*Disclaimer-I apologize this post is long, detailed and has a lot of useful information for every beginner with questions.

If you’re new to Arizona or new to nursing program process or just meddling in the idea of healthcare, these three letter probably have no meaning, but they’re huge for me and I will explain why from the beginning.

But first I have to take some words back…

In my first post, as I was writing about the beginning of my journey, I mentioned CEP there, I also mentioned that I won’t be going that route, well fast forward a few semesters and, hence the exclamation points behind the three letters there’s been a change of plan and it’s happening. As I was plugging away at my classes, after I had submitted my application to Maricopa for their two-year program, I realized I had enough classes for the CEP route. After having many discussions with my husband and thinking it through, it was decided that it was a feasible option in time, effort and money…at least in the long run so I went for it.

So… back to, what does CEP stand for and what does it mean?

CEP stands for Concurrent Enrollment Program. It’s a program through the community colleges in Maricopa County that allows you to complete a Bachelor’s degree in nursing while you’re working on your Associates degree. So what the Maricopa Community Colleges have done is, partner with local and satellite campuses of Universities. Eligibility for this route is determined by completing the required classes for Maricopa, completing all required pre-requisites for the university campus of your choosing, and meeting the university GPA requirements for all the classes. I say you have to meet the university GPA because they typically exceed the community college requirements.

The next question is; how do you get the process going?

Before you apply to the CEP program, you have to apply for the Maricopa program for their two-year degree. The acceptance of your application establishes that you have met their basic requirements. From that point you are on Maricopa’s waiting list.

In the next steps, if students have their CEP requirements met, they can go back and submit an application to the CEP program or, they continue to work on pre-requisites until they’ve met all their CEP requirements THEN they submit their application.

The gap between applications as stated earlier, establishes that you meet the requirements for the community college but also helps students not lose any time in their nursing pursuit because…if you get placed in an associates spot before you meet your CEP requirements you can start right away, if a student really wants to wait for CEP they can decline their open spot one time and wait for CEP acceptance, or if their wait ends up being longer then the student will most likely get into the CEP program before their associates acceptance so they start the process faster.

My personal process

Moving to Arizona I had a lot of classes completed, I had to retake some just due to the transfer process, and some not being accepted but I didn’t have to take a ton of pre-requisites here so, in January of 2016 I was able to turn in my application for the Maricopa nursing program which is considered the associates program. While waiting for a campus placement I took A&P II and Microbiology because, while they are not requirements for the application, you have to get them done before you start the program.

I went through one round of Maricopa placements in the meantime, meaning I was just waiting to see if I got in (my hopes weren’t very high) and I didn’t get placed. There were students getting placed with application submissions from October of 2015. After finishing those two classes I realized I can apply for the CEP program with Upper Iowa University (I’ll make another post about that separately). I collected all my paperwork which included

-Transcripts (unofficial)

-HESI scores (yes you need to bring them again even though you did for the Maricopa program)

-Fingerprint clearance card (again-yes you need it again)

-Completed application

-Questions and time

While I don’t recommend doing this-in fact, I highly discourage you from doing this, I turned in my CEP application on the deadline day for that application period of May 31, 2016. My advisor was incredible though, she was very thorough, very helpful and went through every step and detail very patiently with me. My application was accepted that day, and from that point it was a waiting game. About two, maybe three weeks later I received a phone call from an advisor at Upper Iowa University (UIU), she didn’t give me a lot of information but, informed me that they received my application and that I have met their basic qualifications and now I just have to wait for Maricopa Community Colleges (MCC) to place me. On June 29th I received an email from the (MCC) with information that I have been accepted into the UIU/Scottsdale Community College CEP program. It was the best email to receive that day and I was thrilled to death. Scottsdale was not my first campus of choice but it was a choice I indicated on my application and am really excited for the new waiting game.

From my understanding, in the past, the CEP route was pretty much a guaranteed placement right away if you qualified. This May application period that I got through, was the first semester that not all qualified CEP applicants got placed because there were so many applicants. I am counting all my blessings right now and thankful that it’s worked out as well. I really hope for smooth sailing for anyone going through the same process as it’s a stressful process to begin with.


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