Best Nursing Schools in Rhode Island in 2024

January 24, 2022

While several nursing schools in Rhode Island offer accredited nursing courses, the state also boasts some excellent community colleges and universities.

Suppose you plan on pursuing an undergraduate or a graduate degree in nursing at Rhode Island. In that case, you can specialize your nursing degree in areas like family nurse practitioner, nursing education, and adult-gerontology nurse practitioner.

You can also opt to pursue an associate’s degree, bachelor’s, or a master’s degree in nursing through a partially- or fully-online program. In this article, we’ll explore 2022’s best nursing colleges and degree programs in Rhode Island.

The 5 Best Nursing Schools in Rhode Island

Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 5 Rhode Island nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.  

best nursing schools in Rhode Island

#1 New England Institute of Technology:

The New England Institute of Technology has its main campus in East Greenwich and two other nearby Warwick campuses. It provides excellent nursing degrees for candidates with a state-of-the-art curriculum.

After completing your degree, you will be ready to work in various settings, including hospitals, healthcare clinics, and outpatient facilities.
  • Annual Tuition Costs: $30,900
  • The New England Institute of Technology doesn’t disclose NCLEX pass rates for its RN programs. It uses advanced examination statistics to show that students secure employment at a high rate.
  • 97% of students receive financial aid.
  • Nursing Programs/Degrees Offered: Associate degree in Nursing, a six-term program that you can complete in as little as 18 months.
  • Bachelor’s nursing program-RN to BSN: It is the first fully online bachelor’s in nursing degree program in Rhode Island. Both programs have accreditation for ACEN (Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing).
  • It is one of the best nursing colleges in the state that provides a fully online master of science in nursing  with a family practitioner program concentration. You can complete the online nursing course in as little as eight terms over approximately 24 months. The MSN program is a candidate for accreditation ACEN.
  • Prospective nurses looking to earn a nursing BSN through The New England Institute of Technology should remember that they must complete the ADN, a six-term program that requires as little as 18 months.


Earn your degree in Nursing from NEIT and begin your new career path today!




#2 University of Rhode Island:

The University of Rhode Island offers unique clinical experiences and provides opportunities for cross-discipline work.
  • Annual In-State Tuition Costs: $15,004
  • Annual Out-of-State Tuition:  $32,578
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.31%
  • 69% acceptance rate
  • 95% of students receive financial aid.
  • Nursing Programs Offered: Courses in nursing include administration, nursing education, adult care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner/clinical nurse, clinical specialist in psychiatric mental health, and family nurse.
  • The University of Rhode Island allows BSN holders to complete their MS in Nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) at its Providence campus.

#3 Salve Regina University:

  • Annual Tuition Fees: $42,920
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 87.14%
  • 76% acceptance rate
  • 99% of students receive financial aid.
  • Nursing Programs Offered: Salve Regina University includes finishing a senior thesis, a capstone project, and a course that prepares candidates to take the NCLEX.
  • They also offer an online RN-BSN and various graduate courses.

#4 Rhode Island College:

  • Annual In-State Tuition: $10,260  
  • Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $24,753
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.69%
  • 73% acceptance rate
  • 90% of students receive financial assistance.
  • Nursing Programs Offered: Graduate students can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in adult-gerontology; full-time and part-time degrees are available at the college.
  • The traditional four-year BSN is the primary undergraduate program. Students can apply during their freshman year at Rhode Island College. Graduates can choose between an MSN, a DNP, or a certificate in either nursing management or healthcare quality and patient safety.

#5 Community College of Rhode Island:

  • Annual In-State Tuition: $4,700.
  • Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $12,544
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.2%
  • 100% acceptance rate
  • 94% of students receive financial aid.
  • Nursing Programs Offered: Students can pursue a Master of Science (MS) in nursing administration, adult care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse, practitioner/clinical nurse, clinical specialist in psychiatric mental health, and family nurse.
  • Since it is a community college, this school does not offer four-year degrees, so you cannot enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). However, the Community College of Rhode Island does provide an accredited ADN.

How Long Does It Take to Complete A Nursing Program?

nursing program duration

For entry-level nurses, there are three ways to begin their career:

  • Entry-Level Practice Nurse
  • LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse): One Year Diploma Program
  • RN (Registered Nurse): Two-year associate’s degree (ADN) or four-year bachelor’s degree (BSN)

The BSN and ADN program requires you to complete various undergraduate courses. In addition to completing the program, LPNs must pass the NCLEX-PN while the RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN. Chances of employment improve as you obtain an advanced degree from a reputed nursing school.

Nursing students must consider the tuition fee, the admission requirements, and the course duration before selecting any program. Suppose you’re looking for a short-term course to start earning immediately. In that case, you must look for a certificate course like LPN Certification.  You can secure a job and later advance your nursing practice with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Students interested in advanced roles must pursue an associate or bachelor degree. These programs offer better prospects of growth and advancement. However, they require full-time attendance and extensive practicum requirements. If you can’t honor that time commitment, you should look into RN degree programs.

What Kinds of Nursing Jobs Can You Get After Graduating?

jobs a nursing student can get after graduation

There were more than 4 million jobs in five various nursing occupations in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nursing practice job opportunities also outnumber the average for all occupations through 2028.

Each job has unique degree requirements depending on the specialty, benefits, challenges, and pay grades. Listed below are different types of nursing careers to better understand your options after graduation.

Nurse Anesthetists

Well-respected in nursing, this position requires years of studying, training, and experience to become one. Nurse Anesthetists are responsible for providing anesthesia to patients, typically in a surgical, dental, or ER/OR scenario.

Mean annual Salary: $ 189,190/year

nurse anesthetics

General Nurse Practitioner

This role offers nurses a variety of options; they can work in various primary health settings like hospitals or clinics. Opening an independent practice is another option. GNP roles typically require a Master of Science in Nursing in addition to a Nurse Practitioner license.

Mean annual salary: $ 114,510/year

Certified Nurse Midwife

This is a unique nursing position, as midwives can work independently or under the direction of a physician. You can also pursue this career path by completing your MSN nurse-midwifery.

Average Salary: $ 115,540/year

 Certified Nurse Midwife

Colleges across Rhode Island offer nursing degrees in several disciplines. These institutions will also help you identify the best job opportunities. Here’s are a few additional roles aspiring nurses can pursue:

  • Director of Nursing Education
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • School Nurse
  • Nurse Educator
  • Clinical Social Worker

How Much Do Nurses Make?

RNs in the United States are among the best-paid nurses in the world. Several other factors can influence the salary you earn. For example, salaries vary with the state, hiring companies, teaching standards, academic preparation, experience, and even gender.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay of a Registered Nurse with a BSN degree in 2020 is $36.22/hour.  That equates to a total of $75,330/year, while an individual with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) can expect a $72,000/year average. A newly qualified RN will also earn relatively less than an RN with years of experience.

The demand for nurses keeps increasing. BLS predicts that the number of jobs for registered nurses will increase by 9% from 2020 to 2030.

California, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Oregon are the top five highest paying states for registered nurses. Rhode Island registered nurses have an average pay of $82,790/year among 12,150 nurses.

Students can choose from various nursing schools in Rhode Island. Each has its pros and cons but depending on your particular nursing program requirements, test score, and higher learning goals, you’ll be able to choose the one that best suits your needs. 

Before finalizing your decision, consider the following:

  • The admissions process
  • Student reviews
  • Nursing program
  • Prerequisite courses
  • Campus life
  • Scholarships offered
  • Location
  • Required SAT scores
  • Program outcomes
  • Ranking

Why Should You Care About Program Accreditation?

Any nursing school or community college receives accreditation only after meeting stringent guidelines. The accrediting body measures the school’s quality of teaching and whether the curriculum helps students acquire the necessary skills to work in nursing practice.

Some of the reasons why accreditation is crucial are as follows:

  • You are assured that your school or community college meets the desired quality standards.
  • Employers may prefer hiring nursing graduates from an accredited program.
  • While applying for licensure, your state licensing board may check whether you have obtained your degree from an accredited school.
  • Many schools and universities only consider credit transfers from accredited schools.
  • You cannot receive federal grants, loans, or other aid in an unaccredited school.

Licensure in Rhode Island

If you’re a new graduate looking to obtain your licensure, the process is pretty straightforward. Please note that this process is only valid if you want your primary licensure in Rhode Island and do not hold a license in any other state. You can read the licensure requirements for all other cases here.

Here are the steps you must follow:

  • Complete your course from an accredited school in Rhode Island.
  • Submit an online application and pay the required licensing fee ($135.00 for a Registered nurse and $45.00 for a Licensed Practical Nurse).
  • Select the method through which you’re applying (first-time applicants should select the ‘obtained by examination’ option) and submit the following documents:
  • Residency Proof (driver’s license, tax return, lease document, etc. stating your address in Rhode Island)
  • Official transcripts with graduation date(this document must be sent directly from the school to the Rhode Island Department of Health)

Once you apply for the NCLEX exam, the RI board approves your eligibility after receiving the prescribed documents. After receiving your eligibility, you must appear for the exam and pass it. Lastly, you must pass a background check with fingerprints.

The Rhode Island Department of Health then verifies your results and documents and issues a license.

Start Your Nursing Career with The New England Institute of Technology

The New England Institute of Technology is a regional leader in teaching employable competence among other Rhode Island nursing schools. Students can obtain employment as an RN after just 18 months. From there, they can earn their BSN while continuing to gain nursing experience.

Since clinical hours are a part of the program, students will be employment-ready immediately upon graduation. We also offer an Associate degree in nursing, RN to BSN program, and Master of Science in nursing.

Our program is Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration-approved and Nursing Education and accredited by Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).


Earn your degree in Nursing from NEIT and begin your new career path today!




Each student undergoes quality clinical and laboratory experiences that complement classroom learning and ensure that graduates are ready to work in hospitals, healthcare clinics, and outpatient facilities.


How Do I Become an RN in RI?

After completing a high-school diploma/GED, individuals looking to become an RN in Rhode Island must complete a formal nursing course from a recognized institution.  After completing their associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, students can apply for the NCLEX-RN exam. Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is a mandatory requirement to apply for the RN license in Rhode Island.

How Much Do New Nurses Make in RI?

The mean annual wages for Rhode Island RNs is $82,790, with the lowest-earning nurses making an average of $59,460 per year.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Nurse?

You can enroll in either a certificate program or an associate’s degree to become a nurse. A certificate program requires about 12 months of learning, followed by the licensure requirement period. An associate of science in nursing typically takes about 18 months, plus the licensing duration. You can become a certified nursing assistant with a certificate program, while an associate’s or bachelor’s in nursing can help you become a registered nurse.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Online nursing courses help working professionals and second-degree students advance their nursing education without attending on-campus lectures. However, most programs require completing a fixed number of clinical hours. Some schools will allow you to meet your practicum requirements at a clinic or a hospital near your location.

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