100% employment rate for nursing and health services graduates

Earn your associate degree in nursing at Southwestern Michigan College and join the nearly 3,000 SMC nursing grads who have helped save lives throughout Cass County, Michigan and the United States for over 50 years.

The nursing program at SMC is regarded as one of the best in the region, with national accreditation (ACEN), the highest standards for admission, above average pass rates on the NCLEX exam (the national licensing exam required to become an RN), a 100% job placement rate and a brand new facility.

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Start Quote SymbolEvery 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.End Quote Symbol

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

About Nursing Careers

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 $70,000. Much faster than average job growth is expected between now and 2020.

To become an RN you must complete an associate in applied science degree in nursing and take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Path to Becoming an RN

  • Apply to SMC
  • Complete pre-requisite courses
  • Apply to the nursing program
  • Complete the nursing program to earn an associate degree in nursing from SMC
  • Take the NCLEX to earn the RN designation

More About Nursing at SMC

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.

From day one students gain hands-on experience practicing clinical skills and applying the knowledge they learn in the classroom. Class sizes are small so that students can build meaningful relationships with instructors and so that instructors can make sure each student is progressing appropriately. All students complete clinicals at real health facilities and in simulation labs so that they graduate already having experience performing the tasks they’ll complete on the job.

As a result, graduates are well-equipped to excel in nursing careers. Graduates consistently earn above-average pass rates on the NCLEX and enjoy a 96% employment rate.

Other Information

  • Nursing pre-requisite courses can be completed on the Dowagiac or Niles campus.
  • Those holding a LPN license can be given credit for experience and complete a shortened program. View the LPN to RN program guide for more details.

Interested in other health careers? Learn more about Health Services programs at SMC.

Admission Information and Deadlines

Forty students are admitted to the nursing program each Fall and Spring semester. Students must have a 3.0 or better in pre-requisite courses and an overall GPA of 3.0 to be eligible to apply to the program. Admission is highly competitive and is not guaranteed. There is no waitlist for admission.

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.

Application Process

  1. Apply and gain admittance to SMC. Select Health Services AA on the application.
  2. Contact a nursing advisor to select appropriate pre-requisite courses.
  3. Complete pre-requisite courses.
  4. Apply to the nursing program during your last semester of pre-requisite courses. The Application to Begin Nursing Program can be found in Wired under Student Resources > Student Quick Links > Nursing.
  5. You will be notified of your acceptance via mail or email.

Application Deadlines
May 1 for Fall 2019 admission
August 1 for Spring 2020 admission

Student Achievement Data

  1. Licensure Pass Rate
    Year SMC Average SMC
    3-Year Mean
    National Average National
    3-year Mean
    2016 85.58% 90.82% 81.68% 82.66%
    2017 85.9% 88.27% 84.24% 83.46%
    2018 73.21% 81.53% 85.11% 83.63%
  2. Completion of Program
    Program 2016 2017 2018
    A.A.S.-RN 79.25% 68.05 N/A
    L.P.N.-A.A.S.- RN. 83% 68% N/A
  3. Job Placement
    2016 2017 2018
    100% 96% 100%

Why Choose the Nursing Program at SMC?

There are many nursing schools in Michigan—why choose SMC? Because we care. Our goal is not simply to graduate students. We understand that, at some point in their career, a person’s life—one of our loved one’s lives—may depend on one of our graduates. We want to make sure our students know what to do in life-or-death situations and are fully equipped to handle every situation they may encounter. We have small class sizes that allow our instructors to get to know each student personally and to mentor them through the program. Instructors are on the floor with students during clinicals, making sure skills are applied correctly. We have a competitive admission process and accept only the best-qualified students—there is no waitlist. Students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher and must maintain good grades throughout the program. These high standards are why the nursing program has such a good reputation and why our graduates are in such high demand. We won’t lie to you, the program is difficult and will require a lot of time and effort, but we will be there to support you every step of the way.

Job Outlook
Annual median pay: $71,730
Much faster than average job growth is expected between now and 2026.

2018 median pay. Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Contact Information

Rebecca Jellison
Dean of School of Nursing and
Health Services
Email: nhs@swmich.edu
Phone: 269-782-1236

ACEN Accredited

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
3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850,
Atlanta, GA 30326
Learn more about ACEN.



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.