Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Nursing Program?

The Nursing Program allows a student to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) after one (1) year or three (3) semesters of nursing education and passage of the state licensure examination,  as well as a Registered Nurse (RN) after two (2) years or five (5) semesters of nursing education and passage of the state licensure examination. The Paramedic to ADN Mobility and LPN to ADN mobility are shorter programs that give credit for experiences obtained while employed as a paramedic or practical nurse and those programs are shorter than 2 years. After completion of the Nursing program, students may wish to continue their education at a four-year institution to earn an additional degree(s).


What is an LPN?

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) function under the direction of the RN, licensed physician, or licensed dentist. LPNs are responsible for collecting, reporting, and recording objective and subjective data in an accurate and timely manner; providing direct patient care which maintains comfort and supports human functions and responses, maintaining an environment conducive to well-being, and, providing health teaching.   LPNs must respect the rights and dignity of individuals and display exceptional interpersonal skills, sensitivity, and tact with ill, injured, and suffering patients. Nurses must assume a commitment to patient care.

What is an RN?

Registered Nurses (RN) are responsible for gathering information about patients using communication, physical assessment, and analytical skills; administering medications; performing invasive and non-invasive procedures; communicating with patients and their family members, peers, and other health care professionals in an effective manner; and teaching patients and their families to promote or restore health.  Nurses must respect the rights and dignity of individuals and display exceptional interpersonal skills, sensitivity, and tact with ill, injured, and suffering patients.  Nurses must assume a commitment to patient care and the responsibility of life-long learning. 


What credentials/degrees can I earn?

After completing one semester of the nursing program, a student will receive the certified nursing assistant(CNA) certificate and is eligible to take the state certification exam.  Upon successful passage of the exam, the student can begin working as a CNA.  After completion of the third semester, a student will receive a practical nursing certificate and is eligible to take the state licensure exam.  Upon successful passage of the exam, the student can begin working as an LPN.  After successfully completing the fifth semester of the nursing program, the student will be awarded an associate degree in nursing and becomes eligible to take the state registered nurse licensure examination to begin work as a registered nurse (RN).


Where are courses offered?

The first three semesters of the Nursing Program are offered in Opelika and Wadley. The fourth and fifth semesters of the Nursing Program are offered in Opelika only.  The general education courses required for the program may be taken at any campus.

What do I need to do to become a nurse?

There are two (2) applications you must complete as part of the application for the Nursing Program. Students must first apply to the College and be accepted. Then students must apply for admission to the Nursing Program by one of the deadline dates each year. Before applying to the nursing program, the student must meet requirements that can be found for each program under “Admission Requirements”. Not everyone who qualifies for the program will be accepted because admission is competitive. Faxed, scanned or emailed applications will not be accepted.

What is an information session verification?

Student who wish to apply for admission to any health sciences program must attend a Health Sciences Information Session and must attach ORIGINAL verification of attendance to the program application. Applications without the ORIGINAL verification will not be considered. Copies are not accepted and applications will not be considered for admission.

When can I start nursing?

You must apply by one of the deadline dates and be accepted to the program. The date you should submit your application will depend upon when you meet the admission requirements and when you decide it is the right time for you to start the program. The Nursing Program admits students each semester and the LPN-RN Mobility and Paramedic-RN Mobility programs admit one time each year. Check out the application dates under the particular program’s Admission Requirements and Dates.


What prerequisite courses are required for nursing?

Students must be eligible to enroll in Eng 101, math 100 or higher-level math, and meet the college reading requirements.  It is highly recommended that students complete as many of the general education courses required for the program as possible. 

Paramedic to RN Mobility and LPN to RN Mobility

Students applying for the mobility options must complete several general education courses before applying. Those courses can be found in the curriculum for those particular programs.

If I meet the “Admission Requirements”, will I be in the program?

Not necessarily. Admission is competitive; all applicants are rank-ordered according to their pre-admission test score and grades in designated courses. Those applicants with the highest scores will be on the top of the list. We usually accept approximately 50-60 students from each admission ranking.  Find out more details about the ranking process at the Health Sciences Information Session.

What is the pre-admission test?

Currently, the pre-admission test is the ACT National or ACT Residual. You will find more information about the ACT Residual on our website or by visiting

If I have a college degree, must I still take the pre-admission test?

Yes. The pre-admission test (ACT National or ACT Residual) score is required of all nursing applicants.  Applicants must have a minimum composite score of 18.  There is no time limit on when the test was taken.

I took the ACT National at another location. Can I still use that score?

You may use the ACT National taken at any location.  Official scores must have a minimum composite score of 18.  There is no time limit on when the test was taken.  You must order the official score by logging into your ACT account at Your official score must be sent to SUSCC no later than the published deadline for application to the program.   

After I take the ACT National or ACT Residual, how long will it take for me to receive my score?

You will receive your score within four to six weeks.  Plan test date with sufficient time to receive score prior to program deadline.

Must my ‘health requirements’ be met before I apply for admission?

No, health requirements will be due AFTER admission to the program. Do not submit any immunization records with your application.

How do I apply to the nursing program?

There is an application to the program available on the website or you can obtain one from the Health Sciences Admissions Office on the Opelika Campus. You must attach the required documents to the application and it must be received by the published deadline.

Can I fax the application packet?

No, original documents must be received through the mail or delivered in person by given deadlines.

How long is the waiting list?

SUSCC does not have a “Waiting List”. Students must apply for the program to be included in the rank order for acceptance. The top students are admitted and a select number of students are placed on an alternate list in case we have an opening available before the program begins.

I applied a year ago and was on the waiting list. Why haven’t I heard anything?

The “alternate list” is only used for a brief time; it is used until the beginning of the program following the application deadline. Students must reapply if they are not admitted.

How will I be notified about program acceptance/admission?

By U.S. Mail. You will receive a letter of standing 4-6 weeks after the deadline date.

To what address will the letter be sent?

The letter is sent to the address that is on file in the Records Office of the College. Be sure to keep your College records updated.

My grade point average (GPA) is 4.0 but I did not get into the program; a friend was accepted with a 2.5 GPA. Why?

Admission to the nursing program is not based on the applicant’s cumulative GPA. The admission is based on a combination of a test score and grades in certain courses. Students may be eligible to earn additional points (max 10 pts). See program application for details.


May I deliver my official transcripts by hand?

No. The Registrar’s office requires transcripts be mailed directly from the sending institution to SUSCC Admissions Office in Wadley, Alabama.

Do I need to send a Southern Union transcript to Health Sciences Admissions?

No, an official SU transcript does not need to be sent to Health Sciences.

Do I need to send all official transcripts to Health Sciences Admissions?

No, official transcripts must be sent to the Records Office in Wadley. Transcripts received on other campuses are not stamped as received until they reach the Wadley Records Office. Transcripts that are stamped after the deadline are considered late and the application will not be considered for admission.

My last college transcript has transfer credit listed from other schools I attended. Do I have to send the other transcripts?

Yes, official transcripts must be received from EVERY school attended whether the credit applies to nursing or not. For example, if you attended 5 schools, you must attach 5 separate transcripts.

I received a letter stating my transcripts were not received in the Records Office by the deadline. I requested them from my previous school over 2 (or more) weeks ago. Why was my application denied?

The nursing program has deadline date(s) published well in advance and those dates do not vary. It is the applicant’s responsibility to know about the deadline(s) and abide by the requirements. The admission process cannot be delayed because an applicant did not allow enough time for all records to be received. Transcripts are stamped with a “Received” date as they are received by the Records Office. The nursing admission office respects this date as accurate and does not consider transcripts received after the deadline. It is recommended that transcript requests be made not less than 30 days prior to the deadline. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the Records Office in advance to ensure that transcripts have been received. Neither SUSCC, nor the Nursing Program, can be responsible for the speed of the U.S. mail or the speed with which another institution mailed the transcripts.


Can I take nursing online?

SUSCC does not teach nursing courses online at the present time although computer testing and some hybrid courses may exist in the curriculum.

Can I take nursing in the evening?

Nursing classes are taught primarily in the day. Some labs or clinicals may be late afternoon, evening, or weekend.

Do you offer a part-time option for nursing?

No.  The nursing courses must be taken in sequence as outlined in the curriculum. Students must also take the corequisites that are required during the semester they are enrolled if they have not previously been completed with a grade of C or higher.

If I have taken all the academics or general education courses required in the program, can I finish before two years?

It takes a minimum of 5 semesters to complete the program. Each nursing course must be taken as outlined in the nursing curriculum. Your course load will be lighter if you have previously completed the general academic courses, but the program cannot be completed earlier.

After I have been accepted to the Nursing Program, how many days per week will I be in class, lab, or clinical?

On average, students in the first two semesters of the program will be in class, lab, or clinic four (4) days per week. After the second semester, the average is 2-3 days per week, exclusive of academic work. For the mobility options, you will be in class 2-3 days per week. If you must take a general education course along with nursing courses, you may be in class more often.


Where will I attend clinical?

A variety of clinical agencies are used within a 65-70 mile radius of the Opelika Campus. You may attend different sites during the same semester.

May I choose where I attend clinical?

No. Efforts are made to accommodate students’ needs when possible. However, the learning experiences require a broad variety of clinical experiences that can only be attained by attending a variety of clinical sites.


What are essential functions?

Physical and mental requirements for performing the duties of a particular health science program.

Must I have the Essential Functions form signed by a physician when I apply for admission?

No.  Students must acknowledge the physical and mental requirements of the program before they apply.  A physician’s signature is required after acceptance.

When are my health records due to be turned in?

Your health records will need to be turned in AFTER admission to the program or may be provided at orientation to the Nursing Program.  Instructions will accompany your acceptance letter.

Can I be certified with Professional Rescuer CPR from Red Cross?

No, most clinical contractual agreements require American Heart Association, Health Care Provider level with AED.

May I register for NUR classes before health requirements are met?

No. You can register for the co-requisite academic courses but not the NUR courses. Students who do not complete the health requirements by the deadline given to them in the acceptance letter will lose their place in the program.

Why does SUSCC require so many health requirements?

The clinical agencies that SUSCC contracts with have certain requirements to guarantee the health and safety of their patients. Students are required to meet those stipulations so that they can attend the clinical settings for their education. These requirements will be necessary for anyone in a healthcare field while in school and later during employment. Please keep a copy of your records because SUSCC does not keep those after you leave the program.


Does SUSCC have a job placement office?

No. During the program, students are attending clinical agencies where they make contacts with potential employers and during the final semester potential employers recruit students on campus.

The curriculum indicates I need a humanities elective. What course(s) will count for the humanity elective?

Most courses from Area II of the Alabama General Studies Curriculum (AGSC) can be used to satisfy the humanities elective requirement. The courses taught at SUSCC that can be used for the elective are ART 100, Art Appreciation; MUS 101, Music Appreciation; THR 120, Theater Appreciation; IDS 102, Ethics; HUM 101, Introduction to Humanities; ENG 271 or 272, World Literature; REL 151, Survey of Old Testament; or REL 152, Survey of New Testament. If you are transferring from other colleges or universities, you should check with an Academic Advisor regarding transfer of your course(s).