top nursing schools in the USA

Top 10 Nursing Schools to Attend in the USA

Are you overwhelmed with options in your quest to find a top nursing school in the USA? Or you don’t know the criteria to use in selecting the best nursing school that suits your preferences?  

I assume you already know that some of the best nursing schools in the world are found in the USA.

So, in this article, our focus will be on the top nursing schools in the US and how you can get into one.

There’s no doubt that the best nurses in the world are products of excellent nursing schools. These nursing schools do not just offer the best classroom learning experiences; they also have state-of-the-art simulation centers for the best clinical experiences.

If you’re an international student, this article will also let you know about the best nursing schools in the USA for you.

But before we proceed, you might want to take a look at the 30 Most Common Nursing School Interview Questions students ask.

What are the Requirements for Admission Into Nursing Schools in the USA?

Although the requirements for admission into a nursing school program are determined by the school, there are some general requirements you need to be aware of.

These requirements can be categorized into:

Document Requirements for Nursing Schools

These are documents you must have to be considered for admission to any nursing school:

top nursing schools in the USA

Grade Requirements for Nursing Schools

These are the minimum grade requirements you need to get admission into any nursing school in the USA:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.5
  • A minimum grade of “C” in relevant subjects in secondary school

Please note that different schools have different grade requirements. And the higher the prestige of the school, the higher the grade requirements.

Language Requirements for Nursing Schools

English is the basic language requirement for nursing schools in the United States. If you’re coming from a non-native-speaking country, you’re expected to have proof of your proficiency in the language. Here is the most accepted proof of proficiency:

  • IELTS: a minimum overall score of 7.0 or
  • TOEFL: A minimum score of 75

You should get detailed information on the requirements and prerequisites for nursing schools to better equip yourself with the right information.

How Much Do Nurses Earn in the USA?

According to the US Bureau of Statistics, the median salary for registered nurses in the US is $77,600. The top 10% earned above $120,250 and the lowest 10% earned below $59,450.

Top 10 Nursing Schools in the USA

1. University of Pennsylvania

LocationPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Tuition$56,212 for undergraduate programs
NCLEX Pass Rate94.6%
AccreditationCCNE, COA, ACME
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

The University of Pennsylvania is a private research university that offers world-class research experience to its students. The school boasts of getting the highest research funding from the National Institute of Health.

Penn Nursing offers a wide range of nursing programs to its students. These students have access to technology-enhanced classrooms and state-of-the-art simulations. This is why graduates of Penn Nursing have diverse clinical experience.

With an acceptance rate of 9%, the University of Pennsylvania is one of the hardest schools to get into in the United States.

2. Johns Hopkins University

LocationBaltimore, Maryland
Tuition$66,168 for the MSN entry program
NCLEX Pass Rate96%
AccreditationCCNE, COA
ProgramsMSN, PhD, DNP

Though Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing does not offer undergraduate programs, it has a provision for non-nursing degree holders through its MSN entry program.

The university is ranked by QS World University Rankings and US News and World Reports to be among the top 10 nursing schools in the world.

Johns Hopkins University offers its students world-class learning facilities. This ensures its students have access to the best theoretical and practical aspects of nursing.

The school has acceptance and graduation rates of 11% and 93%, respectively.

3. Duke University

LocationDurham, North Carolina
Tuition$1,984 per credit hour
NCLEX Pass Rate99%
AccreditationCCNE, SSH
ProgramsABSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

Duke University is a private research university with world-class facilities for deep learning experiences. Though the university is popularly known for its graduate programs, it offers a single undergraduate program for non-nursing degree holders.

Duke currently ranks as the No. 1 best school with DNP leadership specialty programs.

With an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio at Duke University, students enjoy more personalized learning experiences.

4. Emory University

LocationAtlanta, Georgia
Tuition$53,070 for undergraduate programs
NCLEX Pass Rate96.26%
AccreditationCCNE, COA, ACME
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

Emory University School of Nursing is a private university with awesome nursing programs for its students.

It has three BSN programs for its students. You can either join directly from high school or transfer from another school to Emory. However, to qualify for transfer, you must have a minimum of 60 credit hours of undergraduate studies.

Also, if you’re an Emory or Oxford student, you have a special transfer offer into Emory’s BSN nursing program.

Emory’s BSN program is ranked 4th by US News and World Reports. That’s to show the quality of nursing education you’d be exposed to at Emory School of Nursing.

5. University of Washington

LocationSeattle, Washington
Tuition$16,104 (residents), $53,208 (non-residents)
NCLEX Pass Rate93%
AccreditationCCNE, ACME, PNCB
ProgramsBSN, ABSN, MSN, PhD

The University of Washington is a public university with three campuses in Seattle, Bothel, and Tacoma. All three campuses offer nursing programs, but the Seattle campus has more programs than the others.

UW nursing programs are ranked as some of the best in the United States. Despite having an acceptance rate of 56%, the school offers a very effective personalized learning experience in the USA.

The university has elaborate research centers where its students get first-class experience in the world of nursing research.

6. University of Michigan

LocationAnn Arbor
Tuition$33,321 for undergraduate students
NCLEX Pass Rate98.95%
AccreditationCCNE, ACME
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

The University of Michigan is a public school with a strong global reputation in its academic programs, especially in nursing. It is not a coincidence that it has all of its nursing programs ranked among the top 10 nursing programs in the nation. Rather, it is a pure display of and recognition of academic value.

The school prepares its students to take advantage of global nursing opportunities through its in-depth nursing programs. As a BSN student, you can earn a minor in population health in a global context.

The students have access to world-class research centers and funding, which speaks to why their graduates have a high employment rate.

7. University of California, San Francisco

LocationSan Francisco, California
Tuition$69,880 for the Master’s Entry Program
NCLEX Pass Rate94%
AccreditationCCNE, ACME
ProgramsMENP, MSN, Post-Master’s Certificates, DNP, PhD

The University of California, San Francisco is on record as one of the best nursing schools in the world. That easily makes it one of the top nursing schools in the USA.

Despite not offering undergraduate programs, its Master’s Entry in Nursing Program (MENP) is one of the most sought in the nation.

The MENP prepares people with bachelor’s degrees in fields other than nursing for a rewarding career in nursing. And it has won awards as one of the best nursing master’s programs in the world.

The University of California, San Francisco receives one of the highest clinical research funding in the USA. Therefore, it is no surprise that its students emerge with diverse clinical research experience.

8. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

LocationChapel Hill, North Carolina
Tuition$33,321 for undergraduate students
NCLEX Pass Rate98%
AccreditationCCNE, ANCC
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

The University of North Carolina is one of the best public schools in the USA. It is ranked by several reputable bodies as one of the top 10 nursing schools in the USA.

The university offers the traditional BSN program to its students, while also offering more flexible master’s and doctoral programs. With their online and hybrid options in nursing, their students find it easier to combine schooling and work.

The school boasts over $10 million in grant funding, with over 70% of it going into research. It also has huge alumni of over 10,000 members. Nearly 80% of these graduates are gainfully employed in the state.

You might also want to check out the Best Medical Schools In North Carolina With Trusted Tips For Entry

9. New York University

LocationNew York City, New York
NCLEX Pass Rate94%
AccreditationCCNE, ACME
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

The New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing is rightly rated as one of the top 10 nursing schools in the USA.

With its state-of-the-art facilities, students are equipped with the necessary skills needed to meet the modern demands of nursing in the healthcare sector.

The school boasts of world-class researchers who do not hesitate to mentor the students to build their own research careers.

With about ten international academic centers spread across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America, the students have access to unlimited opportunities to develop their nursing careers.  

10. Yale University

LocationNew Haven, Connecticut
NCLEX Pass Rate95%
ProgramsGENP, MSN, DNP, PhD

If you desire to attain your nursing degree from a high-placed Ivy League university, then Yale School of Nursing is your best option.

With an average annual grant funding of $2.8 million, Yale is one of the most funded research schools in the US. Students have access to world-class researchers and state-of-the-art research centers.

Yale provides an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1 to its students, making it one of the world’s most personalized learning environments.

Though it doesn’t offer undergraduate nursing programs, Yale School of Nursing offers some of the best MSN programs in the world.

What are the Best Nursing Schools in the US for International Students?

Here are the best 5 nursing schools in the US for international students:

1. University of Pennsylvania

2. University of California, Los Angeles

3. Columbia University

4. University of Alabama

5. University of Michigan

A Wrap-Up of the Top 10 Nursing Schools in the USA

Getting your nursing education from a top school in the USA is a guaranteed way to increase your employment chances.

And having known from this article the top 10 nursing schools in the USA, I hope you will stop at nothing to actualize this dream of yours.

You might also want to learn about the Top 8 Nursing Schools in the World

Frequently Asked Questions on Top Nursing Schools in the USA

How Do I Validate My Nursing Degree in the US?

To validate your nursing degree in the US, you have to first submit your credentials for evaluation by the CGFNS. Secondly, you have to take a qualifying exam by the CGFNS and finally write and pass the licensure exam organized by the state you want to work in.

What is the Easiest Nursing School to Get Into in the USA?

Clemson University, with a 100% acceptance rate, is the easiest nursing school to get into in the USA.

Can I Study Nursing in 2 Years?

Yes, most nursing schools have accelerated nursing programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months.

Can I Get into Nursing School With a GPA of 2.5?

Though most top nursing schools have a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0, there are decent nursing schools that accept a 2.5 GPA.

Can a Nurse Become a Doctor?

Yes, with further studies, a registered nurse can become a doctor of nursing in any specialty. However, to become a medical doctor, you must go back to medical school and complete the required coursework.

What is the Quickest Nursing Program?

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the quickest way to become a registered nurse.


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