Do you want to become a nurse and work in the United States? There are many nursing programs in the United States.
Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers in many countries, but it’s also challenging. Nursing schools offer post-baccalaureate programs to give nurses a boost in their careers or even help them change directions.
If this describes you, then you should read on to learn how post-baccalaureate nursing programs can help you.
Overview of Post Baccalaureate Nursing Programs
Post-baccalaureate nursing programs are available at a variety of colleges and universities, and they’re designed to prepare students for a career in nursing.
These programs can take anywhere from one year to four years, depending on the school, and whether or not you have an undergraduate degree from another program. If your undergraduate degree is from an accredited four-year institution, then you may only need two years instead of four.
It is important to note that most post-baccalaureate nursing programs require applicants to have previous experience in healthcare (either as a nurse’s assistant or EMT). However, some schools waive this requirement and opt for other ones.
Let’s dive in to learn more.
What is a Post Baccalaureate Nursing Program?
A post-baccalaureate nursing program is designed for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree. The goal of these programs is to prepare students for a career as an RN (Registered Nurse).
There are many different types of post-baccalaureate programs available and they can be found at various institutions. Some universities offer their own in-house program, while others partner with schools that specialize in this type of education.
Career Benefits of a Post-Baccalaureate Nursing Program
I think you will be happy to learn that there are numerous benefits to earning a post-baccalaureate or master’s degree in nursing.
Here are some of them:
You will have more career opportunities.
One of the most important reasons for pursuing a post-baccalaureate nursing program is that it will broaden your career opportunities.
Having an advanced degree means that you can work as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and many other types of advanced roles within the healthcare field.
You will earn more money as well as better management opportunities.
Earning a graduate degree in nursing also means earning more money throughout your entire career rather than just at the beginning when compared with new graduates who do not have any experience in their fields yet.
General Requirements for Being a Nurse
Here are some highlighted requirements for becoming a nurse practitioner in the US:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must have a high school diploma or equivalent; some programs accept students who have an associate degree (2-year program) instead.
- You may need to pass specific exams and/or meet certain GPA requirements for acceptance into the program, e.g., NCLEX exams.
- Most schools require that you hold a valid driver’s license or some form of identification as a citizen.
- A background check and drug test are typically required before admission into a nursing program; these results will determine whether or not you can work as a nurse after graduation.
If either of these tests comes back positive for illegal substances, however, it will likely result in being denied admission into the program—and possibly having your license revoked by state regulators.
We used a variety of ranking factors to determine the overall rank of each program. Ranking factors include:
- The reputation of the programs.
- The quality, quantity, and diversity of nursing specialties offered by each program.
- The NCLEX-RN pass rates (overall) of graduates from these nursing schools are listed.
List of the Nursing Schools with the Best Post-Baccalaureate Nursing Programs
A school like Duke University tops this list of post-baccalaureate programs due to its near-prefect NCLEX-RN pass rate of 99%.
Over the years, these schools have been reputed to offer the best nursing programs.
- Location: Durham, North Carolina.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99%.
At Duke University, the general perception and belief are that nursing is about more than just caring for patients. It’s about caring for the community.
They created a post-baccalaureate nursing program that emphasizes the importance of community health, from the individual to the worldwide scale. Furthermore, Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina, a city that is known for its diversity and inclusion.
Their professors are all experts in their fields of study, and they have helped build a program that values diversity and fosters an inclusive environment where students feel comfortable learning from one another regardless of age, race or gender identity.
This program focuses on providing students with hands-on experience by giving them opportunities to work with patients in the hospital setting as well as volunteer at local nonprofits that focus on improving the communities around them.
The school also offers a service leadership program where students can work with other post-baccalaureate students to provide free health care services such as dental checkups and immunizations for patients who cannot afford them.
- Location: Burlington, Massachusetts.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98%.
Northeastern University is a research university in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 20,000 undergraduates and 11,000 graduate students (including business school), Northeastern has hundreds of academic programs available at its campuses in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Charlestown neighborhoods and at satellite campuses around New England.
Northeastern offers an array of undergraduate majors across five colleges: Bouvé College of Health Sciences; D’Amore-McKim School of Business; College of Computer and Information Science; College of Engineering; and College of Professional Studies. The university also offers master’s degrees through its School for Professional & Continuing Education (SPCE).
University of Wisconsin
- Location: Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98%.
The University of Wisconsin’s School of Nursing is a graduate school offering both master’s and doctoral degrees. Admission to the program requires a baccalaureate degree in nursing or another healthcare-related field.
- Location: Durham, North Carolina.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.8%.
Auburn University is a public university in Auburn, Alabama. It is the flagship university of the Auburn University System and the only public university in the state. The university currently enrolls 26,000 students from more than 90 countries around the world.
The school has many graduate programs, including architecture; business administration; education; engineering; nursing; public administration; veterinary medicine; and aerospace science/engineering. It also offers doctoral programs in cultural anthropology and nutrition science.
- Location: Chicago, Illinois.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%.
Rush University is a highly regarded university with a renowned nursing program. The Post-Baccalaureate Nursing Program at Rush offers a flexible curriculum that allows you to complete your degree in as little as one year. This program is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field and are interested in a career in nursing.
The Post-Baccalaureate Nursing program at Rush University has been ranked among Kiplinger’s Best Value Colleges since 2013, due to its low tuition costs and high quality of education. The school also has an excellent faculty ratio of 1:13, which means there are fewer students per teacher than many other universities across the country.
University of New Hampshire
- Location: Durham, New Hampshire.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.9%.
The University of New Hampshire offers different post-baccalaureate nursing programs. These programs like, ABSN, MSN, or DNP programs are offered in various formats that aid learning and reduce workload. It is designed to prepare students for entry into the nursing workforce.
The goal of this program is to provide students with an opportunity to obtain advanced clinical skills or enhance current knowledge and competencies in order to become eligible for certification as a Registered Nurse (RN).
Students who complete this program will receive an MS in Nursing degree from UNH; however, they must pass the NCLEX-RN exam before they can receive their license from the state board of nursing.
This degree does not provide eligibility for advanced practice roles such as Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist unless additional coursework has been completed at another institution or through independent study courses available online.
Loyola University Chicago
- Location: Chicago, Illinois.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.6%.
Loyola University Chicago is a private Jesuit research university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is the largest Jesuit university in the United States with a total enrollment of more than 12,218. The school offers some of the best post-baccalaureate nursing programs for students looking to further their nursing careers, including ABSN, RN-BSN, and MSN programs.
- Location: Washington, DC.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.3%.
Georgetown University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit-affiliated institution of higher education in the United States. The university consists of ten schools and colleges offering undergraduate degrees, professional degrees, and doctoral degrees in fifty-one fields.
The campus is about 1 mile (1.6 km) from Union Station and has been considered one of Washington’s finest neighborhoods since colonial times.
- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%.
Drexel University is a private research university with campuses in Philadelphia and Sacramento, California. Drexel is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). It was founded in 1891.
Today, Drexel University provides students with more than 100 majors across its Colleges of Business; Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; Nursing; Public Health; Arts & Sciences; LeBow College of Business at Rutgers University–Camden; and Queen Lane College of Medicine at Lancaster General Hospital.
East Carolina University
- Location: Greenville, North Carolina.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%.
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University is one of four public universities in the state. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1 and a median GPA for incoming freshman students of 3.58.
Its post-baccalaureate nursing programs accept both transfer credits from another nursing program and credits from previous degrees that can be applied toward a nursing degree (i.e., BSN).
The tuition rate at East Carolina University is quite affordable generally; however, some programs may have different tuition rates due to specializations or course requirements within their curricula. There are also scholarships available specifically tailored toward students who are enrolled in post-baccalaureate nursing programs at ECU.
University of San Diego
- Location: San Diego, California.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.8%.
The University of San Diego is a top school that offers CCNE accredited post-baccalaureate nursing programs that provide students with the tools to be successful as a nurse. Some of these programs are offered online, and students may choose to study full-time or part-time.
- Location: West Haven, Connecticut.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95%.
Yale University is one of the top nursing schools in the country. Yale offers a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in various nursing programs that provide students with an accelerated learning experience and allows them to complete both their bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in lesser time.
The Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Nursing (ABSN) is a one-year program designed for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but want more advanced training as nurses. It can be completed either part-time or full-time, depending on each student’s needs and available time frames.
The curriculum covers topics such as leadership skills, research methods, ethics and health policy issues related to nursing practice today—and gives students plenty of opportunities for hands-on clinical experience under experienced faculty members’ supervision at local hospitals near Yale University’s main campus in New Haven, Connecticut.
University of Washington
- Location: Seattle, Washington.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.4%.
The University of Washington offers post-baccalaureate nursing programs that can help you prepare for your future as a nurse.
The university’s online programs are designed to make it easy for you to complete your coursework in just two years, without having to worry about the time commitment or the cost of full-time study. You can take advantage of flexible scheduling options and most courses include an option for part-time study.
In addition to its affordable tuition rates, they also offer financial aid assistance for students whose financial circumstances may present obstacles in their pursuit of higher education.
University of Rochester
- Location: Rochester, New York.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.05%.
The University of Rochester is a private research university located in Rochester, New York. It is a member of the Association of American Universities. The university was founded in 1950 as a nonsectarian institution; however, it was established with the mission of being an independent institution that was open to all races and faiths.
UR has more than 3,000 full-time faculty members across its various schools and colleges and offers nearly 100 undergraduate majors at 10 different residential undergraduate campuses around the state.
Medical University of South Carolina
- Location: Charleston, South Carolina.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94%.
The Medical University of South Carolina has a long history of providing quality nursing education and training for students who are ready to make a difference in their communities. As a part of the state’s public higher education system, they offer post-baccalaureate nursing programs that prepare graduates to work as registered nurses.
Several options for post-baccalaureate nursing programs (but are not limited to) at MUSC include:
- An ABSN program takes less than two years to complete, followed by an RN license.
- An accelerated ADN program is followed by an RN license, etc.
Mount Sinai Beth Israel College
- Location: New York, New York.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94%.
Mount Sinai Beth Israel offers post-baccalaureate nursing programs that will help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to become a nurse.
You can choose from their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program or the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s program, where you can earn both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in one year.
Both programs are designed to help you develop the critical thinking skills and clinical expertise required for success in today’s healthcare environment. This school also has a program curriculum that emphasizes evidence-based practice and incorporates the latest research, technology, and best practices into every class.
You’ll also have the opportunity to work with faculty members who are leaders in their fields of study, as well as other students from around the world who share your passion for nursing education.
- Location: Villanova, Pennsylvania.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94%.
Villanova University is a private research university in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania. It was founded as a Catholic university by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. The university takes its name from the town of Villanova, 12 miles outside Philadelphia.
Villanova University offers post-baccalaureate nursing programs for those who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
The Accelerated RN to BSN program is designed for those who have already completed an undergraduate degree in nursing. You will complete your bachelor’s in nursing in just two years while earning credit for the courses you already took during your undergraduate studies.
If you’re interested in earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, Villanova offers an online MSN program with three different tracks: Nurse Educator, Nurse Executive, and Nurse Practitioner.
George Washington University
- Location: Ashburn, Virginia.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%.
George Washington University-Virginia Campus is the Science and Technology department of GWU strategically located in Ashburn, Virginia. The university has a very good ranking in the US News and World Report.
The post-baccalaureate nursing program at George Washington University is also one of the best in the country and has received many awards and accolades over the years. If you want to study nursing at a prestigious school with an excellent reputation, then George Washington University may be for you.
University of Pennsylvania
- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93% (including traditional BSN).
The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The university is considered one of the top universities in the United States and is ranked among the top 10 universities in the world by several publications.
The School of Nursing at UPenn has been part of its academic health system since its founding in 1884 and was one of the first nursing schools to obtain accreditation from the National League for Nursing’s Education Council (the predecessor organization to NLN).
It offers an extensive range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs along with certificate programs that prepare students for careers as advanced practice nurses or healthcare leaders within their organizations or communities.
Students can also earn an MSN at Penn through their accelerated pathway program after completing an RN-to-MSN program. However, UPenn is easily the most expensive nursing school on this list.
- Location: Clemson, South Carolina.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.23%.
Clemson University is a public, coeducational, land-grant, and space-grant university located in Clemson, South Carolina. It was founded with the mission to teach agriculture, science, and engineering. Clemson’s main campus covers over 5,000 acres (2,023 ha) in central South Carolina.
As of 2019, it has 23 libraries on campus; 18 million volumes held by the university library system are accessible through its online catalog.
Clemson University is the state’s largest and most comprehensive university offering more than 350 programs at undergraduate levels alone in addition to master’s degrees and doctorates through eight colleges (Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; Education; Engineering & Science; Health & Human Services; Performing Arts; Visual Arts).
Oklahoma City University
- Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.15%.
Oklahoma City University (OCU) is a private, coeducational university in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with 4,000 students.
The school originally focused on business education and began offering bachelor’s degrees nine years later. OCU now has 11 colleges: Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; Education; Health Sciences; Humanities & Behavioral Sciences; Law School; Music & Dance; Natural & Applied Sciences; Pharmacy School; Social Work and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling & Psychology Center.
OCU makes a very good choice for anyone who would like to further their nursing education through one of the elite post baccalaureate nursing programs offered at this school.
- Location: Fairfield, Connecticut.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90%.
Fairfield University is a private Jesuit university in Fairfield, Connecticut. It is the second-oldest university in the state of Connecticut after Yale University.
Fairfield offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through five schools: The College of Arts and Sciences; Alumni Hall School of Business and Economics; School of Nursing, Health & Social Services; School of Education; Weston Jesuit School of Theology (on campus).
Metropolitan State University of Denver
- Location: Denver, Colorado
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.6%.
The Metropolitan State University of Denver is a public university in Denver, Colorado. The university offers a post-baccalaureate nursing program that is accredited by the Board of Nurse Examiners.
The school’s nursing program has several benefits for students who have already obtained their bachelor’s degree in another field and are looking to enter into the nursing field. Since this program does not include an undergraduate degree, it will allow you to graduate faster than if you were pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree as well.
In addition, since this program does not require as much coursework as other programs do, it will allow students who are working full-time while they attend school to finish their studies more quickly without sacrificing quality education or learning outcomes.
- Location: Boston, Massachusetts.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.5%.
Regis College is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic institution of higher education located in the United States.
If you’re looking to pursue a career in nursing, Regis College is another great place to start.
The school offers a wide range of post-baccalaureate nursing programs that will prepare you for your future career. They claim their goal is to help you reach the highest level of success possible, whether that’s obtaining an advanced degree or just getting started on your career path.
They also offer programs that are designed to be flexible, so you can fit them into your hectic schedule; furthermore, these post-baccalaureate nursing programs are offered in multiple locations throughout Massachusetts.
University of Memphis
- Location: Memphis, Tennessee.
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87.6%.
The University of Memphis is a private university located in the city of Memphis, Tennessee.
The University of Memphis offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees to both traditional and non-traditional students.
The school was founded as what would become known as a “land grant” institution; it later became known by its current name after merging with another medical school from which it had been separated for decades.
Today, UofM is considered one of the most diverse universities in America with more than 70 percent faculty members representing minority groups and almost half students identifying themselves as such.
How Much Does Post Baccalaureate Nursing Programs Cost?
Here is the tuition information of some of the nursing schools on this list, with the ABSN program as the highlight of the post-baccalaureate nursing program offered.
|Nursing Schools||Total Cost of ABSN Program|
|Loyola University Chicago||$58,780|
|George Washington University||$122,048|
|University of Washington||$48,816|
|Mount Sinai Beth Israel College||$56,755|
Salaries of Nurses in the US
If you’re looking to earn a nursing degree, consider checking out one of the 25 best post baccalaureate nursing programs.
According to data from Indeed, Registered Nurses in the US earn a median annual salary of $90,809. Nurse Practitioners on the other hand, make a whopping estimated annual income of $122,314 owing to the fact of their higher certification and the more demanding nature of their jobs.
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) make an average annual income of $56,866; however, they command even more higher fee in states like California. Nurse Educators earn $78,687 per year, more than what Nurse Aides make in the same time ($43,773). While Nurse Managers make an estimated $85,849 per year.
Overall, nurses earn pretty well, and above the average income level; thus, we can say nurses are valued in almost every country, not excluding the United States.
|Registered Nurses (RNs)||$90,809|
|Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)||$56,866|
Job Outlook for Nurses in the US
The job outlook for nurses in the United States is excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 9% growth in jobs for registered nurses is expected between 2020 and 2030 with over 194,500 openings; which is much higher than average for all occupations combined.
Nurses are in high demand because of their value to patients and society as a whole: they can make a difference in people’s lives by helping them heal from illness or injury, and they can also promote health by educating patients on what they can do to stay healthy themselves.
Nurses are well-paid professionals who generally enjoy great benefits packages at work — plus, being a nurse offers flexibility if you have family commitments outside of your career path.
FAQs About Post Baccalaureate Nursing Programs in USA
What is the difference between a post baccalaureate Nursing programs and a post baccalaureate certificate program?
A post baccalaureate certificate program is one that takes two years to complete, while a post baccalaureate diploma program takes only one year.
The former focuses on introducing students to new topics in nursing while the latter emphasizes clinical practice.
What is the difference between a post baccalaureate program and a PN-to-RN bridge program?
A PN-to-RN bridge program is an accelerated option for those who already have their bachelor’s degree but want to become registered nurses (RNs).
It usually takes months to complete, after which students can apply for licensure as RNs in their state. Post BAC programs are intended for students with no prior experience in nursing who don’t have any prerequisites or academic requirements left before becoming licensed RNs.
Wrapping It Up
If you are looking for a career in nursing, then a post-baccalaureate nursing program may be the right choice for you.
These programs offer students the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree as well as an RN license in just one or two years of studies (depending on your school).
These programs can also prepare you for advanced roles such as nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists.