Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Ohio

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According to recent job outlook data, registered nursing ranks as one of the top 10 occupations for annual job growth in the Buckeye State. By 2025, state projections place the number of qualified nurses well above anticipated demand. The profession is set to become fiercely competitive in the coming years, making it important for aspiring nurses in Ohio to understand industry and licensing requirements as well as select a top nursing school for education and training. This guide provides information on obtaining the education needed to practice in the state as well as necessary steps for licensure.

Top Nursing Schools in Ohio

Rank School Location
1 Mercy College of Ohio Toledo, OH
2 Mount Carmel College of Nursing Columbus, OH
3 The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences Cincinnati, OH
4 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
5 Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus, OH
6 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
7 Kettering College Kettering, OH
8 Otterbein University Westerville, OH
9 Ohio University-Main Campus Athens, OH
10 Ursuline College Pepper Pike, OH
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Top Nursing Schools in Ohio

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  • Methodology +

    BEST 4-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


2-Year Schools

  1. Mercy College of Ohio
    Location

    Toledo, OH

  2. Mount Carmel College of Nursing
    Location

    Columbus, OH

  3. The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

  4. Case Western Reserve University
    Location

    Cleveland, OH

  5. Ohio State University-Main Campus
    Location

    Columbus, OH

  6. University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

  7. Kettering College
    Location

    Kettering, OH

  8. Otterbein University
    Location

    Westerville, OH

  9. Ohio University-Main Campus
    Location

    Athens, OH

  10. Ursuline College
    Location

    Pepper Pike, OH

4-Year Schools

  1. Sinclair College
    Location

    Dayton, OH

  2. Rhodes State College
    Location

    Lima, OH

  3. Belmont College
    Location

    St. Clairsville, OH

  4. North Central State College
    Location

    Mansfield, OH

  5. Clark State Community College
    Location

    Springfield, OH

  6. Eastern Gateway Community College
    Location

    Steubenville, OH

  7. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

  8. Trinity Health System School of Nursing
    Location

    Steubenville, OH

  9. Washington State Community College
    Location

    Marietta, OH

  10. Lakeland Community College
    Location

    Kirtland, OH

Compare Nursing Schools and Programs in Ohio

The Ohio Board of Nursing regulates all educational programs and regularly reviews these offerings to ensure each meets requirements for both coursework and clinical experience. A number of approved nursing schools exist in Ohio at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The tool below can help future students begin their search for a nursing school that matches their needs.

Steps for Ohio Nurse Licensure

In addition to education and training through a state-approved nursing program, new nurses must meet certain requirements to be issued an Ohio RN license. As a member of the 25-state Nurse Licensure Compact, Ohio allows nurses from other member states to practice if they have a multistate license and fulfill additional requirements. First-time applicants will find a list of mandates below, along with details about the renewal process.

  • Graduate from a state-approved nursing program that meets all requirements set forth by the Ohio Board of Nursing
  • Complete the state licensing application and submit a $75 fee
  • Submit to BCI and FBI background checks
  • Request official transcripts from your nursing school be sent directly to the Ohio Board of Nursing
  • Register to take the NCLEX via Pearson VUE and submit a $200 fee
  • Once an Authorization to Test is received, sign up for a testing time and pass the examination
  • Applicants whose home is in a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state other than Ohio must apply for a multistate license. Applicants whose home state is not part of the NLC must apply for single-state licensure in Ohio.

Renewing an Ohio License

Registered nurses in Ohio must renew their licenses by October 31 of every odd-numbered year. Nurses are required to complete 24 hours of approved continuing education credits during each cycle. This requirement consists of one hour on Ohio Law & Rules, while the remaining 23 hours are dedicated to the nursing practice. If the license has been inactive of lapsed for at least two years, the applicant is still required to complete 24 hours, but that time is spread across Ohio Law & Rules, the nursing process and critical thinking, pharmacology, ethical principles, and nursing practice. While these hours don’t have to be submitted to the board, all nurses are advised to keep proof of completion incase they are audited. Registered nurses pay a $65 renewal fee.

Advanced Practice Nurse Licensing

While most nurses in Ohio work as either registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, some seek additional licensure to be more competitive in the job market. Advanced practice nurses in Ohio must not only meet the requirements set forth for registered nurses, but must also undertake additional training and education. Once licensed, roles available include work as nurse practitioners, neonatal nurses, nurse anesthetists, emergency nurses, and other specialized positions. Requirements for advanced practice licensure include:

  • Hold a current RN license to practice nursing in Ohio
  • Provide documentation showing the completion of an approved APRN educational program, preceptorship, fellowship, or internship
  • Hold a master’s degree or higher from an accredited educational program
  • Be board-certified in the specialty from a nationally recognized certifying agency
  • Complete a self-inquiry scope of practice provided by the Ohio Board of Nursing

For more information about advanced practice nursing in Ohio, please visit the Ohio Board of Nursing.

Ohio RNs: Salaries and Employment

Healthcare employers in Ohio are constantly searching for qualified registered nurses. It’s a competitive field and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections indicate the number of jobs for nurses in the state will continue to grow. This keeps annual wages below the national average, but still in line with the state’s cost of living. Take a look at the annual mean wage for different metropolitan areas below.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Ohio

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor$31.38$65,270
Akron$30.74$63,940
Columbus$30.02$62,440
Steubenville-Weirton OH-WV$29.95$62,290
Cincinnati-Middletown OH-KY-IN$29.72$61,820
Dayton$28.54$59,360
Springfield$28.53$59,330
Toledo$28.20$58,650
Mansfield$28.16$58,580
Other Ohio nonmetropolitan area$27.68$57,570

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Ohio vs. National Numbers

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RN Resources in Ohio

Ohio Action Coalition

The Ohio Action Coalition is a professional group led by the Ohio League for Nursing and the Ohio Hospital Association that aims to meet health care challenges in the state.

Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses

The Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses provides nurses with access to continuing education, networking opportunities and legislative updates.

Ohio League for Nursing

The Ohio League for Nursing is the state affiliate of the National League for Nursing that promotes professional growth and development in the nursing profession. The league also offers continuing education opportunities and other varied resources.

Ohio Nurses Association

The Ohio Nurses Association is a member group representing the interests of more than 160,000 registered nurses in the state. The organization, which is based in Columbus, is affiliated nationally with American Nurses Association and has 13 nursing districts throughout Ohio.

State of Ohio Board of Nursing

The State of Ohio Board of Nursing is the official licensing body for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and other nursing professionals in Ohio.

State of Ohio Nursing

State of Ohio Nursing is part of the Ohio state government’s Hiring Management System. It offers resources for nursing professionals interested in working in the state health care system.

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