Top Schools for Registered Nurses

Learn about the top schools for registered nursing programs, which include four leading universities. Find brief summaries of the program options at these four schools, and find a list that highlights what's unique to other universities that provide training for registered nurses.

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Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

School Overview

Three of the top schools for registered nursing in the U.S. include the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan. Licensing requirements for registered nurses (RNs) typically include completion of an undergraduate degree or a diploma program from an accredited nursing program, after which licensed nurses may find employment in doctors' offices, health clinics and hospitals.

1. University of Washington in Seattle, WA

School Highlight: The School of Nursing at the University of Washington boasts itself as one of the top nursing schools facing the challenges of and improving health care, at all levels.

'U.S. World & News Report' ranked the University of Washington, in 2016, as the #4 graduate nursing school in the country. At the school, students can pursue both undergraduate and graduate programs for registered nurses. Myriad of certificate programs are also available. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program prepares students to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. There is also the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Completion of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program qualifies graduates for leadership positions. Students can enroll in a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (Ph.D.).

2. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

School Highlight: This is America's first research university, founded in 1876.

'U.S. World & News Report' ranked John Hopkins as the second best graduate nursing school in the country, as of 2016. The School of Nursing offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, in addition to a multitude of certificate programs. Some of these programs include certificates in Adult-Gerontological Care, Family Primary Care, a Master's Entry into Nursing, M.S. in Nursing, MSN/MPH, and Nursing Ph.D.

3. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI

School Highlight: The university's School of Nursing houses a state-of-the-art clinical simulation laboratory.

U.S. News & World Report ranked the graduate nursing program at the University of Michigan sixth in the nation in 2016. The university's School of Nursing offers a full range of programs for registered nurses, including two undergraduate programs, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, as well as various master's and doctoral programs. Multiple certificates are also available, such as Nursing Education and Staff Nurse EBP.

Top Registered Nurse Schools

School Name Distinction Location
Columbia University Offered first Master's degree in a clinical nursing specialty New York, NY
Oregon Health and Science University Only university of health and research in Oregon Portland, OR
University of Colorado- Denver Offered country's first school nurse and nurse practitioner programs Denver, CO
University of North Carolina First school in state to offer a bachelor's degree in nursing Chapel Hill, NC
University of Pittsburgh Ranked #5 in 2016's 'U.S. News & World Report' best nursing graduate schools in the country Pittsburgh, PA
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