More than 74,000 nurses work in the state of Alabama, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This ranks Alabama among the top 20 states with the largest population of active nurses in the US. For current and aspiring RNs, LPNs and advanced practice nurses in the state, this means career opportunity, and the chance to climb the ladder through continued training and higher education. Read on to find top nursing schools in Alabama, a breakdown of the state’s nursing field, and perhaps most importantly, what it takes to earn your license.
- Top Nursing Schools in Alabama
- Search Nursing Schools
- State Licensing Requirements
- Nursing by the Numbers
- Resources & Associations
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BEST 2-YEAR NURSING SCHOOLS
The top nursing programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including
- Student-to-faculty ration
- In-state tuition
- Graduation rate
Additional details for each school were included:
- Count of programs available
- Public and not-for-profit schools
- Normalized on a 100 percent curve
The methodology used for tie-break is as follows...
- Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
- If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break
Top Nursing Schools in Alabama
Nursing Licensing in Alabama
All nurses must be licensed in order to practice; however, each state has its own requirements and regulations for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives. The Alabama Board of Nursing (ABN) is the government agency that regulates the state’s nursing education and nursing practice. ABN also oversees all licensing requirements, from application to verification to renewal and reinstatement. Below is an overview of first-time licensure requirements for registered nurses who wish to work in Alabama:
- Successfully completed either a 2-year associate degree, 4-year baccalaureate degree, or a 2 or 3-year diploma nursing program from an accredited nursing school
- Apply for licensure with ABN, which includes a $75 initial application fee
- Request your school send official, sealed transcriptions to ABN
- Provide detailed explanation and records if you answer “Yes” to any of the legal background questions
- Register to take the NCLEX exam and send a $200 payment to Pearson Vue
- Provide one-time proof of US Citizenship or Lawful Presence in the United States. Non-citizens with other documents are required to show this information during initial licensure and each renewal after.
- Schedule an exam after you’ve received an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter form Pearson VUE (proper identification, such as a Department of Motor Vehicle-issued US driver’s license, DMV-issued state identification, US military identification, or valid passport, will be required on exam day)
- RNs who have licensure from another state, can apply for an Alabama license through licensure by endorsement
Alabama Nursing Schools
From community colleges to large four-year universities, aspiring nurses can choose from several Alabama nursing schools to achieve their career goals. Use the search tool below to filter and explore Alabama schools that offer quality education for nurses of tomorrow.
Nurse Licensure in Alabama
Nurses must be licensed in order to practice in every state in the country. However, each state sets its own standards and requirements for licensing and renewal. ASBN is the government agency that regulates nursing education and practice for registered nurses, certified midwives, nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse practitioners in Alabama. ASBN also oversees all licensing requirements for these professions, from application to renewal and reinstatement. Below is an overview of first-time licensure requirements for registered nurses in Alabama.
- Champlain College Online
Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration
- Central Christian College of Kansas
B.S. in Healthcare Administration
- Capella University
BS - Health Care Administration Leadership
- Diploma, Associate Degree or Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from an approved program. (Alabama graduates must submit a Certificate of Completion from an approved program.)
- Register for NCLEX exam and include a $200 registration fee
- Earn a passing score on NCLEX exam
- Submit a paper application with $300 fee to Alabama State Board of Nursing by mail only
- Provide citizenship documentation
- Submit a fingerprint card with a full set of fingerprints to the Alabama State Board of Nursing for the purpose of obtaining State and Federal criminal record checks along with $50 fee
Renewal in Alabama
Alabama RNs need to renew their license every two years (in even-numbered years) between September 1st and December 31st to continue practicing. As part of the process, nurses are required to complete 24 contact hours of continuing education (CE) from board-approved providers. There is a $75 license fee and a $3.50 transaction fee. Those who miss the designated timeframe will be subject to a $150 late fee.
Registered nurses who wish to reinstate a license to active status will need to submit a reinstatement application, pay a fee, provide proof of US Citizenship or Lawful Presence, and complete 24 contact hours within two years of submitting the reinstatement application. These hours can be completed through workshops, seminars, classes, web casts, continuing education journals, pod casts, and home study.
Licensing for Advanced Practice Nurses in AL
RNs and LPNs make up a majority of the nursing field. However, a variety of advanced and specialty nurses also work in Alabama, including nurse practitioners (NPs), certified midwives, neonatal nurses, and forensic nurses. And, like RNs and LPNs, specific licensing requirements exist to ensure those who work within these niches have the right training and experience. In addition to the licensure requirements discussed in the previous section, advanced practice nurses must also complete a few a more steps:
- Must have an active Alabama RN license
- Must meet all requirements for clinical experience in the specialty beyond basic educational preparation as a registered nurse
- Must hold at least a master’s degree in advanced practice nursing from an accredited program (the Board of Nursing may waive this requirement at its discretion or if the applicant meets certain academic criteria)
For more detailed information on advanced and specialty nursing licensing and licensure renewal in Alabama, please visit the Alabama Board of Nursing.
Nursing by the Numbers in Alabama: RNs and Beyond
Employment of registered nurses in the U.S. is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than average in comparison to all occupations. Registered nurses were the second most in-demand job in the state as of September 2015. Additionally, Alabama also offers promising opportunities for nurse midwives and nurse practitioners. Take a look at the numbers below.
Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Alabama
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|Northwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area||$26.94||$56,040|
|Southwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area||$26.17||$54,430|
|Southeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area||$26.12||$54,320|
|Northeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area||$25.40||$52,840|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Alabama vs. National Numbers
Resources & Associations for Alabama Nurses
The Alabama Board of Nursing, or ABN, is the state government agency that oversees nursing education across Alabama. The organization also enforces legal standards for nursing practice, including licensure, renewal, and endorsements.
The Alabama League for Nursing is an affiliate of the National League for Nursing. It is dedicated to advancing the quality of nursing education in the state.
AlaONE is an affiliate of the Alabama Hospital Association. It promotes the advancement of nursing practice and patient care, as well as helps shape policies that directly affect health care delivery.Alabama State Nurses Association
This organization promotes excellence in nursing in AL and acts as the professional voice for all registered nurses in the state.
The Central Alabama Nurse Practitioner Association offers advanced practice nurses opportunities for networking, legislative updates, and access to timely continuing education programs.