Top Nursing Schools in Wisconsin

Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 Chippewa Valley Technical College 96.25 $$$$$ 12:1 2 32%
2 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College 96.00 $$$$$ 13:1 2 53%
3 Blackhawk Technical College 96.00 $$$$$ 12:1 2 32%
4 Lakeshore Technical College 95.75 $$$$$ 13:1 2 45%
5 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College 95.00 $$$$$ 9:1 2 51%
6 Mid-State Technical College 94.50 $$$$$ 12:1 2 30%
7 Fox Valley Technical College 94.25 $$$$$ 12:1 2 35%
8 Northeast Wisconsin Technical College 93.25 $$$$$ 17:1 1 42%
9 Nicolet Area Technical College 93.00 $$$$$ 8:1 2 30%
10 Moraine Park Technical College 93.00 $$$$$ 15:1 2 34%
11 Gateway Technical College 92.50 $$$$$ 14:1 2 24%
12 Milwaukee Area Technical College 92.25 $$$$$ 12:1 2 12%
13 Waukesha County Technical College 92.00 $$$$$ 18:1 2 34%
14 Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College 91.50 $$$$$ 20:1 2 52%
15 Northcentral Technical College 91.00 $$$$$ 19:1 2 26%
Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 Edgewood College 93.50 $$$$$ 11:1 4 62%
2 University of Wisconsin-Madison 93.25 $$$$$ 18:1 5 84%
3 Bellin College 93.25 $$$$$ 10:1 12 64%
4 Viterbo University 93.25 $$$$$ 11:1 1 48%
5 Marquette University 92.25 $$$$$ 14:1 1 79%
6 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 92.00 $$$$$ 20:1 8 68%
7 Concordia University-Wisconsin 92.00 $$$$$ 13:1 3 61%
8 College of Menominee Nation 91.50 $$$$$ 7:1 13 14%
9 Alverno College 91.25 $$$$$ 10:1 5 36%
10 Madison Area Technical College 91.00 $$$$$ 11:1 13 23%
11 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh 90.50 $$$$$ 22:1 8 54%
12 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 90.25 $$$$$ 18:1 5 44%
13 Silver Lake College 90.25 $$$$$ 7:1 13 39%
14 Wisconsin Lutheran College 90.00 $$$$$ 12:1 13 61%
15 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay 89.75 $$$$$ 23:1 8 51%
16 Carroll University 88.75 $$$$$ 14:1 13 61%
17 Cardinal Stritch University 87.75 $$$$$ 17:1 8 47%
18 Milwaukee School of Engineering 87.25 $$$$$ 15:1 13 56%

Locate Nursing Schools in Wisconsin

For individuals interested in joining the RN occupation, there is an array of academic options for entry-level and advanced employment. Use the search tool below to browse, filter, and compare accredited nursing schools in Wisconsin.

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Licensure Information for RNs in Wisconsin

The State of Wisconsin Board of Nursing is part of the Department of Safety and Professional Services. The board regulates the nursing practice in the state and manages the licensing and renewal process for both registered nurses and individuals working in advanced practice RN roles. To practice nursing in the state legally, an RN must hold an active and valid license from the Board of Nursing. Below is an overview of the common licensing requirements.

Eligibility for Licensure

  • Graduate from high school, or the equivalent, and complete postsecondary education from an accredited school of nursing approved by the Wisconsin Board of Nursing
  • Have a Wisconsin board-approved statement of graduation sent directly to the Board from the school
  • Graduates of out-of-state board-approved schools in the United States, must have official transcripts sent to the Board of Nursing after graduation
  • Submit online application and a $90 fee ($75 Initial Credential Fee and a $15 Contract Exam Fee). Those requesting a temporary permit will need to pay an additional $10 fee.
  • Register for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) with Pearson VUE and take the exam after receiving an Authorization to Test (ATT)

Renewal Requirements

RNs in Wisconsin must renew their licenses on February 28 or February 29 of even years. Even if the nurse received his or her initial license in the same year, he or she must still renew the license by the deadline. The renewal period begins early January and ends March 1. The cost to renew is $86 and those who miss the deadline will need to pay a total of $111, which includes a late fee. In addition, registered nurses are required to complete a Nursing Workforce Survey (SVY) to qualify for licensure renewal. Created and enforced by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development in 2009, this survey is a way to collect crucial information on the state’s nursing profession. The state uses this information to create a report once every two years on the supply of, demand for, and turnover of Wisconsin RNs and LPNs. License renewal will not be processed if the applicant does not complete the survey.

Advanced Practice Nursing Licensure

In addition to RNs and LPNS, the Wisconsin Board of Nursing oversees the certification process for Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers (APNP). APNPs must acquire an RN license (they may apply for APNP certification and RN licensure simultaneously) as well as complete the following:

  • Graduate from an approved advanced nursing education program
  • Complete and submit an application for Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber and all other required forms and paperwork
  • Verify current national board certification in specialized role (nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist)
  • Request and submit verification of licensure from any state where the applicant has held or his holding prescriptive authority
  • Take and pass an online jurisprudence examination for Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers
  • Individuals with prescribing authority must hold and present verification of malpractice insurance coverage
  • Complete at least 45 contact hours in approved clinical pharmacology/therapeutics courses at within three years prior to submitting the application

Find more information and forms for RNs and APNPs at the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

RN Career Outlook in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to nearly 100,000 registered nurses, including more than 5,100 practicing nursing in advanced positions, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In order to meet the expected need for primary nursing care, the state of Wisconsin will need to increase the nursing workforce by 2020, according to the Public Policy Forum. This growth is largely created by two converging factors: a rapidly aging population and the expected retirement of nurses across the state. Employment opportunities for registered nurses are anticipated to reach between 13 percent and 28 percent in each specialty, from registered nursing to midwifery, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Learn more about the occupational outlook for nursing careers in the state of Wisconsin.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Wisconsin

Area Hourly Median Wage Annual Median Wage
Madison $35.81 $74,480
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis $33.25 $69,160
Racine $33.09 $68,820
La Crosse-Onalaska $31.68 $65,890
Western Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area $31.17 $64,830
Oshkosh-Neenah $31.07 $64,630
Janesville-Beloit $30.97 $64,410
Sheboygan $30.80 $64,070
Eau Claire $30.37 $63,160
Northwestern Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area $30.15 $62,720

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017

Wisconsin vs. National Numbers

  • Wisconsin
  • National
  • Annual Salary (25th percentile)
  • Annual Salary (median)
  • Annual Salary (75th percentile)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017

Total Employment (2016)
2024 occupational outlook
Avg. annual openings (2014 – 2024)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and Projections Central, 2017

Wisconsin Resources for RNs

Wisconsin Center for Nursing

Launched in 2005, the Wisconsin Center for Nursing was created to address the nursing shortage in the state of Wisconsin. The organization is active in four major areas, including nursing education and preparation, leadership opportunities, data collection, and developing community and private partnerships to drive the recruitment and retention of nurses in the state.

Wisconsin Chapter of American Psychiatric Nurses Association

The state chapter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Wisconsin chapter is a membership-based association. Founded in 1986, the association supports nurses through continuing education conferences and programs, hosts networking events, and scholarships.

Wisconsin Nurses Association

The Wisconsin Nurses Association is a membership-based organization that supports the 80,000 registered nurses in the state of Wisconsin. As the state’s only approved nursing lobbying group, the WNA advocates on behalf of nurses, provides approved continuing education programs, and hosts a range of networking and professional events.

Wisconsin State Board of Nursing

In Wisconsin, the State Board of Nursing oversees and regulates the practice of nursing in the state. Working with the state legislature, the board sets licensing requirements, handles complaints and disciplinary hearings, and manages the licensing and renewal process.

Wisconsin Student Nurses Association

The Wisconsin Student Nurses Association is the state branch of the National Student Nurses’ Association. Through a combination of professional development programs, scholarships, mentoring and leadership opportunities, the WSNA fosters the growth of the next generation of nurses.