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Best 15 Registered Nurse Programs in 2021

April 10, 2021 | Staff Writers

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If you have always dreamed of becoming a registered nurse, now is the time to pursue it. There are quite a few colleges across the U.S. that offer registered nurse programs. These programs give you the foundation you need to further your education if you want to. 

Why Consider Taking Registered Nurse Programs?

The world always needs more registered nurses. No matter what state you live in, the need for qualified medical personnel is an important one. This is especially true if you live in Indiana, where no other job is more in demand. And in general, predictions made by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are that the need for registered nurses will grow 16% between now and 2024. There are a few reasons for this, including the fact that a growing number of people are reaching retirement age and are in need of healthcare more than ever before. But it’s also because an increase in the quality of today’s healthcare means people now have a larger average life span than ever before. With more people now being able to access health insurance, the demand for nurses is rising steadily. 

We have put together a list of registered nurse programs around the U.S and ranked them according to the number of required credit hours and the per semester tuition rate for in-state students. The programs with the lowest number of credit hours and the most affordable tuition get the highest ratings. Here is our list of the top 15 registered nurse programs

Best 15 Best Registered Nurse Programs

1. Ohio University Southern – Ironton, OH (100 points)

At the Southern campus of Ohio University, students can study for an Associate of Science in Nursing – LPN to RN. This program is for anyone who is already a licensed practical nurse that wants to become a fully registered nurse. Once they have completed the program successfully, students are then able to take the national licensing exam. When they pass it they have officially earned their registered nurse status.

  • Credit Hours – 39
  • Tuition – $2,174 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 30:1

2. Southeast Technical College – Vidalia, GA (100 points)

Southeast Technical College offers an Associates Registered Nurse for students who follow the track of LPN to RN. This program is different from most others because students get a hands-on learning experience in the school’s Sullivan Health Science Center. The designated RN and Nursing Simulation Labs let students put their newly learned skills to use the same way they would in a real hospital setting. 

  • Credit Hours – 35
  • Tuition – $2,178 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 16:1

3. Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus – Fort Worth, TX (90 points)

The Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. The program focuses equally on clinical work and general nursing education. Students can choose to complete their clinic work during the day or in the evening. 

Both nursing theory and general education make up students’ schedules, with the nursing theory courses having to be completed on workdays and in the necessary sequence. Students can take their general education courses in the evening or through daytime classes. 

  • Credit Hours – 60
  • Tuition – $1,920 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 43:1

4. New York City College of Technology City Tech – New York, NY (90 points)

The New York City College of Technology City Tech also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. The program’s curriculum was designed with Watson’s philosophy in mind. Its curriculum also includes teaching theories on the human care that goes into nursing. Students are expected to embrace community-based and gerontological nursing while they are progressing through the program.

While classroom instruction is an important part of the program, equally important is putting learned skills to use in the school’s health care facilities and laboratory. Clinical lab simulations help students use technology to get the job done.

  • Credit Hours – 67
  • Tuition – $3,465 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 18:1

5. Houston Community College – Houston, TX (90 points)

Just like Ohio University, Houston Community College also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing with the LPN to RN track. Students are only eligible to enroll in this program if they have already worked in a medical clinic for a minimum of six months. 

  • Credit Hours – 60
  • Tuition – $495 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 44:1

6. Alvin Community College – Alvin, TX (90 points)

Alvin Community College is another choice for earning an Associate of Applied Science with an LPN to ADN track. The curriculum includes a mixture of theory and clinical courses. Students also learn standards of practice and ethics, the technology used for patient care, and medical problem-solving skills. 

Students complete this program by working with a mentor to complete a preceptorship. This is done during a student’s last semester before graduation.

  • Credit Hours – 60
  • Tuition – $3,885 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 12:1

7. Galveston College – Galveston, TX (90 points)

Students can also earn their Associates in Nursing from Galveston College. Some of the subjects the curriculum emphasizes include teaching and learning principles, clinical reasoning skills, and how to communicate effectively with not only patients, but their families, other caregivers, and health team members. 

  • Credit Hours – 60
  • Tuition – $2,700 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 18:1

8. Atlanta Technical College – Atlanta, GA (90 points)

Atlanta Technical College offers an Associate of Science in Nursing program. Some of the program’s goals include teaching students about patient-centered care, safety, informatics, quality improvement, and evidence-based practice. 

Students that are enrolled in the program are also invited to join the National Student Nurse Association. 

  • Credit Hours – 69
  • Tuition – $2,121 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 25:1

9.  Keiser University – Fort Lauderdale, FL (80 points)

The Keiser University College of Nursing also offers an Associate of Science in Nursing. By the time students have completed the program, they will successfully be able to collaborate with other healthcare professionals, use evidence-based technologies to make decisions on treating patients, and be able to use judgment and reasoning in the care of each individual patient. 

  • Credit Hours – 72
  • Tuition – $5,250 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 15:1

10. Miami Dade College – Miami, FL (80 points)

One of the programs Miami Dade College is most known for is its Associate in Science in Nursing. The program covers a broad range of nursing, including pediatric, obstetrical, psychiatric, and medical-surgical. Students also learn about leadership, community health, and math/pharmacology. 

Though completing this program means students can go on to become registered nurses, they can also work in acute, ambulatory, or emergency care, along with mental health and rehab. 

  • Credit Hours – 72
  • Tuition – $2,127 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 48:1

11. Tulsa Community College – Tulsa, OK (80 points)

At Tulsa Community College,  students enrolled in the Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program have the option of pursuing an LPN to RN track, otherwise known as Nursing Career Mobility, or pursuing the Traditional Nursing track. Students that pursue the Traditional Nursing track will split their time between performing clinical activities, studying in a classroom, and working in a lab.

When it comes to the Nursing Career Mobility, track, students that are either LPNs or paramedics are eligible to enroll.

  • Credit Hours – 73
  • Tuition – $1,635 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 19:1

12. Wenatchee Valley College – Wenatchee, WA (80 points)

Wenatchee Valley College offers its own Associates in Nursing. The program’s curriculum focuses on patient-centered care, collaboration, communication, and the nursing process. As part of the program’s requirements, students have to work in health care settings and may even be required to travel to nearby towns to complete clinic or other similar work.

  • Credit Hours – 81
  • Tuition –  $2,888 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 27:1

13. Peninsula College – Port Angeles, WA (70 points)

Students at Penninsula College can study for an Associate in Nursing DTA/MRP. The program’s curriculum includes social and applied sciences in relation to nursing. Students enrolled in this program work for community agencies, acute-care hospitals, and long-term care facilities. They also learn holistic methods of caring for patients. 

  • Credit Hours – 135
  • Tuition – $4,860 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 14:1

14. Albany State University – Albany, NY (60 points)

At Albany State University, students can work towards an Associate of Science in Nursing. Those that are already an LPN or have been working as a paramedic for a year or more can complete the Healthcare Professional to RN Bridge Program. 

  • Credit Hours – 60
  • Tuition – $21,375 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 18:1

15. Tacoma Community College – Tacoma, WA (50 points)

Students at Tacoma Community College can complete the Associate in Nursing LPN to RB Bridge program. Some of the skills emphasized in this program are observation, communication, and clinical expectations. Students are taught to combine their knowledge of nursing with the skills they need to work in clinics and similar settings.

  • Credit Hours – unknown
  • Tuition – $4,630 per semester
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio – 16:1

Still unsure which registered nurse programs are right for you? Then use our Degree Finder tool to help.

How We Rank Registered Nurse Programs

We took the tuition rates and required credit hours that each program sets. Tuition rates assume you live in the same state where you are attending school. Most of these registered nurse programs take two years, or four semesters, to complete. 

First, we sort programs by tuition, and then by credit hours. Each program gets no more than 50 points in each category, with 50 being assigned to the lowest tuition rates and required credit hours. The points for both categories are added together to get a program’s final ranking. 

Did We Rank Incorrectly?

We never want to report inaccurate information. If you work for one of the schools on our list and feel we have ranked it incorrectly, please let us know. We will correct our mistake immediately. 

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