10 Best Nursing Schools in Ohio – 2024 Rankings

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Demand is high for nurses in the Buckeye State. A rapidly aging population means that the number of jobs available to graduates of accredited nursing schools in Ohio is growing much faster than the average for all other types of jobs. By 2020, Ohio will have a nursing shortage estimated to be approximately 32,000. In 2019, the Ohio House of Representatives introduced a bill to prohibit the imposition of mandatory overtime upon nurses as a condition of employment. Professional organizations such as the Ohio Nurses Association, which lobbied hard for the bill, hope that it will decrease nurse burnout, which is one of the main reasons why nurses leave the profession. Meanwhile, hospitals are offering nurses incentives such as tuition reimbursement and signing bonuses in an effort to recruit the staff they need.



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

1. The Ohio State University, Columbus

About Ohio State University College of Nursing: “U.S. News and World Report” rates Ohio State University’s College of Nursing among the top 25 nursing programs in the nation. The school acknowledges that streamlining the delivery of health care in the U.S. is an enormous task but each and every student it admits is inspired to rise to that challenge. Not only does the school deliver an excellent clinical education, it’s also the site of groundbreaking nursing research through initiatives like the Martha S. Pitzger Center for Women, Children and Youth; the Center for Health Aging, Self-Management and Complex Care; and the Center for Research and Health Analytics. In 2017, the College of Nursing was one of the top recipients of National Institute of Health dollars in the U.S.; in 2018, it received nearly $7 million in research and development grants.

The College is housed in Newton Hall. Newton Hall’s second floor was recently remodeled to contain six state-of-the-art simulation facilities that emulate various units in a modern hospital. Here, students learn fundamental clinical and physical assessment skills by practicing on full-body, computerized patient simulators. Nursing students continue on with clinical rotations at some of the finest hospitals in the metropolitan Columbus region, including the OSU Wexner Medical Center, the Mount Carmel Health System and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Financial Aid: Thanks to the generosity of donors, the OSU College of Nursing makes many scholarships available to its students. The scholarships require the submission of a scholarship application. Students who are applying for needs-based support as well as for state and federal financial aid will need to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

2. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati

About UC College of Nursing: The University of Cincinnati’s College of Nursing is another one of the nursing colleges in Ohio that seeks to empower nurses as health care leaders. The college teaches students to deal with the sweeping changes that have transformed the health care landscape in the last decade and inspires them to prepare for the even bigger changes that are yet to come. Nursing students are encouraged to collaborate with colleagues who are studying medicine and pharmacy at the university; this emphasizes the importance that teamwork plays in the delivery of health care. Rating sources like “U.S. News and World Report,” CollegeChoice.net, TheBestSchools.org and AffordableCollegesOnline.org consistently rank UC Nursing as one of nation’s finest.

The College of Nursing is located on the Medical Campus, which is just outside the main campus proper. Simulation labs permit students to acquire skills at their own speed while nurturing environments like Maple Knoll Village facilitate innovative student projects that aim to improve nursing care. Other experiential learning opportunities include clinical rotations at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the Cincinnati VA Hospital, the Shriners Hospital for Children and other medical facilities in the Cincinnati area as well as participation in the 1819 Innovation Hub where nursing students get the chance to create tomorrow’s biomedical tools with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and 3-D printers.

Financial Aid: The University of Cincinnati offers multiple funding opportunities for nursing students through institutional and external scholarships. The university also participates in the Title IV program: State and federal financial aid is awarded to students whose FAFSA forms indicate eligibility.

3. Wright State University, Dayton

About Wright State College of Nursing and Health: If you want a well-rounded nursing education where what you’re taught in classroom lectures is reinforced by labs and other experiential learning opportunities, check out the Wright State College of Nursing and Health. Though the college’s main focus is upon satisfying the critical need for nurses in the Buckeye State, the education you receive here will prepare you for any health care setting you choose to work in. The traditional nursing curriculum is enlivened by unique electives like a disaster preparedness class and a course called “The Power of Nursing,” which helps student nurses explore the personal significance of their work.

Practically any imaginable patient scenario can be reenacted in the Simulation Lab, which is set up to resemble a hospital unit with functioning equipment and high-fidelity manikins. Students learn specific skills such as IV insertion and blood draws by practicing on lifelike task trainers. Clinical rotation sites include Atrium Medical Center, Miami Valley Hospital, Kettering Medical Center and other health care facilities throughout the greater Dayton metropolitan area.

Financial Aid: Although Wright State University doesn’t have any institutional scholarships that are specifically allocated to nursing students, nursing students are invited to apply for any of the university’s other merit-based funding for which they might be eligible. Students may also qualify for state and federal funding if the information they submit on their FAFSA forms warrants this type of support.

4. Kent State University, Kent

About Kent State College of Nursing: The Kent State College of Nursing administers the sixth largest nursing program in the U.S. Nursing degree options are offered at the university’s Kent, Stark, Trumbull, Salem and Geauga campuses. Many of the graduates from this nursing school in OH go on to pursue professional careers in the Buckeye State; in fact, the college has a strategic alliance with University Hospitals that’s specifically designed to address the local nursing shortage. However, the college offers a strong foundation in nursing science that will benefit you wherever you end up working.

The Olga A. Mural Simulation Lab is a state-of-the-art facility where students acquire the hands-on skills they will need when they begin working with actual patients. Clinical rotations are scheduled at University Hospitals of Cleveland and other dynamic medical facilities throughout Cleveland and the surrounding communities. Kent State is also a leader in nursing research; faculty research interests include palliative care at end of life, self-management of acute and chronic illnesses, and global wellness.

Financial Aid: Kent State offers 16 endowed scholarships specifically for nursing students. Additionally, students are encouraged to apply for external nursing scholarships, and they may qualify for one of the university’s many other institutional scholarships. Need-based state and federal aid is assigned on the basis of information contained in the FAFSA form.

5. Mount Carmel College, Columbus

About Mount Carmel College of Nursing: The Mount Carmel College of Nursing was established in 1903 to train nurses to work at Hawkes Hospital of Mount Carmel in Columbus. The college is still located on the grounds of what’s now called Mount Carmel Hospital. Though the college is affiliated with the Catholic church, it welcomes nursing students of all religious denominations. An important part of the school’s mission is to educate nurses who will champion the needs of underserved populations who may not have the ability to champion their own needs.

Nursing students share the simulation facilities at the Mount Carmel Center for Innovative Learning with RNs, resident physicians, medical staff, EMTs and other Mount Carmel staff members. Lifelike adult and pediatric manikins that are programmed to respond to clinical interventions in realistic ways help nursing students learn fundamental skills. Clinical rotations primarily take place at facilities associated with the Mount Carmel Health System.

Financial Aid: Three merit-based institutional scholarships are available to Mount Carmel students who demonstrate academic excellence. Additionally, the school offers a number of scholarships funded through endowments from generous alumni and community members. Students may also submit FAFSA forms that determine eligibility for needs-based federal and state financial aid.

6. Ohio University, Athens

About OHIO University School of Nursing: As a student at the School of Nursing associated with Ohio University, you’ll learn how to become a competent, caring practitioner who will thrive in any institutional environment from a busy metropolitan hospital to a small rural clinic. These nursing programs in Ohio train students to embrace cultural diversity and to keep up with the rapidly evolving health care landscape. Students are encouraged to participate in community projects like American Red Cross Blood Drives, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Botswana Pillow Project. The school is also a center for nursing research and hosts a well-attended Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Research conference every year.

The School of Nursing is located inside Grover Center, which was recently renovated to include two Immersive Patient Care Management Simulation environments as well as flexible classroom spaces. Once fundamental nursing skills become second nature, students will have the opportunity to put them to use through clinical rotations at acute care hospitals, ambulatory care clinics and community agencies throughout Athens and surrounding communities. While Ohio University values laboratory and simulation educational experiences, it also places a high premium on field experiences outside the provision of direct patient care, so nursing students have the opportunity to participate in these types of projects, too.

Financial Aid: Seven nursing-specific scholarships are available to students at Ohio University’s School of Nursing. The university also sponsors a range of other institutional scholarships for which nursing students can apply. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships disburses federal and state funding to students whose FAFSA forms indicate need.

7. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland

About Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing: The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing is recognized by “U.S. News & World Report” and other rating entities as one of the finest in the U.S. It was the first school in the nation to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and to offer concentrated training in subspecialties such as acute care, gerontology and flight nursing. In addition to its reputation for clinical excellence, the school is also a hugely respected research center and the recipient of millions of dollars every year in grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research and other public health-related agencies and foundations.

As part of Cleveland’s University Circle complex, the school is close to leading practice and biomedical research centers like University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System and MetroHealth Medical Center. Nursing students pursue the majority of their clinical rotations at these University Circle medical facilities. Before they go on to clinical rotations, students have the opportunity to master nursing procedures at FBP’s Center for Nursing Education, Simulation and Innovation where physical assessment and clinical skills such as IV insertion and blood draws are taught.

Financial Aid: All first-time undergraduate applicants are considered for the Bolton Scholarship if they meet the award’s academic criteria. Nursing students may also qualify for the university’s other merit-based funding or for external nursing scholarships. Federal and state funding options may also be available depending upon the information you submit in your FAFSA form.

8. The University of Akron, Akron

About University of Akron School of Nursing: Nursing education at the University of Akron emphasizes the role nurses play as a vital resource for wellness in the U.S. as well as the backbone of the nation’s health care system. The University of Akron was founded in 1866 as a Christian Universalist institution of higher learning but has long since severed its ties with the Unitarian Universalist church; however, the idea that all human beings deserve to be treated with compassion and respect still informs the Nursing School’s philosophy. Nursing here is viewed as both an art and a science.

Classrooms and learning labs are located in Mary E. Gladwin Hall. Students acquire patient care skills in labs and simulation suites that are equipped with tools like high-tech manikins and IV arms so that they can safely learn how to place intravenous lines and intervene in medical emergency situations. Clinical rotations are scheduled at facilities like Akron Children's Hospital, Summa Health System, Mercy Medical Center and Summit County Health District. The university also sponsors some nursing education in conjunction with the Lorain County Community College system.

Financial Aid: The Nursing School administers 45 scholarships specifically for its own students. Students may also apply for other scholarships that are open to individuals enrolled in the College of Health Professions as well as for external scholarships. Depending upon the information submitted as part of their FAFSA forms, students may qualify for Title IV state and federal financial aid as well.

9. Cleveland State University, Cleveland

About School of Nursing @ Cleveland State University: Cleveland State University is another institution of higher learning that offers nursing degrees in OH in a city—Cleveland—that’s renowned for its world-class health care facilities. The school’s practice framework is derived from the Salutogenic Model of Health, which focuses more on factors that promote wellness than it does upon factors that cause disease. CSU Nursing’s diverse student body reflects the multiculturalism of patient populations throughout the Buckeye State and beyond. In addition to its campus nursing programs, the university is helping to address northeastern Ohio’s chronic nursing shortage by partnering with the Cleveland Clinic system so that nurses working there can pursue baccalaureate degrees without taking time off from their jobs.

The School of Nursing’s headquarters is in Julka Hall. The Nursing Resource Lab is a high-tech environment that can be set up to resemble an assortment of hospital units so that students can participate in clinical drills and learning procedures with a high degree of verisimilitude. Clinical rotations take place at acute care facilities and walk-in clinics throughout Cleveland. Once a year, nursing students have the chance to sign up for a trip to the Dominican Republic.

Financial Aid: The CSU School of Nursing sponsors eight scholarships that are designed to meet the needs of undergraduate and graduate students. To apply, you’ll need to fill out a School of Nursing scholarship application as well as a FAFSA form. The information on your FAFSA form may also qualify you for state and federal needs-based financial aid.

10. Walsh University, North Canton

About Byers School of Nursing: Walsh University is a Roman Catholic institution of higher learning. While its Byers School of Nursing welcomes students of every faith, instruction is firmly grounded in Judeo-Christian values. In 2018, Byers was dubbed a “Nursing College of Distinction” by the website collegesofdistinction.com. Experiential learning is prized as highly as didactic coursework, and students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of clinical, research and community service activities throughout the course of their academic careers.

The newly renovated nursing laboratory offers sophisticated educational technology such as a maternal fetal birthing simulator, infant warmers, a ventilator and a cardiac defibrillator. Students fulfill their clinical learning requirements through rotations at medical facilities like the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Akron Children's Hospital, Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center. Aspiring nurses are actively involved in community health screening and education projects like health fairs. Students also have the opportunity to learn more about international health care and nursing education through a yearly mission trip to Tanzania.

Financial Aid: While Walsh University doesn’t have any scholarships that are earmarked just for nursing students, the school does have several other institutional scholarships, which nursing students may apply for. Need-based grants from either the university or from state and federal sources will require the submission of a FAFSA form.


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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