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. Additional prior learning credits may be available to active LPNs.

    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-to-RN 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-to-RN) 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 2.75 or better in prerequisite courses and a minimum Kaplan admission exam 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

    June 1 for Fall Regular Program Admission

    November 1 for Spring Regular Program Admission

  • Student Achievement Data
    Licensure Pass Rate
    Year SMC Average National Average
    2023 87.5% 88.56%
    2022 80% 79.91%
    2021 81% 82.48%


    Completion of Program*
    Program 2022-2023 2021-2022 2020-2021
    A.A.S.-RN In Progress 40% 20.8%

    *SMC calculates completion rates based on students completing the Nursing Program in four semesters.

    Job Placement
    2023 2022 2021
    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 Option Salary
    Registered Nurse: $86,070

    2023 median pay. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earn Your Bachelor's Degree In Nursing For Less!

Andrews University Transfer Partnership with SMC

Licensed registered nurses who have graduated from the SMC nursing program and have passed the NCLEX-RN exam can complete their bachelor's degree through SMC's unique partnership with Andrews University. Learn more about the Andrews RN to BSN Program here.

Learn More About Nursing

About the School of Nursing and Health Services

Student Testimonial-Emmanuel

Student Testimonial-Jess

Professor Deb Green

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. 


Southwestern Michigan College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Commission may be found at 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604. They may be reached by telephone at (800) 621-7440. SMC is also a member of the American Association of Community Colleges