Best Practical Nursing Programs 2020

Professionals in the practical nursing field play an essential role in patient care. On the job, they take vital signs, change bandages, and keep records. They also collaborate with registered nurses and physicians and discuss medical treatment with patients' family members. Practical nursing job titles include licensed practical nurse (LPN) and licensed vocational nurse (LVN).

High school graduates and individuals who passed the GED examination become an LPN or LVN by enrolling in a 1-2-year certificate or diploma program at a technical or community college. Some hospitals and high schools also offer certificate programs.

Graduates go on to work at hospitals, clinics, or other medical settings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 9% job growth for LPNs and LVNs for 2019-2029, indicating a strong job market.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Practical Nursing?

In hospitals and other medical settings throughout the United States, practical nurses help registered nurses, physicians, and other medical personnel with patient care. Although their profession involves fewer responsibilities, they make a significant impact by working with patients directly.

Practical nurses possess either a certificate or associate degree in practical nursing. These practical nursing programs take 1-2 years to complete and do not qualify graduates for a nursing license. However, practical nursing allows professionals to gain hands-on experience, a boon if they decide to return to school to earn a BSN or advanced degree.

The following article highlights employment opportunities for professionals who continue their education and become a registered nurse. The article also includes information about the importance of accreditation, licenses, professional organizations, and scholarship opportunities.

Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Practical Nursing?

A practical nursing certificate or associate degree allows professionals to start an entry-level career in the nursing profession. These positions often pay the lowest salaries while providing essential experience. Many practical nurses who want to advance their careers return to school to earn a BSN. A BSN qualifies graduates to earn a nursing license, specialize in a nursing subfield, and increase their salary potential.

An MSN allows nurses to specialize further and attain a position as a nurse practitioner or nurse educator. An MSN takes 2-4 years, depending on prior academic experience. Finally, nurses who cannot return to school often advance their career by earning a certification or joining one or more professional organizations that provide resources like job boards or mentorship programs.

Accreditation for a Degree in Practical Nursing

In addition to a school's practical nursing curriculum and learning outcomes, research the accreditation status of your prospective program. Colleges and universities in the United States earn regional accreditation from one of the six agencies the Department of Education charters. Accreditation signifies that a school offers rigorous programs and excellent learning outcomes.

Research whether schools on your shortlist possess national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC accreditation ensures that a college or university's online degrees offer the same learning experience as their on-campus programs.

Lastly, top U.S. practical nurse degrees earn programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. These private organizations analyze courses, academic requirements, and learning outcomes in nursing programs. Programs with accreditation prepare future and practicing nurses for 21st-century careers.


Question Answer
What is the difference between practical nurse and registered nurse? Although practical and registered nurses perform many of the same job responsibilities, only the latter can perform advanced tasks that include administering medication. Practical nurses perform more basic duties related to patient care.
What are the duties of a practical nurse? Practical nurses take patients' vital signs and ensure patients' hygiene and overall comfort. Compared to registered nurses, practical nurses have fewer opportunities for career and salary advancement.
What level of degree can you get in practical nursing? Practical nurses complete either a two-year associate program or a one-year diploma. Some colleges and universities call the latter a certificate. Also, learners often use an associate degree as a stepping stone toward a bachelor's in nursing.
Is practical nursing a good career? Practical nursing positions provide excellent entry-level opportunities for individuals who want to work in a medical setting while gaining hands-on experience.

What Are the Requirements for a Degree in Practical Nursing?

Nurses with an associate degree or certificate in practical nursing often advance their career by earning a bachelor's in nursing. Unlike associate degrees in nursing and 1-2-year practical nursing programs, most bachelor's degrees allow learners to specialize in a medical subfield, such as orthopedics or pediatrics. Additionally, no matter a school's academic or graduation requirements, the curriculum prepares students to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and any state-specific assessments.

A bachelor's takes 2-4 years to complete, depending on prior education and professional experience. Like an associate in nursing, this degree qualifies alumni to earn a registered nursing license. However, hospitals and other employers prefer applicants who possess a bachelor's degree.

Courses in a Practical Nursing Program

Practical nursing programs at the bachelor's level help learners master multiple medical science topics, including biochemistry and human anatomy. They also emphasize nursing theory and practice. These courses expose learners to the profession's ethical standards, the importance of community health, and essential leadership skills.

The following sample curriculum highlights a mix of core and specialization courses that learners take in their practical nursing bachelor's program. While reviewing them, please keep in mind that each bachelor's program uses a different curriculum. Research a school's website to learn the latest about what students experience in the virtual or on-campus classroom.

Professional Roles and Values

An introductory course, professional roles and values covers the role nurses play in the healthcare field. Students learn about nursing's history, important figures, and significant developments. Learners also analyze typical responsibilities and the importance of accountability. Additionally, the course emphasizes many of the topics that learners explore throughout the program, such as professional leadership, conduct, and social responsibility. As students build upon these concepts, they consider their long-term career goals.

Community Health and Population-FOcused Field Experience

In this course, degree-seekers learn how community health programs improve individuals' health and well-being. Students master different community health theories and best practices. In the field experience, learners work with community members to identify a health issue, understand its root causes, and propose a solution. Additionally, the course prepares learners to recognize the U.S. healthcare system's limitations and benefits.

Leadership and Professional Image

Inexperienced nurses need leadership and professionalism skills if they hope to earn a raise or take on additional responsibilities. A course typical to a program's final semester, leadership and professional image requires students to create an academic portfolio based on their clinical experiences. In addition to work samples, the portfolio contains a current resume and personal statement. Alumni often use such a portfolio as part of a job application and as a reference for further growth.

Advocacy through Healthcare Policy

In addition to collaborating with other medical professionals and providing the best care, nurses of all experience levels need to know how to advocate for their profession and the patients they serve. Course topics include current challenges the nursing field faces, problems surround quality of care, and healthcare policy analysis. Students leave the course with the knowledge and confidence to stand up for vulnerable people in the medical field.

Health Assessment

Diagnosing patients and providing proper treatment starts with gathering their vital signs, family history, and other essential information. Health assessment takes students through each step of the assessment process. Coursework involves honing interviewing and communication skills, assessing different body parts, and considering patients' cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Some health assessment courses require that degree-seekers practice these skills with classmates in mock patient interviews. Professors review degree-seekers' performance and provide feedback for improvement.

Certifications and Licensure for Practical Nursing Majors

Practical nursing programs act as a first step toward a fulfilling nursing career. Many nurses also earn a license or professional certification for career advancement. The following options require additional education, passing an exam, or both. Click on the embedded links to learn how each license or certification benefits practicing nurses.

Nursing License

States regulate the nursing profession through licensure. Practical nurses earn a license by completing an associate or bachelor's program that meets their state's requirements. Additionally, candidates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam, submit to a criminal background check, and apply with their state's board of licensure.

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AIDS Certified Registered Nurse

Registered nurses with at least two years of work experience can become an AIDS certified registered nurse. The certification process involves passing an exam, and the sponsoring agency offers an advanced certification to nurses who attain a master's and additional professional experience. Additionally, certified nurses recertify every four years by taking continuing education courses.

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Certified Pediatric Nurse

The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board awards this certification to registered nurses who complete at least 1,800 hours of clinical experience. Candidates sit for a three-hour, 175-question exam. Nurses recertify each year by completing at least 15 hours of continuing education and paying a fee.

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Professional Organizations for Practical Nursing Students

In addition to licenses and certifications, professional organizations exclusive to nurses offer excellent resources, such as job boards, publications, and financial aid opportunities. Joining usually involves paying a one-time or annual fee. Organizations use these fees to help nurses grow in their profession and advocate for them at the local, state, and federal levels.

The American Nurses Association

ANA membership confers numerous benefits, including financial planning resources, student loan solutions, and a discount on professional insurance. Members enjoy access to 3,000 nursing journals at no additional cost, and the one-year ANA mentorship program accepts applications in the summer. Additionally, the ANA Career Center features more than 2,000 open positions throughout the United States.

The Emergency Nurses Association

Registered emergency room nurses join the ENA to receive free continuing education courses, network with peers, and stay current on emergency nursing best practices. Many learners in undergraduate or graduate nursing programs also join. In addition to helping nurses advance their career, the ENA also recognizes the best emergency departments with its annual Lantern Award.

The National League for Nursing

The NLN consists of more than 40,000 nurses and 1,200 nursing programs. Membership requirements include enrolling in an MSN program or working as a practical or registered nurse. Members receive an invitation to the ANA annual conference, access to professional publications, and multiple networking events.

National Student Nurses Association

Nurses-in-training join the NSNA for its many benefits including scholarships, professional publications, and community outreach opportunities. Members also receive discounts on study tools and liability insurance. Additionally, the NSNA offers leadership opportunities to help student nurses network with peers and bolster their resume.

Scholarships for Practical Nursing Students

Multiple scholarship opportunities help students fund their practical nursing degree. The following scholarships restrict applicants to those earning a degree in nursing or a related medical field. Application requirements vary but generally include recommendation letters or a specific undergraduate or graduate GPA.

AfterCollege Nursing Student Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship welcomes applications from bachelor's, master's, and doctoral students. Application requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA, a resume, and a personal statement. Applicants also create an AfterCollege profile. AfterCollege prefers applicants preparing for a career as a nurse educator or those enrolled in an accelerated program.
Amount: $500

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A Nurse I am Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Cherokee Uniforms awards funding to undergraduate degree-seekers earning an associate, bachelor's, or RN-to-BSN. Both full- and part-time students can apply. Recipients use the award for any education-related expenses. The scholarship does not renew, and recipients cannot reapply the following year.
Amount: $2,000

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Emergency Nurses Association Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The ENA awards funding to undergraduate student members in good standing who earn a 3.0 or higher GPA. Applicants submit two recommendation letters. ENA requires only one application for multiple awards. Student nurses in an ENA leadership position cannot apply at this time.
Amount: Varies

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Naitonal Association of Hispanic Nurses Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: NAHN members active for at least six months can apply. Eligible applicants possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate or graduate GPA and attend the annual NAHN conference. NAHN does not consider applications from part-time students. Learners apply for multiple scholarships with only one application.
Amount: $1,000-$2,000

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National Black Nurses Association Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The NBNA awards 13 scholarships to African American nursing students. Application materials include official transcripts, a two-page personal essay, two recommendation letters, and a recent photograph. Applicants can also submit supplementary materials, such as proof of volunteering in the African American community. Additionally, the NBNA requires that interested students join the organization before applying.
Amount: $1,000-$5,000

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Best Practical Nursing Programs 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 Yale University New Haven, CT Tuition $18,748 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale offers practical nursing degrees at the master's and doctoral levels. The on-campus MSN degree features concentrations in diabetes care, oncology, and gender and sexuality health justice. The university's Ph.D. program attracts learners with a background in research and prepares them for a career in academia.

Yale offers specialized career resources for nursing degree-seekers, including a custom resume and cover letter guide, an employment outlook, and job-hunting tips. Students can also visit the Office of Career Strategy to learn networking skills.

Applicants must submit three recommendation letters, GRE scores, and multiple essays. Prospective doctoral learners need a master's degree and transcripts that reflect a minimum 3.5 GPA. Yale covers tuition costs for students who require additional help after exhausting federal grants and loans.

2 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY Tuition $21,220 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Columbia's on-campus practical nurse degrees include an MSN with concentrations in advanced clinical management and mental health nurse practitioner. Courses vary by program, but they may include health promotion, physical assessment, and deviations from health. Students can also pursue a DNP program at Columbia.

Columbia's School of Nursing offers Stellic, an online platform that allows academic advisors to track their students' academic progress. Degree-seekers can also visit the Center for Career Education to perform practice interviews and receive resume critiques.

Prospective students without a nursing background can apply, as Columbia offers bridge courses that give learners foundational knowledge and skills. Admission requirements vary by degree, but they typically include prerequisites and recommendation letters. Columbia awards numerous scholarships and grants, none of which require a separate application.

3 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Tuition $26,266 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Penn's on-campus practical nursing programs include bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Students learn on the university's Philadelphia campus. Master's degree-seekers can choose from multiple specializations, including neonatal, pediatric primary care, and women's health.

Penn offers many career services exclusive to nursing degree-seekers, including workshops covering networking skills, resume writing techniques, and internships. The university's Career Services (CS) website features resources that students can access 24/7, including how-to guides and career interest communities. Learners can also review CS articles covering topics like top nursing employers and academic success tips.

Application requirements for the master's program include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Some graduate concentrations do not admit applicants without 1-2 years of professional experience. Penn's School of Nursing offers departmental financial aid to qualifying learners.

4 Duke University Durham, NC Tuition $19,785 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Duke offers four practical nursing degrees on its Durham, North Carolina, campus: an accelerated BSN, an MSN, a DNP, and a Ph.D. program. Learners who possess an associate in nursing can complete the BSN in just 16 months. Coursework covers topics like health assessment, the principles of pharmacology, and gerontological nursing. Master's learners can select one of eight specializations in areas such as palliative care.

Learners approaching graduation can visit the School of Nursing's Career Services website to access information on upcoming job fairs, new job postings, and resume assistance. They can also access an extensive alumni network that allows recent graduates to learn from experienced peers.

Application requirements at the graduate level include three recommendations, GRE scores, and an active nursing license. Duke prefers applicants with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate or graduate GPA. Both incoming and current graduate degree-seekers can apply for institutional financial aid by submitting the FAFSA.

5 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI Tuition $16,856 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

U-M's on-campus practical nurse degrees educate recent high school graduates and experienced nurses who want to advance their career. The four-year bachelor's program features courses in introduction to psychology, human anatomy, and the context of care. The school also offers MSN and DNP programs. MSN students who plan to pursue the school's DNP should choose the MSN program's leadership track.

The School of Nursing offers all Career Center (CC) resources through Handshake. Students can log in to Handshake to make a counseling appointment and explore other CC resources, such as career guides and information regarding on-campus and virtual career fairs.

Admission requirements vary by degree. Prospective MSN degree-seekers must apply to the program and a specialty simultaneously. The university covers tuition for undergraduate learners who enroll in the Honors Program.

6 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN Tuition $23,596 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt offers a variety of on-campus practical nursing programs, including master of science in nursing, DNP, and Ph.D. programs. The master's program offers specializations in areas such as adult-gerontology acute care, emergency, and nursing informatics.

Career services advisors provide students with links to top nursing job boards and maintain the school's vast alumni network on LinkedIn. Counselors also offer various virtual resources, such as coaching appointments and workshops. Degree-seekers can learn more on the Career Services website or by downloading the DoreWays mobile app.

Prospective MSN degree-seekers should possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, complete undergraduate prerequisites, and submit three recommendation letters. The DNP program admits applicants with either a bachelor's or master's in nursing. Vanderbilt awards $7,000 per year to full-time MSN students with financial need.

7 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Tuition $27,868 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Johns Hopkins' practical nursing programs include MSN, DNP, and Ph.D. programs. The MSN program offers three specializations: entry into nursing, advanced nursing practice, and healthcare organization leadership.

The School of Nursing's Career Lab works with students to network with potential employers, identify relevant skills, and reflect on career goals. The university's career services advisors provide additional resources, including virtual events and webinars. Additionally, free software, such as Handshake and Vault, allows learners to hone job-hunting skills at any time of day.

Johns Hopkins accepts applications for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Degree-seekers pay a flat per-year tuition rate. Approximately 90% of MSN students receive institutional aid, ranging from $10,000 to full tuition.

8 New York University New York, NY Tuition $39,935 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

NYU's practical nurse degrees help experienced nurses attain the latest best practices and advance their career. Learners in the RN-to-BSN program can graduate in just 16 months. They study topics like adult and elder nursing, acute care psychological nursing, and contemporary issues in healthcare. Master's learners can specialize in one of nine areas. They can also further their studies by earning an optional certificate in advanced practice.

NYU's Wasserman Center for Career Development offers on-campus and virtual career fairs, an internship and job board, and resume critiques. Students can also use the university's Violet Ready website to build 11 essential skills, including networking, resilience, and career awareness.

Prospective graduate students should possess a New York state nursing license, a minimum 3.0 undergraduate or graduate GPA, and work experience. Other admission requirements include two recommendation letters and a 2-3-page personal statement. NYU awards institutional aid packages to bachelor's and master's students who demonstrate financial need.

9 Emory University Atlanta, GA Tuition $26,804 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing features a variety of practical nursing programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Undergraduates can earn a traditional or accelerated bachelor's. Master's students can specialize in one of 13 areas, including neonatal, family nurse, or women's health. Although most students attend courses on Emory's Atlanta, Georgia, campus, the accelerated BSN and DNP programs both offer a fully online curriculum.

On-campus and online degree-seekers can use the School of Nursing's Career Services (CS) website to sign up for resume webinars, research job openings in and around Atlanta, and complete mock interviews. Learners can find nearly all CS resources by logging into Handshake.

Admission requirements for all master's degrees include a Georgia nursing license and a resume. Doctoral applicants must submit two professional references. Emory's institutional scholarships award aid to incoming learners based on past academic performance, military service, and Peace Corps participation.

10 University of Rochester Rochester, NY Tuition $35,452 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Rochester's practical nursing opportunities include an online RN-to-BSN, multiple nurse practitioner degrees, and an MS-Ph.D. accelerated program. On-campus learners can gain hands-on experience at the Rochester Medical Center or at one of 600 clinical sites throughout New York. Specializations at the master's level include family, pediatric, and adult-gerontology.

Current students and recent graduates can take advantage of the Green Center's (GC) extensive career resources, including self-discovery tools, career communities, and podcasts. Virtual learners can access GC services through Slack, Zoom, and Handshake.

Each degree uses different application deadlines, and some degrees admit new learners only once per year. Prospective graduate degree-seekers need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate or graduate GPA, an active nursing license, and at least 1-2-years of clinical experience, depending on the program. New York residents may qualify for a 50-55% tuition reduction.

11 Georgetown University Washington, DC Tuition $28,509 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Practical nurse degree-seekers at Georgetown can select from one of four specialties at the bachelor's level, including global health, healthcare management and policy, and human science. MSN learners can choose from seven specializations. The doctoral program accepts degree-seekers with a bachelor's or a master's degree in nursing.

The Cawley Career Education Center (CCEC) offers specialized resources for nursing students, such as links to top job websites and professional publications. Other services include free access to private job boards and nursing organization recommendations. Nursing learners can also research job-hunting advice and career guides on the CCEC website.

Each degree program accepts new learners twice per year. Admission requirements typically include a nursing license, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and prerequisites. Many graduate programs do not consider applicants without professional experience. Georgetown offers a 5% tuition reduction for all nursing students.

12 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO Tuition $31,460 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

SLU's practical nursing programs include accelerated bachelor's and master's programs that allow students to graduate in 12-21 months. Graduate learners can supplement their education by earning a certificate in one of five areas, such as nurse education, gerontological care, or pediatric primary care.

Both online and on-campus students can take advantage of SLU's Virtual Career Lab. The lab hosts multiple webinars each week that cover different industries. Learners who cannot attend can review recorded presentations on Handshake.

Prospective students should contact SLU to learn more about required application materials. This private university does not charge a higher tuition rate to out-of-state learners. The Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing awards multiple scholarships each year.

13 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH Tuition $34,061 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

CWRU's practical nursing degree-seekers can pursue a master of nursing or a master of science in nursing with specializations in adult-gerontology acute care, education and population, and pediatric nurse practitioner. The school also offers a DNP program, which features a cohort learning model.

The CWRU Career Center offers career counseling, targeted job postings, and cover letter reviews. The center also sponsors student groups that help like-minded learners network and explore job opportunities.

MSN applicants need three recommendations, an Ohio nursing license, and prerequisites in statistics. Prospective DNP students should possess a minimum 3.0 graduate GPA. Undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers can apply for institutional scholarships and grants by submitting the university's financial aid form and FAFSA results.

14 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC Tuition $11,649 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

UNC offers a variety of practical nurse degree programs. The university's BSN program includes coursework in clinical nursing skills, reproductive health and nursing care, and the foundations of research and health innovation. The school's MSN program offers multiple specializations, such as family nurse practitioner and healthcare leadership.

The university's career services include career guides and virtual career counseling. Career counselors can assist nursing students with researching and applying for jobs throughout the country. Learners can explore the career services website to learn more about interviewing tips, career pathways, and how to create a strong online presence.

Application materials depend on the degree and which track students select. Requirements can include a GPA cutoff, professional experience, and undergraduate prerequisites. Out-of-state students spend significantly more on tuition at this public institution. Undergraduate and graduate learners can apply for institutional and departmental financial aid.

15 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA Tuition $36,727 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Drexel's graduate practical nursing programs include an advanced role MSN and a nurse practitioner MSN. Both tracks feature numerous specialization options, including public health, pediatric primary, and psychiatric mental health. Public health students can earn the degree entirely online or on Drexel's Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, campus.

Counselors in Drexel's Career Development Center (CDC) give students and alumni the tools they need for a successful job hunt, such as resume tips, personal branding guides, and interview techniques. Other CDC resources include advice on how to achieve a work-life balance.

The MSN program accepts applicants with or without a nursing background. Prospective students should possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Learners who maintain a 3.0 or higher graduate GPA may qualify for the Drexel Dean's Fellowship.

16 Villanova University Villanova, PA Tuition $36,958 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Villanova's on-campus, undergraduate, and graduate practical nursing degrees prepare aspiring and practicing nurses for leadership positions in the field. The traditional four-year BSN requires coursework in Christian faith and life, health assessment, and human anatomy. Master's students can select from four nurse practitioner tracks, such as nursing education or adult-gerontology.

The Villanova Career Center (CC) offers virtual events, including an annual nursing career day. Students can visit the CC website to explore different careers and learn more about master's and doctoral programs. These and other resources help nearly 99% of BSN alumni find a job before or shortly after graduation.

Application requirements for the four-year BSN program include high school transcripts and one teacher recommendation. Villanova recommends but does not require standardized test scores from undergraduate applicants. Financial assistance for nursing degree-seekers includes need-based grants and a low-interest loan program.

17 Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette, IN Tuition $11,898 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Situated in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue offers practical nurse degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The BSN offers two tracks: one for recent high school graduates and one for learners with a bachelor's in a different field. MS degree-seekers training for a career as a nurse practitioner can specialize in adult-gerontology primary care, family, pediatric, or psychiatric/mental health nursing.

Nursing students can visit the Purdue Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) website to hone interviewing skills, research potential employers, and network with alumni. CCO job-search videos cover salary negotiation techniques.

Recent high school graduates interested in the BSN program can apply with the Common Application. Master's degree programs require applicants to hold a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and an Indiana nursing license. Other application materials include three recommendation letters and a resume. The School of Nursing awards merit-based scholarships to qualified undergraduate degree-seekers, which require a separate application.

18 Creighton University Omaha, NE Tuition $31,317 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Creighton's four practical nursing programs include traditional and accelerated BSN programs, an MSN, and a DNP. The traditional BSN includes coursework in population health, professional concepts, and care management. MSN degree-seekers can specialize in either nursing administration and leadership or nursing education.

Counselors who work in Creighton's John P. Fahey Career Center can help students identify career goals, develop transferable skills, and create personalized success steps. The center also offers Vault, GoinGlobal, and CareerShift software.

Prospective MSN students need an active nursing license, three recommendation letters, and undergraduate prerequisites in statistics. Creighton does not charge a higher tuition rate to out-of-state degree-seekers. The College of Nursing automatically considers incoming freshmen for scholarships.

19 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC Tuition $27,354 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Wake Forest's School of Medicine features two graduate practical nursing programs on its Winston-Salem, North Carolina, campus: an MSN in nurse anesthesia and a DNP. During the six-semester MSN, learners study clinical integration concepts, leadership skills, and applied clinical learning. The DNP program uses a fully online curriculum, and learners can earn the degree while working full time.

The Office of Personal and Career Development (OPCD) features videos that teach new students how to access all OPCD resources and services. Degree-seekers can also sign up for a virtual counseling session, submit a resume for review, and study the latest job market news.

Application requirements for the MSN degree include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, competitive GRE scores, an active North Carolina nursing license, and at least 2,080 hours of clinical experience. DNP applicants must submit two recommendation letters.

20 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL Tuition $43,305 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

UM's nine practical nurse degrees train new and experienced nurses in areas such as adult-gerontology, family nurse practitioner, and anesthesia. The four-year traditional BSN includes coursework in systemic physiology, the principles of nutrition, and introductory statistics in healthcare. Master's degree-seekers can choose between a full- and part-time curriculum. The school also offers a DNP program.

Students can access the school's career services to explore career opportunities, prepare for interviews, and build a professional network. The school also offers virtual and in-person programs and workshops that examine different career paths.

MSN applicants need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, three recommendation letters, an active nursing license, and a personal statement. The doctoral program uses similar requirements and accepts applicants with a bachelor's or master's in nursing.

21 Catholic University of America Washington, DC Tuition $36,080 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in Washington, D.C., Catholic University of America offers both on-campus and online practical nursing programs. On-campus BSN students complete an exploratory nursing program in the first two years before taking advanced coursework in women in health and illness, management of healthcare delivery, and nursing research. The school also offers fully online MSN, DNP, and Ph.D. programs.

The Center for Academic and Career Success (CACS) offers a cover letter guide and networking advice. CACS also offers Jobs For Catholics, a specialized job board wherein learners can find a career that aligns with their faith.

The undergraduate nursing program requires that learners maintain a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA during their freshman and sophomore years. MSN applicants must submit three recommendation letters.

22 Ohio Northern University Ada, OH Tuition $23,567 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

ONU's practical nursing degrees include a BSN degree that most full-time students can complete in four years. The 120-credit curriculum covers topics such as nutrition for nurses, transcultural health, and medical surgical nursing.

The Office of Polar Careers offers a job board, in-person and virtual appointments, and career videos. Other resources include a customizable action plan and career fair success strategies. Students can also download a resume template aligned with their academic major.

Admission criteria include a minimum 23 ACT or 1130 SAT score, a high school diploma or GED scores, and a criminal background check. Applicants must also lack physical or mental impairments that would impact their nursing duties.

23 George Washington University Washington, DC Tuition $39,600 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

GW's practical nurse degrees emphasize the latest best practices. The BSN program offers a veterans track wherein learners with an associate degree can graduate in just 15 months. The MSN degree uses a hybrid curriculum with some courses on GW's Washington, D.C., campus.

Students can access career services such as resume and cover letter guides, job opportunities, and links to top nursing career sites. They can also review top nursing professional organizations on the Career Services website.

Application requirements vary by degree type but can include two recommendation letters, a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and a personal statement. Applicants to the master's or doctoral program need an active nursing license.

24 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA Tuition $26,567 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, BC offers undergraduate and graduate practical nursing programs, including BSN, MSN, and Ph.D. programs. BSN alumni report a 91% NCLEX-RN pass rate.

The BC Career Center (CC) created a special website for healthcare and nursing majors that includes career clusters. Students can join a cluster to network with peers and share job-hunting strategies. Other CC resources include a detailed checklist covering each step of the job-hunting process.

Undergraduate application requirements include the BC Writing Supplement. Prospective MSN degree-seekers should possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and submit two recommendation letters. Although financial aid options vary by degree, the university considers all incoming BSN students for endowed scholarships.

25 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA Tuition $35,612 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Gonzaga offers one BSN practical nursing degree, two master's degrees, and two doctoral degrees. BSN students take courses on topics like determinants of health, profession and therapeutic communication, and pharmacology. Learners can earn any of the university's nursing graduate degrees entirely online. All nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The school's career services include career fairs, career assessment tools, and on-campus career labs. The school also offers affordable business cards, which students can use during career fairs and other networking events.

Students can apply to the BSN after completing all nursing prerequisites with a minimum B grade in each course. MSN applicants without a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA can apply but must submit a letter of explanation. Washington residents with financial need may qualify for the Washington College Grant.