The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) announced that the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has approved accreditation for the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) degree that will be offered at GateWay Community College in fall 2024. This innovative new degree program provides a pathway for registered nurses to further their education and earn a bachelor's degree.
"As Arizona faces a nurse shortage, our newest bachelor's degree is a step in the right direction that will help mitigate this critical workforce shortage in the healthcare industry," said MCCCD Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. "MCCCD remains committed to providing our students with seamless access to our high-quality education, preparing them for a successful career in nursing."
MCCCD remains a steadfast pipeline for the nursing profession. Each year, Maricopa Community Colleges accepts 3,600 students, which includes nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses, into the program. During the 2022 calendar year, 992 MCCCD nursing students graduated with an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing – more than half graduated with a bachelor's degree through the Concurrent Enrollment Program with university partners. Over 80% entered the workforce, and 20% transferred to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This efficient pathway to earn a BSN with the community college gives more nursing professionals the ability to expand their nursing career opportunities and become the future nursing leaders for Arizona.
"The nationwide nursing shortage has affected healthcare institutions across the United States, in specific, Maricopa County and the State of Arizona," MCCCD Governing Board President Marie Sullivan said. "As a result, the Maricopa Community Colleges intends for this to fill that gap and provide these degrees for a ready workforce and students that dream to pursue a career in the healthcare industry. We are thrilled to offer these resources to our students and assist in building a ready workforce for healthcare institutions around the state and country."
MCCCD remains committed to providing affordable and accessible education at all levels, including bachelor's degrees. MCCCD's tuition rates for its Baccalaureate Degree Programs are one-third the cost of a traditional university, saving students roughly $7,000 to $10,000 yearly compared to the average annual tuition cost at an in-state university.
"We are proud to receive HLC accreditation for the RN to BSN degree program," said Dr. Amy Diaz, GateWay Community College president. "We have seen firsthand the impact the nursing shortage has had on our healthcare system over the last three years. The approval of this program will allow us to offer our students an accessible education opportunity, helping them move into the next chapter of their professional journey while maintaining their connection to GateWay."
Registration is anticipated to begin in March 2024, with applications being accepted as early as this month.
The next steps for MCCCD include pursuing additional accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) for the RN to BSN.
For up-to-date information about MCCCD's Bachelor's Degree Programs, visit maricopa.edu/bachelors-