Top Nursing Colleges in the USA, Best Colleges in the USA for Nursing

Top Nursing Colleges in the USA

Nursing Colleges in the USA can be challenging but equally rewarding for high-quality education and future job experiences. Nursing schools in the USA are a popular choice for students who are interested in studying abroad because of the increased focus on preventive healthcare, increased rates of chronic diseases, and the demand for healthcare. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of resident nurses will increase by 7 percent between 2019 and 2029. This is significantly higher than the average national rate of 5 percent for all occupations.

To be a registered nurse must have an associate degree, bachelor's degree, or degree in nursing. Bachelor's degrees are provided by the majority of nursing schools across the USA. However, only a handful of colleges offer associate degrees or diplomas in nursing. Doctoral, Masters and post-degree certificate programs are accessible for students studying in the USA for those looking to gain specialized knowledge in the field.

  • General medical and surgical hospitals had the greatest number of nurses. 1,729,200.
  • The median salary for registered nurses in the USA by 2020 stood at 75,300 US dollars a year and 36.22 USD an hour.
  • The pharmaceutical and manufacturing industry pays the highest wage of 95,400 USD per year to nursing graduates across the USA.
  • The demand for registered nurses in the USA is expected to increase in 2029, adding 221,900 additional positions.

International students who want to pursue studies abroad and then pursue nursing must have their degrees reviewed by experts in order to satisfy the requirements required to be able to study in the US. Certain institutions require verification of an organization, like the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Some require the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools to assess the qualifications of applicants.

Best Nursing Colleges in the USA

Nursing programs in the USA can be found at more than 605 universities and colleges. Of these, five are listed in the top 10 universities in QS News World Ranking of 2021 for nursing. Information on the courses offered by the top nursing schools in the USA can be found below:


QS Subject Ranking 2022

Programs Offered

University of Pennsylvania


2 Bachelors; 5 Masters; 13 Certificates; 4 Doctorates

Johns Hopkins University


5 Masters; 5 Certificates; 19 Doctorates

University of Washington


2 Bachelor's degrees, 1 Master's degree, 9 Certificates, and 12 Doctoral degrees

Yale University


1 Masters; 2 Doctorates

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


3 Bachelors; 1 Masters; 4 Certificates; 3 Doctorates

Nursing Colleges in the USA: Courses and Specializations Offered

Nursing courses instruct students on how to deal with patients and aid physicians in their treatment. The most popular courses offered in nursing schools in the USA include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Statistics
  • Care for patients
  • Psychology
  • Health care law and ethics and health care law
  • Health Care Policy

The level of education given to students is based on the degree they're pursuing. General courses offered at different levels at nursing schools across the USA are as follows:

  • Undergraduate: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Graduate: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Doctoral: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP); Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Furthermore, Post-degree nursing diplomas are also available from top-ranked schools across the USA. Students are able to pursue these courses following the completion of the master's degree.

Vocational Nursing Programs in the USA



Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

1 year

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

From 15 months to 2 years

Accelerated BSN Programs

12-18 months

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Program (CRNA)

1 year

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

18-30 months

Nursing Colleges in the USA: Undergraduate Programs

Associate and bachelor's degrees are available in the first year of undergraduate study at nursing schools in the USA. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree can be earned for four years when it is completed following 12th grade and two years when it is obtained following an associate degree.

Some of the top nursing colleges in the USA that offer BSN degrees include:


QS Ranking 2022

Annual Fees (in USD)

University of Pennsylvania



University of Washington



University of North Carolina



University of Pittsburgh



University of Illinois, Chicago



Pennsylvania State University



Ohio State University



University of Minnesota



Case Western Reserve University



Michigan State University



Nursing Colleges in the USA: Eligibility for Bachelors

Students from abroad must meet the following minimum requirements to be eligible to attend US universities:

  • High school graduation
  • Minimum 80percent (or 3.0 GPA on the 4.0 grade in the 12th grade (varies according to the institution)
  • Studying Chemistry, English, and biology at the secondary level.
  • Have experience working in a health service (depends on the institution)
  • SOP for the USA
  • Evidence of English proficiency through submission of an English proficiency test with one or more of the scores below:
    • TOEFL (iBT): 90-100
    • IELTS: 6.5- 7.0

Nursing Colleges in the USA: Documents Required for Bachelors

International students have to provide the documents listed below by mail or post directly to the admissions committee of their university to be eligible for admission to nursing schools across the USA:

  • Original copies of the senior secondary school transcript and high school graduation certificates
  • Subject-by-subject evaluation of transcripts of international students through one of the accrediting agencies.
  • English translation of transcripts that are not in English
  • Official test report for English proficiency tests
  • Recommendation letters from teachers or guidance counselor

Nursing Colleges in the USA: Postgraduate Programs

A majority of nursing schools provide a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in the USA. The duration of the program is two years, and it is offered under several specializations, including neonatal care, family medicine and pediatric primary care, mental health and psychiatric care, etc.

Below are some of the top nursing universities in the USA that offer programs at postgraduate levels:


QS Subject Ranking 2022

Annual Fees (in USD)

University of Pennsylvania



John Hopkins University



University of Washington



Yale University



University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill



University of Carolina, San Francisco



University of Michigan Ann-Arbor



Duke University



Columbia University



Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University (NYU)



Nursing Colleges in the USA: Eligibility for Masters

The majority of top-ranked nursing schools in the USA include the following eligibility requirements:

  • Nursing degree or equivalent
  • Minimum 80percent (or Grade B) (or 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 grade a bachelor's degree
  • License for Registered Nursing
  • Score on the GRE (depends on the institution)
  • Experience working in a hospital (varies depending on the institution)
  • Interview
  • The following scores demonstrate competence in the English language:
    • TOEFL (iBT): 100
    • IELTS: 7.0

Nursing Colleges in the USA: Documents Required for Masters

The following documents are required to be submitted for a master's degree to study nursing in the USA:

  • Transcripts of bachelor's degrees
  • The test scorecards that show English proficiency as well as GRE
  • Recommendation letters from professors or previous employer
  • Updated Resume/CV
  • SOP for MS in the USA.

Nursing Colleges in the USA for Doctoral Programs

A Ph.D. in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practise (DNP) with various areas of specialization are the two primary programs available at the doctoral degree level in nursing colleges across the USA. A Ph.D. requires 3 to 4 years of study to finish. However, an DNP degree can be earned in two to three years.

Doctoral programs offered by the top nursing schools within the USA are listed below, as well as their annual fees:


Programs Offered

Annual Fees (in USD)

University of Pennsylvania

Post Master’s DNP; 2 years


DNP Nurse Anesthesia; 3 years


PhD in Nursing; 4 years


John Hopkins University

PhD in Nursing; 4 years


DNP Advance Practise/PhD Dual Degree; 5 years


DNP Executive/MBA Dual Degree; 3 years


University of Washington

DNP (various specializations); 3 years


PhD in Nursing Science; 3 years


Nursing Colleges in the USA: Eligibility for Ph.D.

International students must fulfill the following conditions for admission to US universities:

  • Master's and Bachelors degrees in nursing
  • Minimum of 80% of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale at the master's and bachelors level
  • License for Registered Nurse (RN) license
  • GRE score
  • Statistics at an introductory level at the undergraduate level (varies according to the institution)
  • Interview
  • IELTS (7.0) or TOEFL IBT (100) to prove your English proficiency.

Nursing Colleges in the USA: Documents Required for Ph.D.

These documents should be sent in the following order to the School of Nursing (SON) of the respective universities:

  • Transcripts of master's and bachelors degree
  • Research plan
  • A composition based on prompts set by the university
  • LOR
  • Updated Resume.

Post-Degree Certificates in Nursing in the USA

Students who have completed their master's degree in nursing may also apply for short-term programs in lieu of a doctoral. These courses are referred to by the name post-degree certificate. They are usually completed within one up to 1.5 years.

The most common post-degree certificates issued by top universities are:

  • Adult-Gerontology, Advanced Practice Environmental and Occupational Health, Nurse-Midwifery, Pediatric Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Clinical Nurse Specialist are all offered at the University of Washington.
  • Health Systems Management, Pediatric Acute Care Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Nurse Educator, HIV Primary Care, John Hopkins University.
  • University of Pennsylvania: Palliative care, Quality Improvement and Safety Processes in Healthcare, Adult Oncology Specialty, Integrated Nursing Care of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health at the University of North Carolina.

Scholarships From Nursing Colleges in the USA

Most colleges' schools of Nursing (SON) offer scholarships specifically for students enrolled in nursing schools in the USA. In addition, there are many medical service organizations, healthcare providers, and other third-party organizations that offer financial aid to students in nursing.

A few of the scholarships and awards that are offered to international students USA by these organizations are listed below:


Awarding Agency

Education Level

Amount (in USD)

Alexandra Beebe, BSN `74, Student Emergency Fund


All degree level


Kindred Spirit Award


All degree level


Tammy Flake Honors Award


All degree level


Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship by SON

University of Washington


$250 to $4,000 per quarter

Graduate Tuition Scholarship by SON

University of Washington


Between $500 and $2,500 per month

Promise of Nursing (PON) Faculty Fellowships

A number of national hospitals and healthcare institutions


From $1,000 to $7,500 a year

Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association


$1,000 to $10,000

Academic Education Scholarships

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses

All degree levels

$1,500 to $2,500

American Indian Nurse Scholarship Program

National Society of The Colonial Dames of America

All degree levels

$1,500 per semester

Hurst Review Services - American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Scholarship

Hurst Review Service & AACN

All degree levels

$2,500 per year

NURSE Corps Scholarship


Undergraduate, Graduate

100% tuition fees

In addition to the mentioned scholarships, students who are enrolled in a bachelor's degree in nursing studies in the USA can apply for merit-based scholarships to be awarded at the entrance, as well as other awards that are offered to students in the undergraduate program of their various universities.

Similar to masters in nursing, students are eligible for scholarship opportunities that are offered by graduate schools of their respective universities. Teaching assistantships and research funds are also funding options for Ph.D. nursing students from the USA.

Scope after studying in Nursing Colleges in the USA

Students make an average of between 53,000 and 104,000 USD annually after completing an education in nursing schools across the USA. To be able to work as a nurse, you need to be licensed as a registered nurse. Students who have completed an education in nursing may take the NCLEX -RN examination. If you pass the exam with a passing score and passing the exam, you'll be granted the RN license and will have the possibility to practice at any clinic or hospital located in the USA.

But, anyone who holds an accredited nursing degree such as a diploma, certificate or bachelor's, associate, or master's degree may apply for a nursing certification within the USA. However, the majority of companies prefer hiring students with a minimum Bachelor's Degree in Nursing.

Here are the jobs available in the USA for nurses who have completed their studies:

  • Work in hospitals
  • Office nurse (Doctor's in-office or clinic for outpatients)
  • Nurses in public health (working with groups of individuals to improve health overall in the community)
  • Long-term care nurses (caring for residents who reside in nursing facilities, assisted living, or other assisted living institutions)

Job Role

Average Annual Salary (in USD)


36,600 - 110,000

Head Nurse

43,600 - 122,000

Mental Health Nurse

30,500 - 106,000

Nurse Midwife

37,400 - 126,000

Nurse Practitioner

36,300 -107,000

Occupational Therapist

49,600 - 167,000

Staff Nurse

36,800 - 108,000

There are 210,400 vacancies in the field of registered nursing that are anticipated every year for the next decade. Nurses with a BSN degree are more likely to be hired as well, and those with experience in work or special fields like gerontology have good chances. Nursing isn't an easy occupation as it is possible to work on rotational shifts as well as odd times. With the growing rates of employment and a surge in demand for qualified nurses, salaries are growing in this field. This makes nursing schools within the USA one of the most lucrative studying options for students from abroad.

Frequently asked questions

What is the #1 nursing school in the US ?

The best nursing program in the United States right now is Duke University.

Which college has the best nursing program ?
Here are the top nursing schools for 2023: Master's
  • Johns Hopkins University.
  • Duke University.
  • Emory University.
  • University of Pennsylvania.
  • University of Washington.
  • Columbia University.
  • Ohio State University.
  • University of Michigan--Ann Arbor.
What is the hardest nursing school to get into ?
Here are the top nursing schools for 2023: Master's
  • Johns Hopkins University.
  • Duke University.
  • Emory University.
  • University of Pennsylvania.
  • University of Washington.
  • Columbia University.
  • Ohio State University.
  • University of Michigan--Ann Arbor.
Is nursing a difficult major ?

You're on the right track to a successful career that will be challenging, interesting, and gratifying. But nursing school is renowned for being challenging. The majority of nursing programs need strong GPAs and exceptional marks in difficult courses like arithmetic, chemistry, biology, and psychology. Additionally, it is quite gratifying.

How many years does it take to become a nurse ?

It might take anywhere from 16 months to four years to become a registered nurse, depending on the particular nursing program that you choose to enrol in. 

Is Bachelor of nursing hard ?

There is no denying that the course is difficult. I didn't think of myself as a student who was inherently intelligent; rather, it was my perseverance, commitment, and enthusiasm that carried me through. You don't do nursing as a job to make money. Not everyone will enjoy it.

How many years does it take to study nursing in America ?

4-year period

How many years does it take to study nursing in the University ?

Universities require 4 to 5 years to complete a nursing program.

Is nursing school harder than medical school ?

Nursing school is far easier than medical school. In addition to being far more competitive for admission, the medical school requires a lot more coursework than nursing school does. Even though the content is somewhat similar, Medical School goes into far more detail.

Which degree is the hardest ?

Chemistry, medicine, architecture, physics, biomedical science, law, neuroscience, fine arts, electrical and chemical engineering, economics, education, computer science, and philosophy are the most challenging degree disciplines. Let's look at why these subjects are the most challenging for degrees right away.

How many years does it take to become a nurse ?

Three years are required to finish a General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) program. In truth, upgrading a GNM diploma to a degree is simple. Two years of Post Basic B.Sc. The nursing course gives students the chance to advance their careers.

What is a 3 year nursing degree called ?

Undergraduate Certificate or Diploma Courses in Nursing

What are the levels of nursing from lowest to highest ?

Nursing Degree Levels (Ranked from Lowest to Highest).

  • RN diploma Another path to becoming a registered nurse is to obtain an RN diploma.
  • Nursing Associate's Degree (ADN)
  • nursing science bachelor's degree (BSN)
  • Nursing Master of Science (MSN)
  • Nursing Practice Doctor (DNP)
What is the highest degree in nursing ?

The PhD degree is the highest level in nursing education.

What is the difference between a nurse and a registered nurse ?

Most people associate the term "nurse" with the work of a registered nurse (RN). A wide number of duties fall within the purview of registered nurses (RNs), including giving out medicine, contributing to a patient's care plan, and working with medical professionals. RNs may supervise LPNs and CNAs in various workplaces.