Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Wyoming

11 Min Read Published May 3, 2024
Thermal pool at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Anyone who wants to become a registered nurse (RN) in Wyoming has two options: earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or an associate degree in nursing (ADN). While both programs make graduates eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN, an exam required for RN licensure, the two differ slightly.

A BSN is a four-year degree that leads to higher-paying nursing positions. An ADN is a two-year degree, and while it's a faster route to RN licensure, ADN-holding RNs earn less than BSN-holding RNs.

Wyoming currently only has one accredited BSN program, but community colleges around the state offer ADNs. If you complete an ADN and become an RN, you can always enroll in an online RN-BSN program and complete your bachelor's degree while working.

Top 10 Nursing Schools in Wyoming

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 

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 Wyoming nursing schools are ranked in no particular order. Note that because Wyoming does not have 10 accredited nursing programs, some ranked schools offer online-only degrees. 

In-State Tuition
$4,800 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$19,950 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

As the primary institution of higher education in WY, UW offers the most options for nursing students. The Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing offers a traditional BSN program but is very competitive. The program accepts just 48 students each year, and while classes are held at the Laramie campus, some clinical sites require travel to Cheyenne.

Other nursing options at UW include an RN-BSN, a transfer program for current ADN students, multiple masters of science in nursing (MSN), doctor of nursing practice (DNP), and Ph.D. choices. Anyone interested in earning a four-year BSN in Wyoming should apply. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 19%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $160
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $665
Contact Information:
  • Address: Corner of Ninth and Ivinson, Laramie, WY
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $66,369

 

In-State Tuition
$2,520 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$7,560 per year
Accreditation
ACEN
Online?
No

Casper College holds the distinction of being one of the largest community colleges in the region. Students earning a nursing degree at Casper College don't need to transfer to earn their RN license. The program is competitive, as only 32 students are accepted to start in January and August.

Casper College's ADN has an incredibly high NCLEX pass rate, and graduates become eligible to transfer into various programs around the world to finish their BSN, MSN, or DNP. Casper College also has a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to RN program for current nurses looking to advance their careers. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 20%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $105
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $315
Contact Information:
  • Address: 125 College Drive, Casper, WY
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 72%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing an ADN: $58,092

 

In-State Tuition
$3,150 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$9,450 per year
Accreditation
ACEN
Online?
No

CWC has campuses in Riverton, Lander, Jackson, and Dubois. Admission to the school's ADN program is somewhat competitive, as CWC only accepts 40 students annually.

Although CWC uses several requirements to rank applicants, those with CNA licensure and experience have a better chance of gaining admission.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 23%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $105
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $315
Contact Information:
  • Address: 2660 Peck Avenue, Riverton, WY
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 44%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing an ADN: $50,677

In-State Tuition
$4,290 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$10,590 per year
Accreditation
ACEN
Online?
No

Located in Torrington, Eastern Wyoming College teaches nearly 2,000 students and has thousands more taking non-credit courses. EWC strives to offer an innovative education that leads to high-employment jobs.

EWC offers a two-year ADN program that leads to RN licensure. Students can complete their degree through flexible day or night classes.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: N/A
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $105
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $315
Contact Information:
  • Address: 3200 West C St, Torrington, WY
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 68%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: N/A

 

In-State Tuition
$3,150 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$9,450 per year
Accreditation
ACEN
Online?
No

Located in the state capital of Cheyenne, Laramie County Community College provides the fundamentals for a career after graduation. The four-semester, two-year ADN is the main nursing program at LCCC.

LCCC's ADN also prepares students to seamlessly transfer into the University of Wyoming's BSN with only two semesters left to complete. Students who take this route could earn a relatively inexpensive BSN in as little as three years. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 20%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $105
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $315
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1400 E College Dr, Cheyenne, WY
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing an ADN: $52,524

 

In-State Tuition
$3,150 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$9,450 per year
Accreditation
ACEN
Online?
No

Northern Wyoming Community College District is technically a combination of Sheridan College and Gillette College. The combined community colleges span the Sheridan, Campbell, and Johnson Counties and reach a large number of students.

Available at both Sheridan and Gillette College, the ADN leads to RN licensure and allows students to transfer directly into the University of Wyoming's BSN program. Along the way, NWCCD students can earn a medical assistant certificate or become certified nursing assistants. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 16%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $105
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $315
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1 Whitney Way, Sheridan, WY
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 61%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing an ADN: $61,380

 

In-State Tuition
$3,150 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$9,450 per year
Accreditation
ACEN
Online?
No

Based in Powell, Northwest College teaches roughly 900 students. While NWC is far from the largest school on this list, it more than adequately prepares its students to succeed.

Northwest's ADN is either a completely on-campus program in Powell or a hybrid program that uses online courses, face-to-face labs, and on-site clinicals in Cody. Regardless of which option students choose, they can transfer straight into the University of Wyoming's BSN program after graduating. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? 
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 18%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $105
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $315
Contact Information:
  • Address: 231 W 6th St, Powell, WY
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing an ADN: $50,439

 

In-State Tuition
$2,520 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$7,560 per year
Accreditation
ACEN
Online?
No

WWCC offers an accredited ADN program that students can complete in five to six semesters. However, students who meet certain prerequisite requirements may earn their degree in four.

As with other community colleges on this list, WWCC's ADN prepares students for immediate transfer into a BSN program.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 28%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $105
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $315
Contact Information:
  • Address: 2500 College Dr, Rock Springs, WY
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: N/A

 

In-State Tuition
$7,404 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$7,404 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

Wyoming has some excellent in-state institutions for students but not many routes to earning a BSN. When RNs run into this issue, an online RN-BSN provides an affordable and flexible way to earn a four-year degree.

Western Governors University is among the top online schools in the nation and hosts a popular online RN-BSN*. WGU estimates that this program takes two years to complete, and students who complete the program in less time pay a lower total tuition charge.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Private
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 100%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: N/A
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: N/A
Contact Information:
  • Address: 4001 South 700 East Suite 700, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 65%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $75,430

 

In-State Tuition
$4,755 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$4,755 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

Another school well-known for its online programs, Aspen University, hosts one of the best online RN-BSN options. This quick program takes just 12 months to complete, thanks to the implementation of accelerated eight-week courses.

Aspen also has a traditional BSN program (not available in Wyoming) and other online nursing degrees, such as an MSN, an RN-MSN, and a DNP, all of which can come with different specializations. For nurses who completed their ADN, Aspen might be the fastest, most flexible, and most affordable route to completing a BSN. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Private
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 85%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $180
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $180
Contact Information:
  • Address: 4615 E. Elwood St., Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 50%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: N/A

>> Show Me Wyoming Nursing Programs

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.

Wyoming Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

  • Wyoming registered nurses earn a mean annual wage of $73,130.
  • Wyoming employs 4,890 registered nurses. 

While Wyoming isn't the highest-paying state for nurses, RNs there do earn more than in the neighboring states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah. Also, where nurses work significantly impacts their wages. 

According to the BLS, the Cheyenne area was the highest-paying region ($78,260). If RNs are willing to relocate in Wyoming, they could significantly boost their pay rate. 

It's also worth noting that Wyoming employs the fewest RNs of any state. Of course, fewer RNs are required relative to Wyoming's population. In reality, Wyoming employs nearly as many RNs per 1,000 workers as the national average. 

Next Steps:

By this point, you probably have an idea of whether you'd like to earn an ADN, BSN, or both. Deciding what you want to do is the first step to take. Next, you'll need to compile a list of schools that could help you achieve your goal, contact them, and apply. Here are the next steps broken down:

  1. Contact each school’s admissions office. College admissions may seem daunting, but don't feel scared -- every school has an admissions office to help applicants figure out the admissions process. Get in touch with every school's admissions office early on.
  2. Check to see if you meet the nursing school requirements. Nursing schools typically set their own requirements for admission. So, in addition to the college or university's requirements, you will probably need to meet tougher requirements to get into the nursing program. 
  3. Submit your application(s). After figuring out everything you need to do to boost your application, the final step is to apply! Make sure you submit all your materials before the deadline. Some materials you'll likely need to submit include:
    • High school transcript (GPA)
    • ACT and/or SAT scores
    • College entrance essay(s)
    • Letter(s) of recommendation

>> Show Me Wyoming Nursing Programs

How to Decide on the Right Nursing Program for You

When looking at schools, factors like tuition and NCLEX pass rates are useful tools for assessing whether the college is a good match. However, some applicants overlook other important factors. Here are some factors to consider when comparing schools:

  • Total program cost, including in-state or out-of-state tuition and fees
  • BSN vs ADN options
  • Distance from home
  • 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 type (on-campus, online, hybrid)
  • Program outcomes (NCLEX pass rate and job placement)
  • Accreditation (regional and programmatic)
  • School accreditation (regional and national)

Why You Should Care About the Nursing Program’s Accreditation  

When a school or program is accredited, it means that an accrediting body reviewed the academic quality of the school/program and approved of it. When applying to schools in Wyoming, make sure they're regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Also, only apply to nursing programs with 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 Wyoming

Once you've completed your nursing program, the final steps to becoming an RN are pretty simple. Go to the Wyoming State Board of Nursing website for everything you need -- they even have an instructional video for applying online! Wyoming is also part of the eNLC which is great for nurses from other states or those interested in travel nursing. These are the basic steps to getting a license in WY:

Conclusion 

Wyoming offers higher wages than neighboring states, and some RNs in Wyoming earn well above the national average. While Wyoming doesn't have the most nursing school options, students can still complete their BSN and pass the NCLEX. After passing the NCLEX, the application process for an RN license is fairly simple. Lastly, Wyoming is part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), so RNs in Wyoming can easily earn a multistate license in most other states!

References:

BLS

BestPlaces.net

Wyoming State Board of Nursing

 

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