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10 Best Colleges for a Degree in Nursing

written by: •edited by: Carly Stockwell•updated: 7/2/2014

Nursing is a popular choice for students who desire a practical and professional degree that will allow them to help people. A Bachelor’s in Nursing gives students broad training, while also providing exposure to a variety of specializations in the field.

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    Top 10 U.S. Colleges for a Bachelor's in Nursing While there are numerous specializations, nursing classes are rooted in the sciences. Biology, anatomy, psychology and behavioral sciences classes are complemented by business and humanities to provide the necessary skills to assist doctors and treat patients. Nurses are required in all areas of the medical field from hospitals and nursing homes to schools and the armed forces, leading to a demand for certified nurses. An aging population and recent trends towards healthy living has created a great need for nursing professionals in many different areas.

    Nursing programs focus on providing students with knowledge of the medical field and human health along with hands-on training. Students have the opportunity to gain real-life experience in hospitals and medical facilities through clinical rounds under the supervision of certified nurses and doctors. Many of the top 10 colleges for Nursing Majors are located in large cities, which provide unique opportunities for clinical practice. These colleges also have top professors with experience in the nursing field.

    Note: Rankings are provided by CollegeFactual.Com and will update periodically as new data becomes available.

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    1. Columbia University: New York, NY

    Founded in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest university in New York State. The School of Nursing has a strong history in providing students with a top education focused on clinical training and leadership. The world-class faculty teach core classes in physiology and the evolution and application of research with specialty classes, such as pharmacology, nursing practice with children and the Science of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the Community. The classes are supplemented with hands-on experience in various clinical sites. Columbia provides a combines BS/MS program, which is designed to prepare students to become leaders as Advanced Practice Nurses. This program allows for quick advancement in the field, leading to an average mid-career salary of $98,000

    2. Molloy College: Rockville Centre, NY

    Molloy College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1955. The nursing program at Molloy is one of the largest in the country, but offers small class sizes in state-of-the-art learning laboratories. Students take classes in biology, pathophysiology and psychology, while emphasizing respect and human compassion necessary through courses in fine arts, English and modern languages and philosophy. By sophomore year, students are introduced to clinical sites to advance their study through real-world training. Along with bachelor degree programs, Molloy offers undergraduate students accelerated dual degree programs, which give students experience in various settings, such as pediatrics, critical care and obstetrics to help determine a preferred specialty. A nursing degree from Molloy College not only prepares students for a career in nursing, but leads to an average mid-career salary of $98,000.

    3. Georgetown University: Washington, DC

    Georgetown University was established in 1789 and is the country’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university. The School of Nursing & Health Studies is home to four departments, the Department of Health Systems Administration, Department of Human Science, Department of International Health and Department of Nursing. The school works to provide both undergraduate and graduate students with an extensive education in nursing through science and humanities courses. Areas of study include environmental health, public health, clinical outcomes, nursing care, acupuncture and stress and forensics. The education provided by the established faculty leads to very high first-time pass rates on board examinations and an average mid-career salary of $102,000.

    4. University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, PA

    Located in a historic district, the University of Pennsylvania is well-known for its excellent programs, including those in the School of Nursing. Students in this school are afforded the opportunity to work with top professors both in the classroom and through clinical work. Penn Nursing provides students with the unique resources, such as the state-of-the-art simulation center, one of the first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly practices and clinical opportunities with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, two top-ranked hospitals. Along with advanced degree offerings, Penn Nursing is the only Ivy League school to offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing. This prestigious degree leads to successful nursing careers with an average mid-career salary of $87,000.

    5. Adelphi University: Garden City, NY

    The Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health confers undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees that help prepare students with the ability to provide care and manage future health concerns. Students are given a diverse education that combines critical thinking with professional development. Graduates of Adelphi University hold positions in health-promotion, long-term care, management and other specialties. Students receive advanced technical and clinical training leading to meaningful jobs with an average mid-career salary of $89,000.

    6. New York University: New York, NY

    New York University is located in New York City, giving students of the NYU College of Nursing students the opportunity to gain real-world experience and some of the best clinical locations under the supervision of top medical professionals. Along with taking classes rooted in sciences, students work in the health care environment receiving technical training. The combination of class work and on-site learning prepares students for the many challenges they may face in the nursing profession. Additionally, NYU College of Nursing students have the opportunity to study abroad through portal campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai or at one of the ten international academic centers in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Whether you choose the traditional four-year undergraduate education or the accelerated 15-month program, the education from NYU will prepare you to assist doctor and treat patients, earning an average mid-career salary of $84,000.

    7. University of California-Los Angeles: Los Angeles, CA

    The UCLA School of Nursing is known for its excellent education provided by a faculty of leaders in the medical field. The four-year program allows students to focus on managing both individual and population-based medical issues through classroom learning and clinical training. Completion of the B.S. degree in Nursing prepares students for the National Council Licensing Examination or continuation to the master’s or doctoral degrees at UCLA. A Nursing degree from UCLA leads to positions in various hospitals, clinics and medical facilities, with the mid-career salary averaging $86,000.

    8. Fairfield University: Fairfield, CT

    Founded in 1942, Fairfield University is a liberal arts university rooted in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. The School of Nursing offers established programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The B.S. programs equip students with skills and ethics to prepare them for the medical field. Students are taught in small class sizes using the latest medical technology to provide a strong theory-based knowledge. Nursing students at Fairfield increase clinical experience over the course of the program, allowing for hands-on training. Graduates of Fairfield find numerous employment opportunities within the field and earn an average starting salary of $62,000 and mid-career salary of $83,000.

    9. Mount St Mary’s College: Los Angeles, CA

    Mount St Mary’s College is a women’s college focusing mostly on a strong undergraduate education. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a three-year program based on the Roy Adaptation Model. Students learn to blend biology, psychology, sociology and spirituality while treating patients. Along with classroom learning, students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience by working clinical rounds at Los Angeles area hospitals. This program leads to strong careers in nursing, with an average mid-career salary of $86,000.

    10. George Washington University: Washington, DC

    The George Washington University School of Nursing is a top school due to its quality education and leadership in the field. Students have the opportunity to partake in the 15-month bachelor’s program focused on behavioral sciences, the humanities and nursing theory to learn how to critically analyze and treat medical issues. The program teaches students in a multicultural setting to better promote health in diverse communities. The school also offers graduate and doctoral degree programs in Nursing. The average mid-career salary of a GW nursing graduate is $92,000.