2015 Top Online Nursing Programs

80% of users found this page helpful Was this page helpful?

Duke University ranks #1 out of the 25 schools on our 2015 Top Online Nursing Programs, which all have 90% pass rates or higher for the NCLEX, the main examination for licensing nurses in the US and Canada. These top schools are also CCNE or ACEN accredited.

All schools in our ranking have high academic standards that led to their exceptionally high pass rates for the NCLEX. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington boasts a 100% NCLEX pass rate; Duke University has a 98.39% pass rate; and the University of Central Florida has a 98.06% pass rate. In addition to using a high NCLEX pass rate to indicate the strength of a school’s nursing department overall, we evaluated the competitiveness of a school and the strength of its student body by looking at factors including acceptance rates, enrollment rates, and entrance exam scores.

Looking for an Online Nursing Degree? Search Over 30,000 Online Programs:
All ranked programs have CCNE or ACEN accreditation
Rank College Annual Tuition Nursing Degree Levels Offered NCLEX Pass Rate
#1 #1 Duke University Annual Tuition $31,360 Nursing Degrees: Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 98.39%
#2 #2 Georgetown University Annual Tuition $40,238 Nursing Degrees: Master's NCLEX Pass Rate 99.20%
#3 #3 Northeastern University Annual Tuition $15,120 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's and Master's NCLEX Pass Rate 97.64%
#4 #4 University of Florida Annual Tuition $16,580 Nursing Degrees: Doctoral NCLEX Pass Rate 91.12%
#5 #5 Clarkson College Annual Tuition $20,028 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 91.82%
#6 #6 University of Central Florida Annual Tuition $11,503 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 98.06%
#7 #7 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Annual Tuition $17,478 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's NCLEX Pass Rate 100
#8 #8 Georgia Southern University Annual Tuition $5,712 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 93.88%
#9 #9 Appalachian State University Annual Tuition $18,574 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's NCLEX Pass Rate 91.67%
#10 #10 Georgia College & State University Annual Tuition $6,936 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 96.08%
#11 #11 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Annual Tuition $25,388 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's NCLEX Pass Rate 90.00%
#12 #12 University of Iowa Annual Tuition $12,000 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's and Master's NCLEX Pass Rate 97.53%
#13 #13 University of Arizona Annual Tuition $13,189 Nursing Degrees: Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 93.44%
#14 #14 University of Alabama Annual Tuition $8,475 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral NCLEX Pass Rate 93.60%
#15 #15 Drexel University Annual Tuition $28,665 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 97.20%
#16 #16 University of Missouri Annual Tuition $16,572 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 92.12%
#17 #17 Indiana University - Bloomington Annual Tuition $16,988 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 91.50%
#18 #18 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Annual Tuition $8,704 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's NCLEX Pass Rate 95.18%
#19 #19 Michigan State University Annual Tuition $9,608 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 94.55%
#20 #20 Regis University Annual Tuition $16,050 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral NCLEX Pass Rate 93.19%
#21 #21 University of Colorado Denver Annual Tuition $14,700 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral NCLEX Pass Rate 93.56%
#22 #22 University of St Francis Annual Tuition $19,840 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral NCLEX Pass Rate 91.40%
#23 #23 Tennessee Tech University Annual Tuition $25,625 Nursing Degrees: Master's NCLEX Pass Rate 96.77%
#24 #24 University of Nevada - Reno Annual Tuition $15,600 Nursing Degrees: Doctoral NCLEX Pass Rate 96.59%
#25 #25 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Annual Tuition $18,288 Nursing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, and Certificate NCLEX Pass Rate 96.30%
1
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

Duke University is well known for its academic rigor. Its exceptionally high NCLEX pass rate of 98.39% makes it an excellent choice for students seeking an online nursing degree. Programs are offered at the graduate level, and include a Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Students of Duke’s MSN program may choose from several majors, including non-clinical subjects such as nursing health care and leadership, nurse informatics, and nursing education, in addition to advanced practice majors, such as women’s health, pediatric, and adult-gerontology. Although all coursework for these advanced practice specialties may be completed online, they will require two-to-five day intensives on-campus each semester.

Learn More
2
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE and CCNE

With an exceptionally high NCLEX pass rate of 99.2%, Georgetown University's online master's degrees in nursing will prepare students for successful nursing careers. Master's degrees offered include Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. The Family Nurse Practitioner degree requires 44 credits and 650 clinical hours to be completed in 19 months. Coursework for the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree includes classes like healthcare ethics, pharmacology, and anatomy for healthcare professionals.

Learn More
3
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NEAS CIHE and CCNE

CCNE accreditation and an NCLEX pass rate of over 97% make Northeastern University’s hybrid Master of Science in Nursing program ideal for students seeking to study nursing in an accelerated format. It is a direct-entry program, so students do not need a previous nursing degree or credential, and the program mixes online classes with in-person clinical experience to prepare students to enter the nursing field. Coursework includes classes such as nursing care of adults, advanced pharmacology, and nursing with women and families. Both the RN-BSN and master's degrees can be completed in sixteen months. Based in Massachusetts, Northeastern University has well-established clinical affiliations that will provide students with the experience they need to succeed in the field.

Learn More

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

Online Master's Degrees (1)

4
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

Boasting an NCLEX pass rate of 91%, students pursuing an online nursing degree from the University of Florida can choose from one master’s RN degree and five online doctorate degrees, including a BSN to DNP in several concentrations such as psychiatric-mental health, pediatric primary care, pediatric acute care, family nurse practitioner, and adult-gerontology acute care. Applicants must hold a BSN with an upper-division GPA of 3.0 or better from an accredited institution and must be eligible for licensure in the state of Florida. Coursework includes research methods, residency, child and elderly nursing, advanced procedures and diagnostics, and leading quality improvement practice initiatives. The tuition for an online degree at this institution is approximately $16,580, and the school does offer financial aid, scholarships, and military benefits to qualified applicants.

Learn More
5
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC

Since 1888, Clarkson College has dedicated itself to preparing students for positions in nursing across the country. Approximately 92% of students graduating from Clarkson College with a degree in nursing pass the NCLEX exam, and the university is rated as having some of the most affordable nursing programs in the country considering its annual tuition of $20,028 per year. Students can expect to take core cores in evidence-based practice research, research design and methods, nursing law and ethics, application and evaluation of theory in nursing, human development, nutrition science, applied statistics, role transition, and essentials of scholarly writing. Depending on the program chosen, there may be RN to BSN requirements that must be met before the student is admitted. To offset the annual tuition of $20,028, students may be entitled to apply for financial aid.

Learn More
6
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

Just over 98% of nursing students at the University of Central Florida who take the NCLEX pass the exam. UCF offers several CCNE-accredited degrees online for registered nurses, including an RN to BSN and an RN to MSN, as well as an MSN for Nurse Educators and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Students who hold an associate degree in nursing may apply for the AS to BSN program. Undergraduate coursework will include classes such as community health nursing, pathophysiology for nursing practice, and public health nursing, in addition to a practicum. Students may be eligible to earn credit for prior learning and experience to help offset the cost of their degree.

Learn More
7
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

The online RN to BSN program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington can be completed in as little as twelve months. With an NCLEX pass rate of 100% and CCNE accreditation, UNCW is a competitive choice for students seeking an online nursing degree. Students will take classes such as gerontology and end of life care, health policy, and pathophysiological and pharmacological evidence based care. The School of Nursing provides several scholarships which students may be eligible for.

Learn More

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

8
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

With flexible programs focused towards the working nurse, a high level of nursing education, and CCNE-accredited nursing programs, Georgia Southern University is one of the most popular online institutions for students seeking a distance learning degree. The NCLEX pass rate for the undergraduate program is 94%. This NCLEX pass rate represents the cumulative institutional rate as reported to the state board or published on the school's website. Students at GSU can pursue either of the two fully online programs, the RN-BSN program and the Post Master's DNP, or choose the BSN-DNP Program, which is 95% online. The RN-BSN program is 28 total credits that can be completed in 1-1.5 years, with a total tuition of $5712. The Post MSN-DNP program can be completed in eight semesters, with coursework that includes 43 total credits, covering topics such as public health, epidemiology, and nursing informatics. The BSN to DNP program is a 74 credit hour program that students can complete in 4 or 5 years. The Family Nurse Practitioner track has a 99.1% pass rate on national certification exams. The annual tuition for an online graduate nursing degree at this school is $5,075, making Georgia Southern University one of the most affordable colleges in the country for online nursing programs.

Learn More
9
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

Appalachian State University, recognized by the SACS COC, offers online nursing degrees that are fully accredited by the CCNE. With a 92% NCLEX pass rate, the majority of students are able to obtain licensure after completing a degree program at this institution. Tuition is less than $4,500 for in-state students. Students are able to pursue an online, part-time degree completing program that allows them to receive a BSN provided they currently hold an RN license in North Carolina or have earned a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing. The program takes approximately 12 months to complete and requires 124 total semester credit hours. Courses include health assessment, microbiology, nursing informatics, nursing research, and nursing care of communities. It is important to note that clinical hours must be earned at sites within the state of North Carolina.

Learn More

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

10
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

96% of nursing students from Georgia College & State University pass the NCLEX. The online RN to BSN program offered by the college is accredited by ACEN, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Students will take classes such as human anatomy and physiology, allied health microbiology, and nursing in the childbearing family. RN students who have graduated from a diploma program must take an additional class on competency-based practice. Other online degrees include one certificate, one doctorate degree, and two master's degrees. Students may qualify for one of GCSU’s many scholarships, in addition to loans and work-study positions.

Learn More
11
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

The nursing programs offered by the University of Tennessee – Knoxville are accredited by the CCNE, and the school’s NCLEX pass rate is 90%. The school offers financial aid in the forms of scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans to help offset the yearly tuition of $25,388. Students can pursue a fully online RN to BSN designed specifically for the registered nurse pursuing a completion degree. The program features a diverse faculty experienced in both online learning and best practices in RN-BSN curriculum design. The program includes courses in Healthcare Informatics, Professional Practice and Role Development, Nursing Leadership, Population and Global Health, Transcultural Nursing, and Evidence-Based Practice. It is important to note that clinical hours may be completed in the student’s own geographic region, and students are not required to travel to the school’s campus.

Learn More

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

12
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and CCNE

The University of Iowa’s high pass rate for the NCLEX and the availability of CCNE-accredited online nursing degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level makes it a strong contender for students seeking a flexible nursing program. UI’s RN to BSN program includes coursework in human genetics, pathology, and public health nursing, among others. The University of Iowa’s Master of Science in Nursing in Clinical Nurse Leadership prepares students for roles in education and leadership within the healthcare system. Students will take classes such as applied epidemiology, healthcare infrastructure and policy, and leadership in the microsystem, which is a 90-hour practicum during the course of which students will work with a healthcare manager.

Learn More

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

Online Master's Degrees (1)

13
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and CCNE

The NCLEX pass rate at the University of Arizona is 93.44%, and the school’s online nursing programs are recognized and accredited by the CCNE. The school boasts a 100% recommendation rate from its students, and distance learners can choose to complete a number of online nursing degrees such as a DNP, PhD, or RN to MS. In addition, several certificates are available in pediatric nursing, adult nursing, family care, and mental health. Through their studies, students will learn new ways to lead and design patient-centered, innovative care in a variety of environments and work with teams to deliver quality, evidence-based care.

Learn More
14
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

With an annual tuition of $8,475, the University of Alabama offers some of the most affordable online nursing degrees in the country. The inexpensive yearly tuition combined with an NCLEX pass rate of 94% is largely why so many students choose this school for their online nursing studies. The institution is also military friendly, and financial aid and scholarships can also help to offset the cost of learning. The school offers several degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels, and students completing an online nursing program can expect to take classes in nursing informatics, complex client systems, leadership and management roles, community health, role transition, inquiry for evidence-based practice in nursing, epidemiology, pharmacology, and human relations management. Some MSNs offered include case management or clinical nurse leader, or students can pursue a DNP completely online.

Learn More
15
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE and CCNE

Nursing students at Drexel University pass the NCLEX at a rate above 97%. The university offers fourteen CCNE-accredited online nursing programs: an RN to BSN and thirteen Master of Science in Nursing programs. Drexel’s MSN in Nursing Education is designed for nurses seeking positions as educators, while their MSN in Nursing Innovation prepares students for the business end of healthcare. Drexel is committed to providing its students with an affordable education and locks the annual tuition rate for students who finish their RN to BSN program within three years. American Nursing Association (ANA) members and employees of partner healthcare institutions and community colleges may also benefit from special tuition plans.

Learn More
16
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and CCNE

The University of Missouri offers several online, CCNE-accredited nursing degrees starting at just $16,572 per year. The school boasts a 92% NCLEX pass rate, and the out-of-state tuition for this school, minus financial aid and scholarships, is lower than 75% of comparable institutions that offer online degree programs. Students can choose from a certificate as a pediatric clinical nurse specialist or an adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, and the school also offers a DNP, MSN, and an RN to BSN program. Completion of the RN-BSN degree requires 120 credit hours that can be satisfied online, but one or two on-campus visits are mandatory each semester. The curriculum for a nursing degree can include classes in health assessment and pathophysiology, role transitions, nursing in communities, evidence-based nursing practice, nursing ethics and law, and nursing theory and research.

Learn More
17
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC

Although the tuition at Indiana University – Bloomington is slightly higher than other highly rated nursing programs at similar online schools, the institution does hold a 92% NCLEX pass rate for its students. An online RN to BSN is available. Coursework is completed online, and students can graduate in 12, 18, or 24 months after they have successfully completed all requirements. Students can expect a curriculum that includes nursing research, data analysis, communication, nursing seminars, health assessments, and gerontological nursing. In addition, the RN to BSN student is required to complete three 30-hour clinical projects in addition to online studies: nursing management, nursing practice capstone, and multisystem approach to the health of the community.

Learn More
18
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and CCNE

With an NCLEX pass rate of 95%, North Dakota State University – Main Campus has the largest undergraduate nursing program in the state when combining online and on-campus students. The school awards approximately $4,735 in financial aid each year that helps to offset the $8,704 annual tuition. Students can pursue an online LPN to BSN degree program intended for the licensed practical nurse who already holds an associate degree in nursing and who wants to obtain a BSN to receive licensure as an RN. Required core courses include Orientation to Research and Evidence Based Practice, Integrated Family Nursing, Psychosocial Nursing, Research and Redesign, and more. The degree requires 122 credits, 36 of which must be earned from NDSU and 60 of which must be earned from an accredited four-year institution. In 2016, North Dakota State University will be offering an RN to BSN degree.

Learn More

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

19
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and CCNE

The NCLEX pass rate at Michigan State University hovers around 95%, and the vast majority of graduates from the school’s online nursing programs successfully complete the test. The school is labeled by the Military Advanced Education Magazine as military-friendly, and approximately 1,900 students pursue an online degree at this institution. Students wishing to earn a degree in nursing can choose from an RN to BSN, an MSN, and a DNP. Courses include pharmacology, microbiology, statistical methods, behavioral health nursing, ethical practice, public health nursing, research and evidence-based practice, nursing care of children and their families, and an introduction to professional nursing. Each of the school’s nursing programs is approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing and is recognized and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Learn More
20
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and CCNE

With an NCLEX pass rate of 93%, Regis University is a solid choice for students seeking an online nursing degree. The annual tuition costs approximately $16,000 per year, but military benefits and financial aid options may be available to eligible students. The nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE, and students can choose from online nursing degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. Depending on the degree the student is seeking, he or she can expect classes in illness and disease management, professional role development, applied ethics in healthcare, leadership in nursing, evidence-based practice in nursing, health promotion concepts, and contemporary topics in healthcare. Core studies can be taken at any accredited university and include human anatomy, statistics, philosophy, psychology, economics, and English composition.

Learn More
21
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and CCNE

Founded in 1887, the University of Colorado College of Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus boasts an NCLEX pass rate of 94%, and the school is considered to be military friendly since it provides special military benefits to veterans and other active duty members. The annual tuition for an online nursing degree is $14,700, but financial aid and scholarships can help reduce the yearly cost to less than 75% of other online schools. Students can pursue an RN to BS, an MSN, a DNP, or a PhD in Nursing completely online. The MSN degree, for example, is comprised of 34 credits: nine from healthcare informatics specialty, 13 from informatics core courses, and 12 credits from core courses. Only licensed RNs are able to apply for the RN to BS program.

Learn More
22
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and CCNE

The University of St Francis maintains a 91% NCLEX pass rate, and each of its online nursing programs is accredited by the CCNE. Students can choose from a variety of online nursing degrees, including an RN to BSN fast-track, a DNP, or an MSN with specializations in nursing education, administration, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health. A full RN-BS-MSN is also available for students who meet certain requirements. The curriculum encompasses core nursing courses, including nursing research, physical assessment, ministry of nursing, nursing informatics for RNs, leadership and management, community health, and professional nursing seminar. In addition, each nursing student, regardless of his or her track, is required to complete six semester hours for electives such as health care and aging, pain-concept management, client education, or spiritual and ethnocultural aspects of nursing. The annual tuition of $19,840 can be offset if the student is eligible for financial aid, military discounts, and other benefits.

Learn More
23
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

Students of Tennessee Tech University can enroll in an online MSN through the Regents Online Campus Collaborative, a consortium of Tennessee Universities. Tennessee Tech’s online Master of Science in Nursing program has three different concentrations: nursing education, nursing administration, and family nurse practitioner. The MSN culminates in a clinical practicum; students must find potential preceptors to work with. An RN to MSN degree is also available. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Nearly 96% of nursing students at Tennessee Tech University who take the NCLEX pass the exam.

Learn More
24
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NWCCU and CCNE

Over 96% of nursing students at the University of Nevada, Reno pass the NCLEX, a good indicator that the university’s Orvis School of Nursing prepares students well for careers in the field. UNR offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, a practice-focused doctoral program designed for students wishing to specialize in advanced nursing practice. Students may take classes such as the economics of healthcare delivery, management strategies for nursing and healthcare systems, and analysis of healthcare organizations, in addition to a capstone project. Although coursework can be completed entirely online, students are required to attend annual meetings of 2-3 days on campus.

Learn More

Online Doctoral Degrees (1)

25
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and CCNE

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers an online RN to B.S.N. Completion Program which allows registered nurses with an associate’s degree or diploma to complete their bachelor’s degree. This program requires no required visits to campus for coursework, students can choose to start the program in the fall or spring semesters, and it is designed to be completed in 12 months. Additionally, the program is designed to be part-time, so students can continue to work while completing their degrees. The RN to B.S.N. Completion Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and is approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing. For North Carolina residents, the annual tuition is $4,433. For non-residents, the annual tuition is $18,228.

Learn More

Methodology

Available degrees, program data, and tuition rates were gathered from the official school websites and reflect the 2014-2015 school year. Accreditation and non-profit status were collected using the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics or from the official websites of the accreditation agencies. NCLEX pass rates were reported at the institutional level and may not reflect a specific degree program. Using these cumulative institutional NCLEX pass rates is a general indicator of the quality of a school's nursing department. These NCLEX pass rates were collected on November 24th, 2014 and represent the most recent data available at that time. Our full methodology can be viewed here.

Thank you for your vote! Was this page helpful?
80% of 5 users found this page helpful.

Our tuition numbers reflect data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Recommendation rate refers to the percent of students who said they would recommend this school based on reviews submitted to our partner site, GradReports.com.
This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.