BSN graduate Jessica Morris

BSN student, Jessica Morris, presents her capstone project during a conference.

AVON PARK, Fla. – May 12, 2022 – South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) was recently granted continuing accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN). Continuing ACEN accreditation has been granted through 2029. The BSN program was initially granted accreditation in 2016. SFSC offers the only nationally accredited nursing programs in its service district of Highlands, Hardee, and DeSoto counties.

“The Bachelor of Science in Nursing at SFSC is based on Dr. Joanne Duffy’s Quality Caring Model,” said Dr. Michele Heston, SFSC dean of health sciences. “The faculty and students in this program have displayed an extraordinary level of quality care during the extreme challenges they all faced in the past two years. They are all to be commended for responding to the ‘Call to Care,’ in such powerful ways.”

In nursing education, ACEN is one of three accrediting bodies in the country that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The others are the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA).

ACEN accreditation is a mark of distinction, certifying that a nursing program adheres to the highest national standards of education. To become accredited, nursing programs must demonstrate that the program meets ACEN’s exacting standards of quality through an extensive review. As a result, students who graduate from ACEN-accredited institutions are more readily accepted into other advanced degree nursing programs and have broader employment opportunities—nationally and internationally.

According to Dr. Heston, accreditation benefits SFSC and its students in a myriad of ways. It aids in student recruitment, provides students with useful information for career and education decision-making, and enables students’ eligibility for funding support from federal and state agencies and foundations. ACEN accreditation is required by many nursing programs for admission to undergraduate and graduate programs, is required by some state regulatory agencies, and assists employers seeing graduates who are competent practitioners.

The accreditation and its peer-review process heighten faculty members’ and administrators’ awareness and responsiveness to areas of a program that need improvement, and it offers faculty members professional development and validation.

SFSC’s licensed practical nursing to associate degree in nursing transition program was launched in 1984. In response to community need, the College established a traditional Associate in Science in Nursing (ADN) in 1993. The BSN was first offered at SFSC in fall 2014.

SFSC currently offers an online BSN, a two-year generic Associate in Science in Nursing, a one-year transition licensed practical nurse to registered nurse Associate in Science in Nursing, and an 11-month Practical Nursing (PN) occupational certificate. For more information about SFSC’s Nursing programs, contact Danielle Ochoa, Health Sciences advisor at 863-784-7027 or by email at

These nursing programs are among several Health Sciences programs offered by SFSC and include dental hygiene, dental assisting, radiography, health services, phlebotomy, paramedic, and emergency medical technician.

ACEN is responsible for the specialized accreditation of nursing education programs, both postsecondary and higher degree, which offers a certificate, a diploma, or a recognized professional degree (clinical doctorate, master’s/post-master’s certificate, baccalaureate, associate, diploma, and practical). For more about ACEN, visit