How We Ranked the Best Nursing Schools in Your State for the Year 2024?

The presence of several nursing schools makes it a daunting task for students and their families to choose the right school. Some schools offer quality education, while some provide affordability, and others are known for their high NCLEX-RN pass rates. As such, there is no sure shot formula to tell us which school is the best. So then, how did we come up with our ranking list? Well, to start with we have evaluated all nursing schools within a given state that are approved by their State Board of Nursing. We then ranked these schools based on indicators we believe are important in defining a nursing student's preparedness for success in personal and professional life. We have considered only state board-approved nursing schools for our rankings as these schools adhere to strict guidelines and meet high education standards. Below you can learn about our detailed ranking methodology and the various factors we have considered to come up with our list of the best schools in your state.

Ranking Factors and Weightage

Our ranking factors look-into every dimension of a nursing school. Mainly, we have captured four broad areas, such as academic quality, NCLEX-RN exam performance, affordability, and the overall reputation of a school. Among the four areas, academic quality and NCLEX-RN first time pass rates have been given the maximum weightage as both these are clear indicators of college's academic performance. The table below lists the seven factors that form the base of our ranking methodology.

Factor Weightage
Academic Quality 30%
Acceptance Rate 35%
Graduation Rate 35%
Retention Rate 20%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10%
NCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rates (Recent Four Years) 30%
Affordability 20%
The Nursing School's Reputation 20%

Why Were Our Rankings Based on the Above-Mentioned Factors?

Below, we have explained why each factor was considered for our rankings.

1. Academic Quality

To measure a nursing school's academic quality, we have taken-into-account the acceptance rate, graduation rate, retention rate, and student to faculty ratio. Academic quality is one of the important factors to measure a programs' success. The very reason a student enrolls in a school is to achieve a successful academic outcome, and seemingly so, this area constitutes 30% of our total ranking score. To gauge the academic quality, we have factored four indicators.

Acceptance Rate:

Acceptance rate is the number of students a school accepts in proportion to the applications it receives. A school stringent about maintaining quality standards looks out for high performing candidates, is selective in its admission policy, and has a low acceptance rate.

Graduation Rate:

The graduation rate tells us about the number of students who complete the program within the stipulated time frame. A higher graduation rate indicates a supportive learning environment. You are more likely to end up with a degree if you enroll in a college with a high graduation rate.

Retention Rate:

The retention rate is the number of students who continue with the college to complete the program. High-retention rate reflects fewer dropouts or transfers, indicating students being happy with the quality of education and the support they are receiving from the faculty and the college-as-a-whole.

Student to Faculty Ratio:

The student to faculty ratio means the number of students per instructor. A lower ratio is better as students are more likely to benefit from individualized attention and achieve a positive academic outcome.

2. NCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rates (Recent Four Years)

The NCLEX-RN is the licensure exam that tests your professional knowledge and skills as a nurse. Passing this exam is required for obtaining licensure to practice a registered nurse in your state. Making up for 30% of our total ranking score, we have considered a school's NCLEX-RN first time pass rates over the last four years. A consistently high NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate is an important indicator of a school's curriculum delivery, program quality, and teaching practices.

3. Affordability

Constituting 20% out of our total ranking score, affordability is an important factor you must consider while selecting a school. To account for the affordability of a program, we have looked-into its average net price. A school with a low net price can take a great deal of financial burden off you and help graduate with considerably lower debt.

4. The Nursing School's Reputation

20% of our total ranking score is based on a nursing school's reputation. When we say reputation, we mean several pointers, inside and outside a school that helps us assess its overall goodwill. A school's internal factors, such as faculty credentials and industry partnerships help us gauge a school's credibility. An outside viewpoint of a school has been obtained by taking into consideration college rankings & ratings and student reviews from respected online publications such as US News, Niche, Grad Reports, and Rate My Professors. With this well-rounded perspective we were able to make our rankings more meaningful and complete.

Where was the Data Sourced from?

• The list of nursing schools in each state was collected from the accrediting body websites - ACEN and CCNE.
• Acceptance Rates, Graduation Rates, Student to Faculty Ratios, and Retention Rates were gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics.
• NCLEX-RN first time pass rates for each school were collected from the respective State Board of Nursing websites.
• College rankings & ratings and student reviews were sourced from U.S. News, Niche, Grad Reports, and Rate My Professors.
• Additional information/data about each school which was required for our rankings was gathered from their official websites.


At, we understand that our rankings can influence a student's decision in making a choice for the right school. We do not promote the schools that have made it to our list; neither do we disregard schools that haven't made it to our list. Although we have tried our best in bringing you a list of the best schools that can simplify your search, there is no one perfect ranking tool or formula to devise a list of the best schools. Our rankings are fair and unbiased, and we are in no way associated with any educational institution and thus have nothing to gain out of the ranking order. To maintain transparency, we have clearly mentioned the factors considered for our rankings for everyone to see, the data for which was collected from reliable sources.

How to Interpret Our Rankings


As a student, you are advised to take the rankings as a starting point in your search and make a final decision about your education only after extensive research.

Nursing Schools:

We understand that the higher education domain is a complex one, and the reputation of a school cannot be reduced to a ranking. We believe that the academic outcome of any program depends on a student's talent and hard work as much as it depends on the college, and rankings of any nature must not be construed as a barometer of a college or program's success.

Any Further Questions

If you have questions, comments, or corrections about our Best Nursing schools Ranking or need further clarification regarding our ranking methodology, please feel free to get in touch with our editorial staff through the Contact Form.

Nursing Schools in Your State