Program Description

Registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are the first line of care in the day-to-day operations in many healthcare settings. If you are looking to make an impact in others’ lives every day at work and want to join this rewarding career field, you can start your path to a nursing career with Cecil College’s nursing program. At Cecil College, you can prepare for your nursing career by earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a certificate in practical nursing (LPN). Located on our main campus in North East, Maryland, with clinical affiliations throughout Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, students are engaged in a comprehensive, interactive, evidence-based, and professional nursing education experience.

As a graduate of our associate degree nursing program, you will be prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses Exam (NCLEX-RN). Graduates of the certificate program are prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Students enrolled in Cecil College’s associate degree nursing program have the opportunity to be dually enrolled and concurrently working on their BSN, with one of our four-year partners.

Accreditation and Approval

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

ACEN logo.

The associate degree program has the distinction of continuous accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, Georgia 30326;

National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)

NC-SARA approved institution logo.

Cecil College is approved by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) to offer distance education in the member states and territories. Student complaints relating to consumer protection laws offered under the terms and conditions of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), must first be filed with the institution to seek resolution. The student should begin the complaint process with the institution and if resolution is not found, the student would contact the Institution’s Home State SARA Portal Entity, Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). For more information, please refer to the SARA complaint process.

Supervised Clinical and Field Training Experiences

Through participation in NC-SARA and compliance with statutory regulations related to training in individual states, Cecil College is approved to offer limited, supervised clinical field experiences in 3 U.S. states to eligible students. The states include Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. These are the locations currently approved for student supervised clinical and field training. Individual state regulations are subject to change without prior notice and the College does not guarantee locations for clinical and field training experiences.

Licensure Requirements

The Associate of Science in Nursing (RN) program prepares the graduate to take the NCLEX-RN exam and meets the requirements in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. For information about other state requirements for the nursing program, please visit the NCSBN website. Since requirements may change, prospective students should contact their state for information on the applicable licensing boards to determine whether the program meets requirements for licensure in the state where students are located.

The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certificate program does not meet the licensing requirements for the state of Pennsylvania. There may be other states in which the LPN program does not meet the licensing requirements and Cecil College makes no guarantees for licensing eligibility in those states.

Degree Programs

Nursing (Associate of Science)

The Associate of Science in Nursing program prepares graduates to function as entry-level nurses by emphasizing educational competencies within eight core components of nursing practice: professional behaviors, communication, assessment, clinical decision making, caring interventions, teaching and learning, collaboration, and managing care. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN). The program is directly articulated with a number of higher education nursing programs, thus providing an educational foundation for further study in nursing.

Required Courses & Learning Outcomes

Refer to the college catalog for a list of required courses and learning outcomes for the Nursing degree program.

Certificate Programs

Practical Nursing

The certificate is designed to give the student who has successfully completed the first two semesters of the nursing program and the summer Practical Nursing option an opportunity to enter the profession of nursing at the Licensed Practical Nursing level. Successful completion of the summer Practical Nursing option prepares the student for the National Council Licensure Examination - Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN). The certificate program has specific objectives that correlate with the College’s educational goals. These specific objectives are described in the Nursing Student’s Manual.

Required Courses & Learning Outcomes

Refer to the college catalog for a list of required courses and learning outcomes for the Practical Nursing certificate program.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do you admit students?

Entrance into Associate Degree Nursing and Licensed Practical Nursing programs is offered once a year during the fall semester.

What are the pre-requisites to apply to the Nursing Program?

Cecil College's Nursing Programs have limited enrollment, selective admission, and require specific criteria for admission. Receipt and evaluation of official college transcripts indicating a minimum 2.5 GPA is mandatory and successful completion, with a grade of "C" or better, for the following pre-requisite courses is also required:

Course Number Course Title
EGL 101 College Composition
BIO 208/218 Anatomy & Physiology I and Lab
MAT 097 Introductory & Intermediate Algebra 1

1 Placement beyond MAT 097 as reflected by Cecil College’s skills assessment, or successful completion of MAT 127.

Admissions & Advising

Cecil College is an open enrollment institution. Get more information, find out how to apply, or contact the pre-nursing advisor, Nikki Ritterbeck, at (410) 287-1032.


Graduates may elect to continue their education elsewhere by earning advanced degrees in nursing, such as completing a bachelor's degree in nursing or a master's degree to become a nurse practitioner.

Cecil College has articulation agreements with many Maryland institutions of higher learning, as well as with the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Wilmington University, Widener University, Stevenson University, and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. These agreements facilitate the transfer of credits directly into bachelor's or master's degree programs in nursing.

Faculty and Staff

Full-time Faculty

Nancy Norman-Marzella, DNP, MSN, NP, RN, CNE
Dean, Health and Human Sciences
(443) 674-1541

Roxanne Rash, Ed.D., MS, RN, CNE
Assistant Director of Nursing / Professor of Nursing
(443) 674-1547

Amanda Horn
Administrative Assistant, Health and Human Sciences
(410) 287-1008

Melissa Lewis, MSN, RN
Clinical Learning Lab Coordinator

Lauren Dawson, DNP, APRN, NP-C
Assistant Professor of Nursing
(443) 674-1544

Shirley Gharbin, Ed.D., MSN, RN
Assistant Professor of Nursing
(443) 674-1546

Cynthia Horton, Ed.D., MS, RN, CNE
Professor of Nursing
(443) 674-1548

Mary Knarr, MS, RN
Assistant Professor of Nursing
(443) 674-1543

Amy Smythe, MSN, RN
Assistant Professor of Nursing
(443) 674-1545

Catherine Jordan, MSN, MBA, RN
ATB Coordinator
(443) 674-1549

Adjunct Faculty

Cecil College's nursing adjunct faculty represent a broad array of healthcare specialties and come from a variety of settings across the healthcare continuum. In addition to their clinical expertise, they are committed to educating the next generation of nurses.

Purpose, Beliefs and Philosophy

The purpose of the program in nursing is to prepare individuals to function as entry-level LPN or RN staff nurses in primary, secondary and tertiary care, i.e. as generalists attending to illnesses that are common, recurrent and relatively predictable. Nursing graduates will be able to meet the National League for Nursing’s competencies in human flourishing, nursing judgment, professional identity, and spirit of inquiry. Further, nursing graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX examinations for licensure as Licensed Practical and/or Registered Nurses. In addition, graduates of the associate degree nursing program are eligible for direct transfer into RN to BSN or RN to MSN Programs of study.

The conceptual model which best exemplifies the philosophical beliefs of the nursing faculty at Cecil College is the Neuman Systems Model, designed by Betty Neuman (2011). This holistic model has been utilized by nurses in clinical practice and by nurse educators as a framework for developing, implementing, and evaluating educational programs. The model is derived from systems theory, Selye’s stress/adaptation theory and Caplan’s concepts of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.

National League for Nursing Educational Competencies Model

The nursing program at Cecil College believes in and utilizes the NLN Educational Competencies Model (NLN, 2010) as one of the guiding forces for nursing education. The NLN seven core values of caring, diversity, ethics, excellence, holism, integrity and patient-centeredness, as well as the six integrating concepts of: context and environment; knowledge and science; personal and professional development; quality and safety; relationship-centered care; and teamwork; are all interwoven throughout the Cecil College nursing curriculum. The core values and integrating concepts all support the achievement of the four competencies of Professional Development, Human Flourishing, Nursing Judgement, and Spirit of Inquiry, as defined by the NLN for graduates of practical nursing and associate degree nursing programs. Additionally, when appropriate, individual competencies are identified as those requiring critical thinking and those that satisfy the QSEN (Quality and Safety Education for Nurses) competencies of Patient-Centered Care, Team Work and Collaboration, Evidence-Based Practice, Quality Improvement, Safety, and Informatics.

Competencies for Associate of Science in Nursing Program (RN)

Human Flourishing
Advocate for patients and families in ways that promote their self-determination, integrity, and ongoing growth as human beings.
Nursing Judgment
Make judgments in practice, substantiated with evidence, that integrate nursing science in the provision of safe, quality care and promote the health of patients within a family and community context.
Professional Identity
Implement one’s role as a nurse in ways that reflect integrity, responsibility, ethical practices, and an evolving identity as a nurse committed to evidence-based practice, caring, advocacy, and safe, quality care for diverse patients within a family and community context.
Spirit of Inquiry
Examine the evidence that underlies clinical nursing practice to challenge the status quo, question underlying assumptions, and offer new insights to improve the quality of care for patients, families, and communities.

Competencies for Practical Nursing Certificate Program (LPN)

Human Flourishing
Promote the human dignity, integrity, self-determination, and personal growth of patients, oneself and members of the health care team.
Nursing Judgment
Provide a rationale for judgments used in the provision of safe, quality care and for decisions that promote the health of patients within a family context.
Professional Identity
Assess how one’s personal strengths and values affect one’s identity as a nurse and one’s contributions as a member of the health care team.
Spirit of Inquiry
Question the basis for nursing actions, considering research, evidence, tradition and patient preferences.


The Nursing Programs at Cecil College have limited enrollment and require specific criteria to be considered for admission. Please refer to the college catalog for detailed information

Additional information on how to apply to the program can be found in Admissions.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Please refer to the college catalog for Cecil College's statement regarding non-discrimination.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Please refer to the college catalog for information about FERPA.


Tuition & Fees

Standard tuition and fees apply. In addition to the standard fees, there is a clinical liability insurance fee that is included in tuition bills for NUR 114/211. The cost is $15.00 per year.

Additional Expenses

Once you've been accepted into the Nursing program, expect to pay for the following expenses:

Fee Cost
Seat fee $250.00 1
Health Record/Immunization online tracking, one-time $25.00
Criminal Background Checks & Drug Screening, approximately $120.00
Personal Health Insurance Required Variable
Uniforms and shoes $240.00
Required supplies, such as stethoscope $200.00
Textbook estimate for entire nursing program $1300.00 (variable)
ExamSoft, fee for online exams $60.00 per year

1 Payment of seat fee is mandatory and a condition of nursing program acceptance. Students who remain enrolled in the nursing program for the fall semester, will be refunded their seat fee, during the fall semester. Students who accept a seat in the nursing program but do not enroll or remain enrolled in the nursing program until after the drop/add period, will not be refunded the seat fee.

Program Learning Outcomes

In accordance with the requirements established by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the Associate of Science in Nursing program at Cecil College is pleased to report on student achievement outcome data in the tables below.

Graduates' Success on Licensure Exam

Graduate success on licensure exams is a significant benchmark for any nursing program. Graduates’ success is calculated by the Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) by the number of graduates who are successful on passing the NCLEX-RN on their first attempt.

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Five-year Average
Required minimum Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) pass rates for NCLEX-RN 75.55% 77.60% 79.03% 79.52% 79.14% N/A
State average for MBON pass rates for NCLEX-RN 82.82% 85.55% 87.70% 88.54% 87.78% N/A
Cecil College, MBON pass rates for NCLEX-RN 1 94.12% 94.59% 100% 100% 88.89% 95.52%
Cecil NCSBN, pass rate 2 98% 100% 100% 100% 95% 98.6%

1 Pass rates reported by Maryland Board of Nursing are calculated by the fiscal year and combine partial results from two classes. Some takers from states outside of Maryland, may be absent from these results.

2 Pass rates are reported national data from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN); reporting from April to March of the following year and are indicative of previous classes' results. All takers across the United States are included.

Graduation Rate

Graduation rate is calculated at 150% time of completion for all students enrolled in initial nursing courses as of October. Program length for nursing coursework, is 4 semesters.

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Five-year Average
Percentage of students completing the Associate of Science in Nursing program at Cecil College 86.8% 77.97% 66.18% 73.13% TBA1 TBA1

1 Data to be reported January 2019.

Job Placement

Job placement rate is defined as employment as a registered nurse within nine months of graduation. This is determined by graduate surveys and individual conversations by faculty with graduates. Some graduates do not seek employment immediately upon graduation due to changing life circumstances, relocation, and/or entering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master in Science in Nursing (MSN) program upon completion of their associate degree.

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Five-year Average
Job placement rate 100% 80% 80% 100% TBA1 TBA1

1 Data to be reported January 2019.

Graduates' Satisfaction with Cecil College Nursing Program

Additionally, the Cecil College Nursing graduates have the opportunity to provide feedback to the nursing program nine months after completion. Surveys are made available to graduates a variety of ways and graduates are encouraged to provide anonymous feedback regarding the nursing program. Overall, graduates who choose to respond are satisfied with the education that they receive at Cecil College, as evidenced by the graduate survey results. Please see the table below.

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Five-year Average
Percentage of graduates responding 26% 21% 26% 25% TBA1 TBA1
Adequately prepared to practice as entry level nurse. Agree or strongly agree 100% 100% 100% 100% TBA1 TBA1
Overall graduate satisfaction with the quality of the nursing program 99% 100% 100% 100% TBA1 TBA1

1 Data to be reported January 2019.