What Can I Do with a Degree in Nursing?
Registered nurses provide direct patient care in doctors' offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Aspiring registered nurses must earn an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing and apply for a state-issued nursing license.
Nurses work in many specialties. Neonatal and pediatric nurses take care of newborn babies and children. Public health nurses educate the public on managing health conditions and promoting wellness. Oncology nurses treat cancer patients. Their specialization also shapes where nurses work. For instance, emergency nurses work in ERs, while critical care nurses work in intensive care units.
Successful nurses bring patience and compassion to their role. The career also requires strong critical thinking and communication skills, since nurses conduct health assessments and communicate medical information to patients. Nurses can advance their career by pursuing a higher degree or earning specialized certifications.
Graduate Degree Options for a Career in Nursing
Registered nurses can increase their earning potential and advance into roles with greater responsibilities by pursuing a graduate degree in nursing. Master's and doctoral programs train nurses for advanced practice roles like nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist. A graduate degree also prepares nurses for careers as a nurse educator, nurse administrator, and clinical nurse leader.
In addition to obtaining a higher degree, nurses can advance their careers by earning certifications or joining professional organizations. On-the-job experience also prepares nurses for leadership roles, like head nurse and clinical nurse manager.
Accreditation for a Degree in Nursing
Before applying to nursing programs in NYC, applicants should check for accreditation. Accredited schools and programs meet the highest standards for educating learners and granting degrees. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.
Attending an accredited school benefits students in important ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree.
Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. The best nursing schools in NYC hold programmatic accreditation from a specialized nursing accrediting agency, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Applicants can verify a school or program's accreditation status through the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
|Are nurses in demand in New York?||Yes, nurses benefit from strong demand in New York. The New York Department of Labor estimates a 20% increase in RN jobs between 2016-2026.|
|How long does it take to become an RN in NY?||RNs can enter the workforce with a two-year associate degree or diploma in nursing. Many nurses pursue a BSN to increase their earnings and job opportunities.|
|How much do nurses earn in New York?||In New York City, RNs working in hospitals earn an average annual salary of nearly $103,000. Nurses in ambulatory care, home healthcare, and nursing homes make around $87,000-$98,000 per year.|
|How can I work as a nurse in NYC?||Registered nurses in NYC need a nursing degree and state-issued license to practice.|
What Are the Requirements for a Degree in Nursing?
Prospective nurses must complete a nursing program to earn their RN license. In New York, associate and bachelor's programs in nursing admit candidates with a high school diploma or the equivalent. BSN programs may also require standardized test scores. Once students declare a nursing major, they complete nursing coursework and clinical requirements.
To earn a graduate degree in nursing, applicants typically need a bachelor's degree and an RN license. Some programs offer RN-to-MSN options for registered nurses without a bachelor's degree.
Courses in a Nursing Program
Nursing programs cover topics like health assessment, evidence-based practice, and nursing leadership. Through classroom and clinical requirements, nursing students learn how to care for patients throughout the lifespan and improve patient health outcomes.
Nursing schools in NYC offer programs at the associate and bachelor's level. NYC students can also pursue graduate degrees in nursing, which can lead to careers as nurse practitioners, nurse educators, and nurse administrators. While courses vary depending on the program and degree level, this section introduces common courses found in nursing programs.
- Foundational Concepts in Nursing
Many nursing programs in NYC begin with a class on foundational nursing concepts. Students learn about the core areas of nursing practice, basic nursing care, and physical assessment. Coursework also explores health promotion, wellness, and community health. Some classes also cover nursing research, clinical practice, and evidence-based care. This course prepares learners for more advanced classes in their nursing program.
- Health Assessment
In health assessment classes, students learn how to conduct accurate, comprehensive assessments for patients of all ages. They examine how to take culture and environment into account, incorporating patient preferences into assessment techniques. At the graduate level, health assessment classes include training in diagnosis and treatment. By studying health assessment, nursing students prepare for their practicum and clinical requirements.
- Nurse Leadership
Nursing leadership courses train students in care management, quality improvement, and health promotion. Depending on the program, learners may complete a project to apply their leadership training in a community health or hospital setting. Nursing leadership classes prepare students to develop care plans, implement quality improvement strategies, and partner with community agencies on health issues.
- Evidence-Based Nursing
Nursing programs at all levels include evidence-based nursing classes. At the associate and bachelor's level, nursing students learn how to generate clinical questions, seek out nursing research, and critique research methods. The course also trains nurses to apply research to clinical practice. At the graduate level, students learn how to conduct research and develop evidence-based nursing policies. This class prepares nurses to provide quality care to patients.
- Advanced Nursing Practice
At the graduate level, nursing programs in NYC often incorporate classes on advanced nursing practice. Students learn to conduct advanced health assessments, evaluate nursing research, and apply advanced practices in clinical settings. They may also study theoretical approaches to nursing, leadership skills, and clinical decision-making. These courses prepare nurses for advanced practice and leadership roles in the healthcare field.
Certification sand Licensure for Nursing Majors
Most nursing careers require a state-issued license. In New York, practicing nurses must hold a license from the New York State Education Department. Advanced practice nurses, like nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, also need to apply for a license. While requirements vary by level and specialty, all nurses must complete a nursing education program to apply for licensure.
- New York Registered Nurse License
In New York, RNs must apply for a license from the state. To qualify, candidates must graduate from a nursing education program that meets state requirements, complete infection control and child abuse reporting courses, and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.More Information
- New York Nurse Practitioner License
Nurse practitioners in New York must apply for a license from the state. New York certifies nurse practitioners working in specialty practice areas like acute care, community health, neonatology, pediatrics, and women's health. Applicants must be a current RN with a graduate degree from a state-approved program.More Information
- New York Clinical Nurse Specialist License
In New York, clinical nurse specialists must hold a license from the state. Candidates must hold a current RN license and graduate from a clinical nurse specialist education program registered by the state. Nurses can apply for a license in specialty practice areas like adult health, oncology, pediatrics, and psychiatry/mental health.More Information
Professional Organizations for Nursing Students
In New York, nurses can join many professional organizations. These associations offer networking opportunities through local events and conferences, professional development support, and continuing education opportunities. Nurses can also identify job opportunities and apply for scholarships to advance their education through these professional organizations.
- New York State Nurses Association
NYSNA represents 42,000 nurses. The organization advocates for safe staffing, healthcare access, and public hospitals. Members can take free or low-cost classes to meet state-mandated requirements. NYSNA also provides information on workplace violence, overtime requirements, and safety practices to protect nurses.More Information
- The Nurse Practitioner Association New York State
A professional organization for nurse practitioners in New York, the NPA dates back to 1980. The association hosts annual conferences with networking opportunities; provides educational resources for nurse practitioners; and offers resources on research, data collection, and record keeping. Nurse practitioners can also look up salary and risk management information for the New York healthcare field.More Information
- New York Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders
NYONEL represents nursing leaders working in practice, academia, and research. The organization offers events to connect with other nurses and a career center with New York nursing jobs. Members can also apply for a scholarship and receive newsletters on nursing in New York.More Information
- American Nurses Association — New York
A professional association for RNs in New York, ANA-NY promotes career and leadership development. Members can participate in webinars and continuing education opportunities to stay current in the field. The association also offers a discounted student membership, which grants access to ANA position and policy papers, publications, and an online student nurse community.More Information
Scholarships for Nursing Students
Nurses at all degree levels can take advantage of scholarship opportunities. Professional organizations, government agencies, and private foundations all support nurses with scholarship awards. The following scholarships can help cover the cost of tuition, fees, and other expenses for nursing programs in NYC.
Who Can Apply: The Edna A. Lauterbach Scholarship funds licensed nurses in New York who are planning to pursue a nursing degree. Both RNs and LPNs can apply for the scholarship, but applicants need a current New York license. Applicants must also provide an essay explaining their career goals in home and community-based care.
Amount: Up to $5,500
Who Can Apply: Nurses admitted to or enrolled in a bachelor's or higher nursing program can apply for the scholarship. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.2 GPA and submit a brief essay on their educational and career goals.
Who Can Apply: The scholarship supports nursing students pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher in nursing. The award provides special consideration for students in graduate-level nurse educator programs, those pursuing an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN degree, and nurses in accelerated programs. Applicants must be enrolled at an AACN member institution.
Who Can Apply: The Emergency Nurses Association grants scholarships to nurses pursuing an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in nursing. The application requirements vary by degree level, but generally include a minimum 3.0 GPA, two letters of recommendation, and enrollment in an accredited nursing program.
Who Can Apply: The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses offers professional development scholarships for current critical-care nurses to pursue nursing degrees. Applicants must submit a personalized learning plan explaining their goals and how their plan will fill a gap in their knowledge. Applicants must also be AACN members.
Best Nursing Schools and Programs in New York City 2020
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY||Tuition $18,748||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A prestigious Ivy League college, Columbia hosts some of the top nursing programs in NYC. Columbia's School of Nursing ranks as a leader in nursing research and education, training nurses to serve as clinicians, leaders, and researchers for more than 100 years. The program's strong academic standing and Columbia's elite connections combine to offer a variety of professional opportunities for students.
Columbia offers nursing education primarily at the master's and doctoral level, with graduate options including nurse anesthesia, advanced clinical management and leadership, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The school also offers a master's direct-entry program for non-nurses, which enables bachelor's degree-holders without nursing training to earn the registered nurse credential along with a master's in nursing.
All nursing students benefit from Columbia's sophisticated training facilities, including the Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center. Designed to offer realistic, hands-on training, the center features 14 rooms that recreate diverse clinical situations.
|2||New York University New York, NY||Tuition $21,220||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Another of New York's top private colleges, NYU also ranks among the best nursing schools in NYC. The school offers several academic options for nursing candidates at all academic levels, including bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The Rory Meyers College of Nursing maintains a strong global focus. Nursing students benefit from the school's international connections, with portal campus locations in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. NYU also hosts international academic centers in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.
Undergraduate students can choose from several programs, including a traditional four-year path, an RN-to-BSN for registered nurses (RNs), and a 15-month accelerated program. The school also offers a combined bachelor's/master's in nursing along with a dual master's in nursing/master's in public health. Doctoral candidates can choose from either a doctor of nursing practice or a Ph.D. in nursing.
|3||St. Joseph's College-New York Brooklyn, NY||Tuition $35,452||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A private liberal arts college with campuses in Brooklyn and Long Island, SJCNY ranks among the best nursing schools in NYC. Undergraduates choose from a traditional four-year bachelor's program for candidates without professional experience and a two-year RN-to-BSN pathway for registered nurses (RNs). Graduate students choose from three programs in adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist, nursing education, and adult gerontology primary nurse practitioner.
The four-year nursing bachelor's degree offers a comprehensive overview of nursing practice, combining SJCNY's broad humanities curriculum with specialized studies in health sciences and nursing skills. The RN-to-BSN pathway requires candidates to hold an associate degree from an accredited nursing program and a current New York State registered professional nurse license.
SJCNY's graduate adult gerontology programs train experienced nurses to offer primary and specialty care across the adult lifespan. The nurse educator program trains nurses for academic positions, teaching nursing at colleges or in service settings.
|4||CUNY Hunter College New York, NY||Tuition $34,061||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A member of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, Hunter hosts several of the top nursing programs in NYC. As the home of CUNY's flagship nursing school, Hunter offers nursing education at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral level, training students to provide healthcare in diverse urban communities. All of Hunter's nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
At the undergraduate level, Hunter offers a general bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), an RN-to-BSN pathway, and an accelerated second-degree nursing program. The general track serves students of all backgrounds, while the RN-to-BSN program admits only registered nurses (RNs). The second-degree program admits candidates who hold a bachelor's degree in a subject other than nursing, enabling students to earn a bachelor's in nursing while bypassing general education requirements.
Hunter offers several graduate nursing programs in areas including community/public health nursing, gerontological/adult nurse practitioner, and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. Doctoral candidates can choose from a doctor of nursing practice or a Ph.D. in nursing.
|5||Pace University New York, NY||Tuition $36,727||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A private college based in Manhattan, Pace offers nursing education at the undergraduate and graduate level. As one of the top nursing schools in NYC, Pace's Lienhard School of Nursing features a long history of preparing highly skilled nurses and healthcare professionals. The school maintains connections with more than 200 healthcare systems and clinicians throughout New York City.
Undergraduates can pursue a bachelor of science in nursing with both traditional and accelerated enrollment options. The program offers clinical opportunities as early as students' sophomore year, building comprehensive hands-on experience in a variety of healthcare settings. The school reports that 97% of program graduates pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which is 7% higher than the national average.
Degree-seekers can pursue three master's in nursing programs: family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. At the doctoral level, Pace offers both a Ph.D. in nursing and a doctor of nursing practice.
|6||Wagner College Staten Island, NY||Tuition $11,898||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Based in Staten Island, Wagner's Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing ranks among the best nursing schools in NYC. Wagner offers nursing degrees at the bachelor's, graduate, and doctoral level. All programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The school emphasizes nursing decision-making, leadership, and practice, preparing students of all backgrounds for entry-level and advanced positions in the healthcare field.
The undergraduate program prepares graduates to work as generalists in community and institutional healthcare environments. Wagner offers several enrollment options, including a traditional four-year degree, an RN-to-BSN path for working nurses, and a 15-month second-degree program for students with a bachelor's in a subject other than nursing.
At the graduate level, Wagner offers programs in family nurse practitioner and nurse educator, along with a post-master's advanced certificate program in family nurse practitioner. Doctoral candidates can pursue a doctor of nursing practice that highlights global training, disaster preparedness, and population health.
|7||Phillips School of Nursing at Mount Sinai Beth Israel New York, NY||Tuition $27,354||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A teaching hospital located in Manhattan, Mount Sinai Beth Israel is home to the Phillips School of Nursing, another of the top nursing schools in NYC. The school offers an RN-to-BSN program for practicing registered nurses (RNs) and an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).
The RN-to-BSN program accepts RNs who hold either an associate degree or diploma in nursing. Designed for both experienced nurses and recent nursing graduates, the program offers specialization options in emergency nursing, critical care nursing, community/home nursing, and perioperative nursing. Candidates typically complete the RN-to-BSN program in 15 months.
The accelerated BSN program accepts students who already hold an undergraduate degree in a non-nursing subject. The degree curriculum omits general undergraduate course requirements, enabling candidates to focus on courses relevant to nursing. The program uses a hybrid format that mixes online and on-campus courses. Like learners in the RN-to-BSN program, most candidates graduate in about 15 months.
|8||College of Mount Saint Vincent Bronx, NY||Tuition $26,567||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A Catholic liberal arts college based in the Bronx, The Mount offers several of the top nursing programs in NYC. Degree-seekers can pursue a traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), an accelerated bachelor's, and a bachelor's/master's accelerated pathway. Nursing students also benefit from The Mount's connections to healthcare organizations around New York City.
The traditional four-year nursing program builds broad knowledge in nursing concepts and practice along with general undergraduate core requirements. The accelerated bachelor's program serves students who already hold a bachelor's degree in a field unrelated to nursing. This program focuses on essential nursing skills, enabling candidates to graduate in just 15 months.
Undergraduates can also pursue a combined BSN and master of science in nursing (MSN), which enables them to combine content for both degrees into a condensed time frame. Eligible students can complete up to six graduate credits during their senior year, getting a jump on courses for the MSN and completing both degrees faster.
|9||CUNY Lehman College Bronx, NY||Tuition $23,916||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A member of the City University of New York system, Lehman operates a main campus in the Bronx serving more than 14,000 students. Home to several of the best nursing programs in NYC, the college offers nursing education at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level. All of Lehman's nursing programs help degree-seekers develop strong skills in healthcare practice, research, and scholarship, producing graduates with a commitment to community service and the health of diverse populations.
At the undergraduate level, Lehman offers a traditional four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) (with an accelerated completion option) and an RN-to-BSN pathway. The traditional bachelor's program includes 75 major credits that full-time students can complete in 14 months of accelerated enrollment.
At the master's level, candidates can pursue graduate degrees in family nurse practitioner or pediatric nurse practitioner. Lehman also offers postgraduate certificates and a doctor of nursing practice.
|10||SUNY Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, NY||Tuition $29,601||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Ranked among the best nursing programs in NYC, SUNY Downstate has prepared nurses and other healthcare professionals since 1966. This Brooklyn-based member of the State University of New York system offers nursing education at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral level. SUNY Downstate students benefit from strong clinical placement opportunities and a robust simulation laboratory that offers the latest in nurse training.
For undergraduates, SUNY Downstate offers an RN-to-BSN program and an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). The RN-to-BSN degree trains registered nurses (RNs) or those projected to earn licensure before enrollment. The accelerated BSN program serves candidates who hold a bachelor's degree in another field, enabling students to complete their nursing coursework in just 15 months.
At the graduate level, SUNY Downstate offers three master's programs in family nurse practitioner, women's health nurse practitioner, and nurse midwifery. The school also offers a doctor of nursing practice with enrollment pathways for both bachelor's and master's degree-holders.