A nursing student (Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash)

When choosing a career path, there are a lot of factors to consider to be sure you’re choosing the right field. Among those factors are personal fulfillment (does this add to my quality of life?) and job security (will I be able to land a job after school?). A career field that checks these boxes is healthcare. Before you start your search for the best nursing schools, let’s take a look at the job field.

Nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession with about 4.2 million registered nurses (RNs), with 84.1 percent being employed in the nursing industry, and this popular career field is growing. Nurses makeup the largest component of the health workforce and act as the primary providers of hospital patient care — and it doesn’t stop there. The federal government anticipates that more than 203,000 new RN positions will be developed each year from 2021-2031 (American Association of Colleges of Nursing).

As a healthcare professional in the making, you have to know what you’re getting yourself into and how to best prepare yourself for that. A new study finds that doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff members face a tremendous level of pressure while on the job, and many would benefit from better training on how to help themselves in addition to the patients. That being said, the job is highly rewarding as well.

Going to a great nursing school ensures you are trained and emotionally ready for a job in the field. If nursing is on your list for potential careers, you want to make sure you’re getting the best education to enter the workforce knowledgeable, confident, and ready to work. StudyFinds has put together a list of the best nursing schools by doing the research for you and consulting 10 expert opinions. Have your own input? Be sure to leave a comment below. 

The List: Best Nursing Schools, According to Experts

1. University of Pennsylvania

Both U.S. News and World Report and Niche rank the University of Pennsylvania as number one. “Penn Nursing’s MSN degree is consistently ranked one of the top programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. So too are five of its nurse practitioner specialty tracks in their respective categories,” according to Nursing Schools Almanac

Students are also able to get quality experience in the program. “Penn Nursing provides an Ivy League education that includes rigorous clinical opportunities at leading hospitals, access to a state-of-the-art simulation center, student research opportunities, and classrooms equipped with the latest medical records technology,” says, which also reiterates the school’s number one ranking.

2. Duke University

Niche has Duke University listed as number two for the second-best school for nursing in America out of 762 options — meaning this is a very high ranking. “It is an institution with an enrollment of over 1,748 bachelor’s degree candidates. The admission criteria is somewhat competitive with the acceptance rate of 9%,” says Prepler.

“Recognized as one of the best research schools in the world, Duke University offers some of the top nursing programs. The School of Nursing at Duke only offers only one degree choice for undergraduate nurses: an accelerated BSN,” says

College Factual also notes that “Nursing degree recipients from Duke University receive an earnings boost of about $30,582 above the typical income of nursing majors,” giving the school another advantage.

3. Emory University

Atlanta’s Emory University is known for one of the best healthcare systems with a prestigious bachelor’s program and many graduate programs. “The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing has a robust nursing program that allows its students to practice their skills in some of the best hospitals in the country,” says Quad Education.

“With a 13% acceptance rate and 83% four-year graduation rate, Emory’s BSN program has a reputation score of 4.4. Emory also ranks at No. 22 for best national university, No. 6 for best Doctor of Nursing Practice program and No. 2 for best master’s degree in nursing,” according to U.S. News and World Report.

According to College Factual, “There were about 571 nursing students who graduated with this degree at Emory in the most recent year we have data available. Nursing degree recipients from Emory University earn a boost of around $30,078 above the average income of nursing graduates.”

4. Georgetown University

Described as, “Truly one of the best undergraduate experiences out there,” by a review on, the school is also high-ranking in the nursing field.

“The BSN uses direct entry, meaning current high school students find out if they’ve been accepted into the BSN program before enrolling at Georgetown. By graduation, BSN students will have earned over 882 hours of clinical experience at locations across Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area. Georgetown also offers an honors program for BSN students,” write

According to Prepler, “It is an institution with an enrollment of over 1,597 bachelor’s degree candidates. The admission criteria is somewhat competitive with the acceptance rate of 15%.” Looking to expand your knowledge after the undergraduate program? Georgetown has plenty of options like the nurse-midwifery/women’s health nurse practitioner MSN.

5. Johns Hopkins University

While this school doesn’t have an undergraduate nursing program, the graduate program is top-ranking. “The admission criteria is somewhat competitive with the acceptance rate of 12%.,” writes Prepler.

Known for the heavy amounts of research, it’s noted as one of the best research universities in the world. “After completing the MSN and getting some professional experience in clinical settings, many nurses continue on to earn a DNP at John Hopkins. The university has 13 different DNP options, each of which leads to a specific career outcome,” says

“The Nursing programs at John Hopkins University are designed to fit the needs of a diverse student population,” says Yocket, which is another reason why it is great for accommodating graduate students.

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About Michaela Leung

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