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Articulation Agreements Among Nursing Education Programs

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Articulation agreements are important mechanisms that enhance access to baccalaureate level nursing education. These agreements support education mobility and facilitate the seamless transfer of academic credit between associate degree (ADN) and baccalaureate (BSN) nursing programs. Typically negotiated by faculty from both types of academic institutions, these renewable agreements help to ensure equivalency between community college and university courses. Though a formal contract is not necessary to transfer credit between junior and senior colleges, these frameworks do help to inform students' course selection, eliminate curriculum redundancies, streamline the application review process, and promote collaboration among educators across nursing programs.

Though some agreements exist to facilitate progression from associate degree to master's level nursing programs, this report focuses on ADN to BSN articulation. Currently, 32 states and the District of Columbia maintain broad articulation agreements between ADN and BSN programs, including 8 states that mandate credit transfer between programs at public institutions. Most agreements were developed through statewide collaborations among nurse educators, boards of nursing, and other interested parties.

In the remaining 18 states, hundreds of individual school-to-school articulation agreements exist to facilitate credit transfer and baccalaureate degree completion. Though each agreement is different and unique to nursing programs within each state, most allow for the transfer of 60 semester credits, which is consistent with transfer agreements between two- and four-year institutions for other academic disciplines.

Types of Articulation Agreements

Articulation agreements among nursing education programs fall within three general categories: Mandated, Statewide, and Individual.

Mandated Articulation Agreements: These formal agreements exist as part of legislation and mandate credit transfer between nursing programs. In Florida, for example, State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.024 provides that all graduates of approved ADN programs in the state will be granted admission into a baccalaureate program offered by any state institution with few exceptions. The law further states that 72 credit hours, including 42 hours of nursing core courses, will be transferred into BSN programs, which cannot exceed 128 credit hours to complete. States with mandated articulation agreements include:

Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Texas, Washington

Statewide Articulation Agreements: These voluntary articulation plans and models are usually developed through the collaborative effort of nurse educators, regulators, legislators, and other stakeholders wishing to enhance educational mobility for registered nurses (RNs). These agreements are generally accepted by all community colleges and public universities in a given state, though private institutions often choose to participate as well. For example, all state-funded nursing programs in Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have adopted the nursing education articulation model and use this framework to guide credit transfer and admissions decisions. Statewide articulation agreements and models exist in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Individual School-to-School Articulation Agreements: In states without mandated articulation plans and statewide models, individual agreements are often established between ADN and BSN programs. These arrangements typically delineate which nursing courses will transfer between programs as well as the maximum number of credits accepted. Several states including California, Illinois, and Indiana offer online resources to help students and educators identify which courses will transfer from junior to senior colleges. Hundreds of individual articulation agreements have been created in the following states:

California, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

Finally, private schools and nursing programs located in areas with statewide articulation models and/or plans in place often develop individual school-to-school agreements as well.

AACN Research and Online Resources

AACN has compiled the following resources related to articulation agreements among nursing education programs:


AACN member schools interested in receiving samples of Statewide or Individual articulation agreements may request copies via email by contacting rrosseter@aacn.nche.edu.

Nursing Education Program Articulation Agreements by Type

Key to Articulation Agreement Types
Individual: Arrangements are made on a school-to-school basis. A blanket agreement does not exist.
18 states
Mandated: State laws exist regulating the transfer of credit between public institutions.
8 states
Statewide: Articulation plans and models are in place for public and sometimes private institutions. Often, these agreements apply to all programs in a state's university and community college system.
24 states and the District of Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Agreement Type
Alabama Statewide
Alaska Statewide
Arizona Statewide
Arkansas Statewide
California Individual
Colorado Statewide
Connecticut Mandated
Delaware Statewide
District of Columbia Statewide
Florida Mandated
Georgia Statewide
Hawaii Individual
Idaho Statewide
Illinois Statewide
Indiana Individual
Iowa Statewide
Kansas Statewide
Kentucky Individual
Louisiana Statewide
Maine Individual
Maryland Mandated
Massachusetts Individual
Michigan Individual
Minnesota Mandated
Mississippi Statewide
Missouri Statewide
Montana Individual
Nebraska Individual
Nevada Individual
New Hampshire Statewide
New Jersey Statewide
New Mexico Individual
New York Individual
North Carolina Mandated
North Dakota Statewide
Ohio Statewide
Oklahoma Statewide
Oregon Individual
Pennsylvania Statewide
Rhode Island Individual
South Carolina Mandated
South Dakota Statewide
Tennessee Statewide
Texas Mandated
Utah Individual
Vermont Individual
Virginia Individual
Washington Mandated
West Virginia Individual
Wisconsin Statewide
Wyoming Statewide

 

 

Web Links to Nursing Education Program Articulation Agreements


Mandated Articulation Agreements

Alabama
Articulation and General Studies Committee, State of Alabama

Connecticut
Connecticut Public Act No. 01-165

Florida
Statewide Articulation Manual (p. 7)

Maryland
Maryland RN to BSN or RN to MSN Articulation Model

Maryland Board of Nursing Articulation Information

ARTSYS - Articulation System of Maryland Colleges and Universities

Minnesota
MNSCU Statewide Nursing Articulation Agreement

North Carolina
Comprehensive Articulation Agreement Between the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College System (p. 56)

South Carolina
Statewide Agreement on Transfer and Articulation

Texas
Field of Study Curriculum for Public Nursing Education Programs (p. 46)

2005-2010 Texas State Health Plan (p. 15-16)

Washington
Washington State Nursing Education Articulation and Competency Project

Statewide Articulation Agreements

Alaska
All of the states ADN programs are offered through the University of Alaska system, which permits seamless articulation into the BSN program.

Arizona
Arizona Transfer Articulation Support System

Arizona Nursing Program Matrix

Arkansas
Arkansas Nursing Articulation Model

California
Project Assist – Student transfer information for California public schools

Colorado
Colorado Commission on Higher Education Statewide Articulation Agreements

Colorado Nursing Articulation Model History

Delaware
Delaware Connected Degree/Transfer Options

District of Columbia
District of Columbia Articulation Models

Georgia
Overview of Georgia's RN to BSN Articulation Model
Details of Georgia's RN to BSN Articulation Model

Georgia Board of Nursing Program Directory (See last column)

Idaho
Idaho's Statewide Nursing Articulation Plan

Illinois
Illinois Articulation Initiative

Iowa
Iowa Articulation Plan for Nursing Education

Historical Evaluation of the Iowa Articulation Plan for Nursing Education

Kansas
Kansas Nursing Articulation Pathways

TCN Overview of RN-BSN Articulation Models

Louisiana
Louisiana Nursing Education Articulation Model

Maryland
Maryland Hospital Pesonnel Survey: Calendar Year 2004

Mississippi
Statewide Articulation Agreement Between Mississippi's 8 Public Universities and Community/Junior Colleges in the State: (p. 118)

Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Student Advisor

Missouri
Missouri Articulation Plan

New Hampshire
Transfer articulation agreements between the New Hampshire Community Technical College System and the University System of New Hampshire

Transfer Opportunities between Nursing Programs

New Jersey
New Jersey Nursing Education Articulation Model

North Dakota
North Dakota University System Articulation Agreements

Ohio
Ohio Nursing Articulation Model

Oklahoma
Oklahoma Nursing Articulation Consortium (ONAC)

ONAC Curriculum Model

University of Oklahoma Articulation Plan

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Nursing Articulation Model (p. 8)

Pennsylvania Transfer System

South Dakota
South Dakota Nursing Education Articulation Framework

Tennessee
Tennessee Career Mobility Plan

Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin Transfer Information System

Wyoming
University of Wyoming and all Wyoming Community Colleges (p. 2-3)

Last Updated: January 22, 2014