Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Connecticut
Anyone who wants to become a nurse knows that they need to attend nursing school. However, they may not know that the nursing school they choose will have a huge impact on their future.
For example, if you want to find a position as a nurse in Connecticut, the best thing to do is to earn a bachelor of nursing science (BSN) in Connecticut.
Not only will a BSN satisfy Connecticut's requirements for a nursing license, but many hospitals and states are starting to require nurses to have a minimum of a BSN. Also, the right BSN program can connect you to potential nursing careers.
This is a panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors including,
- NCLEX pass rate
- Acceptance rate, when available
- Only ACEN or CCNE accredited schools are eligible
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, BSN, RN, BA, CBC
- Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN
Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 Connecticut nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.
Top 10 Nursing Schools in Connecticut
Annual Tuition: $39,220 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A
Private schools like the University of Hartford may not offer in-state tuition, but 90% of Hartford students receive some form of financial aid to help reduce the cost of their degree. Hartford also offers the benefits of private education, such as a low 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Nursing students have plenty of options at Hartford, the most popular being the traditional BSN program. This direct-entry BSN lets high school students find out if they’re accepted into the program before beginning college.
Annual In-State Tuition: $11,344 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 88%
Spread over two campuses in Danbury, Western Connecticut State University has more than enough room for its 4,181 full-time students. WCSU’s Nursing Department has four options: a traditional BSN, RN-BSN, MSN, and a doctoral degree. Because over 5,000 of WCSU’s 5,600 students are undergraduates, the traditional BSN is the main program at WCSU, though the online RN-BSN is a great choice for current nurses looking to earn a bachelor’s degree. However, nurses should note that part-time nursing students are charged an additional $33 per credit.
Annual Tuition: $49,080 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 93%
Located just on the coast and just across the water from Long Island, Fairfield University’s 200-acre campus is one of the largest coastline campuses you’ll find on the East Coast. As a Jesuit school, Fairfield is also a private university — and carries a price tag of private education and a coastal location. But the quality of the BSN is certainly worth the cost. Not only does Fairfield have a high NCLEX pass rate, but nursing students can attain a for-credit internship to gain professional experience while completing their schooling.
Annual Tuition: $41,150 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 97%
Located in Fairfield, Sacred Heart University began in 1963. While Sacred Heart is a Catholic school, the university was founded by laymen, and the school combines Catholic liberal arts education with various secular options, including every program in the College of Nursing. The College of Nursing has 10 separate nursing options, including an innovative RN-BSN-MSN and a post-baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Almost any degree needed for a specific nursing career can be completed at Sacred Heart.
Annual Tuition: $46,790 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%
Quinnipiac University comes with a high tuition rate but admitted students study at one of the top private universities in the nation. Undergraduate nursing students have plenty of options to choose from, though the most popular is the traditional nursing program. As proof of quality, Quinnipiac’s School of Nursing is also one of the only programs in the region endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation. With a high NCLEX pass rate, a nursing degree from Quinnipiac could help kickstart a great nursing career.
Annual In-State Tuition: $10,028 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 90%
Aside from the low in-state tuition, Central Connecticut State University also offers a discount to New England residents, so aspiring nurses in the area can receive an affordable education. Graduates of the Department of Nursing have had incredible success with the NCLEX, a good sign for future BSN students. Also, a study abroad program isn’t just available to nurses — nurses are encouraged to study abroad for up to one year. Scholarships are also available specifically to nursing students.
Annual In-State Tuition: $11,446 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 95%
For over 125 years, Southern Connecticut State University has been offering higher education to New Haven and Connecticut residents. Southern has recently established itself as one of the most environmentally responsible campuses in the nation, a sign of its innovation. Nursing students have plenty of options to earn a BSN, including a traditional route, an RN-BSN, an accelerated program, and a direct entry option for current high school seniors. The low in-state tuition and the high NCLEX pass rate for recent grads make this an attractive option for Connecticut residents.
Annual Tuition: $43,990 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 98%
As an Ivy League school that is over 300 years old, Yale University may be the most recognizable — and best — school in Connecticut. Of course, it goes without saying that the Yale School of Nursing is also among the best in the nation. However, future nurses should note that Yale does not offer a BSN. But the lowest level degree, the MSN, doesn’t require applicants to be RNs; in fact, some students take the NCLEX after earning their MSN. Other master’s specialties and doctoral programs are also available.
Annual In-State Tuition: $13,798 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%
As Connecticut’s flagship university, the University of Connecticut is sure to already be on most state residents’ shortlist for colleges. Aside from a large campus, excellent sports programs, and a long history of teaching excellence, UConn also uses its extensive alumni network to help place graduates in relevant positions. So, graduates of the School of Nursing should have no trouble finding nursing positions — so long as they pass the NCLEX, as most graduates do.
Annual Tuition: $38,482 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 96%
Founded by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy in 1932, the University of St. Joseph is located midway between Boston and New York City. This prime location is perfect for nursing graduates who want to find a high-paying position in a big city. The main nursing degree, BSN, is meant for both incoming freshmen and transfer students. Other undergraduate programs are available, though they carry a different tuition rate. For example, the online RN-BSN costs $18,000 total, and the accelerated second degree nursing program is $43,770.
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.
Nurse Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),
- Connecticut nurses earn an annual mean wage of $81,220.
- Connecticut employs 31,400 nurses and employs just below the national average number of nurses per 1,000 workers.
The BLS reports that the national mean wage for nurses is $75,510, so nurses in Connecticut earn a higher average wage.
As a smaller state, Connecticut is far from one of the largest employers for nurses. That being said, the larger cities, such as Hartford and New Haven, are full of nurses and could have many opportunities available.
Also, Connecticut is part of the New England area, and nurses in Connecticut may be able to find work in nearby New York or Massachusetts.
Once you’ve found some nursing programs you’re interested in, the next step is to begin your applications. It’s always a good idea to apply to more than one school — just make sure that you get your applications in on time!
Here are the steps to applying for college:
Contact each school’s admissions offices. Admissions offices help prospective students prepare for the application – and in some cases, they can help connect you to financial aid. Don’t rule out any school until contacting the admissions office.
Check to see if you meet the nursing school requirements. Some nursing programs require higher GPAs or test scores than the university they’re a part of. Also, specific prerequisite courses may be required. Some can be completed in high school, so you could ahead on your nursing school application before you start college!
Submit your application(s). Once all your materials are ready, the final step is to submit your applications! Each school has its own rules for applications, including different deadlines and requirements.
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:
Picking the right school may seem impossible, but as long as you’re applying to schools with accredited nursing programs, there’s no wrong answer. Focus on picking the school that meets your personal, financial, and academic wants and needs.
When comparing schools, consider things like:
- Annual tuition and nursing program cost
- Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered
- Cost of living on-campus or in the area
- Distance from hospitals
- Distance from home
- School and nursing program acceptance rate
- Length and type of program
- Program outcomes (NCLEX pass rate and job placement)
- Accreditation (regional and national)
Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation
When a program is accredited, it means that the program meets the rigorous academic standards set by a government-approved accrediting body. Accreditation is essentially proof of quality.
The two nursing accreditation organizations to look for are
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
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.
Getting a License in Connecticut
Fortunately, Connecticut has a streamlined process for becoming a registered nurse. All of the information (including the application) can be found online.
To get a license in Connecticut, you’ll need to:
- Study at a state-approved nursing school
- Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
- Submit your transcripts, pay an application fee, and apply through the Connecticut State Department of Public Health
Completing a BSN or similar program from an accredited program in Connecticut satisfies the prerequisites to sit for the NCLEX and apply for a license.
Connecticut is a high-paying state for nurses, and its proximity to densely populated areas makes it perfect for finding a position. Also, some of the top nursing programs — and colleges in general – can be found in Connecticut. With an easy application process after completing a nursing program and passing the NCLEX, choosing a school in Connecticut puts you on track to become a nurse in no time!