The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development projected even before the pandemic that Wisconsin will have at least 5,327 new nursing positions between 2021 and 2023.
That’s 5,000 openings for nurses who don’t have to wait for another nurse to move out of the job. And that’s on top of the state’s 52,000 positions for nurses that have to be filled as nurses are promoted or otherwise leave the job.
Nursing Schools in Wisconsin
|1||University of Wisconsin||Madison, Wisconsin|
|2||Marquette University||Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|3||University of Wisconsin||Eau Claire, Wisconsin|
|4||University of Wisconsin||Oshkosh, Wisconsin|
|5||Edgewood College||Madison, Wisconsin|
The median salary of an RN in Wisconsin is $65,510 per year. Salaries for Wisconsin nurses range from $49,930 to over $90,000 per year.
And there are many sources of scholarship money for nursing students in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Higher Education Grant offers scholarships of $250 to $3000 per year for up to 10 semesters for students of nursing in public colleges and universities. The Wisconsin Tuition Grant offers higher amounts to help with private college tuition.
The Wisconsin Nursing Student Loan Program offers loans of $250 to $3000 to students studying nursing in Wisconsin. Up to half of the loan can be forgiven if you begin your nursing career in Wisconsin.
There are also scholarships funded by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Wisconsin and the Wisconsin League for Nursing, as well as the Wisconsin Medical Society.
Wherever you choose to study nursing in Wisconsin, there will be multiple ways to pay for your tuition, books, fees, and living expenses — so why not apply to the best nursing schools in Wisconsin that are the best match for your career goals?
That’s what this list is about. We list accredited nursing programs in Wisconsin from most attractive down the list to schools that still have great nursing programs, but may be more of a specialized match to student career goals than the programs we rank higher on our list. We have also compiled a list of the fastest BSN programs.
Our list of the 25 best nursing programs in Wisconsin
In these listings:
- Net price refers to annual tuition plus fees.
- SAT and ACT scores are intended to give you an idea of what’s acceptable at this college. Sometimes other exceptional qualifications will overcome low test scores, and sometimes having a very high test score doesn’t make you a good match for the program.
- The NCLEX pass rate is included to give you an idea of how well the program prepares nurses for the exams that are critical for getting a license.
We are listing programs that train nurses to be RNs unless otherwise noted.
University of Wisconsin
At any given time there are about 1,000 RN, BSN, MSN, and doctoral (both DNP and PhD) students of nursing enrolled at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, making it the largest nursing program in the state. There are four certificate programs for graduate nurses:
Clinical nurse specialist,
Psychiatric/mental health nurse, and
The School of Nursing’s new facility at Signe Skott Cooper Hall has the latest simulation labs and research facilities.
Marquette University has about 350 students in BSN, MSN, post-master’s certificate, and PhD nursing programs. The university maintains a very low 8:1 student-faculty ratio in all clinical settings. Nursing students are trained in Emory T. Clark Hall, which houses the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Clinical Simulation.
University of Wisconsin
Every year the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire graduates between 100 and 150 new BSNs, nearly all of whom will become RNs after taking the NCLEX. The university also has MSN, PhD, and DNP programs. Nearly 100% of graduates are placed into jobs within six months of graduation.
University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin provides hands-on training for nurses in developing world settings in South America and India. The university offers a mostly-online accelerated programs for a BSN to nurses who already have an RN.
Edgewood College only graduates about 100 nurses with BSNs every year, but it has excellent outreach to about 70 clinics and hospitals in south-central Wisconsin for training, including American Family Children’s Hospital, the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, and UnityPoint Health — Meriter Hospital. The college also offers MSN and doctoral degrees in nursing.
Bellin College in Green Bay specializes in training nurses to assist in medical imaging. It’s a desirable choice for undergraduates who decided they wanted to become nurses after pursuing other career options. Undergraduate nursing students can transfer in as juniors and seniors, or take an accelerated 15-month option, or take a more traditional path to getting their nursing licenses. Bellin College also offers an MSN with family nurse practitioner and nurse educator options.
Viterbo offers traditional BSN, MSN, and DNP programs to about 600 nursing students taught by 35 full-time faculty members. The university has service programs in Korea, Guatemala, Belize, and Japan. The university also has an RN-to-BSN program.
University of Wisconsin
As the largest College of Nursing in Wisconsin, UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing has developed a tradition of excellence. Dedicated to providing academic programs of the highest quality at the forefront of nursing and widely recognized. UW-Milwaukee has over 1500 students in programs such as BS in Nursing, RN to BSN completion, Master of Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, PhD in Nursing, and many certificate options, including AGACNP. CNS, PMHNP and more!
Concordia University Wisconsin
Concordia University Wisconsin is one of only a few universities to offer a graduate certificate in parish nursing. The School of Nursing’s MSN program has specialty tracs for family nursing practitioners, gerontology specialists, and nurse educators. For undergraduates, Concordia University Wisconsin offers RN-to-BSN, accelerated BSN, and traditional BSN programs with an unusually heavy preparation in liberal arts.
Columbia College of Nursing
The Columbia College of Nursing has been associated with Columbia Hospital in Glendale. The college only teaches nursing. Students can complete their first 60 semester hours at another accredited college and transfer into either the traditional BSN program or an accelerated BSN track. There are also an 11-month accelerated BSN program and a 17-month MSN program. The MSN program focuses on preparing charge nurses and includes 400 hours of clinical practice.
Maranatha Baptist University
Maranatha Baptist University is the only college affiliated with the Independent Fundamental Baptist denomination to offer a nursing degree. The small, close-knit program graduates about 20 nurses a year, but has one of the state’s best rates for passing the NCLEX. Students have multiple opportunities for gaining skills on international service trips.
The program at Carroll University is for students who know that nursing is what they want to do when they graduate from high school. Nursing courses and lab simulations begin the freshman year. As students progress through the program, they can focus on specific areas of nursing such as psychiatric nursing, palliative care, pediatric care, or ICU work.
Milwaukee School of Engineering
For more than 25 years, the MSOE School of Nursing has been at the center of compassion and care. In addition to engineering, business and mathematics, Milwaukee School of Engineering offers several nursing degrees that feature direct entry to the nursing program and guaranteed clinicals:
B.S. in Nursing
- Traditional BSN
- Accelerated Second-Degree BSN
M.S. in Nursing
- Traditional MSN for those with a BSN
- Direct Entry (earn a BSN and MSN)
- Leadership and Management Track
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
- Post-Master’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Wisconsin Lutheran College has a nursing program that focuses on serving diverse populations. The nursing program is science-heavy to prepare students to keep up with changes in technology. Their maximum cohort size is 32 students, admitted once per year. The program is a traditional 4 year bachelor of science degree in nursing. They do not have an online nursing program. In recent years, 100% have been employed within one month of graduation.
Marian University offers a nursing program completely integrated into its liberal arts curriculum. Students may take courses such as nursing ethics, healthcare promotion, and legal aspects of practice. The university also offers an RN-to-BSN bridge program and an MSN with specializations for nurse educators and nurse practitioners.
University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point
The nursing program and the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point welcomes students who have earned their associate’s degree at a community technical college. There is a 1+2+1 nursing partnership program in conjunction with Mid-State Technical College, Northcentral Technical College, and Nicolet College.
Cardinal Stritch University
Cardinal Stritch University has a program in nursing that collaborates with the Wisconsin Technical College System to allow ADN (associates in nursing) students from the technical college system to keep their credits as they work toward a BSN.
George Williams College of Aurora University
George Williams College started its nursing program in 2017 to help alleviate the shortage of nurses. The BSN program is a traditional four-year curriculum with innovative technology for teaching. Students train on high-fidelity medical simulation manikins that respond in real-time to the care they are given. The program also offers extensive clinical hours at local hospitals and community service organizations.
Alverno College has been graduating nurses since 1932. Students have guaranteed clinical placements as well as opportunities to practice in the simulation labs. There are also five certifications offered to graduates without having to get an MSN degree.
Carthage College has a very new nursing program that puts students in clinical settings in their freshman year. The program schedules 1,200 hours of clinical work over the four years needed to get a BSN. The college has partnerships with nearby clinical sites including Ascension Health System, Kenosha Brookside Care Center, and Milwaukee VA Medical Center.
Moraine Park Technical College
Moraine Park Technical College offers a two-tiered program that gives students an opportunity to leave with an LPN after just two semesters or to continue another year to get an RN.
Lakeshore Technical College
Lakeshore Technical College offers full-time, two-year and part-time, three-year programs for earning a BSN to students who have their foundation courses out of the way. There are evening classes and two start dates each year.
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College offers an LPN-to-RN program for students who already have an ADN and who passed the NCLEX-P.
Western Technical College
You can’t get a BSN at Western Technical College, but you can earn both a LPN and an RN with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in three years. Classes at Western Technical College are small, with about 100 graduates from the program every year.
How We Computed Our Rankings
We only considered schools that have ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) or CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) accreditation. We evaluated each nursing program on three factors:
- The college’s prestige and perceived value.
- The number of nursing programs involved.
- Student success on the NCLEX exam.
We then weighted these three factors for a combined score and ranked the colleges by descending score.
Would you like more information about nursing programs in Wisconsin?
Please contact us with your questions! And if you have graduated from any of the programs we listed here, please feel free to share your experiences.