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Top Nursing Schools in Idaho for 2024: Online & Campus

Idaho’s growing need for registered nurses makes nursing an ideal career choice. Explore some of the best nursing schools in Idaho, what they require, what they cost, and the post-graduation opportunities.

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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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About the ranking

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Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

Two: Assign Weighting

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Student/Faculty Ratio

About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

# School Name Type Tuition Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Idaho State UniversityPocatello, ID Public $ 2

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.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing Education

  • Credits: 43
  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Cost: $480.87
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: CCNE
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
Online
Student %
59%

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

ADN Programs

For students seeking the quickest, most affordable route to licensure, associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs are a practical choice. These programs are designed to provide evidence-based education with a more hands-on learning approach.

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with this Program

North Idaho College

College of Western Idaho

Traditional BSN Programs

In Idaho, 71% of registered nurses hold a BSN or higher degree in nursing—much higher than the national average of 57%. Traditional BSN programs typically take four years to complete and result in higher wages as well as more advancement opportunities. Research shows that facilities with nurses holding BSNs have better patient outcomes and lower mortality rates than those with less education.

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with this Program

Brigham Young University-Idaho

Idaho State University

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs are designed for those looking to make a career change to nursing but who already have a bachelor’s degree. These programs are rigorous but can be completed in a year or less, allowing individuals to enter the workforce quickly.

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with this Program

The College of Idaho

Idaho State University

Nursing Bridge Programs in Idaho for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) wishing to advance their education can apply for bridge programs to become RNs. Typically, to be eligible, these bridge programs require an unrestricted LPN license and a certain number of recent hours worked as an LPN. ADN and BSN degree options also are available in Idaho.

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with this Program

College of Eastern Idaho LPN to RN (ADN)

Lewis-Clark State College LPN to BSN

RN to BSN Programs

For those who are already licensed RNs but are looking to advance their education, consider one of Idaho’s RN to BSN programs. Key nursing organizations recommend an increase in BSN-prepared nurses; nurses are responding, as enrollment in BSN programs has increased

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with this Program

Lewis-Clark State College

Northwest Nazarene University

RN to MSN Programs

Nurses looking to pursue further education at the master’s level can choose from specialty areas such as leadership or education. RN to MSN programs are designed to accommodate working professionals and can typically be completed in two to three years. Students select from part-time or full-time nursing programs in Idaho to best fit their busy schedules.

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with this Program

Idaho State University

Northwest Nazarene University

Advanced Nursing Programs in Idaho

MSN Programs

MSN programs are primarily completed online for already-licensed nurses. For those looking to make a career change to nursing but who already have a bachelor’s degree, Eagle Gate College offers Idaho’s only direct-entry MSN program. Direct-entry MSN programs are built on a hybrid model so that students can obtain the necessary clinical hours to receive licensure.

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with This Program

Eagle Gate College Direct Entry MSN for those with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree

Idaho State University

DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

According to the AACN, DNP programs emphasize the translation of research into practice, leadership, and more advanced nursing practice. PhD in nursing programs are designed to better develop nurses into nurse scientists and scholars primarily involved in teaching and research.

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with This Program

Idaho State University

Boise State University

Postgraduate Certificates

Students with advanced degrees who want to expand their expertise and licensure can pursue postgraduate certificates. For example, Idaho State University offers a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) to Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) certificate program for already-licensed FNPs looking to specialize.

Examples of Idaho Nursing Schools with This Program

Idaho State University

Boise State University

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

New Jobs
(2020-2030)
Job Growth Rate
(2020-2030)
Average Annual Openings
(2020-2030)
Idaho3,05019.9%1,110
United States276,7009%194,500

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

10th Percentile50th Percentile
(Median)
90th Percentile
Idaho$59,640$75,560$98,030
Boise City, Idaho$60,550$77,030$98,380
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho$59,640$79,410$100,400
Idaho Falls, Idaho$48,320$62,390$91,730
Lewiston, Idaho$60,910$79,220$101,560
Pocatello, Idaho$57,740$71,630$89,550
Twin Falls, Idaho$60,550$76,160$98,030
United States$59,450$77,600$120,250

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.