10 Best Nursing Schools in Alabama – 2023 Rankings

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

There’s no time like the present to pursue a nursing degree in Alabama. Registered nurses earn an average salary of $66,910 a year in the Cotton State, and demand for their services is expected to soar by 8.13 percent over the next decade. Nursing schools in Alabama offer flexible scheduling, too: Many Alabama nursing schools offer online coursework, which makes it super easy to pursue a degree even if you’re working or have family obligations. Keep reading to find out more about the 10 best nursing schools in Alabama for 2023.


(After closely assessing all nursing schools approved by the Alabama State Board of Nursing, based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the best accredited nursing schools in Alabama offering BSN programs.)

1. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham

About UAB School of Nursing: The School of Nursing at the University of Alabama in Birmingham is widely lauded for its excellence in both clinical preparation, and research and scholarship. In 2018, the National Institutes of Health awarded the school $4.26 million in research funding, which brought the total of the research and education grants this nursing school in AL has received to $12 million. The school is equally committed to turning out high-quality clinicians. UAB nursing school students have the opportunity to practice their skills locally at rural and urban health care centers throughout the Yellowhammer State as well as globally at clinics and other health-related sites in Turkey, Jordan, Japan, Brazil, and Thailand.

The School of Nursing is headquartered in a newly renovated building close to the university’s hospital in downtown Birmingham. In addition to classrooms, offices, and meeting spaces, this 72,000-square-foot expansion space also contains five state-of-the-art nursing simulation labs. Here, students will have the opportunity to develop their bedside skills using computerized manikins that are programmed to provide realistic heart rates, blood pressure readings, and oxygen levels. Clinical rotations take place at a variety of acute care hospitals, ambulatory clinics, and community settings, including the UAB Hospital, the Birmingham VA Center, and Children’s Hospital of Alabama.

Financial Aid: The UAB School of Nursing offers 67 endowed scholarships and seven sponsored scholarships. Scholarships are awarded in both the fall and spring semesters. Candidates need to only fill out and submit a single scholarship application. Students may also qualify for needs-based federal financial aid upon submission of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to the Office of Financial Aid.


2. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

About University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing: The University of Alabama established the Capstone College of Nursing on its Tuscaloosa campus in 1975 in response to western Alabama’s ongoing shortage of nurses. The college focuses on educating nurse researchers as well as nurse clinicians. Areas of interest to faculty researchers include health care finances; health care outcomes; rural health care, particularly in regard to the obesity epidemic; and cardiovascular disease management for African Americans.

Capstone is currently housed in a 64,000-square-foot building on its Tuscaloosa campus, which the university is hoping to expand by another 32,000 square feet in the near future. The present building contains a Learning Resources Center, which is divided into a computer laboratory, a clinical practice laboratory, and a simulation lab. The simulation lab is equipped with 34 hospital beds, high-tech infusion pumps, computerized manikins, and a range of other sophisticated medical equipment so that students can gain experience with complex medical situations before they encounter them as professionals. Once they’re confident in their bedside skills, students participate in clinical rotations at acute hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, community agencies and other primary care sites throughout West Alabama.

Financial Aid: The Office of Nursing Student Services administers Capstone’s nursing scholarships. The first step in qualifying for one of these scholarships involves filling out and submitting a FAFSA form. A FAFSA form will also help you determine eligibility for federal grants and loans.

3. Auburn University, Auburn

About Auburn University School of Nursing: The School of Nursing at Auburn University believes that no community should be underserved when it comes to the provision of health care. To that end, the education it offers prospective nurses relies upon a conceptual framework that emphasizes communication, clinical judgment, evidence-based research, population health skills, diversity skills, and leadership skills. The school does a great deal of community outreach targeting underserved communities and is in the process of setting up a Health Disparities faculty position. The school is firmly committed to increasing the diversity of its student body. If you’re interested in eradicating the inequities that exist within the health care system, this is one of the nursing programs in Alabama that you should be investigating.

A new 89,000-square-foot nursing building recently opened on the corner of Lem Morrison and South Donahue Drives. This building houses classrooms, offices, conference rooms, laboratories, and a simulation suite stocked with hospital equipment and 12 high-fidelity manikins. Students participate in clinical rotations at East Alabama Medical Center and other hospitals, clinics, health care facilities, and community health agencies throughout Auburn and adjacent areas in eastern Alabama. Nursing students also have the opportunity to participate in several unique health care initiatives such as the university’s clinic in Ghana and Project SERVE, which teaches civilian nurses how to manage the medical needs of veterans, active military, and their families.

Financial Aid: Pre-nursing students are eligible to apply for eight scholarships that are administered by Auburn University’s School of Nursing. Nursing students are eligible to apply for any of the 27 scholarships. If you complete and submit a FAFSA form to Auburn University’s Office of Student Financial Services, you may also qualify for a number of needs-based federal grants and loans.

4. Samford University, Birmingham

About Ida Moffett School of Nursing: "The Wall Street Journal" calls Samford University Alabama’s best institution of higher learning. The university was founded by Baptists in 1841, and while it is open to students of all denominations, Christian principles still play an important role in determining the university’s policies and curricula. The Ida Moffett School of Nursing originated as the Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in 1922 but moved to Samford in 1973 when the nursing program began offering associate and baccalaureate degrees. The National League of Nursing has singled Ida Moffett out twice as a Center of Excellence, most recently in 2017. If you think nursing is an avocation as well as a job, then this school has a lot to offer you.

The school shares space with the McWhorter School of Pharmacy, the School of Health Professions and the School of Public Health in a newly renovated College of Health Sciences building on Lakeshore Drive. The nursing simulation lab features hospital beds, a replica of an operating room, and a labor and delivery suite stocked with manikins where students can develop clinical and critical decision-making skills. Clinical rotations take place in mental health settings, pediatric units, medical/surgical wards, critical care units, and community agencies throughout Birmingham and more rural communities in north-central AL.

Financial Aid: Ida Moffett School of Nursing offers 24 endowed scholarships and 9 annual scholarships to nursing students. Need-based financial aid may also be available depending upon the information you submit in your FAFSA form.

5. University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville

About UAH College of Nursing: Are you interested in becoming a nurse leader? Do you want to become a health care professional who advocates on behalf of those without the skills or knowledge to advocate for themselves? Then the College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in Huntsville has a lot to offer you. This nursing college understands that health care is in a period of rapid transformation and that nurses are the health care providers best equipped to help clients adapt to those changes.

UAH’s nursing college is headquartered in a four-story building centrally located on the Huntsville campus. Students have the opportunity to develop clinical skills in a cutting-edge Learning and Technology Resource Center that’s equipped with the latest innovative simulation technology. The College of Nursing collaborates with more than 1,000 partners in the health care industry to provide a wide range of experiences for clinical rotations. Students do practicums at Huntsville Hospital Health System and Crestwood Medical Center as well as at county public health agencies, skilled nursing facilities and other hospitals, physicians' offices, and rural health clinics throughout Alabama and southern Tennessee.

Financial Aid: Huntsville’s nursing students may qualify for one of 24 nursing-specific scholarships offered by the College of Nursing. They may also be eligible for needs-based grants and loans, depending upon the information they submit in their FAFSA forms.

6. University of South Alabama, Mobile

About USA College of Nursing: The College of Nursing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile is one of the few nursing schools in Alabama that offers certification or specialization in forensic nursing care. USA’s departmental nursing major was established in 1973, and the department was designated a college of nursing in 1985. The university is home to one of Alabama’s only two schools of medicine, and nursing students may get the chance to share educational opportunities with medical students from time to time.

The College of Nursing maintains two locations: The first is on the USA campus on the outskirts of Mobile while the second is on USA’s satellite campus in downtown Fairhope. Simulated learning experiences are offered in six locations throughout Mobile and Baldwin County; these simulation labs give students access to hospital equipment, task trainers, and computerized manikins, which can replicate a variety of physiological responses. Clinical rotations are managed by the college’s Department of Clinical Affairs and take place at AltaPointe Health Systems, the Baldwin County Public School system, Franklin Primary Health Center, Mercy LIFE of Alabama, and other acute care hospitals and community health facilities throughout Mobile and the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Financial Aid: The College of Nursing does not offer any nursing-specific scholarships, but students are encouraged to explore external scholarship sources. Filing a FAFSA form with the university’s Office of Financial Aid may also help you qualify for federal grants and loans.

7. University of North Alabama, Florence

About Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions: The University of North Alabama is the Yellowhammer State’s oldest public institution of higher learning: It was founded in 1830 as LaGrange College. Its College of Nursing has been singled out as one of the South’s up-and-coming nursing programs. In the spring of 2020, the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions will be moving into the new, 50,000-square-foot Laura M. Harrison Hall, which will contain classrooms, meeting spaces, computer labs, and a simulation lab that will mimic a hospital setting. In the meantime, aspiring nurses learn clinical techniques and critical thinking skills in a simulation lab located on the third floor of Stevens Hall.

Once they’re comfortable with bedside care, student nurses pursue clinical rotations at hospitals, clinics, and community agencies in Florence, Muscle Shoals, and nearby communities in rural Lauderdale County. Additionally, the Anderson College partners with the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine to provide joint learning and clinical practicum experiences for students.

Financial Aid: The Anderson College is committed to diversity in its nursing student population. Through its Project OPEN initiative, which launched in September 2012, more than 180 students from disadvantaged backgrounds have received scholarship support. Project OPEN is funded through a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

In addition, the Anderson College oversees 24 merit-based scholarships that are specifically designed for nursing students. By completing and submitting a FAFSA form, nursing students may also qualify for needs-based federal aid.

8. Troy University - Troy

About Troy University School of Nursing: The School of Nursing at Troy University is one of the few universities that offer associate nursing degrees as well as baccalaureate and graduate nursing degrees in AL. The associate degree program is offered in conjunction with Wallace Community College in Dothan. As with many nursing schools associated with public universities in the Yellowhammer State, Troy’s nursing programs aim to help relieve Alabama’s chronic nursing shortage.

The nursing school is part of the College of Health and Human Services, and it’s housed in the Collegeview Building. Students learn clinical techniques and critical response skills in a sophisticated learning lab that includes a childbirth simulation suite with a computerized manikin that can be programmed to mimic a laboring mother’s responses. Clinical rotations take place at hospitals, community clinics, health departments, and schools in Troy and other parts of southeastern Alabama. The university also sponsors travel abroad programs that allow students to study nursing practices in cities like Athens, Paris, and London.

Financial Aid: Troy University’s School of Nursing oversees five endowed scholarships specifically designed for student nurses pursuing baccalaureate and associate degrees. By completing and submitting a FAFSA form to the university’s Office of Financial Aid, you may also qualify for needs-based federal aid.

9. Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville

About JSU Department of Nursing: When Jacksonville State University was founded in 1883 as the Jacksonville State Normal School, it focused upon educating competent, resourceful teachers. This same educational philosophy can still be seen today in the programs the university offers for nurses and other health care professionals. The Department of Nursing is affiliated with JSU’s School of Health Professions & Wellness, and nursing students have the opportunity to work closely with their colleagues studying kinesiology and respiratory therapy.

The School of Health Professions & Wellness is housed in the Lurleen B. Wallace building. Aspiring nurses and respiratory therapists share a simulation lab that’s located off-campus at the Brookstone Physician Center, which is the site of the former RMC-Jacksonville Hospital. Here, nursing students have the opportunity to practice essential skills like vital signs, urinary catheterization, wound dressings, IV insertions, and the like. Clinical rotations are scheduled at hospitals and other medical centers throughout Jacksonville and other communities in eastern AL.

Financial Aid: Two nursing-specific scholarship opportunities are available to nursing students attending Jacksonville State University. Students may also qualify for needs-based federal grants and loans; eligibility will be determined by the information they submit in their FAFSA forms.

10. Auburn University - Montgomery, Montgomery

About AUM School of Nursing: Auburn University’s School of Nursing in Montgomery is one of three health-related professional schools affiliated with its College of Nursing and Health Science; the other two are Medical and Clinical Laboratory Science, and Communication Disorders. The nursing school on the Montgomery campus is committed to helping remedy Alabama’s chronic nursing shortage. To that end, the nursing education the school provides is focused on learners’ needs. The school wants you to succeed and will go above and beyond to provide you with resources that will help you achieve your professional goals.

The School of Nursing at Auburn University’s Montgomery campus is located in Moore Hall. Moore Hall contains classrooms, study areas, and the AUM Nursing Resource Center, which is comprised of three areas: a skills and assessment lab, a simulation lab, and a computer lab. Once students gain confidence in their bedside skills, they go on to participate in clinical nursing experiences at a variety of hospitals and clinics throughout Alabama’s capital city and adjacent communities in the central part of the state.

Financial Aid: Auburn Montgomery’s nursing school administers 19 scholarships that are specifically earmarked for nursing students. Every year, the university hosts a Donor Appreciation Event where scholarship students have the opportunity to thank their donors personally. Students may also qualify for needs-based federal aid if the information they submit in their FAFSA forms warrants this support.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

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