Top Nursing Colleges in USA: Fees, Courses, Eligibility, Scholarships and Scope

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    Anam Shams

    Content Curator | Updated on - Sep 1, 2021

    Studying Nursing in America can be challenging but equally rewarding in terms of quality education and future work experiences. Nursing Colleges in the USA have widespread popularity among all study abroad, aspirants, due to increased emphasis on preventive care, increased rate if chronic conditions and demand for healthcare services. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for RN’s is expected to grow by 12% from 2018 to 2028. This is much faster than the national average of 5% for all occupations.

    To become a registered nurse, students are required to have a bachelor's degree, associate degree, or a diploma in nursing. Bachelor’s degrees are offered by the majority of nursing colleges in the USA. However, only a few of them offer associates or diplomas in nursing. Masters, doctoral and post-degree certificate programs are also available for studying in the USA to those who wish to get specialized knowledge in this field.

    • Over 2,951,960 registered nurses were employed in the USA in the year 2018, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
    • General medical hospitals and surgical hospitals employed the highest number of nurses ie. 1,698,700. 
    • The average salary of Registered Nurses in USA in 2019 was $73,300 per year and $35.24 per hour. 
    • The pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry paid the highest salary of 95,400 USD per annum to graduates of nursing programs in the USA. 
    • Employment of registered nurses in USA is projected to grow by 12% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average of other occupations.

    International applicants who wish to study abroad, and pursue nursing in America are required to get their prior degrees evaluated by specialists to meet the requirements. Some institutes require verification from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, others ask for Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools to evaluate applicants' records.

    Percentage Change in Employment

    Table of Contents

    Best Nursing Colleges in USA

    Programs for nursing in USA are offered by over 605 colleges and universities. Out of these, 5 are included in the top 10 list of QS News World Ranking of 2020 for nursing. Tabulated information on courses offered by top-ranked nursing colleges in USA is provided below: 

    University QS Ranking 2020 Programs Offered
    University of Pennsylvania 1 2 Bachelors; 5 Masters; 13 Certificates; 4 Doctorates
    John Hopkins University 3 5 Masters; 5 Certificates; 19 Doctorates
    University of Washington 4 2 Bachelors; 1 Masters; 9 Certificates; 12 Doctorates
    Yale University 6 1 Masters; 2 Doctorates
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 10 3 Bachelors; 1 Masters; 4 Certificates; 3 Doctorates

    Nursing Colleges in USA: Courses and Specializations Offered

    Nursing programs teach students how to deal with patients and assist doctors in the treatment. Some of the common courses taught in nursing in the USA are: 

    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Microbiology
    • Biochemistry
    • Nutrition
    • Statistics
    • Patient care
    • Psychology
    • Health care law and ethics
    • Health Care policy

    The depth of knowledge imparted to students depends upon the level of degree they are pursuing. General courses offered at various levels of degrees at nursing colleges in the USA are mentioned below:

    • 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.)

    In addition to this, post-degree nursing certificates are also offered by top-ranking colleges in the USA. Students can pursue these courses after completion of a master's degree. 

    Vocational Nursing Programs in USA

    Program Duration
    Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) 1 year
    Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) 15 months to 2 years
    Accelerated BSN Programs 12 to 18 months
    Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Program (CRNA) 1 year
    Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) 18 to 30 months

    Nursing Colleges in USA: Undergraduate Programs 

    Bachelors and associate degrees are offered at the undergraduate level in universities for nursing in USA. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree lasts for 4 years if pursued after 12th class and for 2 years if opted after an associate degree. 

    Some of the popular nursing colleges in USA offering BSN degree are: 

    University QS Ranking 2020 Annual Fees (in USD)
    University of Pennsylvania 1 51,156
    University of Washington 4 35,187
    University of North Carolina 10 12,930
    University of Pittsburgh 16 22,826
    University of Illinois, Chicago 42 25,572
    Pennsylvania State University 43 33,664
    Ohio State University 49 34,989
    University of Minnesota 49 30,438
    Case Western Reserve University 51 - 100 49,804
    Michigan State University 51 - 100 41,492

    Nursing Colleges in USA: Eligibility for UG Programs

    International students must satisfy the following minimum criteria to apply in US universities:

    • Completed senior secondary school
    • Minimum 80% or 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in 12th class (varies with the university)
    • Studied chemistry, English and biology at the senior secondary level
    • Have some experience of working in a healthcare service (depends on the university)
    • Proof of English proficiency by submitting one of the following scores:
      • TOEFL (iBT): 90-100
      • IELTS: 6.5- 7.0

    Nursing Colleges in USA: Documents Required for UG Programs

    International students must submit the following documents either by post or via mail directly to the admission committee of the respective university to apply for nursing colleges in the USA: 

    • Original copies of senior secondary school and high school completion certificate
    • Subject by subject evaluation of international students transcripts by one of the accredited agencies
    • English translation of non-English transcripts
    • Official test report of English proficiency tests
    • Recommendation letters from a teacher or guidance counselor

    Nursing Colleges in USA: Postgraduate Programs

    The majority of the nursing colleges offer Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in USA. The program duration is 2 years and is available under various specializations such as neonatal, family care, pediatric primary care, psychiatric-mental health care, etc. 

    Following are some of the popular universities for nursing in the USA offering programs at postgraduate level: 

    University QS Ranking 2020 Annual Fees (in USD)
    University of Pennsylvania 1 44,376
    John Hopkins University 3 61,638
    University of Washington 4 26,200
    Yale University 6 55,500
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 10 23,434
    University of Carolina, San Francisco 11 11,442
    University of Michigan Ann-Arbor 12 24,022
    Duke University 15 21,090
    Columbia University 20 84,700
    New York University, NYU - Rory Meyers College of Nursing 21 25,232

    Nursing Colleges in USA: Eligibility for PG Programs

    Most of the high ranking nursing colleges in the USA have the following minimum eligibility criteria: 

    • Bachelor's degree in nursing or equivalent
    • Minimum 80% or Grade B or 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale at the bachelors level
    • Registered Nursing license
    • GRE score (depends on the university)
    • Experience of working in a healthcare facility (varies with the university)
    • Interview
    • One of the following test scores to demonstrate proficiency in the English language:
      • TOEFL (iBT): 100
      • IELTS: 7.0

    Nursing Colleges in USA: Documents Required for PG Programs

    Following are the documents required to apply for a masters program in nursing in the USA:

    • Transcripts of the bachelor's degree
    • Test scorecards of English proficiency and GRE
    • Recommendation letters from the professor and/or previous employer
    • Updated Resume/CV
    • Statement of Purpose

    Nursing Colleges in USA for Doctoral Programs

    A Ph.D. in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practise (DNP) in various specializations are the two main programs offered at the doctoral level in nursing colleges in the USA. A Ph.D. requires 3 to 4 years to complete. However, a DNP degree can be completed within 2 to 3 years.

    Doctoral programs offered by top universities for nursing in the USA are tabulated below along with their annual fees: 

    University Programs Offered Annual Fees (in USD)
    University of Pennsylvania Post Master’s DNP; 2 years 30,000
    DNP Nurse Anesthesia; 3 years 47,286
    PhD in Nursing; 4 years 36,254
    John Hopkins University PhD in Nursing; 4 years 42,006
    DNP Advance Practise/PhD Dual Degree; 5 years 55,431
    DNP Executive/MBA Dual Degree; 3 years 35,440
    University of Washington DNP (various specializations); 3 years 27,708
    PhD in Nursing Science; 3 years 44,712

    Nursing Colleges in USA: Eligibility for Ph.D.

    International students are required to have the following requirements to apply for admission in US universities

    • Bachelors and masters degree in nursing
    • Minimum 80% or 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale at bachelors and masters level
    • Registered Nursing (RN) license
    • GRE score
    • Completion of introductory-level statistics at undergraduate level (varies with the university)
    • Interview
    • IELTS (7.0) or TOEFL iBT (100) as a proof of English proficiency

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

    Following documents should be mailed to the School of Nursing (SON) of respective universities: 

    • Transcripts of bachelors and masters degree
    • Research proposal
    • An essay based on prompts given by the university
    • Recommendation letters
    • Updated Resume

    Post-Degree Certificates in Nursing in USA

    Students after completing masters in nursing can also apply for short-term courses instead of a doctoral degree. Such courses are known as post-degree certificates. These courses can be completed within 1 to 1.5 years.

    Few of post-degree certificates offered by popular universities are:

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

    Scholarships by Nursing Colleges in USA

    The majority of the universities’ School of Nursing (SON) provide scholarships specifically for students pursuing a course in nursing colleges in USA. Also, many healthcare service providers, NGOs, and third-party organizations offer funding to nursing students. 

    Some the awards and scholarships offered to international students in USA by such organizations are provided below: 

    Scholarship Awarding Agency Education Level Amount (in USD)
    Alexandra Beebe, BSN `74, Student Emergency Fund UNC All degree level Varies
    Kindred Spirit Award UNC All degree level Varies
    Tammy Flake Honors Award UNC All degree level Varies
    Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship by SON University of Washington Undergraduate $250 to $4,000 per quarter
    Graduate Tuition Scholarship by SON University of Washington Graduate $500 to $2,500 per month
    Promise of Nursing (PON) Faculty Fellowships Several national hospitals & healthcare agencies Graduate $1,000 to $7,500 per year
    Undergraduate Scholarship Program Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association Undergraduate $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 annum
    NURSE Corps Scholarship NURSE Corps Undergraduate, Graduate 100% tuition fees

    In addition to the above-mentioned scholarships, students enrolled in bachelor's in nursing in the USA are eligible to apply for entrance merit scholarships and other awards offered to undergraduate students of respective universities.

    Similarly, masters in nursing students can apply for scholarships offered by graduate schools of respective universities. Research funds and teaching assistantships are other funding options available to Ph.D. in nursing students in the USA. 

    Scope after Studying at Nursing Colleges in USA

    Students can earn an average of 53,000 USD to 104,000 USD per annum after completion of a program in nursing colleges in the USA. However, to practice as a nurse, you must have a registered RN license. Students who pursued a degree in nursing can apply for the NCLEX -RN exam. After scoring a passing pass, you will be provided the RN license and thus given the opportunity to practice in any hospital or clinic in the USA.

    Although, anyone with a degree in nursing such as certificate, diploma, associate degree, bachelor's or master's degree can apply for an RN license in the USA. Yet, most of the organizations prefer to hire students having at least a bachelor's degree in nursing. 

    Following are the available jobs in USA for nursing graduates: 

    • Work in hospitals
    • Office Nurse (Doctor’s office or outpatient clinic)
    • Public health nurses (working with individuals and groups to improve overall health in the community)
    • Long term care nurses (caring for patients in assisted living facilities or nursing homes)
    Job Role Average Annual Salary (in USD)
    Nurse 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

    About 210,400 openings for registered nurses are projected each year on an average over the decade. Nurses with BSN degree have better prospects, moreover, candidates with work experience or specialty areas like gerontology have fair chances.

    Nursing is not an easy job as you might have to work in rotational shifts and odd hours. However, with increasing employment rate and a rise in demand for skilled nurses, the paygrade is also continuously increasing in this sector. This makes nursing colleges in the USA one of the lucrative study options for international students. 


    2.7 /10
    9.3 /10

    I was an undergraduate student in Finance at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After completion of the degree, I worked for 2 years in a company in Rochester as a Financial analyst. But I developed an interest in marketing lately. So I applied for a master's degree in marketing at my previous college and Simon Business school by applying online. I paid a $90 application fee for my current college. However, my application was accepted in both colleges but I chose Simon as this college is just 30 min away from where I live.

    Fees :

    I paid around $67,000 every year for the course. This doesn't include other expenses. Other expenses like activity fees, books, accommodation, health fees, international fees took up to nearly $24,700 per year. Merit scholarship, Meliora scholarships were available to international students along with an outside scholarship.

    9.7 /10

    Prior to undertaking an MBA, I was working for EY. I was from a BBA background and I had a total of 8 years of working experience in business administration at that time when I decided to follow my interest in working as a Brand Manager. My cumulative GPA in undergraduate was 3.7. I carefully researched online, the colleges and universities whose curriculum is aligned with my interest. I filled out the online application form for this particular college and paid $90 for it. For all 4 colleges where I applied I submitted a resume, transcripts, essays, and test scores. I got responses from all of them but accepted the offer of Simon's only cause of its high rank and placement history.

    Fees :

    Per year I have to pay around $47,000 for tuition. Other expenses make up to approx $20,900 per year. I also paid $750 as an international student programming fee in the first year and that is a one-time fee only. Scholarships granted by an outside organization other than my college can be available for international students. There are myriad of those scholarships out there.

    10.0 /10

    I was an engineering graduate and founded a startup company with a couple of my friends before pursuing an MBA. However, that company collapsed after 2 years due to chaos and mismanagement in the operation department. So I decided to do an MBA in business operation. I searched online for a good college and then only I came to know about this college and its popularity. I applied through the university's website and paid a $75 application fee. I was also interviewed by video conference. After one month they mailed me that I was selected.

    Fees :

    I have paid nearly $42,700 for this year. Next year's total charge is the same. Total fees include fees for books and supplies, housing, computer and travel. I have to admit that MBA fees in my college are lower than most of the other private MBA programs. Merit-based financial aid, fellowships funded by our university are often endowed to international students. Not only that Scholarships from private organizations are other options for us.

    Top Colleges

    Sort ByPopularityAdmin RatingHighest FeesLowest Fees
    Maryland, usa
    • M.S.N/M.P.H0/Yr

      Course Duration : 2 years

      GRE 317 | TOEFL 100
    • M.S.N0/Yr

      Course Duration : 18-24 months

      GRE 317 | TOEFL 100
    Pennsylvania, usa
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      Course Duration : 36 months

    • B.S.N0/Yr

      Course Duration : 4 years

      TOEFL 100
    California, usa
    • M.S.N0/Yr

      Course Duration : 2 years

      GRE 326 | IELTS 7
    • B.S.N0/Yr

      Course Duration : 4 years

      TOEFL 100
    Washington, usa
    Texas, usa
    Georgia, usa
    Ohio, usa
    • M.S.N0/Yr

      Course Duration : 1 year

      GRE 312 | TOEFL 79
    • B.Sc Nursing0/Yr

      Course Duration : 4 years

      TOEFL 79
    Pennsylvania, usa
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    District of Columbia, usa
    1789Estd. Year
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    Massachusetts, usa