
Clinical Training and Capstone Experiences
A nursing student can expect to have clinical training as part of the program, but the amount and quality of training may vary. The 2013 annual report revealed a range of hours from 315 all the way up to 1,604. While baccalaureate programs have more on average this is not a set rule. Some associate programs are higher than other baccalaureate programs. There is also a wide range of clinical hours possible in particular areas, for example, pediatrics and obstetrics.
Most programs include an associated capstone experience. Again the requirements are variable.
The Admission Process for Ohio RN Programs
Faculty and facilities place limits on enrollment. The 2013 report reveals that admission was denied to 3,355 qualified applicants. Fully 1,897 denials were at the associate level.
Schools may handle a surplus of qualified applicants in multiple ways. They may become more selective in their admission process or stay inclusive but waitlist qualified candidates. Discover Nursing provides a search tool to locate programs without waitlists (http://www.discovernursing.com/schools#no-filters).
An individual may want to attend information sessions for multiple colleges to get a better sense of admission policies. The Board itself has provided some useful information. The annual report includes a list of programs where more than 200 qualified applicants were denied admission. Lorain County Community College set the record for the last admission period, with 412 denials.
Students may be drawn to community college education for many reasons, including cost. In some cases, though, it proves difficult to obtain.
The Ohio Center for Nursing has compiled a list of resources for nursing students looking for tuition assistance. Click here for a list of resources. Among the options are loan scholarship programs.
In addition to nursing scholarships and grants, many students are eligible for general financial aid like the Pell Grant. Some Ohio RN programs are eligible for funding through the Workforce Initiative Act.
Even a loan can prove a good investment. The Ohio annual report revealed that 74% of recent grads who had reported employment status were indeed employed; for those with a master’s the figure was 100%.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average salary for Ohio RNs as $60,970 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm). This figure includes professionals with varying levels of education and expertise.
Provisionally Approved RN Programs
Prospective students should be aware that schools that have provisional approval have failed to meet one or more Board standards.
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