Why This Matters

  • NURSING FIELDS ARE GROWING BY 15% to 31%

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates an increase in demand for registered nurses (RNs) of 15% by 2026, as well as an increase in advanced nurse specialists of 31% by 2026.

  • IN TOTAL THE U.S. NEEDS 1 MILLION NURSES

    In addition to needing 600,000 more nurses to replace those reaching retirement age, the BLS estimates 400,000 new nursing positions will open up between 2016-2026.

  • YOU COULD BE MAKING $62K TO $110K+ EVERY YEAR

    While nurses with associate’s degrees only earn on average $56k, getting a higher degree pays off. Nurses earn $62k with a bachelor’s degree, $87k with a master’s, and $110k+ for advanced specializations.

Our Research

Nursing is one of the fastest growing fields in the United States today. Increases in demand call for not only more nurses, but also more nurses with advanced degrees and specializations.

Online nursing degree programs can help prepare you to enter or advance your career in almost every nursing field, offering bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates, and PhDs in nursing. We looked at the specs of over 80 programs, comparing program strength, costs, and online preparedness to find the best schools for studying nursing online.

The best universities scored close to 100 in our Intelligent Score ranking, and are all accredited, nonprofit institutions with multiple degree offerings. For a full breakdown of our methodology, click here.

  • 103 schools
  • 461 programs evaluated
  • 130 hours of research

The Top 63 Online Nursing Degree Programs

badges
01
Northern Arizona University

intelligent score 97.17

Award Intelligent Pick

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Intelligent Pick

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN Master's of Science in Nursing - Generalist MS Family Nurse Practitioner
Doctor of Nursing Practice

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits; Graduate: 30-79 credits

Department School of Nursing

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $425 per credit Graduate: $575 per credit

accreditation Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 928-523-2671

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN Master's of Science in Nursing - Generalist MS Family Nurse Practitioner
Doctor of Nursing Practice

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits; Graduate: 30-79 credits

01
Liberty University

intelligent score 96.3

Award Sigma Theta Tau Member

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Sigma Theta Tau Member

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Ph.D. in Nursing

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120-128 credits; Graduate: 36-78 credits

Department Department of Nursing

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $330 per credit Graduate: $650 per credit

accreditation Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-424-9595

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Ph.D. in Nursing

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120-128 credits; Graduate: 36-78 credits

01
Fort Hays State University

intelligent score 95.86

Award Excellent Value

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Excellent Value

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits; Graduate: 36-75 credits

Department Department of Nursing

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $218.67 per credit Graduate: $343.87 per credit

accreditation Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 785-628-4291

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits; Graduate: 36-75 credits

01
University of North Florida

intelligent score 94.82

Award Excellent Reputation

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Excellent Reputation

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits; Graduate: 48-61 credits

Department School of Nursing

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $285 per credit Graduate: $523.25 per credit

accreditation Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 928-523-2671

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits; Graduate: 48-61 credits

01
North Dakota State University

intelligent score 94.61

Award Best Scholarships

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Scholarships

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN
Doctor of Nursing

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits Graduate: 86 credits

Department School of Nursing

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $344.26 per credit
Graduate: $405.18 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-488-6378

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN
Doctor of Nursing

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits Graduate: 86 credits

01
Bloomfield College

intelligent score 93.54

Award Best Accelerated Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Accelerated Program

Delivery Format Hybrid

Programs RN-BSN

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $767 per credit

accreditation Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 973-748-9000

Learn More

Delivery Format Hybrid

Programs RN-BSN

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits

01
Weber State University

intelligent score 93.35

Award Best Hybrid Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Hybrid Program

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN-to-BSN
Master of Science in Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits Graduate: 30-75 credits

Department School of Nursing

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $199.53 per credit
Graduate: $319.25-$798.13 per credit

accreditation Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 801-626-6743

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN-to-BSN
Master of Science in Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits Graduate: 30-75 credits

01
Tallahassee Community College

intelligent score 93.31

Award Best in the Southeast

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best in the Southeast

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit $107.75 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 850-201-8555

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

01
Marquette University

intelligent score 92.48

Award Best in the Midwest

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best in the Midwest

Delivery Format Online

Programs BSN
MSN

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits Graduate: 36 credits

Department College of Nursing

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $374.75 per credit
Graduate: $1,220 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-222-6544

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs BSN
MSN

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits Graduate: 36 credits

01
UNC Greensboro

intelligent score 91.88

Award Best for Cohort-based Learning

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Cohort-based Learning

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN
MSN

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits Graduate: 62 credits

Department School of Nursing

Estimated Cost per Credit Undergraduate: $222-$854 per credit
Graduate: $336-$1,098 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected];
Phone: 336.315.7044

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs RN to BSN
MSN

Required Credits to Graduate Undergraduate: 120 credits Graduate: 62 credits

01
Best Student Organizations
Georgia Southern University
01
Best Faculty
Temple University
01
Best in the Northeast
Siena College
01
Best for Nurse Anesthesia
University of Minnesota
01
Best Alumni Network
Pace University
01
Best in the Southwest
Sam Houston State University
01
Best Bachelor's Program
University of Maine
01
Best Associate Program
Ramapo College of New Jersey
01
Best for International Students
Morehead State University
01
Best Doctorate Program
West Virginia Wesleyan College
01
Best for Leadership
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
01
Best Advisors
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
01
Best for Health Informatics
Duke University
01
Best for Veterans
University of West Georgia
01
Best Master's Program
Southern Adventist University
01
Most Innovative Curriculum
Bemidji State University
01
Best Honors Program
Shepherd University
01
Best for Family Nurse Practitioner
Midwestern State University
01
Best for Population Health
Lees-McRae College
01
Most Rigorous Curriculum
Duquesne University
01
Best Christian Institution
University of Dubuque
01
Best for Nursing Education
Austin Peay State University
01
Best for NCLEX-RN Exam Prep
Western Washington University
01
Best Financial Aid Options
Alfred State
01
Best Simulation Labs
Dakota Wesleyan University
01
Best in the Pacific
University of Hawaii
01
Best Career Services
University of North Georgia
01
Best Reputation
Ball State University
01
Best Value - Undergraduate
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte - School of Nursing
01
Best Value - Graduate
Western Governors University
01
Best Optionality
Drexel University
01
Best in Texas
The University of Texas at Tyler
01
Excellent Reputation
Jacksonville University
01
High Placement Rate
Kent State University
01
Specialty Accreditations
University of Cincinnati
01
Excellent Reputation
Southern New Hampshire University
01
College of Distinction
King University
01
Excellent Outcomes
Illinois State University
01
Excellent Outcomes
McNeese State University
01
Research Leader
Texas Woman's University
01
Excellent Online Educator
Michigan State University
01
Great Value
Briar Cliff University
01
Excellent Optionality
Sacred Heart University
01
Great Value
California University of Pennsylvania
01
Excellent Value
University of North Alabama
01
Best Online Educator
Pennsylvania State University
01
Excellent Optionality
CU Online
01
Great Online Educator
Colorado Christian University
01
Great Online Educator
Washburn University
01
High Placement Rate
South Dakota State University
01
Excellent Value
Columbus State University
01
Great Online Educator
Fitchburg State University
01
Great Value
West Texas A&M University

Our Ranking Methodology

To find the top 30 Online Nursing Degree programs, we had three initial requirements. Each school needed to be non-profit, to better guarantee that the school is looking out for its students interests over its own bottom line. Additionally, each school needed to offer at least two fully-online degrees.

We also required every degree offered to be accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These institutions certify that each program is rigorous and will help you advance your nursing career.

Then, we examined each school based on three factors:

Program Strength

First, we looked at how well each school ranked in top college evaluators like U.S. News. These organizations take a deep dive into each school to see both how well each program stands on its own as well as how it compares to its peers. We created an algorithm that analyzed the multiple rankings into a single score so that we could easily compare universities.

A high score here indicates that a school is highly-regarded in terms of how well it prepares its graduates to become working nurses. Lower scores may not indicate a poor program, but one that isn’t as well-established.

Online Readiness

We then wanted to hone in on schools that not only have highly-regarded nursing programs, but ones that are known for teaching nursing well online. To do so, we looked at student satisfaction surveys for each college and department to evaluate whether teachers were seen as effective and approachable. We also looked at the online resources utilized by each nursing department to assess how well the school is technologically equipped to provide online education.

Comparative Cost

The specific cost of each program varies not only by what kind of degree you pursue — Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate — but also by specialization. As a result, we could not do a direct comparison of the cost of degrees. Instead, we focused on the cost per credit hour for undergraduate and graduate nursing courses.

While no degree is going to be cheap, we wanted to find the ones that were more cost-effective compared to their peers. Colleges who scored highly here offered classes at competitive rates — to get you out of paying student loans and into planning your future, faster.

This Gave Us Our Intelligent Score

Together, these three evaluations allowed us to calculate an Intelligent Score for each college. The best of the best are well-regarded programs that excel teaching nursing online, and they won’t charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege of learning with them.

If these top schools don’t feel like enough options, take a look at our shortlist of schools which gives you an extra fifteen to compare. Even though these programs didn’t score highly enough to make it into the top 30, they’re each strong programs in their own right and could be your perfect choice.

  • Azusa Pacific University
  • Jacksonville State University
  • Excelsior College
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Concordia University Wisconsin
  • Midway University
  • University of Saint Mary
  • The George Washington University
  • Spring Arbor University
  • Bradley University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Roberts Wesleyan College
  • La Roche College
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • University of San Francisco

This Degree Isn’t For Everyone

Depending on your experience, an online nursing degree might not be right for you. To make up for the lack of in-person experience, many online nursing degree programs have experience or work requirements. You’ll need to be currently employed, or have sufficient work experience in the field, to enter the program.

This particularly applies if you’re just starting out your nursing career. The first nursing degree available online are bachelor’s degrees (BSNs), and those without on-campus requirements require you to already have your registered nurse license. This means that you’ll want to start out with either an in-person associate or bachelor’s degree to kickstart your nursing career.

What’s Next?

As you consider our Top Online Nursing Degrees, you’ll want to keep an eye on school’s state authorizations. If you live in a different state than the university, you’ll need to make sure that your home state accepts your school’s ability to award online degrees. Most schools have a state authorization page, or you can check with the admissions director or your local board of nursing for more information.

You’ll also want to look out for any residency requirements. The vast majority of the programs on our list are fully online, and the remainder often require an on-campus orientation or a visit to campus or two. If you’re looking for a completely online program, you’ll need to double check that the specific degree and specialization you’ve chosen is available without campus visits.

Finally, if you’re interested in becoming a nurse midwife or a nurse anesthesiologist, you’ll want to find a program with that specialty accreditation. The Council on Accreditation (COA) accredits programs specifically for Nurse Anesthesia, while the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) accredits programs for nurse midwifery.

Of our top schools, only two offer these specializations through online coursework: Michigan State University with an accredited Nurse Anesthesia MSN, and the University of Cincinnati with an accredited Nurse Anesthesia Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master’s in Nurse Midwifery. These programs all have offline components, but can help you advance into these specializations.