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    EDUCATION
    March 2, 2020

    Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Nebraska

    While nurses need to become licensed as a registered nurse (RN) to work in Nebraska, many hospitals prefer to hire nurses that have at least a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN). 

    Not only does a BSN improve your resume when applying to nursing positions, but BSN holders earn roughly $30,000 more per year than the average non-BSN RN. 

    Whether you're an RN looking to continue your education or a new student without any previous nursing experience, Nebraska has plenty of high-quality education options to choose from. 

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    Methodology

    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, BSN, RN, BA, CBC
    • Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN

    Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 Nebraska nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.

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    Top 10 Nursing Schools in Nebraska

    1. Doane University

    Annual Tuition: $13,024 (based on per-credit tuition rate) | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

    Traditional: No

    Online: Yes

    Accelerated: No

    Bridge: No

    For nearly 150 years, Doane University has educated Nebraskans who want to advance their careers. While Doane University doesn't have a traditional nursing program, it does have an RN-BSN option. Available online or at the Grand Island, Lincoln, or Omaha campuses, the RN-BSN program takes several semesters to complete and leads to higher-paying nursing jobs. Students need to have an RN license in Nebraska before applying, but the skills learned help nurses with their careers.

    2. Bryan College of Health Sciences

    Annual Tuition: $20,604 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 98.77%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: Yes

    Accelerated: No

    Bridge: No

    Based in Lincoln, Bryan College of Health Sciences focuses solely on degrees that lead to healthcare professions. Most degrees offered by Bryan Health College are in nursing, including a traditional BSN with excellent outcomes. Students in the BSN earn more clinical experience hours than students in any other Nebraska BSN, part of the reason graduates do so well on the NCLEX. Other nursing degrees at Bryan Health College include an RN-BSN completion program, a traditional Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN), an RN-MSN, a Ph.D., and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). 

    3. Union College-Nebraska

    Annual Tuition: $24,620 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: Yes

    Accelerated: No

    Bridge: Yes

    Union College-Nebraska was founded in 1891 by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Despite being a private and religious school, U College "encourages students from all faith backgrounds" to find their calling and develop their skills. Undergraduate students have three BSN options: a traditional BSN, an RN-BSN, and an LPN-BSN. Students can complete some or all of the courses in these programs online. U College also boasts the highest first-time NCLEX pass rates in Nebraska, a fact that could make the high tuition rate worth it. 

    4. Creighton University

    Annual Tuition: $41,176 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 92.96%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: Yes

    Accelerated: Yes

    Bridge: No

    Often considered one of the best private schools in the region, Creighton University comes from a Jesuit-Catholic background. Creighton is home to just under 9,000 students, 98% of whom find a job or enroll in graduate school within six months of graduating. Of course, most BSN graduates will find a position as an RN after completing their degree and passing the NCLEX. Along with a traditional BSN, Creighton offers an accelerated second degree BSN, and an MSN and DNP that can be completed partially online. BSN students can complete a four-year degree in Omaha or Hastings, giving students a little more flexibility than other schools. 

    5. Nebraska Methodist College

    Annual Tuition: $18,560 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 98.61%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: Yes

    Accelerated: Yes

    Bridge: Yes

    With just over 1,000 students, Nebraska Methodist College is one of the smallest schools to offer nursing degrees. NMC offers plenty of degree options for students, including four different BSNs (including a 3-4 year traditional BSN), six different MSN options, five DNP choices, and various certificates. Every undergraduate program is accredited by the CCNE and graduates have performed incredibly well on the NCLEX. Also, NMC is part of the larger Methodist Health System, meaning students can expect to gain experience at a related healthcare facility. 

    6. University of Nebraska Medical Center

    Annual In-State Tuition: $11,776 (based on per-credit tuition rate) | Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $31,680 (based on per-credit tuition rate) | NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.64%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: Yes

    Accelerated: Yes

    Bridge: Yes

    The University of Nebraska Medical Center is the only public health sciences college in the state, meaning Nebraska residents can take advantage of a lower in-state tuition rate. Founded as the Omaha Medical College in 1881, UNMC provides Nebraska with roughly half of its dentists, pharmacists, physicians, and BSN-educated nurses. The College of Nursing offers a traditional, accelerated, and RN-BSN option for undergraduate nurses across five campuses and online. The traditional option is available at every campus and offers summers off after the first two years. 

    7. Nebraska Wesleyan University

    Annual Tuition: $35,442 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 76.47%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: No

    Accelerated: No

    Bridge: No

    Nebraska Wesleyan University is a private school based in Lincoln and Omaha with Methodist roots. While Nebraska Wesleyan still maintains a close relationship with the Methodist church, nursing students receive a holistic education that doesn't emphasize religion. The main nursing degree -- the traditional BSN -- offers accelerated eight-week courses and requires over 900 clinical hours. Other nursing degree options include an RN-BSN and three different MSN degrees. Nursing students haven't had the highest NCLEX pass rates, but the school has only graduated one BSN class so far and should improve over the coming years. 

    8. Clarkson College

    Annual Tuition: $17,856 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 96.52%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: Yes

    Accelerated: No

    Bridge: Yes

    While Clarkson College has grown over the past 130 years, the school remembers how it began as a small school of nursing. Nursing remains the primary focus at Clarkson College, and nursing students have plenty of options to choose from. The main program, the traditional BSN, has excellent outcomes and students perform well on the NCLEX. After completing the BSN and working for one year, students become eligible to immediately enroll in Clarkson's MSN to further their careers. 

    9. College of St. Mary

    Annual Tuition: $21,370 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 86.79%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: No

    Accelerated: Yes

    Bridge: No

    Another small college with a religious background, College of St. Mary doesn't offer low in-state tuition rates to Nebraska residents. However, College of St. Mary does have an excellent location in the middle of Omaha and near plenty of interesting places to see and things to do. The only nursing program offered by CSM is a traditional BSN. The BSN comes standard as a three-year degree, though students can choose to take four years to complete the program. Along with a strong NCLEX pass rate for students in 2018, CSM also saw 94% of graduates find a position within six months of graduating. 

    10. Purdue University Global-Omaha

    ADN Program Cost: $36,540 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 75%

    Traditional: Yes

    Online: Yes

    Accelerated: No

    Bridge: No

    Part of Purdue's extensive global campus, Purdue University Global-Omaha allows students to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing in Omaha. After completing the associate degree and passing the NCLEX, students can then enroll in Purdue Global's online RN-BSN. So, while the process isn't conventional, students can earn a BSN from start to finish through the school. Purdue University Global-Omaha doesn't have the highest NCLEX pass rates, but the program first started graduating nurses with a BSN in 2017. That year, only half of the graduating students passed the NCLEX on their first try, so outcomes are improving.

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    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)

    • Nebraska nurses earn a mean annual salary of $64,470, which is lower than the national average. 
    • Nebraska employs 22,970 registered nurses, more per capita than the national average. 

    Nebraska's mean wage for registered nurses is lower than the national average of $75,510. However, Nebraska RNs earn a higher mean wage than nurses in South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

    The BLS reports that Nebraska has a location quotient of 1.15, meaning it employs more nurses for every 1,000 workers than the national average. Nebraska also employs more RNs than Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota. 

    Next Steps:

    Take some time to look over the different nursing school options in Nebraska. After several colleges catch your eye, you should learn more about each college, their nursing school, and their admissions process. 

    Here are the next steps broken down:

    Contact each school’s admissions office. The admissions office is in charge of all things admissions. Every school has its own admissions process, so contact each school you're interested in to learn more.

    Check to see if you meet the nursing school requirements. In addition to the college's admissions, you need to meet each nursing school's admission standards. Nursing schools usually require a higher GPA, extra courses, and personal essays. 

    Submit your application(s). After you've found out everything you need to apply to the college and nursing school, the final step is to send in your application! On your application, you'll likely be required to submit:

    • High school transcript (GPA)
    • ACT and/or SAT scores
    • College entrance essay(s)
    • Letter(s) of recommendation

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    Important considerations when comparing schools: 

    Every college and nursing school has specific benefits that only it can offer. As a result, no single college or nursing program might stick out to you as the "best" option, and that's alright. Instead of focusing on the best nursing school, try looking at the best nursing school for you. 

    When comparing schools, consider factors such as:

    • Total program cost, including in-state or out-of-state tuition and fees
    • Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered
    • Cost of living on-campus or in the area
    • School and nursing program acceptance rate
    • Commute to school/hospital for clinicals
    • Program length
    • Program type (on-campus, online, hybrid)
    • Program outcomes (NCLEX pass rate and job placement)
    • Accreditation (regional and programmatic)

    Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation  

    When a school and/or program has accreditation, it means that the school/program meets the academic standards of a nationally-recognized accrediting body. In Nebraska, make sure any school you apply to is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Also, look for nursing 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. 

    Getting a License in Nebraska

    Nebraska is part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), meaning an RN license earned in Nebraska easily transfers to most other states, and vice versa. Most RNs -- including all new RNs -- earn a Nebraska license through examination.

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

    • Study at an accredited and approved nursing school
    • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
    • Pass a criminal background check and submit fingerprints. 
    • Apply through the Nebraska Board of Nursing.

    Conclusion 

    Nebraska is arguably one of the best states for nurses in the Midwest. Along with being an affordable place to earn a degree, Nebraska has many colleges that offer a quality education. After earning or completing a BSN program, nurses find work in one of the best employers per capita in the region. As part of the eNLC, these nurses can also easily find work in any other eNLC member state. 

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    Top 10 Nursing Schools in Nebraska Infographic

    References:

    BLS

    Nebraska Board of Nursing

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    Nurse.org

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