Why Do Many Nursing Programs Have Low Acceptance Rates?

Why Do Many Nursing Programs Have Low Acceptance Rates?

The job market for nurses is exploding. Nearly three million nurses are currently employed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that another 439,300 new nursing jobs will be created by 2024. This 16 percent growth rate is much faster than the average for all occupations.

“Growth will occur for a number of reasons,” reports the BLS, “including an increased emphasis on preventive care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as they live longer and more active lives.”

Will America’s workforce be able to meet this growing nursing demand? Many experts express concern that this country doesn’t have enough qualified nurses. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), “The U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) that is expected to intensify.”

The American Journal of Medical Quality projects that the nursing shortage will spread across the United States through 2030, with the shortage most severe in the South and the West, including Utah and Idaho.

The Challenge of Nursing Schools

So with the nursing shortage and plenty of people wanting to become nurses, why do many nursing degree programs have low acceptance rates? According to the AACN, in 2014 U.S. nursing schools turned away 68,938 qualified applicants from bachelor’s and graduate nursing degree programs. These schools don’t have enough faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, and clinical preceptors.

The National League for Nursing estimates that 34,200 new nursing instructors will be needed by 2022. However, many current and prospective nurses aren’t aware that “the faculty role is a viable career objective.” The AACN identifies four causes of the nursing faculty shortage:

  • Master’s and doctoral programs in nursing are not producing a large enough pool of potential nurse educators to meet the demand.
  • Higher compensation in clinical and private-sector settings is luring current and potential nurse educators away from teaching.
  • Faculty age continues to climb, narrowing the number of productive years nurse educators can teach.
  • A wave of faculty retirements is expected across the U.S. over the next decade.

Despite today’s pressures and competition in nursing education, it’s still possible to get admitted into the right nursing degree program for you.

The Stevens-Henager Solution

“We’re actively seeking nursing students,” says Stephanie Slater, dean of nursing at Stevens-Henager College in West Haven, Utah (near Ogden). “If you meet the basic admission requirements, we have room for you in our associate’s degree program. We also offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the nursing field through our online affiliate school, Independence University.”

Stevens-Henager’s Associate’s Degree in Nursing Education program is designed to help students gain entry-level employment as a registered nurse. Courses combine classroom theory with hands-on clinical experience in real-world healthcare settings to give students a practical, well-rounded educational experience. With this degree and proper licensing,¹ graduates could qualify to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, schools, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care centers.

Admissions requirements for Stevens-Henager’s Associate’s Degree in Nursing Education program include the following:

  • High school graduation or equivalency
  • Test of Health Educational Systems, Inc. (HESI) and the Scholastic Level Exam (SLE)
  • CPR certification
  • Proof of immunizations, health history, and health insurance
  • Negative drug screen and criminal background check
  • Essay and personal interview with the dean of nursing

“We also offer a bachelor’s degree completion program for RNs,” says Dean Slater. “It’s fully online,2 and it takes only 24 months. Online college is flexible and convenient, so many RNs can finish their bachelor’s degree while they’re working full-time as nurses.”

Finishing one’s bachelor’s degree is the next logical step in a career as a registered nurse. Doing so can help nurses take advantage of greater opportunities in the healthcare field, including making the transition into nurse leadership roles or entering graduate studies.

Become a Nursing Instructor or Administrator

If you’re thinking about a nursing career, here’s a possible path: get your associate’s degree, become an RN, work in the nursing field, complete your bachelor’s degree, and then get your master’s degree in nursing education and become a nursing faculty member. By helping educate the next generation of nurses, you could help solve the nursing shortage and make a big impact on the healthcare world.

Stevens-Henager College offers a Master of Science in Nursing Education program.2 This fully online program teaches nurses the advanced theories and techniques needed to effectively instruct other nurses in their practice.

With a master’s degree in nursing education, an RN is prepared to potentially become a professional instructor of nursing at a higher-education institution. A master’s graduate could also become an integral member of a healthcare organization’s education and training staff as a director of nursing education.

Another nursing degree offered by Stevens-Henager is the Master of Science in Nursing Administration, which is a fully online program.2 This degree helps nurses prepare to transition their careers from registered nurse to nurse supervisor or to a nursing administrator role.

At Stevens-Henager College, we make it easy to get started on your nursing education. Our admissions consultants will help you every step of the way. If you qualify, you could receive up to $5,000 toward your degree with one of our Fresh Start Scholarships for adults like you.3

New classes start every month, so you don’t have to wait for a new semester to begin. Visit us online or call 800-622-2640 to start your path to a rewarding career in nursing.


  1. Certifications and/or licenses may require additional study and cost and are not awarded by the college.
  2. Online programs are offered by our affiliated institution, Independence University.
  3. Scholarship awards are limited and only available to those who qualify. See www.scholarshipshc.com for details.

For graduation rates, the median debt of graduates, and other data, see stevenshenager.edu/student-information.


Stevens-Henager College admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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