Nursing students in the simulation lab.



Start your nursing career with a degree from Southwestern Michigan College and join the nearly 3,000 SMC nursing grads who have helped save lives throughout the region and beyond for over 50 years.

The associate degree in nursing program at SMC is regarded as one of the best in the region, with national accreditation (ACEN), the highest standards for admission, a 100% job placement rate and a brand new facility.

  • About the Nursing Degree

    The goal of the nursing program at SMC is to train nurses who are knowledgeable, experienced, compassionate, and capable of providing total patient care and becoming leaders in their workplaces.

    Whether you want to work in an adrenaline-inducing emergency room, in the infant care unit, or any other specialty, you can prepare for whatever the future holds in a program that pairs caring instruction with hands-on practice and clinical experiences.

    After completing basic prerequisite courses and gaining admission to the program, you’ll deep-dive into the world of nursing. You’ll learn how to properly administer medication, understand the psychology behind patient interactions, explore the dynamics of caring for patients of varying ages, research care across cultural contexts, and more. Class sizes are small so that you can build meaningful relationships with instructors and so that instructors can make sure you are progressing appropriately.

    From day one, you will gain experience practicing clinical tasks and applying what you learned in the classroom. After you’ve developed your skills, you’ll move on to complete clinicals at real health facilities and in simulation labs so that you graduate already having experience performing the tasks you’ll complete on the job and well-equipped to excel.

    The associate degree in nursing is a two-year degree designed to prepare you to enter the workforce. It will also transfer well to most four-year schools for a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

    SMC offers two tracks, one for students new to the nursing field and one for already-certified LPNs. An active LPN license satisfies the Foundations in Nursing course and can help LPNs finish the program more quickly.

    Other Information

    • The associate degree in nursing program at Southwestern Michigan College meets the state education requirements for an RN nursing license in the states of Michigan and Indiana. Southwestern Michigan College has not determined if the associate degree nursing program at Southwestern Michigan College meets the state education requirements in any other state or any U.S. territory. Contact the state regulatory agency for nursing in any other state for which this information is needed.
    • Nursing prerequisite courses can be completed on the Dowagiac or Niles campus.
    • SMC's nursing program was named one of the top five nursing programs in Michigan in 2020 for its student success rates, reputation and affordability by


    The mission of the nursing program at Southwestern Michigan College is to provide quality nursing education to students that will benefit clients, employers, and the dynamic and diverse community. Graduates will successfully embody the ability to promote human well-being by exhibiting sound nursing judgment and demonstrating an inquiry in practice during the continual development of their professional identity in a culturally diverse society.

    End of Program Outcomes

    • Client-centered Care: The graduate will provide compassionate and coordinated care based on respect for diverse clients' preferences, values, and needs.
    • Evidence-based Practice and Informatics: The graduate will use current standards of practice using nursing informatics to support decision-making in nursing care.
    • Safety: The graduate will use psychosocial and physiological measures to minimize risk of harm to clients, families, and others in the healthcare environment.
    • Teamwork and Collaboration: The graduate will effectively collaborate within the interdisciplinary team (including clients and families) to achieve quality patient outcomes.
    • Professionalism: The graduate will uphold the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses and perform within the legal scope of practice.
  • Admissions Information and Deadlines

    Admission to the nursing program is a separate process from being admitted to the college. It is the student’s responsibility to understand and meet admissions requirements prior to admission. For answers to frequently asked questions, visit Nursing—Frequently Asked Questions.

    Application Process

    1. Apply for admission to SMC
      Fill out the free application here. Select Health Services AA on the application.
    2. Complete Pre-Requisite Courses
      Refer to the prospective nursing student packet Prospective Nursing Student Packet RN or Prospective Nursing Student Packet LPN for more information on pre-requisite courses and admissions information.
    3. Contact the Program Advisor to Discuss Admissions Requirements for the Nursing Program
      Email Kwajalein Dodd at
    4. Apply to the Nursing Program
      Complete the application packet (Nursing Application Packet RN or Nursing Application Packet LPN) and return it to the nursing office.
      You will be notified of your admission decision by mail or email.

    Additionally, to become an RN, you must complete the nursing program and earn the associate degree in nursing and then pass the NCLEX exam to earn the RN designation.

    Forty students are admitted to the nursing program each fall and spring semester. Students must have a 3.0 or better in prerequisite courses and a minimum Kaplan Admissions Test score of 60 to apply to the program. Admission is highly competitive and is not guaranteed. There is currently no waiting list for admission.

    Application Deadlines

    May 1 for Fall Regular Program Admission

    October 1 for Spring Regular Program Admission

  • Student Achievement Data
    Licensure Pass Rate
    YearSMC AverageNational Average
    2018 73.21% 84.24%
    2019 88.10% 85.11%
    2020 88.37% 86.58%


    Completion of Program
    A.A.S.-RN 68.21% 56.91% In Progress


    Job Placement
    100% 100% 100%

  • Curriculum Guides

    View the full curriculum guide for the Associate in Applied Science in Nursing RN.

    View the full curriculum guide for the Associate in Applied Science in Nursing (LPN to RN).

  • What Can I Do With a Nursing Degree?

    Nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations available and demand for nurses will always be steady. It is also one of the highest paying careers for an associate degree. Registered Nurses (RN) provide total patient care under the jurisdiction of a physician. Positions are available in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, physicians' offices, and home healthcare. The average annual median pay is $77,600. As fast as average (9%) job growth is expected between now and 2030.

    Careers and Salaries
    Career OptionSalary
    Registered Nurse: $77,600

    2021 median pay. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Learn More About Nursing

About the School of Nursing and Health Services

Student Testimonial-Emmanuel

Student Testimonial-Jess

Professor Deb Green


Employer Quote

Every SMC nursing graduate is someone that I would clearly define as a high performer in our organization. They have stepped up and taken leadership roles and continue in them as they define what nursing means for Borgess Lee and the community they serve. They have all used the skills they learned in their ADN program to provide exemplary care at the bedside, and they continue the drive for excellence and the desire for knowledge as was portrayed to them by SMC. The quality of graduates from this program is superior.

Janice K. Troeger, MSM, BSN, NECP
Chief Nursing Officer
Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital

Employer Quote

I hired Caleb Adams (ADN, ’11) in the ER. He had confidence in his training and it shows. He is an amazing clinical nurse and is a reliable part of our team.

Candace Andresen, RN
Director, Emergency Department
Memorial Hospital South Bend

Graduate Quote

SMC has prepared me well for my future in nursing. The instructors genuinely cared about my success and took every opportunity to expose me and my fellow students to different situations and treatments so we would all be familiar and ready to accept any situation with experience and confidence.

Kim Gabrielson, ADN ‘16
Graduate Nurse, Acute Care Unit
Bronson Lakeview Hospital

Nursing and Health Services Building


The Nursing and Health Education Building reopened in 2019 following a $9.6 million renovation. It is equipped with state-of-the-art skill and simulation labs to train students for real-world scenarios.



Why accreditation?
Accreditation is a sign of superior quality, as institutions must meet rigorous standards and conduct continuous self assessment, planning and improvement. Choosing an accredited school means you will receive the best education and will be more attractive as a potential employee or candidate for advanced study. 

Seal of the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing


The associate in applied science in nursing program at Southwestern Michigan College is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
3390 Peachtree Rd. NE Suite 1400
Atlanta, GA 30326
Learn more about ACEN accreditation.

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Logo


The RN program is approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing. 


SMC is accredited by the The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.