Top 100 - Nursing Schools in the US


The Top 100 nursing schools for 2018 rankings below represent those nursing schools in the US that have consistently demonstrated a superior level of dedication to excellence in nursing education. Our rankings are based on four criteria: Affordability, Accessiblity, Academic Quality, and NCLEX-RN board exam pass rates.




Rank School Name Tuition
(In-state)
Board Exam Pass Rate Acceptance Rate Student Body
University of Missouri–Columbia
Columbia, MO
$9,433 Top 10% 81.5% 34,700
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
$8,079 Top 10% 78% 30,100
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO
$7,058 Top 5% 97.2% 34,000
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
$7,835 Top 10% 82.6% 32,400
Tennessee Technological University
Cookeville, TN
$7,679 Top 20% 97.4% 11,500
Truman State University
Kirksville, MO
$7,374 Top 10% 73% 6,253
Missouri Southern State University
Joplin, MO
$5,416 Top 5% 96.2% 5,420
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park, CA
$7,276 Top 10% 81.9% 9,020
University of Louisiana–Monroe
Monroe, LA
$6,963 Top 10% 91% 8,545
Brigham Young University–Provo
Provo, UT
$5,000 Top 10% 54.9% 34,400
Nicholls State University
Thibadaux, LA
$7,234 Top 10% 92% 6,600
University of Tennessee Chattanooga
Chattanooga, TN
$7,554 Top 10% 76% 11,660
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Lafayette, LA
$5,374 Top 5% 60% 16,687
Emporia State University
Emporia, KS
$5,614 Top 5% 72% 5,870
University of Nevada–Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
$6,570 Top 20% 88% 27,400
University of Southern Indiana
Evansville, IN
$6,600 Top 5% 72% 10,500
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS
$10,200 Top 20% 92.3% 27,100
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Alva, OK
$5,050 Top 5% 72% 2,300
Metropolitan State University
St. Paul, MN
$6,650 Top 20% 96.7% 8,170
California State University–Sacramento
Sacramento, CA
$6,700 Top 10% 69.7% 28,500
Louisiana Tech University
Ruston, LA
$7,150 Top 20% 70.8% 11,343
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND
$7,240 Top 20% 83.5% 14,430
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO
$7,300 Top 5% 79% 13,740
California State University–Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
$6,400 Top 10% 67% 21,800
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM
$6,200 Top 30% 80% 17,650
Ohio State University–Columbus
Columbus, OH
$10,040 Top 20% 64% 56,400
Langston University
Langston, OK
$4,300 Top 5% 63% 1,740
Southeastern Louisiana University
Hammond, LA
$5,300 Top 10% 89% 15,602
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, CO
$6,800 Top 30% 89% 12,520
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD
$7,832 Top 30% 92% 12,580
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Pembroke, NC
$5,300 Top 20% 72% 6,300
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY
$7,540 Top 20% 60% 15,970
Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne, IN
$7,100 Top 20% 82% 13,770
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC
$5,880 Top 20% 62% 26,950
California State University–San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
$7,060 Top 10% 62% 10,360
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT
$15,750 Top 20% 77% 13,100
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY
$10,110 Top 20% 67% 28,000
Indiana University–Kokomo
Kokomo, IN
$6,680 Top 20% 70.4% 3,720
St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, MN
$7,480 Top 30% 89.7% 16,460
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH
$16,500 Top 20% 77.9% 15,300
University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
Oshkosh, WI
$7,360 Top 20% 68.5% 13,400
Illinois State University
Normal, IL
$12,573 Top 20% 74% 17,200
University of Central Oklahoma
Edmond, OK
$5,092 Top 30% 78.9% 17,200
Fitchburg State College
Fitchburg, MA
$8,985 Top 10% 72.1% 6,888
Georgia College & State University
Milledgeville, GA
$8,790 Top 20% 66.3% 6,400
University of Memphis
Memphis, TN
$7,900 Top 20% 64.7% 22,200
University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL
$8,150 Top 30% 87.2% 14,600
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV
$6,450 Top 50% 85.1% 29,700
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Natchitoches, LA
$6,300 Top 30% 84.9% 9,450
Louisiana State University–Alexandria
Alexandria, LA
$4,600 Top 20% 61.1% 2,400
51 California State University–Bakersfield
Bakersfield, CA
$6,792 Top 10% 67% 8,720
52 Youngstown State University
Youngstown, OH
$7,712 Top 30% 86.7% 13,800
53 Worcester State University
Worcester, MA
$8,157 Top 5% 68.1% 6,200
54 California State University–Stanislaus
Turlock, CA
$6,664 Top 30% 72.2% 8,900
55 Ball State University
Muncie, IN
$9,300 Top 20% 61.2% 21,000
56 University of South Carolina–Columbia
Columbia, SC
$10,800 Top 20% 60.6% 31,300
57 Morehead State University
Morehead, KY
$7,500 Top 50% 84.5% 11,100
58 Southern Utah University
Cedar City, UT
$5,924 Top 5% 57.2% 8,300
59 Weber State University
Ogden, UT
$4,800 Top 50% 100% 26,500
60 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Bloomsburg, PA
$8,582 Top 20% 67.6% 9,950
61 University of Maryland–College Park
College Park, MD
$9,200 Top 20% 46.8% 37,200
62 University of Washington
Seattle, WA
$12,383 Top 20% 59% 42,500
63 University of Evansville
Evansville, IN
$10,000 Top 10% 80% 34,000
64 Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY
$8,722 Top 50% 92.3% 21,100
65 Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN
$34,600 Top 5% 84.8% 1,450
66 University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
$6,263 Top 50% 44.1% 49,900
67 Indian River State College
Fort Pierce, FL
$2,760 Top 50% 100% 17,800
68 Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA
$9,100 Top 20% 61% 15,400
69 Radford University
Radford, VA
$9,026 Top 30% 76.4% 9,500
70 Metropolitan State College of Denver
Denver, CO
$6,400 Top 30% 71.3% 23,300
71 University of Colorado–Denver
Denver, CO
$7,500 Top 50% 75.9% 22,400
72 University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL
$6,380 Top 20% 52% 16,201
73 University of Louisville
Louisville, KY
$9,750 Top 30% 76.3% 21,300
74 Auburn University
Auburn University, AL
$9,880 Top 50% 77.4% 16,500
75 California State University–Chico
Chico, CA
$8,900 Top 50% 79.2% 16,470
76 Clemson University
Clemson, SC
$13,400 Top 20% 57.9% 20,770
77 Washburn University
Topeka, KS
$5,780 Top 50% 95.5% 7,200
78 Lamar University
Beaumont, TX
$9,050 Top 50% 88.3% 14,300
79 West Texas A&M University
Canyon, TX
$6,990 Top 30% 69.4% 7,900
80 Valparaiso University
Valparaiso, IN
$34,760 Top 5% 79.6% 4,080
81 University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL
$6,300 Top 20% 62.5% 59,760
82 Rutgers Camden Regional Campus
Camden, NJ
$13,430 Top 20% 80% 6,350
83 Murray State University
Murray, KY
$6,840 Top 50% 82.2% 10,800
84 Wichita State University
Wichita, KS
$6,927 Top 50% 95.2% 14,890
85 Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
$14,400 Top 30% 67.2% 36,700
86 Indiana University Southeast
New Albany, IN
$6,700 Top 30% 77.9% 6,900
87 University of Nevada–Reno
Reno, NV
$6,150 Top 50% 83% 18,230
88 University of Texas–El Paso
El Paso, TX
$7,020 Top 50% 99.8% 22,800
89 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM
$7,300 Top 50% 64.6% 29,000
90 University of Massachuetts–Amherst
Amherst, M
$13,258 Top 30% 62.6% 28,200
91 Austin Peay State University
Clarksville, TN
$7,160 Top 50% 85.7% 10,600
92 Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY
$8,400 Top 5% 46.7% 15,630
93 Missouri Western State University
St. Joseph, MO
$6,500 Top 50% 100% 6,060
94 Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg, KS
$5,850 Top 50% 79.3% 7,480
95 Louisiana College
Pineville, LA
$14,520 Top 20% 73.9% 1,260
96 Indiana University South Bend
South Bend, IN
$6,800 Top 30% 57.3% 8,500
97 Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Galloway, NJ
$12,000 Top 5% 57.3% 8,400
98 Winston-Salem State University
Salem, MA
$8,050 Top 20% 69.3% 9,400
99 Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA
$36,530 Top 5% 73.6% 3,470
100 Texas State University–San Marcos
San Marcos, TX
$9,200 Top 50% 76.6% 34,200
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With over 700 bachelor nursing degree programs offered in the United States, finding and selecting the right program can be a daunting task. It's important that prospective nursing students do their due diligence to deterine which programs are a good match for their needs and career ambitions. When selecting a nursing school there are several factors you should consider.

However, before you can decide which nursing school is going to be serve your career objective, you have to know what your career objectives are. Do you want to start as a licensed practice nurse (LPN)? If so, you can get started with a diploma or associate degree from an accredited program. However, if you want to be launch your career as a registered nursing (RN) you'll want to earn either an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or preferrably a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which will allow you further your education down the road.

Some of the general factors to consider when selecting a nursing program, once you've determined which degree path to pursue, include the folowing:

  • Nursing school specialties. Certain schools offer specific degrees and specialties. If your goal is to become a registered nurse, then you'll want to research accredited schools that provide associate and bachelor degree programs that will prepare you to pass the NCLEX exam. If you want to become a nurse practitioner, then you'll want to find schools that offer specific programs in the nursing specialty you're interested in.

  • Accreditation. Earning your nursing degree at an accredited program will ensure you receive an education the meets industry standards. There are general nursing education accrediting organizations as well as associations that offer nursing accreditation for specialized education programs. Nursing school accrediting organizations include The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), which accredits all levels of nursing education, The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which accredits only bachelor's and master's level nursing degrees, The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), which accredits nurse anesthesia programs, and The American College of Nurse-Midwives Division of Accreditation (ACNM), which, as its name suggests, accredits midwifery education programs.

  • NCLEX┬« examination pass-rates. At the end of the day, if you want to become a licensed registered nurse (RN), you have to pass the NCLEX examination. When selecting a nursing program, you'll want to find out what percentage of a school's students typically pass this exam. Ask the school for the past 5 to 10 years of NCLEX exam pass rates of their students. A school with a high pass rate is a good indicator that they prepare their students well.

  • Tuition. The cost of tuition for attending a nursing program can vary dramatically from school to school. Financial aid and assistance also varies between schools. Attending a more expensive nursing programs doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get a better education or higher paying job. The average rate of tuition per semester for full-time instate students is roughly $860 to $1,020.

  • Clinical rotations. DOes the program you're considering provide a substantion amount o clinical rotation time? Do the the clinical rotation provide hands-on experience? Are the clinical placements varied? If not, you may want to consider a different program. The best place to find out about the quality of a program's clinical rotations is from previous students.

  • Size of school. Size doesn't necessarily need to be a determinant in your decision making process–but it is something to consider. Do you prefer smaller schools where you receive more personal attention, or the intellectual stimulationof a larger institution, such as a four-year college or university. There's no right or wrong answer, it's just a matter of personal preference.

  • Class size. When researching prospective programs, you'll want to find out about the student-to-faculty ratio. The student-to-faculty ration is a good indicator of how much personalized attention you can expect to receive in the classroom and in clinical instruction. While it doesn't really matter how large the classes are for your prerequisite courses, when it comes to your core nursing courses and clinical rotations, smaller class sizes are better.

  • Location of school. Location is a factor to consider when selecting any college or university to attend. If location is a factor for you, you'll want to limit your searh the region where you want to study. Earning your nursing degree in area where you want to work once you grauate can also be advantageous. You can start your job search while you're still finishing your degree and the school you attend may have established relationships with employers in the area.

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