Nurses are in high demand all across the country. Nationwide, job growth for registered nurses is expected to average 9% over the next 10 years. In Idaho, it’s projected to be more than double that national average.
Like many other states, Idaho faces challenges in the next few years to supply enough nurses to meet the demand. With such promising growth in this career field, no doubt pursuing a degree in nursing will lead to a full and rewarding career. Idaho offers many options when it comes to choosing a nursing program that will fit your needs. This guide aims to provide insight into some of Idaho’s best nursing programs, including requirements, costs, and what you can expect following graduation. Let’s explore this degree pathway and shed some light on a few of Idaho’s best nursing programs.
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|Idaho State UniversityPocatello, ID
Idaho State University makes earning your MSN in Nursing Education possible by offering both full-time and part-time study options completely online. The program requires the completion of 43 credit hours and 336 lab/practicum hours in varied settings. The full-time study option can be completed in two years, and the part-time option can be completed in three. Students will work closely with their faculty advisor to create a program of study (POS) that they will then follow through the duration of the program.
Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing Education
Popular Nursing Schools in Idaho
From implementing nontraditional clinical hours to loan repayment programs for newly graduated RNs choosing to work in rural Idaho, it’s clear that Idaho nursing programs are working diligently to tackle the nursing shortage. Explore some of the most popular nursing programs in the state to get you the credentials to begin or advance your Idaho nursing career. Below are two programs to continue your school search.
Lewis-Clark State College
Nestled in Lewiston, Idaho, Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) offers four pathways to help students become bachelor’s-prepared registered nurses. With an initial NCLEX pass rate of 94.9%—one of the highest in the state—LCSC undoubtedly sets its students up for success. The school offers a low student-to-teacher ratio and an advanced simulation lab for nursing students to help them develop skills and prepare for their new careers. LCSC’s nursing program has received national accolades for being one of the best regarding tuition and easy access to financial aid, placement services, and career services. Combine all this with affordable in-state tuition, and you’ll see how LCSC ends up on the shortlist of schools to consider. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited the program.
Boise State University
Boise State University is one of the largest schools in Idaho, with more than 22,000 students. The campus is situated in an urban setting with many nearby amenities. Boise State’s School of Nursing is dedicated to increasing the number of nurses it graduates by expanding its nursing school faculty and using nontraditional clinical hours to engage more students. The school boasts an incredibly low undergraduate student-to-teacher ratio of 8:1, features a state-of-the-art simulation lab, and has a 12-bed practice lab with adult and pediatric mannequins. Boise State offers a traditional BSN, an RN to BSN online program, an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Leadership, and a hybrid Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner degree. Boise State’s nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE.
Types of Nursing Programs Available in Idaho
Idaho offers a variety of nursing programs for students at different points in their nursing education and career. Anything from traditional to online or hybrid options is available. Here are some of the most common options.
Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Idaho
Nursing Bridge Programs in Idaho for Current Nurses
Advanced Nursing Programs in Idaho
From Classroom to Computer: Idaho Online RN
Online options for nursing students depend on the level of education being sought. Students who do not currently have RN licensure and have not yet taken the NCLEX-RN will not be eligible for 100% online programs. Minimum requirements for clinical hours and simulation labs are necessary to develop skills for clinical practice as an RN and to be eligible for the NCLEX-RN. Clinical hours are arranged by the school for undergraduate students and completed in a variety of inpatient and outpatient healthcare settings. RN-BSN bridge programs, as well as programs for those seeking an MSN or DNP, may include hybrid or online options depending on their specialty and background.
Northwest Nazarene University
While Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) offers a traditional BSN program, it also offers RN-BSN, MSN, and MSN-FNP options all online. Though it is a private university, NNU prides itself on making a wide range of scholarships and financial aid options available to lower overall tuition. In fact, 39% of NNU students graduate with no student debt at all. Nursing students at NNU have the opportunity to participate in an active chapter of the Student Nursing Association as well as annual international medical mission trip opportunities to places like Nicaragua, Ukraine, Peru, and Ghana. NNU also has an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 88.4%, well above the national average. This is an excellent option for nurses looking for a flexible and well-rounded online nursing program in Idaho.
Lewis-Clark State College
LCSC offers an online RN-BSN as well as a hybrid LPN-BSN program. Nurses interested in obtaining a certificate in Nursing Management & Leadership can do so online at the bachelor’s or master’s level. This online nursing program in Idaho offers affordable tuition rates, as well as educational support and resources to ensure student success. The NCLEX-RN pass rate of 95% is among the highest in the state, which LCSC credits to its low student-to-faculty ratios and state-of-the-art simulation lab. LCSC is a small public school, making it ideal for students who benefit from a more personal experience or are looking for additional support as they work through school.
College of Southern Idaho
The College of Southern Idaho (CSI) is located in Twin Falls, Idaho. It offers an affordable hybrid nursing program for Idaho students interested in obtaining an Associate of Science in Nursing. Courses are delivered as a mix of face-to-face and hybrid, with clinical hours and simulation lab requirements completed in person in off-campus healthcare settings. Admissions are accepted twice per year, with programs beginning in the spring and fall. CSI aims to provide a welcoming environment for all students and deliver a curriculum that fosters learning opportunities to promote critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and clinical judgment. The program is designed to prepare graduates for entry-level practice as RNs.
Affording Your Nursing Degree: Financial Aid Options in Idaho
Many scholarships are available for Idaho nursing students looking to offset the cost of tuition. Scholarship requirements vary, so read the full description before completing the application. As part of Idaho’s commitment to increasing access to healthcare in rural areas, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare offers information on loan repayment and grants to healthcare professionals opting to work in an underserved area. The Idaho Community Foundation offers a breakdown of scholarships based on region and manages more than 50 different scholarship funds. As you investigate your options, include our nursing scholarship guide and main financial aid guide in your research.
How to Become an RN in Idaho: Licensing Information and Requirements
The Idaho Board of Nursing (IBN) dictates practice requirements and oversees licensure for nurses in the state of Idaho. Once students have completed coursework and required clinical hours to take the NCLEX, they will need to create an online account and sign up with the IBN. This is also where users pay renewal fees and submit any concerns or questions regarding licensure. Look at the steps required to become a licensed nurse in Idaho.
Step #1: Choose Your Nursing Path
There are currently four routes available in Idaho to become a licensed nurse. You can choose to become an LPN by completing a one-year diploma program. You can also opt to go straight to becoming an RN by completing either a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree. For those who already have a bachelor’s in a non-nursing field, a direct-entry master’s is an option as well.
Step #2: Complete Prerequisite Courses
Students planning to pursue an ADN or BSN will need to take a core set of courses focusing on health sciences. Some schools require a certain GPA as well. Many nursing schools in Idaho and elsewhere now require the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) test as part of the admission process. Check with the nursing school where you’re planning to apply to find out their TEAS requirements as well as any other prerequisites unique to the institution.
Step #3: Select a Nursing School
While it’s beneficial to have a nursing school picked out in advance of completing prerequisites, many programs have very similar requirements. Select a nursing school in Idaho that aligns best with your educational needs and the prerequisites you’ve completed. Nursing schools are known for their competitiveness, so applying to more than one is not uncommon and increases your likelihood of acceptance.
Step #4: Complete Your Program
Depending on the route and program you choose, course completion looks different. ADN programs focus on hands-on learning and immersion in clinical practice. BSN programs go more in-depth and require more academic preparation in addition to clinical requirements.
Step #5: Take the NCLEX
Once all clinical and academic requirements have been met, you will need to sign up to take the NCLEX. First, request official transcripts from your nursing program be sent to the IBN and pay the $118.25 fee for initial licensure. Once the IBN has confirmed transcripts, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX.
Step #6: Keeping License Current & Continuing Education Requirements
Idaho takes part in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), meaning that Idaho nurses are able to practice in any of the 39 other NLC states without obtaining additional licenses. Idaho RN licenses expire in odd-numbered years and must be renewed by Aug. 31 of that year to remain active. Idaho requires all LPNs and RNs to have a minimum of 15 continuing education hours every two years for renewal. Currently, the renewal fee is $90.
Nursing Opportunities: RN Job Outlook in Idaho
BSN-prepared nurses can expect a hot job market because of Idaho’s growing and aging population. Popular metro areas are home to the state’s largest health systems and offer incentives, bonuses, and nurse residency training programs to help attract nurses. Rural areas are also in need and offer loan repayment programs and sometimes relocation assistance. Idaho has seen an influx of people migrating to the state in recent years, particularly people of retirement age, driving further demand for healthcare services. Idaho exceeds the national average for RN job growth, and according to the Idaho Department of Labor, RNs are the most in-demand occupation in the state.
Employment Projections for RNs in Idaho
Source: Projections Central
RN Pay Scale in Idaho: How Much You Could Earn
Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the country due to its beautiful geography and affordability compared with other northwest states such as Washington and Oregon. However, because Idaho is a bit more affordable, RN wages are slightly lower than the coastal states but still on par with national averages. Regional pay differences in the state are attributed to the cost of living, demand, and availability of employment.
Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Idaho
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
Idaho Nursing Resources
Pursuing a nursing degree in the beautiful state of Idaho can result in a rewarding and in-demand career. Consider some additional resources as you pursue more information about all that nursing programs in Idaho offer.