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Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in New York

12 Min Read Published February 2, 2023
City skyline of New York City

The first step to becoming a registered nurse (RN) in New York is earning a degree from an accredited nursing program. 

Being one of the largest states in the nation, New York is home to plenty of different nursing programs. On top of that, the high cost of living in New York also means a higher median wage, with New York nurses earning more on average than most other states.

To get a job as a nurse in New York, a good place to start is a New York nursing school. Not only do these schools prepare nurses for a career, but they also make it easier for nurses to land a position in the state of New York.


This is a panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors including,

  • Reputation
  • NCLEX pass rate
  • Tuition
  • Acceptance rate, when available
  • Only ACEN or CCNE-accredited schools are eligible 

Nurse Panel

Our selection panel includes 4 Registered Nurses with over 55 years of combined nursing experience and 7 nursing degrees.

  • Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS
  • Tyler Faust, MSN, RN
  • Kathleen Gaines MSN, RN, BA, CBC
  • Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN
  • Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 New York nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.

Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in New York

1. Molloy College

Annual Tuition: $36,030 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.2%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Molloy University has several nursing program options available to prospective students. Beyond the traditional four-year BSN program there are also LPN to BSN programs and RN to BSN programs available. For students interested in advancing their education, there are also numerous Nurse Practitioner programs and Clinical Nurse Specialist programs available.

2. New York University

Annual Tuition: $60,438 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 88.3%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

The price might scare some nurses away, but New York University has established itself as one of the top nursing programs in the entire nation. The College of Nursing at NYU is one of the top schools for research funding, something graduate students will definitely be interested in, and they prepare nurses for a career in any part of the world. While prospective nurses can earn their BSN at NYU, the master's and doctoral programs are exceptionally famous for their rigor and for producing top-quality graduates. 

3. Wagner College

Annual Tuition: $49,460 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 85.9%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Wagner College’s BSN programs blend liberal arts with nursing studies, giving students a well-rounded education. This is ideal for students that are planning on continuing their education since it gives them a better basis. Wagner also has plenty of graduate-level programs, including a new DNP program. The Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing was named a 2012-16 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education in the category of "Creating Environments that Enhance Student Learning and Professional Development."

4. University of Rochester

Annual Tuition: $60,550 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 84%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

The University of Rochester has countless options available to nursing school. Currently, college graduates can earn full tuition coverage for the accelerated nursing program with a three-year work commitment at specific UR Medicine hospitals. Students can expect to complete 49 credits over three full-time semesters and complete 700 clinical hours at the University of Rochester Medical Center and through immersive simulation experiences. If this doesn’t sound like something that would be a good fit, there are multiple other undergraduate and graduate-level nursing programs for students. 

5. University at Buffalo

Annual In-State Tuition: $7,070 | Annual Out-of-State: $24,990 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 97%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

University of Buffalo has over 85 years of educating nursing students. It offers small classes but the resources of a large research-intensive university. In addition to the typical undergraduate and graduate degrees, UB also hosts a program that allows Buffalo public high school students the opportunity to explore different career opportunities in nursing. While the tuition isn’t cheap, most students to receive financial aid. Over $370 million in financial aid and scholarships is awarded annually.

6. Adelphi University

Annual Tuition: $42,310| NCLEX Pass Rate: 66.9%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Started in the 1860s, Adelphi University has been educating nursing students in New York for decades. While the undergraduate nursing program is large and very successful. The graduate-level programs really stand out. For a fifth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Adelphi as a 2022–2023 Best College among national universities for the following: best undergraduate nursing program, best nursing master’s program, and best value school. 

7. Stony Brook University

Annual In-State Tuition: $7,070 | Annual Out-of-State: $24,990 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Stony Brook University offers several BSN programs including a fast-paced 12-month accelerated nursing program as well as an RN to BSN program and an RN BSN to MSN program. There are ten graduate-level programs to choose from and even more certificate programs available to those wanting to advance their education. Additionally, there are numerous DNP programs.

8. Pace University

Annual Tuition: $48,152 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 74.7%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Home to the Lienhard School of Nursing at the College of Health Professions, Pace University’s nursing program is one of the best in the country and often recognized as a top-level program. There are several undergraduate and graduate-level programs for applicants to choose from. Students in the accelerated nursing program can earn a BSN in only 11 months which is one of the quickest program completions in the country.

9. Binghamton University

Annual In-State Tuition: $7,070 | Annual Out-of-State: $24,910 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 91.4%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Best for New York residents who enjoy working in rural communities, Binghamton University has an affordable, flexible nursing program. Students can continue working while pursuing a graduate degree here, and each graduate degree is designed to support the health of rural communities – something that people forget New York has plenty of. SUNY Binghamton also offers nursing students a forensic health minor which is especially useful for nurses interested in pursuing forensic nursing or even nurse law positions. 

10. Farmingdale State College

Annual In-State Tuition: $7,070 | Annual Out-of-State: $16,980 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 94.7%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Farmingdale State College only offers undergraduate level degrees, but they have great outcomes. They have over a 94% NCLEX-RN pass rate four years running, and all their BSN programs are accredited by the New Your State Board of Regents. If you’re looking for a BSN and want to work in New York, this could be the school for you.

Choosing the Right School

Choosing a school isn’t always as easy as picking the cheapest tuition or highest acceptance rate. Many schools offer a specialized education, giving nurses a leg-up when applying for positions.

Also, most schools offer specific programs that you can’t find in other institutions. One college may have a great psychiatric nurse practitioner program while another has an excellent program for pediatrics.

Before picking a school, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions to narrow down your options:

  • What are your professional goals as a nurse?

  • Are you studying toward a BSN? An MSN? If you’re already an RN, is there a program that saves you time and money to earn a degree?

  • Do you want to study at a school in or near the city of New York, or do you prefer to be in another part of the state? 

  • Do you want to earn one degree, or are you looking for multiple degrees or even a certificate? Is there a school that offers all these options?

  • Which schools are within your price range, and how can you make the more expensive schools affordable?

4 Key Factors That Affect Nursing School Tuition

Keep in mind that colleges and universities reserve the right to change tuition rates at any time. The yearly tuition rates listed here will vary for each student depending on various factors including,

  • Transfer credits

  • Completed competency exams

  • Amount of credits taken per year

  • Financial aid awards

Check with the specific school for current tuition rates.

New York Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

  • Registered nurses in New York earn a mean annual salary of $93,320, as of 2021.

  • New York employs 188,300 RNs, or 21.72 RNs for every 1,000 workers.

Next Steps:

Spend some time researching different schools you might be interested in attending. There's no need to pick the perfect school right now, so keep an open mind about which New York colleges and universities might be a good fit.

Once you've picked a few schools you are interested in, follow these next steps:

  1. Contact each school’s admissions offices. Get in touch with each school's admissions office to learn more about the admissions process, admission requirements, and what materials you need to submit when applying. 

  2. Check to see if you meet the nursing school requirements. Nursing schools usually have their own requirements for applicants, and these are tougher to meet than the college/university's admission requirements. Make sure you're on track to become nursing school eligible if you aren't already. 

  3. Submit your application(s). Once you've figured out all the materials you need to submit a strong application, the final step is to send them in!

Common application requirements include:

  • High school transcript (GPA)

  • ACT and/or SAT scores

  • College entrance essay(s)

  • Letter(s) of recommendation

Important considerations when comparing schools: 

You'll begin to receive acceptance letters from colleges and universities, and that brings us to the next step in the process: comparing schools to pick the best option. Comparing schools is an excellent way to figure out which school aligns with your wants and needs the best. 

Factors to consider include:

  • Annual tuition/nursing program cost

  • Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered

  • Cost of living on-campus or in the area

  • Distance from home

  • Public vs Private (public schools offer in-state tuition)

  • School and nursing program acceptance rate

  • Length and type of program (BSN or ADN)

  • Program outcomes (NCLEX pass rate and job placement)

  • School accreditation (regional and national)

Why You Should Care About a Nursing Program’s Accreditation  

Accreditation is how schools and programs verify their academic quality. When applying to colleges in New York, make sure they're accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Also, do not apply to a nursing program unless it holds programmatic accreditation! 

The two nursing accreditation organizations to look for are

If you earn a degree from an unaccredited school, you may have trouble securing federal financial aid and finding work as a nurse after graduation. Furthermore, if you plan on attending a graduate or doctoral program, a prerequisite is a BSN from an accredited nursing program. 

Getting a License in New York

According to the New York Board of Nursing, nursing students looking to become RNs have a pretty straightforward path to licensure. New York is not currently part of the Enhanced Nursing Compact License (eNLC), however, there is legislation pending to be a part of the eNLC. 

To get a license in New York, you'll need to:

  • Study at a nursing school approved by the New York State Board of Nursing

  • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN

  • Pay an application fee and pass a criminal background check

  • Apply through the New York Board of Nursing


Different nursing schools have different benefits and drawbacks, especially when compared to similar institutions. One school might be more affordable, but another could offer a niche program that you’re interested in studying. Because of this, picking the perfect school can seem difficult.

Before committing to any school, consider the following:

  • How much money the program is going to cost from start to finish

  • How easy it is to get into the school and nursing program

  • The benefits/drawbacks this school has compared to others

After you’ve thought it over, the last thing to do is to send out the application to the school (or schools) you picked!

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