Best Nursing Schools and Programs

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Nursing rankings will help you compare the relative value of nursing programs based on generally accepted indicators of quality such as acceptance rate, tuition, student retention, graduation rates, NCLEX pass rates, post-graduation employment rates, and nursing school faculty credentials and reputation. They may also help to broaden your nursing program options as you may not have previously considered some of the top nursing programs in this Best Nursing Schools Rankings.

Best Nursing School Rankings

Below you will find the 2017-2018 edition of the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Nursing School Rankings. This list highlights the top nursing programs across the United States. Simply pick a school from the list below and start doing your research. We recommend you evaluate nursing programs based on a holistic view of national and regional nursing school rankings, regional and national accreditation, state licensing board approval (deals with your ability to sit for licensing tests), NCLEX pass rates, employment rates, and more.

If you are interested in earning your nursing degree or advancing your nursing career opportunities, there are many accredited online nursing degree programs that are available to you.

Want to get your nursing degree? You may qualify for a $5,920 pell grant!

2017-2018 U.S. News & World Report’s Nursing School Rankings

RankingCollege NameLocation
#1
Duke UniversityDurham, NC
#2
Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD
#3
University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
#4
Emory UniversityAtlanta, GA
#5
Ohio State UniversityColumbus, OH
#6 Tie
University of WashingtonSeattle, WA
#6 Tie
Yale UniversityNew Haven, CT
#8 Tie
Columbia UniversityNew York, NY
#8 Tie
University of PittsburghPittsburgh, PA
#10
University of Maryland – BaltimoreBaltimore, MD
#11 Tie
Case Western Reserve UniversityCleveland, OH
#11 Tie
University of Michigan – Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI
#13 Tie
New York University (Meyers)New York, NY
#13 Tie
University of Alabama – BirminghamBirmingham, AL
#15 Tie
University of California – Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA
#15 Tie
Vanderbilt UniversityNashville, TN
#17
University of North Carolina – Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC
#18
Rush UniversityChicago, IL
#19
University of VirginiaCharlottesville, VA
#20 Tie
Pennsylvania State University – University ParkUniversity Park, PA
#20 Tie
Rutgers University – NewarkNewark, NJ
#20 Tie
University of Illinois – ChicagoChicago, IL
#23 Tie
University of IowaIowa City, IA
#23 Tie
University of Texas – AustinAustin, TX
#23 Tie
University of Texas Health Science Center – HoustonHouston, TX
#26 Tie
Medical University of South CarolinaCharleston, SC
#26 Tie
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAurora, CO
#28 Tie
Georgetown UniversityWashington, DC
#28 Tie
Indiana University-_Purdue University – IndianapolisIndianapolis, IN
#28 Tie
University of San DiegoSan Diego, CA
#31 Tie
Arizona State UniversityPhoenix, AZ
#31 Tie
Boston CollegeChestnut Hill, MA
#31 Tie
The Catholic University of AmericaWashington, DC
#31 Tie
George Washington UniversityWashington, DC
#31 Tie
University of UtahSalt Lake City, UT
#36 Tie
Oregon Health and Science UniversityPortland, OR
#36 Tie
University of RochesterRochester, NY
#38 Tie
University of CincinnatiCincinnati, OH
#38 Tie
University of MiamiCoral Gables, FL
#38 Tie
University of MissouriColumbia, MO
#41 Tie
University of ArizonaTucson, AZ
#41 Tie
Washington State UniversitySpokane, WA
#43 Tie
University of ConnecticutStorrs, CT
#43 Tie
University of Missouri – Kansas CityKansas City, MO
#45 Tie
Florida Atlantic University (Lynn)Boca Raton, FL
#45 Tie
University of Massachusetts – AmherstAmherst, MA
#45 Tie
University of South FloridaTampa, FL
#48 Tie
University of AlabamaTuscaloosa, AL
#48 Tie
University of Tennessee – KnoxvilleKnoxville, TN
#48 Tie
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond, VA
#48 Tie
Wayne State UniversityDetroit, MI

To see nursing schools that ranked 50+, click here.

Want to get your nursing degree? You may qualify for a $5,920 pell grant!





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.

How To Find The Best Nursing School

As nursing rankings are a good reference point in your search for the best nursing school. There are many things you should consider as you search for a nursing program. These things can and should include:

  • If you need to work during nursing school, does the program offer a heavily structured environment or a more flexible one?
  • How involved are the school’s faculty and administration in the program and the curriculum?
  • How strong is a nursing program’s affiliation with local or national hospitals and clinics?
  • How much clinical and internship work is required for graduation?
  • What are the nursing school’s most recent NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) pass rates?
  • Does the nursing program provide adequate resources including computers, science laboratories, and off-campus clinical work?
  • How large are the class and lab sizes?
  • If you want to specialize, does the school offer the curriculum that helps you to do that?
  • 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 professors and instructors?
  • What is the school’s job placement rate for graduates of their nursing program?

Young nursing student in nursing school

Want to get your nursing degree? You may qualify for a $5,920 pell grant!

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 to pursue 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 Schools

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 completed 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.

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