Rankings won’t tell you everything you need to know about a nursing school, but they will point you in the right direction. They’re an excellent starting point for finding a reputable, competitive nursing program. At a glance they allow you to compare the relative quality of the most reputable nursing schools based on generally accepted indicators of quality such as graduation rates, student retention, and faculty. Rankings may also help to broaden your options. You may be surprised to find some new nursing schools on this Best Nursing Colleges rankings list that you hadn’t previously considered attending.
As we mentioned, rankings are just a starting point in your search for a nursing school or college. As you search for a good nursing program there are many things you should consider. If you work, does the program offer a heavily structured or a more flexible environment? How involved are school faculty in the program? How strong is a nursing school’s affiliation with major hospitals and clinics? How much clinical work is required for graduation? Does the nursing school provide adequate resources including computers, science laboratories and off-campus/clinical work? How large are the class sizes? What type of academic and career counseling services does the school provide? How much one-on-one time can you expect to receive with your professor? What is the school’s student placement rate for graduates of their nursing program?
Below you’ll find the 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Nursing College Rankings. It highlights the best nursing schools and programs across the United States. To get started simply pick a school from the list below – and then start doing your homework!
If you are interested in earning your nursing degree or improving your nursing career and worry about being able to with your already demanding schedule, the University of Phoenix has flexible nursing degree programs that are fully accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Nursing College Rankings by Specialty
- Clinical Nurse Specialist: Adult / Medical-Surgical
- Clinical Nurse Specialist: Community / Public Health
- Clinical Nurse Specialist: Psychiatric / Mental Health
- Nurse Practitioner: Adult
- Nurse Practitioner: Family
- Nurse Practitioner: Gerontological/Geriatric
- Nurse Practitioner: Pediatric
- Nursing Service Administration
Below you’ll find a little bit more information that will assist you in your search for the best possible nursing school to meet your needs.
Nursing School Accreditation
One of the first things you should look at when evaluating a nursing school is whether or not it’s accredited, as well as its accreditation status. Accreditation ensures that a nursing program meets the minimum standards that are associated with a quality education. The two types of higher education accreditation are national accreditation and regional accreditation. While national accreditation is acceptable, regional accreditation is preferred, especially if you plan pursuing a graduate nursing degree down the road at an accredited four-year college. Two other organizations that play a role in the accreditation of nursing programs are the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Both of these organizations provide specialized accreditation for schools that offers degree, certificate and diploma programs in nursing.
Online Nursing Programs
Online programs are now available for just about every field of study or academic discipline, nursing is no exception. If you’re a self starter and highly motivated, an online degree in nursing may be a good option to consider. However, nursing is a hands-on discipline that requires the development of skills and knowledge, some of which can only be obtained through hands-on, clinical experience. As such, most online nursing degrees require an element of campus-based study, research, and education. Online nursing programs allow you to complete your classroom courses online, but you’ll still be required to complete lab work and clinical hours at a campus or nearby healthcare facility. Some of the requirements for these programs can be complete through correspondence, if you don’t live near an actual college campus.
Online nursing programs are particularly useful for registered nurses who already have ample experience under their belt and simply want to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree program for registered nurses who already have an associate’s degree is a perfect example. In most cases, a registered nurse can complete this entire degree program online, without ever stepping foot on a campus. If clinical work is required, it usually can be completed at their current job or at a nearby hospital or medical facility.
Graduate degrees in nursing are also growing in popularity. The Internet provides the perfect medium for practicing nurses to augment their knowledge, understanding and skill set in nursing (while earning a degree). There are several master’s degree options in advanced practice nursing for RNs who want to specialize in a particular area of medicine or direct patient care, such as Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Executive, or even Nurse Anesthetist. Other graduate degrees in nursing include the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc), which are also available online. However, some graduate degrees, especially those that focus on clinical skills, may require practicums or clinicals.
When considering online nursing programs, again, the first thing you’ll want to look at is accreditation. Earning a degree on-campus or online from an unaccredited school can make it difficult to obtain a nursing license, pursue higher education opportunities down the road, or get a job in certain states.
Featured Nursing Programs
|University of Phoenix At University of Phoenix, we understand that you're juggling the demands of family and work while you earn your degree. That's why we provide working learners like you the tools you need to succeed. Our commitment to you begins even before you enroll with a one-on-one personalized consultation in which we answer your questions and develop the right plan to help you reach your educational goals. Learn More >|
|Kaplan University Kaplan University's campus locations provide the facilities, faculty, staff and career programs to help you achieve your personal goals. You can learn from professionals specializing in identifying career opportunities and preparing students for a brighter future. Learn More >|
|Grand Canyon University (GCU) Grand Canyon University, in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, is a private, for-profit Christian university that offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Though boasting a traditional college campus with all the spirit and sports to go with it, GCU also offers a wide variety of courses online. Learn More >|
|Indiana Wesleyan University Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) is an evangelical Christian university that is committed to liberal arts and professional education. U.S. News & World Report ranks Indiana Wesleyan University as 'one of the best Master's universities in the Midwest.' Learn More >|
|South University For over a century, South University has given students the personalized attention they need to achieve their career goals. With small class sizes and faculty with real-world experience, we prove to our students that when they commit to us, we commit to them. You'll find that our students are as serious as you are about taking their lives in a new direction, and we're serious about making that happen. Learn More >|
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