Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Utah
For some nurses, nothing is more important than finding a job in your ideal city or state. Fortunately, every state employs thousands of nurses.
Also, because of the national nursing shortage, odds are that your dream state already has nursing positions open.
To increase your chances of finding a position in your state and city of choice, you should consider earning a bachelor's in nursing science (BSN). This four-year degree is quickly becoming the new normal for hired nurses, and it opens more doors than simply becoming a registered nurse (RN).
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 Utah nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.
Top 10 Nursing Schools in Utah
Annual In-State Tuition: $6,530 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 94.83%
Utah isn’t home to many large campuses, but Southern Utah University’s 10,000 on-campus students match plenty of larger schools. SUU is near various state and national parks, making it the perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts. Nursing students have two options at SUU: a pre-licensure track and an RN to BSN. The pre-licensure track only accepts 30 applicants per semester, and they accept applicants twice a year, so this program can be competitive but rewarding.
Annual Tuition: $15,698 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 90.36%
Ameritech College of Healthcare, usually referred to as Ameritech, only has a few degrees to choose from. Anyone interested in a BSN will need to complete the RN to BSN track, an online program that can be completed in less than a year. If students complete the associate of science in nursing (ASN) through Ameritech, they should be on-track to take enroll in the RN to BSN. It’s an unorthodox way to earn a BSN, but you could finish the bachelor’s in just 32 months.
Annual Tuition: $14,222 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 78.95%
For the past 40 years, Eagle Gate College has been offering quality healthcare programs. Currently, the Murray-based school only offers three programs: a medical assisting program, a BSN, and a master’s of science in nursing (MSN). Eagle Gate says students can complete 80% of the BSN without having to deal with a waitlist, and the entire BSN can be finished in three years. Current RNs or students with previous college experience can transfer credits in to cut the length of the program even more.
Annual In-State Tuition: $7,426 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%
Located in Northern Utah, Utah State University is unassuming at first glance. However, USU was recently ranked as one of the top public universities in the nation, and the mountain ranges that surround campus provide plenty to see and do. USU’s traditional BSN program can be completed at the Logan campus. This four-year program prepares students for the NCLEX-RN, and if the most recent test-taking class demonstrates anything, it’s that USU more than prepares you to take and pass the NCLEX.
Annual Tuition: $13,516 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 71.43%
Another small school that focuses entirely on healthcare, Provo College has campuses in Provo, Layton, and Murray. Similar to the BSN offered by Eagle Gate College, Provo College’s BSN can be finished 80% online. The entire degree is offered in a hybrid format, so students are required to complete at least some of their education on-campus and online. Outcomes for the nursing program are positive with graduates ending up in various nursing fields.
Annual Tuition: $5,300 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 96.49%
Perhaps the most well-known school in Utah is Brigham Young University. Founded in the traditions of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-day Saints, BYU is home to over 33,000 students, making it the largest private school in the US. At a low price and with a high NCLEX pass rate, BYU’s BSN program is sure to draw plenty of applicants. Interestingly, students can work part-time while earning their BSN, something that most schools discourage. That work can help cover tuition costs, too.
Annual Tuition: $18,021 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A
While Independence University is a very popular school, they technically have no on-campus students – because there is no campus. IU is entirely online, although they are accredited which means the programs are high-quality. As an online school, the only BSN option is an RN to BSN. This two-year program has no waitlist, so current RNs can enroll before one of the many start dates and get to work on their BSN.
Annual In-State Tuition: $8,518 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.06%
The University of Utah has gained national attention for being part of the elite PAC-12 athletics conference, and the academics often go overlooked. However, programs like the BSN are among the best in the region. BSN students have multiple tracks to choose from: a traditional pre-licensure track, and online RN to BSN, and a Nursing Early Assurance Program, designed for high school students to enter directly into the nursing school. The University of Utah also has the only nursing Ph.D. program in the state.
Annual Tuition: $6,070 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A
Originally founded in Lake City, Utah, Western Governors University has since exploded online, offering various online and in-person programs to students across the US. Even the pre-licensure BSN can be completed partially online and partially at campuses in Salt Lake Valley or Southern Utah. Each location has specific hospitals that students will study at, so students may want to pick a location based on the hospitals.
Annual Tuition: $32,404 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.24%
Based in Salt Lake City, Westminster College is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Utah. As a private school, students will need to pay higher tuition, although this can be reduced with financial aid. The traditional BSN program uses an innovative flipped classroom environment, meaning students will receive all their learning materials prior to class. When students show up to class, they’ll be ready to actively participate in discussions.
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),
- Utah nurses earn an annual mean wage of $65,670.
- Utah employs 14.91 nurses per 1,000 residents, the lowest rate in the nation.
Yes, Utah is the lowest employer of nurses per capita in the US. However, nurses are still in high demand across the nation, Utah included. Also, Utah is part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), so RNs in Utah are automatically eligible to work in most states.
While the annual mean wage is slightly lower than the national average, the sheer size of California and the wages offered (an annual mean wage of $106,950), Utah is actually one of the higher-paying states.
If you’ve decided that Utah is the place to earn your BSN, then it’s time to move forward with applying to schools. Always apply to multiple schools, both public and private. Most nursing programs are incredibly competitive, so you’ll want to increase your chances of getting into an excellent nursing school.
Once you’ve picked some schools you’re interested in, you should:
Contact each school’s admissions offices. The admissions office will walk you through the application process. Some schools have different application processes, so contact the admission’s office of each school you plan on applying to.
Make sure you meet the nursing school requirements. College admissions and nursing school admissions can be wildly different. Typically, nursing schools have stricter requirements, and entry into a college doesn’t guarantee entry into a nursing program (unless the school says otherwise).
Submit your application(s). Once you know what you need and you’ve verified you’re eligible for the school and nursing program, all that’s left is to gather your materials and send them in for review! Materials you’ll need to send include:
- High school transcript (GPA)
- ACT and/or SAT scores
- College entrance essay(s)
- Letter(s) of recommendation
Additional materials may also be required by a school or nursing program. Make sure you’re prepared ahead of time so you meet the application deadline!
Important considerations when comparing schools:
Unfortunately, comparing colleges can be incredibly difficult. Schools try to make themselves as unique as possible to attract potential students like you. The good news is that you might be able to find a school that meets each and every want and need you have. If no such school exists, find the one that checks the most boxes on your list.
When comparing schools, you should consider things like:
- Annual tuition and total program cost (these can be different)
- Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered
- Cost of living
- 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)
- Type of program (traditional or online)
- Unique aspects to each program (online, accelerated, etc.)
- Accreditation (regional and national)
Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation
Accreditation is a school’s way of proving the academic quality of its programs. Accreditation is offered by accrediting bodies, and schools must prove that their academics meet each body’s standards. Generally speaking, a regionally accredited school is held to higher standards than nationally accredited schools. Also, don’t apply to a school unless its nursing program is accredited.
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 Utah
As part of the eNLC, Utah’s requirements for nurses must meet eNLC standards. This means submitting fingerprints, passing a background check, and, most importantly, taking and passing the NCLEX-RN.
To get a license in Utah, you’ll need to:
- Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
- Pass a criminal background check, submit your fingerprints, and pay an application fee
- Apply online through the Utah Department of Commerce Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing
After earning a degree, you’ll have to complete continuing education (CE) credits to maintain your license. However, that’s down the road, and you should be focused on earning your BSN first!
Utah may not be the best state for employing nurses or getting a high wage, but thousands of nurses enjoy a career in Utah. Utah has some nationally-recognized schools that have excellent BSN programs, along with a few innovative and non-traditional programs. Once you become licensed in Utah, your license will work in most states thanks to the eNLC.