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Top Nursing Colleges in USA

Komal Yadav Komal Yadav
Study Abroad Expert

Nursing colleges in USA have a widespread popularity among all study abroad aspirants due to rapidly increasing demand for registered nurses (RNs). 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.

Percentage Change in Employment

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 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 in this industry was 77,730 USD per annum. 
  • The pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry paid the highest salary of 95,400 USD per annum to graduates of nursing programs in USA. 

Globally Ranked 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: 

UniversityQS Ranking 2020Programs Offered
University of Pennsylvania12 Bachelors; 5 Masters; 13 Certificates; 4 Doctorates
John Hopkins University35 Masters; 5 Certificates; 19 Doctorates
University of Washington42 Bachelors; 1 Masters; 9 Certificates; 12 Doctorates
Yale University61 Masters; 2 Doctorates
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill103 Bachelors; 1 Masters; 4 Certificates; 3 Doctorates

Nursing in USA: Courses and Specializations Offered

Nursing programs teach students about how to deal with patients and assist doctors in the treatment. Some of the common courses taught in nursing in 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. A general courses offered at various levels of degrees at nursing colleges in 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 (PhD)

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 masters degree. 

UG Programs at Nursing Colleges in USA

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: 

UniversityQS Ranking 2020Annual Fees (in USD)
University of Pennsylvania151,156
University of Washington435,187
University of North Carolina1012,930
University of Pittsburgh1622,826
University of Illinois, Chicago4225,572
Pennsylvania State University4333,664
Ohio State University4934,989
University of Minnesota4930,438
Case Western Reserve University51 - 10049,804
Michigan State University51 - 10041,492

Eligibility for Bachelors in Nursing in USA Admission

International students must satisfy 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 university)
  • Studied chemistry, english and biology at senior secondary level
  • Have some experience of working in a healthcare service (depends on university)
  • Proof of English proficiency by submitting one of the following scores:
    • TOEFL (iBT): 90-100
    • IELTS: 6.5- 7.0

Documents Required for Bachelors in Nursing in USA Admission

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

Masters at Nursing Colleges in USA

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 USA offering programs at postgraduate level: 

UniversityQS Ranking 2020Annual Fees (in USD)
University of Pennsylvania144,376
John Hopkins University361,638
University of Washington426,200
Yale University655,500
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill1023,434
University of Carolina, San Francisco1111,442
University of Michigan Ann-Arbor1224,022
Duke University1521,090
Columbia University2084,700
New York University, NYU - Rory Meyers College of Nursing2125,232

Eligibility for Masters in Nursing in USA Admission

Most of the high ranking nursing colleges in 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 bachelors level
  • Registered Nursing license
  • GRE score (depends on university)
  • Experience of working in a healthcare facility (varies with university)
  • Interview
  • One of the following test scores to demonstrate proficiency in English language:
    • TOEFL (iBT): 100
    • IELTS: 7.0

Documents Required for Masters in Nursing in USA Admission

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

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

Doctoral Programs at Nursing Colleges in USA

A PhD in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practise (DNP) in various specializations are the two main programs offered at doctoral level in nursing colleges in USA. A PhD 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 USA are tabulated below along with their annual fees: 

UniversityPrograms OfferedAnnual Fees (in USD)
University of PennsylvaniaPost Master’s DNP; 2 years30,000
DNP Nurse Anesthesia; 3 years47,286
PhD in Nursing; 4 years36,254
John Hopkins UniversityPhD in Nursing; 4 years42,006
DNP Advance Practise/PhD Dual Degree; 5 years55,431
DNP Executive/MBA Dual Degree; 3 years35,440
University of WashingtonDNP (various specializations); 3 years27,708
PhD in Nursing Science; 3 years44,712

    Eligibility for Doctorate in Nursing in USA Admission

    International students are required to have following prerequisites 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 university)
    • Interview
    • IELTS (7.0) or TOEFL iBT (100) as a proof of English proficiency

    Documents Required for Doctorate in Nursing in USA Admission

    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 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 at Nursing Colleges in USA

    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: 

    ScholarshipAwarding AgencyEducation LevelAmount (in USD)
    Alexandra Beebe, BSN `74, Student Emergency FundUNCAll degree levelVaries
    Kindred Spirit AwardUNCAll degree levelVaries
    Tammy Flake Honors AwardUNCAll degree levelVaries
    Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship by SONUniversity of WashingtonUndergraduate$250 to $4,000 per quarter
    Graduate Tuition Scholarship by SONUniversity of WashingtonGraduate$500 to $2,500 per month
    Promise of Nursing (PON) Faculty FellowshipsSeveral national hospitals & healthcare agenciesGraduate$1,000 to $7,500 per year
    Undergraduate Scholarship ProgramFoundation of the National Student Nurses’ AssociationUndergraduate$1,000 to $10,000
    Academic Education ScholarshipsAmerican Association of Occupational Health NursesAll degree levels$1,500 to $2,500
    American Indian Nurse Scholarship ProgramNational Society of The Colonial Dames of AmericaAll degree levels$1,500 per semester
    Hurst Review Services – American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) ScholarshipHurst Review Service & AACNAll degree levels$2,500 per annum
    NURSE Corps ScholarshipNURSE CorpsUndergraduate, Graduate100% tuition fees

    In addition to above mentioned scholarships, students enrolled in bachelors in nursing in 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 PhD in nursing students in the USA. 

    Scope after studying at Nursing Collegs 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 USA. However, to practice as a nurse, you must have a registered RN license. Students who pursued a degree in nursing can apply for NCLEX -RN exam. After scoring a passing pass, you will be provided the RN license and thus given the opportunity to practise in any hospital or clinic in the USA.

    Although, anyone with a degree in nursing such as certificate, diploma, associate degree, bachelors or masters degree can apply for an RN licence 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: 

    Job RoleAverage Annual Salary (in USD)
    Nurse36,600 - 110,000
    Head Nurse43,600 - 122,000
    Mental Health Nurse30,500 - 106,000
    Nurse Midwife37,400 - 126,000
    Nurse Practitioner36,300 -107,000
    Occupational Therapist49,600 - 167,000
    Staff Nurse36,800 - 108,000

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

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