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Nursing Schools In Rhode Island

Last Updated on May 28, 2021 by

Does it interest you to know more about the Nursing schools in Rhode Island? This article examines various scholarships and professional development opportunities available to foreign students seeking specialized education in a particular field.

There is more information about rhode island college nursing, rhode island colleges, ric nursing program acceptance rate, university of rhode island nursing acceptance rate and uri nursing program ranking on Collegelearners.

Top Rhode Island Nursing Schools and Programs

March 19, 2021 | Staff Writers

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

In this guide, readers can explore four types of nursing programs, including opportunities for registered nurses (RNs), certified nurse assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs). Online nursing programs feature the same core concepts and instructors as on-campus opportunities with differences in program delivery and flexibility.

Students interested in online nursing programs can refer to this guide to explore common coursework, information about nursing licensure, salary and employment data, and resources for nurses in Rhode Island.

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Rhode Island?

Students have many online nursing degree programs to consider across the United States. In Rhode Island, aspiring professionals can pursue online nursing degrees with a clear pathway to successful careers after graduation. Rhode Island features high salary opportunities for nurses across disciplines, along with high employment levels. During their curriculum, learners focus on cultivating the skills and knowledge needed to transition into the field seamlessly after graduation.

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How to Become a Nurse in Rhode Island

Across the many types of nursing, aspiring nurses follow the same basic process to achieve their professional goals, beginning with education or training. Many candidates earn an online nursing degree, which combines hands-on study with convenient, web-based coursework. Graduates then go on to pursue state licensure. All prospective nurses must pass the NCLEX before they can work with patients.

  • 1. Choose the Path That’s Right for YouLPNs are qualified to work in the state after one year of training. However, nursing is like most other occupations — with better education comes more job opportunities and increased pay. All nurses fall into either the “practical” or “professional” categories, depending on whether or not they hold a degree.Students who enroll in an online nursing school Rhode Island earn credentials from basic certifications to master’s and doctoral degrees. Many LPNs work in nursing homes, while nurses who graduate from online RN-to-BSN programs in Rhode Island staff ERs and maternity wards. Online nursing degree-holders with a master of science in nursing (MSN) often teach, or earn a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and work as primary care providers.
  • 2. Earn Your Nursing DegreeAfter choosing an educational path, students should select a program. Whether you are seeking an online bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program in Rhode Island or want to pursue a master’s degree, educational opportunities abound. Before selecting a school, be sure to check program prerequisites and ensure that you meet all admission guidelines.Many online nursing programs in Rhode Island require each candidate to hold a relevant degree, an unrestricted nursing license, and complete at least one statistics course. Other points to consider include program length, school location, and internship or practicum requirements. Some online nursing degrees allow distance learners to complete hands-on coursework at local healthcare facilities, while others assign specific medical institutions.
  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your LicenseOnce you earn a degree from an online nursing program in Rhode Island, you must pass the NCLEX to enter the workforce. Some nursing curricula closely adhere to standardized exam material, while others combine concepts featured on the test with coursework stressing decision-making and critical thinking. Before sitting for the exam, applicants must provide proof of attending a nursing school in Rhode Island and state residency. They must also submit to fingerprinting and a background check.When you apply to take the test, the state of Rhode Island determines your eligibility based upon your submitted information. Every aspiring nurse must spend a significant amount of time studying for the exam, and many students at nursing schools in Rhode Island take at least two months to prepare for the NCLEX. The test takes about five hours, which includes a computer-based segment and two 10-minute breaks.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in Rhode Island

Across the nursing field, most occupations require a candidate to hold an associate degree at minimum. Earning a nursing degree can provide graduates with more opportunities and higher earning potential in the field.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Rhode Island?

Degree-seekers encounter different course topics depending on the school and nursing degree. Some of the most common undergraduate nursing courses are listed below.

Nursing of Children and Families

During this course, degree-seekers learn how to provide quality nursing care for children, families, the community, and the individual. The course explores health promotion and growth and development.

Fundamentals of Nursing Practice

In this course, learners focus on building the essential skills needed for successful nursing practice, emphasizing skills in cognition. During the course, enrollees explore clinical and simulated elements.

Contemporary Professional Nursing

Degree-seekers enrolled in this course focus on the major topics related to nursing professional development, emphasizing management and leadership, factors that facilitate professional achievements, and issues in contemporary nursing.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Students pursuing online nursing programs in Rhode Island can take advantage of flexible program formats that enable them to continue working while earning their degrees. Nursing programs feature online formats across associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, along with online RN-to-BSN programs.

Online programs typically feature fully online course components with clinical aspects completed at an approved location near the student. Program length depends on the degree, but online students usually complete their requirements in the same amount of time as on-campus enrollees. Some colleges and universities might offer online learners the chance to pursue accelerated programs.

Program length depends on the degree, but online students usually complete their requirements in the same amount of time as on-campus enrollees.

Across colleges and universities, online nursing programs feature the same rigorous curriculum as on-campus opportunities, along with the same experienced instructors. Graduates of online nursing programs hold the same quality of education as on-campus graduates.

Nursing Licensure in Rhode Island

Students interested in nursing can consider many opportunities, focusing on different levels of care and exploring different patient populations. In Rhode Island, nurses must meet different licensing requirements depending on the type of nursing they pursue.

The Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education regulates licensing opportunities in the state to ensure that all licensed nurses practice at the same high quality of healthcare. NPs in Rhode Island experience full-practice environments, with state practice and licensure laws allowing them to evaluate and diagnose patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications and controlled substances.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

Graduates of nursing programs must meet different licensing requirements, depending on the level of practice and type of nursing. Readers can explore the requirements and how they vary depending on the discipline in the table below.Collapse All Expand All


Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Rhode Island FAQ

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Rhode Island Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

While salary and job growth information depend on many factors, nurses and aspiring professionals can review the data below to better understand average salary amounts for different types of nurses in Rhode Island, along with figures for nearby states and the country.

Salary opportunities differ depending on the specific type of nursing and amount of experience. In Rhode Island, nurses across disciplines and levels can earn high salaries, including the highest salary opportunities in the nation for LPNs.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Rhode Island, by Type

Certified Nurse Assistant$24,1107.2%
Licensed Practical Nurse$38,2307.3%
Registered Nurse$59,47012.9%
Nurse Practitioner$95,97030.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Projections Central

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Rhode Island, by Type

Certified Nurse Assistant$31,3405.0%
Licensed Practical Nurse$59,1301.0%
Registered Nurse$78,4206.8%
Nurse Practitioner$109,29017.3%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Projections Central

Certified Nurse Assistant

CNAs working in Rhode Island earned annual mean wages slightly higher than the U.S. figures for the occupation in 2018, with Rhode Island CNAs taking home $31,340 and U.S. annual mean wages for CNAs at $29,580. CNAs in Rhode Island earned annual mean wages slightly beneath the nearby states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, which both count annual mean wage amounts of around $33,000 for the occupation.

Licensed Practical Nurse

In Rhode Island, LPNs earn higher annual mean wages than nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut. With mean annual wages of $59,130 for the occupation, LPNs in Rhode Island took home more than $10,000 more than the U.S. average for LPNs. LPNs in Rhode Island earn the highest salary amounts in the nation, followed by Massachusetts and Alaska. LPNs can explore opportunities in the junior college industry if they want to work in the top-paying industry for the profession.

Registered Nurse

With annual mean wages nearly $3,000 higher than the mean U.S. figures for the occupation, RNs in Rhode Island still earned slightly less than in nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut. RNs seeking opportunities in the highest paying industry for the occupation should consider the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry. General medical and surgical hospitals boast the highest employment levels for RNs.

Nurse Practitioner

In Rhode Island, NPs earned annual mean wages ($109,290) just slightly beneath the U.S. figures ($110,030) in 2018. BLS data indicates a projected job growth for NPs in Rhode Island of 17.3% from 2018-2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations in the U.S. The personal care services industry features the highest paying job opportunities for NPs.

Nursing Resources for Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island State Nurses AssociationRISNA functions as a constituent member of the American Nurses Association to promote, protect, and advance the nursing profession across Rhode Island. Members can access continuing education courses and seek professional development opportunities.
  • Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Rhode IslandDedicated to promoting the NP profession, this organization provides education and exposure to the public, legislators, and other health professionals to improve environments professional NPs and students.
  • Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing EducationThe board provides opportunities for education and licensing opportunities in the nursing field, along with regulating the nursing profession in Rhode Island and ensuring all professionals practice at the highest quality.
  • Student Nurses’ Association of Rhode IslandThis association aims to promote students’ participation in nursing activities and help nursing students assume the specific responsibilities of RNs. SNARI provides members with access to programs that represent the nursing field in its most current state.
  • Rhode Island Certified School Nurse Teacher AssociationMembers of this nonprofit association enjoy access to support for the school nursing profession, participating in events and conferences to promote networking and professional development.

List of accredited nursing schools in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is home to several accredited nursing schools, including four campuses of the Community College of Rhode Island system. These schools offer a broad range of nursing programs, from brief certificate courses to bachelor’s, master’s, and even doctoral degrees. We profile below the three key nursing roles in Rhode Island: certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), and registered nurse (RN).

Certified nursing assistant
Nursing assistants provide basic quality-of-life care for sick, injured, elderly, and convalescent patients. Aspiring CNAs in Rhode Island must complete a course with 80 hours of classroom instruction and on-site clinical experience. They must also pass a state-administered competency exam. The median annual salary for a nursing assistant in Rhode Island is about $28,000.

FIND A SCHOOLLicensed practical nurse
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a significant increase in LPN demand over the coming decade. Rhode Island’s LPNs must possess a license issued by the state or another member of the Nurse Licensure Compact. Community College of Rhode Island offers an LPN prelicensure program at its Warwick, Lincoln, Providence, and Newport campuses. Prospective LPNs must also pass the NCLEX-PN national exam before practicing. Rhode Island’s LPNs earn just over $53,000 per year on average.

Registered nurse
RNs have three prelicensure pathways in Rhode Island: a two-year associate’s degree, a three-year hospital diploma, or a four-year bachelor’s degree. While the first two pathways are certainly sufficient for licensure, employers are increasingly preferencing nurses with baccalaureate education for senior roles and promotions. Prospective RNs must also pass the NCLEX-RN national exam before practicing. While compensation varies by level of education, Rhode Island’s median annual salary for an RN is about $74,000.

To help Rhode Island’s future nurses select the best education, we’ve compiled below a complete list of the state’s accredited nursing schools.


SchoolCityPrograms offered
Community College of Rhode Island – LincolnLincolnAssociate’s Degree in NursingCertificate in Practical Nursing
Community College of Rhode Island – ProvidenceProvidenceAssociate’s Degree in NursingCertificate in Practical Nursing
Rhode Island CollegeProvidenceAccelerated Second Degree BSNBachelor of Science in NursingDoctor of Nursing PracticeMSN: Nurse AnesthesiaMaster of Science in NursingRN-to-BSN Degree CompletionRN-to-MSN Degree Completion

Other Rhode Island cities

SchoolCityPrograms offered
Community College of Rhode IslandWarwickAssociate’s Degree in NursingCertificate in Practical Nursing
Community College of Rhode Island – NewportNewportAssociate’s Degree in NursingCertificate in Practical Nursing
New England Institute of TechnologyEast GreenwichAssociate’s Degree in NursingRN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Salve Regina UniversityNewportBachelor of Science in NursingDoctor of Nursing PracticePost-Baccalaureate DNPRN-to-BSN Degree Completion
University of Rhode IslandKingstonBachelor of Science in NursingDoctor of Nursing PracticeDoctor of Philosophy in NursingMaster of Science in NursingPost-Baccalaureate DNPRN-to-BSN Degree CompletionRN-to-MSN Degree Completion

Rhode Island RN Programs

Home / Rhode IslandUpdated/Verified: Nov 20, 2020 | Staff Writers

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Rhode Island is a small state, but the potential for employment as a registered nurse is larger than you might think. Jobs in the healthcare field, and especially for nurses, has grown exponentially in recent years. Pair this with the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median salary of $76,410 a year for registered nurses in the state, and you’ll see why registered nursing is an excellent career path.

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ADN Programs in Rhode Island

If you are looking to break into registered nursing, a good starting point is to consider an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). This program is roughly 2 years in length, making it relatively quick to complete. ADN programs are also widely accessible, as they are typically offered at community and technical colleges throughout the state.

There are a few schools in Rhode Island that offer ADN programs, so earning your associate’s degree is a viable option.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Rhode Island

You will want to take care in choosing your ADN program. It’s a good idea to check out your prospective school to make sure its nursing program is legit. The following are a few things to look for when comparing ADN programs:


You’ll want to ensure that the ADN program you choose is properly accredited, which basically means that an organization has thoroughly reviewed the curriculum and deemed it appropriate. Organizations like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and/or the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) are a few to look for when checking a school’s accreditations. You’ll also want to be sure that your program has been accredited by the Rhode Island Board of Nursing.


You become a registered nurse by receiving your license from the Rhode Island Board of Nursing after passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Therefore, you’ll want to be sure that your school is recognized by the nursing board and also that the curriculum preps you to take (and hopefully pass) the NCLEX. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that in 2015, 85.7% of new nurse grads that took the NCLEX in the state received their nursing license.

Program Outcomes

Many colleges will provide statistics and reports on how well their students do upon completing their nursing program. This should include things like:

  • Graduation rate
  • Licensure exam pass rate
  • Graduate satisfaction
  • Employment rate

The Community College of Rhode Island, located in Warwick, offers one of the state’s fully accredited ADN programs.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Rhode Island

While admission requirements vary, here are a few that you might come across when researching schools and programs in Rhode Island:

  • Submit any and all official transcripts
  • ACCUPLACER test scores of 90 or above for reading and 65 or above for math
  • HESI A2 test score of 75% or better in each section
  • Complete all pre-requisite courses

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Rhode Island

Many prospective students worry about paying for school. For an ADN program, you’ll have the expense of tuition. You’ll also have additional expenses including books and other extra fees, which may or may not be included in the cost of tuition. Your prospective school’s admissions department should be able to break down these costs for you so that you can figure out what you’ll need to budget for.

As an example, tuition and fees for the ADN program at the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI, will run you $27,000 per academic year.

Advantages of ADN Programs

Many prospective nurses decide to pursue an ADN due to the shorter length of the program. At 2 years, an ADN takes half the time of a traditional 4-year bachelor’s degree. Since ADN programs tend to be offered at junior colleges and/or technical schools, they are also often more accessible than 4-year programs, which are typically offered at larger universities.

BSN Programs in Rhode Island

For a slightly longer time commitment, a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) will offer plenty of rewards. This 4-year advanced degree is commonly offered at large universities and state schools, and BSN graduates will have the opportunity to land more prestigious jobs in the nursing field. This also means that BSN grads have a greater earning potential. Some schools also offer an RN to BSN program for those who already hold a nursing license.

There are approximately 4 schools in the state that offer a BSN degree.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Rhode Island

There are a few things to consider when looking into BSN programs. Aside from things like tuition cost, accreditation, location, and program outcomes, you’ll also have to decide what type of BSN program works for your situation. Want a traditional BSN? Need an RN to BSN program? You’ll want to fully vet any prospective schools to be sure that they offer a legitimate program that suits your unique needs.

The University of Rhode Island is one school in the state offering an accredited BSN program.

BSN Program Length in Rhode Island

A traditional BSN program will take you 4 years from start to finish. In some instances, a school will offer an accelerated BSN program, which is usually available to those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. If you are already a registered nurse, the RN to BSN program can take roughly 2 years to complete, depending on the types of courses you have previously taken.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Rhode Island

While it’s always recommended to inquire with any prospective school regarding their specific admission requirements, here are a few common ones to expect:

  • Completion of required pre-requisite courses with a minimum grade of C
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Pay all admission fees

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Rhode Island

Navigating tuition and fees can be one of the most stressful parts of starting a new academic program. You’ll have to budget for the school’s tuition, and this may or may not include required extras including textbooks, lab fees, and more. Room and board are also additional costs you’ll have to factor in if it applies to you.

To get an idea of costs, tuition for the BSN program at Rhode Island College is estimated at around $10,260 annually for in-state students.

Advantages of BSN Programs

BSN programs are ideal for students who want the traditional 4-year college experience, and who want to enter into more advanced nursing careers with the potential for greater salaries. It’s also great for those who already hold an ADN and want to further their careers. If options are what you want in a career, a BSN is a sure bet to a wide variety of nursing paths.

MSN Programs in Rhode Island

To advance your nursing career, even more, a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) is the next step. This advanced nursing degree can lead to jobs such as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse Midwife, and Nurse Practitioner, among others. Along with these high-level careers also comes top scale salaries.

There are a few schools in Rhode Island that offer MSN degrees.

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Get information on nursing programs by entering your zip code and requesting enrollment information. Sponsored AdFeatured MSN ProgramsSimmons University

These Programs Accept Rhode Island Residents1 Applicants: Bachelor’s Required2 Applicants: RN Required Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)Select ProgramOnline MSN – Family Nurse PractitionerOnline RN to MSN – Family Nurse PractitionerRequest InformationGeorgetown University

These Programs Accept Rhode Island Residents1 Applicants: BSN Required, U.S. Nationwide except NY, TN2 Applicants: BSN Required, U.S. Nationwide except NY, TN, UT, WA Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) & Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)Select ProgramOnline BSN to MSN – Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse PractitionerOnline BSN to MSN – Family Nurse PractitionerOnline BSN to MSN – Nurse Midwifery / Women’s Health Nurse PractitionerOnline BSN to MSN – Women’s Health Nurse PractitionerRequest InformationDuquesne University

This Program Accepts Rhode Island Residents Applicants: Nationwide except AL, AZ, LA, NY, TN, WA Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)Request InformationSponsored Ad

MSN Program Length in Rhode Island

An MSN program will last roughly 2-3 years, depending on the school and the type of class schedule you’re able to take. The good news is that many MSN programs are designed to work around the busy schedule of a working RN, so they typically offer flexibility. Check with your school of choice to see if they offer things like online or evening courses.

MSN Admission Requirements in Rhode Island

Admission requirements tend to vary from school to school, but you’ll generally find these:

  • Transcripts from all institutions previously attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Submission of MAT or GRE test results with a satisfactory score
  • 1-2 page statement of purpose

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Rhode Island

While MSN costs can vary depending on the school and program, you’ll need to account for tuition fees along with any extra mandatory costs. Some schools roll extra fees into the tuition cost and some don’t so be sure to do your research when comparing programs. As an example, the estimated tuition fees for the MSN program at the University of Rhode Island are approximately $11,796 per year for in-state, full-time students.

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Getting a Rhode Island Nursing License

Rhode Island regulations for candidates seeking to obtain licensure by examination or endorsement must provide specific criteria.

If looking to apply by examination, you must submit a completed application, as well as attach documentation that includes:

  • Proof of residency – a copy of driver’s license, tax return or lease
  • Official transcripts – sent via the school to the Board
  • Background check with fingerprints
  • Apply to complete NCLEX exam – future successful completion

If applying for licensure via endorsement you must include a paid application with the following paperwork:

  • Verification of licensure – by request or NURSYS
  • Background check with fingerprints
  • Proof of residency – a copy of driver’s license, tax return or lease

Learn more about RI RN license information at the State of Rhode Island – Department of Health.

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Rhode Island

Colleges in Rhode Island are offering accelerated programs to nursing candidates that are looking to fast track their careers. Most of these programs can be finished within 12 to 18 months, but require full-time commitments, as they are on campus and have required clinical hours. Certain courses are required to be taken prior to admittance into the programs, which will add a bit of time to the overall length. Tuition fees can vary because of the number of prerequisite courses needed and other various factors.

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Registered Nursing Programs in Rhode Island

Community College of Rhode Island400 East Ave, Warwick, RI 02886 (401) 825-2086Programs: Associate in
New England Institute of Technology1 New England Tech Boulevard, East Greenwich, RI 02818 (401) 467-7744Programs: Associate in
Rhode Island College600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908 (401) 456-8013Programs:
Salve Regina University100 Ochre Point Ave, Newport, RI 02840 (401) 341-3251Programs:
University of Rhode Island45 Upper College Rd, Kingston, RI 02881 (401) 874-7100Programs:

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The URI College of Nursing Offers You More

Here you’ll find the individual attention you’d get at a smaller university and the unique clinical experiences of a much larger institution. You’ll have opportunities for cross-discipline work with engineering, psychology, business, nutrition and more. And you’ll work with faculty who are as renowned for their research and innovation as they are for their excellence in primary care, community service, and workforce development.AboutLearn about our mission, values, and academic community.AcademicsFind the degree or certificate program that fits you.PeopleMeet our outstanding faculty of top nursing professionals.ResearchExplore the areas and topics in which we are leading research.

Why Nursing at URI?The URI College of Nursing is a dynamic institution dedicated to improving health and transforming health care through excellence in education, research, and professional practice. Students are educated by top professionals in the field, and have access to state-of-the-art technology in Providence and Kingston.SEE WHAT SETS US APART

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  • Gallery: URI College of Nursing 2021 CommencementDean Barbara Wolfe, joined by URI President David Dooley, Provost Donald DeHayes, and the faculty and staff of the College of Nursing, conferred degrees upon the graduating class of 2021 on May 21. It was the first in-person commencement ceremony in two years, after the COVID-19 pandemic derailed last year’s celebration. The university is tentatively […]

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Nursing Schools in Rhode Island

                     Jump to section…                                Find Nursing Programs         Top 10 Nursing Schools in Rhode Island4 Key Factors That Affect Nursing School TuitionRhode Island Nurse Salary and Job OutlookNext Steps:Important considerations when comparing schools: Getting a License in Rhode IslandConclusion              Find Nursing Programs         

Despite its small size, Rhode Island is home to many excellent colleges and universities, some of which offer accredited nursing degrees. Anyone who plans on becoming a registered nurse (RN) first needs to complete either an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

While an ADN takes just two years and prepares students to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and become RNs, earning a four-year BSN could be worth your while. Not only do BSN-holders earn more than ADN holders, but some healthcare facilities are beginning to only hire BSN-holding RNs

Regardless of which you choose, completing a program in Rhode Island prepares you to become an RN in the Ocean State.

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Current Degree Current Degree No Degree/License ADN (RN) BSN (RN) MSN (RN) Other Desired Degree Desired Degree Show Me Programs


This is a panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors including,

  • Reputation
  • NCLEX pass rate
  • Tuition
  • Acceptance rate, when available
  • Only ACEN or CCNE accredited schools are eligible 

Nurse Panel

Our selection panel includes 4 Registered Nurses with over 55 years of combined nursing experience and 7 nursing degrees.

  • Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS
  • Tyler Faust, MSN, RN
  • Kathleen Gaines, BSN, RN, BA, CBC
  • Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN

Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 Rhode Island nursing schools are ranked in no particular order. Note that because Rhode Island does not have 10 accredited nursing programs, some ranked schools offer online-only degrees. 

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Top 10 Nursing Schools in Rhode Island

1. University of Rhode Island 

Annual In-State Tuition: $15,004 | Annual Out-of-State Tuition:  $32,578 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.31%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Often ranked among the top research institutions in the region, the University of Rhode Island is home to nearly 18,000 students from across the world. Roughly half of URI’s students come from Rhode Island and take advantage of in-state tuition. Students interested in nursing have several options. First, there’s the traditional BSN, the flagship program for undergraduates. This four-year program has students study in Kingston and complete clinicals in the area. Current RNs without a BSN can also choose the RN-BSN, available on-campus and online. Finally, BSN holders looking for a graduate degree can complete a master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) at the Providence campus. 

2. Salve Regina University

Annual Tuition: $42,920 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 87.14%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Salve Regina University is known for its value and outcomes. According to the university, the recent graduating class saw 98% of graduates find a job or enroll in graduate school within six months of completing their bachelor’s degree. That’s good news for students completing Salve’s BSN program. While NCLEX pass rates aren’t the highest, students do gain valuable experience through clinicals and service-learning, including a chance to study abroad in Ireland. Other options include an online RN-BSN and multiple graduate programs. 

3. Rhode Island College

Annual In-State Tuition: $10,260 | Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $24,753 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.69%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: No

Founded in 1854, Rhode Island College is the oldest institution of higher education in the state. Today, the college teaches 9,000 students at its campus in the Mount Pleasant region of Providence. The main undergraduate nursing program, the traditional BSN, has students apply during their freshman year at RIC. The program takes four years to complete. Current RNs can enroll in the RN-BSN, and prospective nurses who already have a bachelor’s degree can enroll in the accelerated second degree BSN. Graduate students can choose an MSN, a DNP, or a certificate in either nursing care management or healthcare quality and patient safety. 

4. Community College of Rhode Island

Annual In-State Tuition: $4,700 | Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $12,544 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.2%

Traditional: Yes

Online: No

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Founded in 1964 with just 325 students, the Community College of Rhode Island now teaches 18,000 students — an incredible rate of growth in such a short time. As a community college, CCRI does not offer four-year degrees, so students cannot enroll in a BSN. However, CCRI does have an accredited ADN. In addition to a strong NCLEX pass rate, 97.5% of 2018 graduates found a position as an RN. Current licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can use the LPN-RN program to take a step forward in their nursing careers. Any graduates interested in a BSN can always enroll in an online RN-BSN program elsewhere. 

5. New England Institute of Technology

Annual Tuition: $30,000 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

The New England Institute of Technology is a regional leader in teaching employable skills. Prospective nurses who want to earn a BSN through NEIT should keep an open mind since the pathway is not traditional. First, students must complete the ADN, a six-term program that can be completed in as little as 18 months. NEIT doesn’t disclose NCLEX pass rates for the program, though it uses advanced statistics to show that students secure employment at a high rate. Next, students can enroll in NEIT’s online RN-BSN. While the program is far from conventional, students can always work as an RN after just 18 months, then earn their BSN while continuing to gain nursing experience. 

6. Aspen University

Annual Tuition: $10,550 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

Traditional: No

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Rhode Island is a small state, so there simply aren’t enough in-state schools that offer nursing degrees. Fortunately, schools like Aspen University offer online RN-BSN degrees to nurses across the nation. This fast program takes just 12 months to complete and uses eight-week courses. Aspen anticipates that some students will continue working as an RN while completing the program, so students can take courses whenever they have time. Other nursing options include various MSN specializations, RN-MSN degrees, and a DNP. While Aspen does have a traditional BSN program, it isn’t available in Rhode Island. 

7. Grand Canyon University

Annual Tuition: $16,500 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

Traditional: No

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Based primarily out of Phoenix, Arizona, Grand Canyon University is a private, Christian school that’s best known for its online programs. While students in Arizona can enroll in the on-campus traditional BSN, nurses in Rhode Island complete the online RN-BSN. After completing a BSN, Rhode Island RNs can then choose from the various graduate nursing options, including an MSN in nursing education. GCU also has several doctoral options and graduate certificates for nurses who want to advance their careers even further. 

8. Western Governors University

Annual Tuition: $6,450 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

Traditional: No

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Best known for its online programs, Western Governors University has locations across the nation. While WGU doesn’t have a location in Rhode Island, nurses can still enroll in its online degrees. The most popular option is the online RN-BSN, a low-cost program that most students complete in two years. To encourage students, WGU charges a lower tuition rate the faster you complete the program, so it’s in your best interest to work fast! RNs can also skip their BSN entirely and enroll in an online RN-MSN program, such as the RN-MSN in nursing education

9. Chamberlain University

Annual Tuition: $21,230 (based on per-credit tuition rate) | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

Traditional: No

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Created to empower current healthcare professionals, Chamberlain University offers a variety of online degrees that lead to higher-paying positions. Current RNs would be most interested in either the online RN-BSN or the online RN-MSN. Both options are quick ways to advance your career — for example, the RN-BSN takes just one year to complete. Of course, any applicants must first become RNs. Chamberlain does offer an accelerated three-year BSN, though Rhode Island students can’t take advantage of this unique program. 

10. Capella University

RN-BSN Program Cost: $9,600 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

Traditional: No

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

While Capella University does have a campus, about 30,000 of its 38,500 students choose to study online. Students looking for an online nursing degree have three main options: bachelor’smaster’s, and doctoral. As online programs, any applicants must have at least an RN license. However, current RNs can take advantage of Capella’s flexible degrees. The RN-BSN takes as little as nine months to complete, and students can begin MSN courses while wrapping up their RN-BSN. 

Show Me Rhode Island Nursing Programs

4 Key Factors That Affect Nursing School Tuition

Keep in mind that colleges and universities reserve the right to change tuition rates at any time. The yearly tuition rates listed here will vary for each student depending on various factors including,

  • Transfer credits
  • Completed competency exams
  • Amount of credits taken per year
  • Financial aid awards

Check with the specific school for current tuition rates.

Rhode Island Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

  • Rhode Island registered nurses earn a mean annual wage of $78,420.
  • Rhode Island employs 26.21 nurses per 1,000 workers, the fifth-highest rate in the nation. 

Rhode Island’s mean annual wage of $78,420 edges out the U.S. mean annual wage of $75,510. This salary also beats nearby New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. However, Rhode Island’s pay is lower than nearby Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. 

What’s great about Rhode Island is that it doesn’t sacrifice employment for higher nursing wages. While states like New York and Connecticut employ fewer nurses per capita than the national average, Rhode Island is among the highest per capita employers for registered nurses. 

While Rhode Island doesn’t have the largest selection of nursing schools, registered nurses in RI get to enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Next Steps:

Spend some time looking at potential Rhode Island schools to decide where you would be interested in learning. Once you’ve selected multiple schools, get in touch with different departments to learn more about the application and admissions process. 

Contact each school’s admissions office. The first step to becoming a nurse is getting into a college. Contact every school’s admissions office to learn more about the admissions process. They might include tips on how to boost your application’s quality!

Check to see if you meet the nursing school requirements. Getting into a college is the first step. Usually, nursing schools have a separate admissions process that’s even tougher than the college’s admissions process. Find out if you’re on track to meet the nursing school requirements. 

Submit your application(s). Once you’ve figured out everything you need to get into the college and nursing program, the final step is to gather your materials and apply! Things you’ll likely need to submit include:

  • High school transcript (GPA)
  • ACT and/or SAT scores
  • College entrance essay(s)
  • Letter(s) of recommendation

Show Me Rhode Island Nursing Programs

Important considerations when comparing schools: 

After getting accepted to multiple schools, picking where you want to attend is a tough decision. While big factors such as cost, distance from home, and school reputation should be considered, you might be overlooking other details. Here are some things to consider when comparing schools:

  • Total program cost, including in-state or out-of-state tuition and fees
  • Private vs. Public 
  • Distance from home
  • Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered
  • Cost of living on-campus or in the area
  • School and nursing program acceptance rate
  • Commute to school/hospital for clinicals
  • Program length
  • Program type (on-campus, online, hybrid)
  • Program outcomes (NCLEX pass rate and job placement)
  • Accreditation (regional and programmatic)

Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation  

Accrediting bodies are in charge of evaluating academic quality. Make sure that any college or university you apply to in Rhode Island is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition, only apply to nursing programs that have programmatic accreditation. 

The two nursing accreditation organizations to look for are

If you earn a degree from an unaccredited school, you may have trouble securing federal financial aid and finding work as a nurse after graduation. 

Getting a License in Rhode Island

Fortunately for aspiring nurses, Rhode Island has a relatively simple path to becoming a nurse. All requirements are available online, and new nurses will apply for licensure by examination. Here are the steps to earning an RN license in Rhode Island.

  • Study at an accredited and approved nursing school in Rhode Island
  • Submit proof of Rhode Island Residency
  • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
  • Pass a background check with fingerprints
  • Apply through the State of Rhode Island Department of Health.


Rhode Island may not have the most nursing programs to choose from, but students who graduate and become RNs enjoy above-average wages and one of the highest employment rates for nurses in the nation. The colleges that do offer nursing programs are excellent, so students do still have some options. After earning an ADN or BSN, nurses submit their information, pass the NCLEX, and earn a license to work in Rhode Island as a registered nurse!

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