Choosing a Nursing School

What are you looking for?

Feeling overwhelmed as you look through the lists on these sites? If so, it’s with good reason. There are more than 1,500 nursing programs in the U.S. to pick from.

Beginning to narrow down the field mostly starts, as in real estate, with location, location, location.

If you are a typical college age student perhaps actually looking to move far away from home, the sky, or Montana even, may be the limit for you.


But many – perhaps even most – potential nursing students don’t have these options.

Regardless of whether you are looking to relocate, here are some things to consider when you begin to start looking at all the various nursing program.

Best Nursing Schools

The best nursing schools are accredited by either by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Determine whether your targeted schools meet this accreditation standard.

Second, ask what the school’s National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rate is. When you ask for the NCLEX pass-rate figures, make sure they cover a 5- to 10-year period. While NCLEX pass rates are important, they are only one indicator of a program’s academic excellence. For example, less selective schools may have lower pass rates, but this doesn’t necessary reflect on the school’s capacity to train nurses. Consider other factors (such as class size, availability of clinical sites) to judge accurately the quality of their academic offerings.

Always ask about faculty-to-student ratios both for classroom and clinical instruction.
Also ask about the typical class sizes for prerequisite and nursing courses. Smaller size usually means more individual attention and can be helpful at any stage in school. However, small classes are even more important in nursing clinical rotations because so much of clinical teaching takes place one-on-one with the instructor. The more students in your clinical group, the more you will be competing for the instructor’s time and attention. Also ask if the school requires its faculty to practice, which can tip you off to how clinically current the instruction will be.

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