Attending the best colleges for nursing can give you experience in a spectacularly rewarding field. As more of a standard for registered nurses, bachelor’s degrees are essential. There are plenty of top-ranked programs specifically designed for this profession across the nation.
We’ve compiled ten of the best nursing colleges that you can consider enrolling in to pursue your dream career. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $26,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $70,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
Best Colleges for Nursing
1. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
4 Year; San Antonio, TX
Average Annual Cost: $7,068
The School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio features a renowned nursing program. Students will explore their abilities to become leaders by using innovative research to further their skills. The school boasts a team of outstanding faculty members to assist students with aiding their community within Texas and worldwide.
There are two undergraduate tracks that students can enroll in for nursing as well as four graduate programs. For your undergrad, you can consider either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Traditional Track or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Accelerated Track.
With the traditional track, you’ll have 22 months of full-time study. Alternatively, the accelerated track requires 15 months of continuous, full-time study.
Those in the accelerated program are typically non-registered nurses with an existing baccalaureate degree. Standard students will prefer the traditional track, as it offers four semesters of prerequisite knowledge.
During your studies, you’ll acquire the fundamental skills to pursue a generalist nursing practice career. Students will explore an assortment of concepts required for pre-licensure and gather essential clinical and research experience. Uniquely, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio features a 99% NCLEX first-time passing rate.
2. SUNY Downstate Medical Center
4 Year; Brooklyn, NY
Average Annual Cost: $7,274
SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s College of Nursing offers multiple avenues of study for students. You can enroll in the DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Program as well as the following:
- Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- RN to BS in Nursing
- MS in Family Nurse Practitioner
- MS in Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
- MS in Nurse-Midwifery
- Advanced Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner
- Advanced Certificate in Nursing Education
- Advanced Certificate in Women’s Health Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Every student will acquire essential skills required of nurse practitioners to discharge their duties to serve their community faithfully. Through your classes, you’ll learn about person-centered care, population health, quality and safety, interpersonal partnerships, and more. Another significant facet of the program is implementing information and technologies into healthcare, preparing for a future-proof career.
Many of the programs available at SUNY Downstate Medical Center are hybrid courses, ideal for flexibility. Students will spend time both in-class and at-home studying their core courses to help prepare them for the NCLEX. Also, the skills you’ll learn in your studies will assist you with building your professional career pre-licensure.
3. Upstate Medical University
4 Year; Syracuse, NY
Average Annual Cost: $7,525
Upstate Medical University is ideal if you want a nursing career around research, practice, and education. In their College of Nursing, students can get a Bachelor of Science or a Master of Science. The school also offers a Post Master’s Advanced Certificate or a Doctor of Nursing degree.
Depending on the learning track you choose, you might be able to learn online. For example, the Bachelor of Science program is available entirely online. You’ll also have the opportunity to experience clinical experience in an assortment of settings.
Whether you want to specialize in psychiatric care or primary care, the options are endless. With an approved application, you can experience complete clinical care to further your career. However, their programs are unique in that they are primarily designated for those with previous experience.
For example, the Bachelor of Science (Online Program) is designed for RNs with associate’s degrees. All students at Upstate Medical University transfer to gather their four-year experience to assist RNs in meeting licensure requirements. Also, note that this program is the only one in Central New York that’s a part of an academic medical university.
The graduation rates for Upstate Medical University are remarkable, with 88% of seniors graduating annually. Additionally, 96% of graduating nurse practitioners pass the national specialty examinations and pursue their dream careers.
4. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
4 Year; Houston, TX
Average Annual Cost: $10,087
Students searching for a nursing specialty should consider The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. At the Cizik School of Nursing, there are many degree options for prospective nursing students to consider. These options include:
- RN-MSN in Nursing Leadership
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Nursing Leadership
- Nurse Anaesthesia
- Nurse Practitioner
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
- Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
The central objective of the nursing program is to assist the community by providing diverse and knowledgeable nursing staff. You’ll have access to innovative tools and teaching methods to help propel you into a highly competitive field. Also, students will acquire fundamental skills to improve scientific discovery and medical practice worldwide.
The culture at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is incredibly positive for all nursing students. You can study in an environment built on creativity and innovation paired with equitable working environments. Students also find it’s a fantastic facility for preparing for local, national, and state nursing licenses.
One of the best statistics you’ll find for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is their graduation rate. 92% of students finish their schooling with their desired degree and move on to their licensing examinations.
5. University of Maryland, Baltimore
4 Year; Baltimore, MD
Average Annual Cost: $10,607
One of the best ways to develop a strong team of nursing professionals is to give students access to innovative technology. At the University of Maryland, Baltimore, you’ll have state-of-the-art facilities to incorporate into your learning pathways. Students can access up to 28 clinical simulation labs to give you hands-on training before entering your career field.
Also, 84% of students get employed within one year of graduating from the school’s nursing program. Compared to other nationally-ranked nursing programs, this school has one of the most extensive course offerings. Also, students can choose from a wide variety of specialties ranging from undergraduate to doctorate degrees.
Some of the most popular learning pathways include:
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Community/Public Health Nursing
- Health Services Leadership and Management
- Post-Master’s Nursing Options
- Nursing Informatics
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Apart from the degree programs, there are also several certificates you can acquire to further your education. A few examples include:
- Global Health Certificate
- Environmental Health Certificate
- Care Coordination Certificate
- Teaching in Nursing and Health Professions Certificate
6. Cochran School of Nursing
2 to 4 Year; Yonkers, NY
Average Annual Cost: $13,861
Students at Cochran School of Nursing gather many unique experiences to assist them in their future careers. The learning outcomes for their program are extensive, providing nurses with the quality education needed to offer optimal healthcare. To assist a diverse patient population, you’ll focus on various concepts, including cultural and spiritual care tenets.
Students will also navigate through clinical judgments using data to provide high-quality care in their work environment. Another fantastic component of this program is that it teaches students how to collaborate with a team to achieve safe patient outcomes. There are multiple areas of learning that you’ll find to diversify your nursing schools in this program.
When enrolled, you’ll participate in many different types of courses, including core courses. You’ll also have plenty of science-based classes, including:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Developmental Psychology
Some of the most common nursing courses include:
- Math Dosage and Calculation for Nursing
- Nursing Basics
- Maternity Nursing
- Medical-Surgical Nursing
- Nursing of Children
With a 77% graduation rate, it’s easy to see how Cochran School of Nursing offers a well-rounded program. Approximately 70% of their students complete their area of study within three years, and 80% pass the NCLEX exam on their first try.
7. Medical University of South Carolina
4 Year; Charleston, SC
Average Annual Cost: $16,822
One of the most remarkable features of the Medical University of South Carolina is its history in nursing education. The school has been run for 136 years and has continually helped students develop into the best nurses they can be. With an assortment of baccalaureate, master, and doctoral degrees, there are multiple avenues of study to consider.
The school’s list of academic programs includes:
- Accelerated BSN
- RN – BSN
- DNP Programs
- Ph.D. Programs
- Graduate Certificate Programs
As you can tell, one of the foremost tenets of the school is to ensure nurses continue learning throughout their careers.
Even with the certificate programs, you can gather experience in specific specialties to provide lifelong care to multiple populations. Another unique feature of the Medical University of South Carolina is its accelerated learning options. In the Accelerated BSN program, you complete your studies within 16 months.
Students will gather fundamental lab skills paired with clinical and classroom teachings to prepare them for their careers. One of the main facets that make this program stand out from the rest is its practice simulations. With practice simulations, you’ll be combining clinical and didactic learning at the same time.
Within the Healthcare Simulation Center, students will work with telepresence robots to offer remote instruction for students. This way of learning gives you real-world experience with clinical decision-making, communication, and more in a safe, simulated environment. Undoubtedly, this is one of the many ways your nursing education uses technology to help better prepare you for on-the-job experiences.
8. Helene Fuld College of Nursing
4 Year; New York, NY
Average Annual Cost: $18,764
The Helene Fuld College of Nursing currently offers three programs for nursing students. You can enroll in the RN to BS program, LPN to RN program, or the Generic BS program. Each pathway provides you with the essential skills to become a well-rounded and seasoned healthcare professional.
Apart from the essential nursing skills you’ll acquire during your studies, every program helps create diverse learners. You’ll gather competency in six core areas, which include: Observation, Motor, Cognitive, Communication, Social, and Behavioural attributes. By the end of your studies, you’ll have all the requirements to meet current nursing standards.
These programs are also remarkable for giving learners a multitude of opportunities in classroom environments. By blending didactic and classroom education, nursing students feel more prepared to handle day-to-day tasks. Also, you’ll experience office, simulation, and off-campus clinical exercises.
9. Oregon Health & Science University
4 Year; Portland, OR
Average Annual Cost: $19,602
The School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science University is a fantastic solution for students. Their program revolves around giving personal care while developing medical skills and knowledge. Students can also acquire a better understanding of holistic approaches to medicine and patient care.
Like many nursing schools, Oregon Health & Science University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs. Students can acquire a Bachelor of Science, Online RNBS, or Accelerated Bachelor of Science Degree with the undergraduate learning pathways. You’ll find all of the programs are highly adaptable to your current schedule.
Oregon Health & Science University offers students a high-tech learning environment through their state-of-the-art simulation labs. Students will also have access to top-tier clinical facilities throughout the state of Oregon. By the conclusion of your studies, you’ll have the fundamental skills to become a seasoned professional in any healthcare environment.
10. St Paul’s School of Nursing – Staten Island
2 to 4 Year; Staten Island, NY
Average Annual Cost: $25,322
St Paul’s School of Nursing – Staten Island is for students interested in acquiring an associate’s degree. Upon completing the program, you can transfer to a four-year college or university to begin your pre-licensure education. One of the central tenets of this program is to ensure every nursing student has the lifelong skills required to promote physical and social well-being.
Within the ADN program, you can begin working towards the specialty track you’re interested in. Alternatively, Licensed Practical Nurses can use the program to help advance themselves to Registered Nurse. Another massive benefit of this program is that it can assist LPNs and LVNs in opening the door to more career options.
Whether you specialize in geriatrics, oncology, pediatrics, or surgery, this nursing program is ideal. Some of the most common areas of specialty that the school’s 77% of graduates enter include:
- Nurse Educator
- School Nurse
- Public Health Nurse
- Medical Writer
- Hospital Administrator
- Charge Nurse
- Operating Room RN