Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Indiana
Densely populated areas are excellent spots to begin a nursing career. Plenty of career choices exist in cities.
But before beginning a career as a registered nurse (RN), you may want to consider earning a bachelor's in nursing science (BSN).
Not only does a BSN set you apart from RNs with no college degree, but many hospitals are only looking for nurses that hold a BSN or higher. Also, earning a BSN is a good way to network with other nurses, and your college could even connect you to your first nursing position.
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 Indiana nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.
Top 10 Nursing Schools in Indiana
Annual Tuition: $25,880 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 90%
Anderson Bible School was founded in 1917 during the Church of God Movement. Over time, the school changed its name to Anderson University to reflect the growing size of the student body and the academics offered. The teachings of God are still included in courses, though, including the BSN program. Anderson’s nursing program isn’t the largest, but graduates had an impressive 90% NCLEX pass rate last year and a perfect pass rate in 2017. Graduates of the program end up finding work all around the world.
Annual Tuition: $28,310 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 93.40%
Another school founded on religious principles, the University of Saint Francis follows Catholic and Franciscan teachings and values. While students can get as much of a religious education as they’d like at USF, religion isn’t heavily tied into the nursing program. The BSN is a four-year degree that requires 900 hours of clinical experience, not including the time students get with USF’s state-of-the-art equipment. With connections with hospitals in the area, USF is great at preparing students for a long, successful career.
Annual Tuition: $33,200 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 96.20%
Yet another private, Christian school, Goshen College stands out at first for being incredibly small. Located in Goshen, a town with a population of 32,000, Goshen College has an undergraduate student body of under 900. It truly is a small college in a college town. But Goshen’s nursing program can’t go overlooked as it’s home to the oldest BSN program in Indiana. Whatever Goshen has been doing for nearly 70 years with nursing students is working, too; 96% of last year’s grads passed the NCLEX on their first try, the same percentage of nursing students that were employed one year after graduating.
Annual Tuition: $25,400 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 81.80%
Considered one of the best all-around schools in the midwest, Huntington University teaches students to be well-rounded individuals. Since its founding 1897, Huntington has grown into a leader in film, psychology, social work, and nursing. Huntington only one main nursing degree, a traditional BSN. Just last year, the nursing program saw 100% of recent grads find employment. While the price might seem high, 90% of Huntington’s students receive some form of financial aid, so nurses likely won’t pay full price.
Annual Tuition: $31,500 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 92.80%
While Marian University is a private, Christian school that doesn’t offer in-state tuition, it’s consistently ranked among the most affordable colleges in the region. Located in Indianapolis, students can get a quality education in an urban area at a reasonable price. The prime location is ideal for students in the nursing school, too. BSN students can take advantage of the proximity to hospitals when it comes time for clinicals. Also, “highly qualified” high school applicants may receive direct admission into the nursing program.
Annual Tuition: $27,420 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 86.60%
A hallmark of the University of Indianapolis is its commitment to service. Students will have plenty of service and volunteer options in and around Indianapolis, along with the various internships, jobs, and experiences the city offers. That professional experience comes in handy for nursing students, particularly those pursuing a BSN. Students apply to the program during their freshman year, and the next six semesters are a combination of coursework and clinicals at local hospitals.
Annual Tuition: $25,346 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 86.90%
Indiana Wesleyan University may be based in Marion, Indiana, but its reach extends across the state and beyond state borders. Multiple campuses offer different programs, including an online campus where current RNs can complete their BSN. Traditional and graduate students will study and complete clinicals in Marion or in spots in Kentucky, Ohio, and elsewhere in Indiana. The traditional BSN is a huge program, so competition to get in may not be as tough at Indiana Wesleyan.
Annual Tuition: $38,880 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.40%
St. Mary’s is a women’s college, so only women should be looking at applying for the BSN program. They also have a study abroad program designed just for nurses. After graduating, over 90% of nursing students find a position as a nurse or are enrolled in grad school. So, if you’re looking for a private education with a study abroad program that’s designed for women, this is the school for you!
Annual Tuition: $37,450 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 93%
Valparaiso University, often called Valpo, is a Luthern-minded private university with an impressive student to faculty ratio of 11:1. Despite being Lutheran based, Lutheran students don’t even make up a quarter of the 3,220 students. So, any student interested in earning a BSN should feel welcome at Valpo. The BSN has three main tracks: a traditional four-year track, an accelerated second degree track, and an RN to BSN. The traditional track is the most popular, and the curriculum is designed to give nursing students a well-rounded education.
Annual In-State Tuition: $10,002 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.30%
Purdue University is the only public school to make this list, but it could easily be the best school for nursing in the state. As one of the premier colleges in the region, Purdue has established strong relationships with some of the best hospitals in the region. BSN students can even reduce the time it takes to finish their degree through experiential learning, the process of earning credits based on professional and volunteer experience. Indiana locals looking to earn a degree will likely apply regardless, so nursing school admissions could be tough.
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),
- Indiana nurses earn a median wage of $64,860.
- Indiana employs 22.27 nurses for every 1,000 residents, above the national average.
Indiana is home to large cities, including the bustling Indianapolis area. Busy areas need nurses, and nearly 68,000 nurses are currently working in Indiana.
While the salary isn’t the highest you’ll find in the region, Indiana is a high-employer for nurses. In fact, the BLS reports that Indiana employs more nurses per capita than Illinois and Wisconsin.
If Indiana is your home state or the state you dream of living in, you can rest assured that you can find the perfect nursing position for you!
While private schools made up the majority of this list, students should apply to both private and public schools. The costs can differ widely, as can the quality of education. Also, don’t cross schools off your list just because you’re dying to go to one school over another! Always apply to more than one school.
Once you’ve selected some schools, the next steps are to:
Contact each school’s admissions offices. Everything you need to know about college applications you can learn from the admissions office. Admissions counselors are there to walk you through the steps and make sure you complete your application correctly.
Make sure you meet the nursing school requirements. In your research, you’ll find out that nursing schools often have additional, stricter admissions requirements than the college they’re a part of. Before you send an application, make sure you’ll be nursing school eligible when it’s time to apply.
Submit your application(s). When you’re ready, all that’s left is to prepare your materials and send them! Fortunately, some schools use the Common App, an all-in-one application that lets you apply to multiple schools at once. This can be a huge time saver! While applying, you’ll need to submit:
- High school transcript (GPA)
- ACT and/or SAT scores
- College entrance essay(s)
- Letter(s) of recommendation
Additional materials could also be required by a school, so make sure you prepare all required materials well ahead of the admissions deadline. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Important considerations when comparing schools:
After you’ve applied to some programs, you’ll start getting acceptance letters. Hooray! Next comes the hard part: picking the school where you’ll earn your BSN. Weighing the pros and cons of colleges and their nursing programs is a good way to determine which school is the best fit for you.
When choosing a school, factors you’ll want to consider include:
- Annual tuition and total program cost (these can be different)
- Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered
- Cost of living in the area/on campus
- Distance from hospitals (how long will commuting for clinicals take?)
- Acceptance rate (both for the school and the nursing program)
- Length of the program (accelerated or traditional)
- Potential career outcomes
- Unique aspects to each program (study abroad, all women’s school, etc.)
- Accreditation (regional and national)
Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation
When a school is accredited, it means that the academics have met the rigorous standards of an accrediting agency. Without proper accreditation, you may be ineligible for federal financial aid, and it may be difficult to find work. Look for schools with national or regional accreditation and an accredited nursing program.
The two nursing accreditation organizations to look for are
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
If a school is accredited by one of these institutions, then their nursing program adheres to strict national standards.
Getting a License in Indiana
The current process of becoming a licensed nurse in Indiana will be changing soon. On January 1, 2020, Indiana will become a member of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), meaning a nursing license in Indiana will also work in most states. So, by the time you graduate, you’ll be looking to become licensed in over half the states!
To get a license in Indiana, you’ll need to:
- Submit Proof of Education
- Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
- Pass a criminal background check, submit your fingerprints, and pay an application fee
- Apply through the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency
While only “Proof of Education” is required, earning a BSN is still a smart decision. Bachelor’s degrees are slowly being required in more and more places, and you never know where your nursing career will be in the future!
Indiana employs more nurses per capita than the average state, and major metropolitan areas provide plenty of opportunities for new and seasoned nurses. Tons of great colleges are also in Indiana, and each has its own unique nursing program. After earning a BSN, graduates will be well on their way to enjoying a nursing career – either in Indiana or anywhere else in the world!