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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School Overviews

Licensing requirements for registered nurses (RNs) typically include completion of an undergraduate degree or a diploma program from an accredited nursing program. Graduate level programs in the field of nursing are also available. Licensed nurses may find employment in doctors' offices, health clinics, and hospitals.

Four of the top schools for registered nursing in the U.S. include Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan, and Columbia University. Each of these schools was ranked among the best nursing schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report for 2017.

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins University was America's first research university and U.S. News and World Report ranked this institution the #1 graduate nursing school in the country, as of 2017.

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 and family primary care, a Master's Entry into Nursing, an M.S. in Nursing, an MSN/MPH, and a nursing Ph.D.

University of Washington in Seattle, WA

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, and in 2017,U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Washington the #4 graduate nursing school in the country.

Students can pursue both undergraduate and graduate programs for registered nurses at this school, and a 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.).

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI

The School of Nursing at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor offers a full range of programs for registered nurses as well. There are 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. The nursing school also houses a state of the art clinical simulation laboratory.

U.S. News and World Report ranked the graduate nursing program at the University of Michigan seventh in the nation in 2017.

Columbia University in New York, NY

Columbia University in New York, NY, offered first master's degree in a clinical nursing specialty, and all of the nursing programs at this school currently result in at least a master's degree.

The Master's Direct Entry (MDE program), which lasts for 15 months, prepares graduates for RN licensure. The school also offers dual MDE/DNP and MDE/PhD programs that last for 4-5 years and also provide the necessary training for licensure.

Experienced nurses can enroll in more advanced master's-level and doctoral training programs. For 2017, Columbia was tied for #8 among nursing schools per U.S. News and World Report.

Top Registered Nurse Schools

Let's look at a few more of the best nursing schools in the country and see what sets them apart:

School Name Distinction Location
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 Tied for #13 among nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report for 2017 Pittsburgh, PA

Training programs for registered nurses can be found at private and public universities around the country. Some of the best schools have been recognized for excellence by U.S. News and World Report for 2017.

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