Best Nursing Schools in Indiana: Top Online & Campus Programs

Explore programs from the best nursing schools in Indiana and find other key information on becoming an RN or advanced nurse.

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Timon Kaple

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Timon Kaple, Ph.D., is a full-time writer and researcher. His work focuses on sociolinguistics, small-group folklore, the anthropology of sound, higher education, and student support services. He has experience as an ethnographer and enjoys conducting fieldwork and archival research.

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Good nurses make all the difference in healthcare. Not only do they provide some of the most valuable services, but patient care would be virtually impossible without them. If you want to have this type of impact and live in Indiana, there are plenty of accredited nursing schools that can give you the training you need. This is true whether you’re just starting out in your RN career or are currently licensed and looking to move up the nursing ladder.

This guide offers you a look at the best nursing schools Indiana has to offer and will help you find the online or campus program that best meets your education and career goals. You’ll also learn about nursing salaries across the state and financial aid opportunities that can help lower the cost of nursing school.

2022’s Best-in-Class Nursing Schools in Indiana

Our best-in-class profiles give you a detailed yet quick look at some of the top nursing schools in Indiana. These accredited nursing programs were selected for the quality of education they provide along with their affordability and available student support services. We also considered NCLEX-RN exam pass rates to help you find the best nursing program for you. See who stands out in 2022.

Indiana University-Bloomington

Indiana University hosts one of the top nursing programs in the state. Undergraduates have a variety of online and in-person options, including an entirely online 120-credit RN-to-BSN track. There’s also a traditional BSN program for those without a bachelor’s degree and an accelerated track for individuals with bachelor’s degrees in other fields. An online master’s in nursing program is also available.

IU gives out over $700,000 in nursing scholarships yearly and has a 100% job placement rate for graduates. In addition, 97% of BSN graduates pass their NCLEX licensing exams on their first attempts. IU nursing students also have access to the university’s extensive clinical practice network that includes several area hospitals and research facilities. Note that while classes may be online, most clinical practice experience is in person.

University of St. Francis

A Catholic institution in Fort Wayne, Indiana, St. Francis nursing students choose from several undergraduate degrees in nursing, including ASN, BSN, DNP, LPN-to-ASN, and MSN programs. As one of the best nursing schools in Indiana, St. Francis helps students develop the necessary skills to coordinate patient care in diverse healthcare settings and prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam. Its 70-credit LPN-to-ASN program allows students to enroll full or part-time at the Fort Wayne or Crown Point campuses. Students often earn transfer credits for previous education, which sometimes allows for program completion in as few as three semesters. St. Francis’ ASN graduates also have a 93.3% career placement rate within six months. The school offers standout clinical experiences, including hands-on training in the Franciscan Health System Hospitals and Saint Catherine Community Health Systems.

Bethel University

Located in Mishawaka, Bethel is a Christian university with flexible in-person and online nursing degree programs. As one of the best nursing schools in Indiana, Bethel offers ADN, BSN, BSN-completion, and MSN degrees. Students can also complete the RN-to-BSN or MSN entirely online. Bethel’s 66-credit-hour ADN program includes 37 credits of nursing classes and 29 credits of general education. In most cases, full-time students finish the program in two years. While the traditional BSN takes four years to complete, its RN-to-BSN follows 20-month or 12-month tracks in hybrid or fully online formats. In 2018, ADN and BSN students at Bethel had 100% and 95% NCLEX-RN pass rates respectively. Graduates from both programs also reported a 100% job placement rate.

Types of Nursing Programs Offered in Indiana

Whether you’re just starting and have no nursing experience, looking to switch to nursing from another field, or want to bolster your credentials with a masters or doctorate, there’s a nursing program in Indiana for you. Here’s are some of the most common options currently available.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Indiana

ADN Programs

ADN programs are associate degrees in nursing and are designed for individuals with no prior nursing experience. They are typically two-year programs that provide the essential skills and experience for pursuing work as an RN. Upon completion of the NCLEX-RN exam, graduates work in clinics, home health, nursing homes, and outpatient facilities.

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with this Program

Traditional BSN Programs

Traditional bachelor’s nursing programs (BSNs) are for students who are already registered nurses (RNs). While you don’t need a BSN to work as an RN, a bachelor’s degree may allow you to take on more responsibility and earn a higher wage. BSNs usually take four years to complete.

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with this Program

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN degrees are for students who do not have RN licenses but who want to earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing. These programs are typically structured for students who already have bachelor’s degrees in another area. Students can often finish accelerated BSNs in one year (three consecutive semesters).

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with this Program

Nursing Bridge Programs in Indiana for Current Nurses

LVN to RN and LVN to BSN Programs

Designed for students who have licensed vocational nurse (LVN) credentials, LVN-to-RN and LVN-to-BSN programs are for individuals who want to become RNs. These online and in-person programs give students the clinical skills and hands-on knowledge needed to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to BSN Programs

For students who already possess an associate degree in nursing, the RN-to-BSN program, sometimes called a bridge program, helps students earn their bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Those who already have experience working as ADNs can typically complete these programs in as few as 12 months.

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to MSN Programs

If you’re looking to move right through both the BSN and MSN degrees in one program, look for RN-to-MSN programs. These programs usually take three years to complete and are for RNs who already have diplomas or associate degrees in nursing. Your credentials must come from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited school, and you’ll need an unencumbered RN license in Indiana.

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with this Program

Advanced Nursing Programs in Indiana

MSN Programs

MSN degree-seekers can choose from standard MSNs and direct-entry MSNs. The standard path is for those who already possess BSNs. Direct-entry programs are for those with bachelor’s degrees in another area. These programs typically offer a concentration area like nursing education or family nurse practitioner.

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with This Program

DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

Doctoral nursing programs are for individuals who already possess MSNs. DNP and PhD doctoral programs lead toward different types of careers. A DNP prepares students for leadership roles in healthcare settings and is considered a nursing practice degree. The PhD in nursing is a research degree that helps students advance knowledge and theories in the field to inform nursing practice.

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with This Program

Post-Graduate Certificates

Going a step beyond DNPs and PhDs, graduate certificates help develop specialized knowledge in a particular area of the field. Popular post-graduate certificates include adult gerontology, family nurse practitioner, healthcare informatics, nurse midwifery, and psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Examples of Indiana Nursing Schools with This Program

Inside Look at Online Nursing Programs in Indiana

Nursing students in Indiana have a variety of degree programs offered in hybrid or fully online formats, from ADN and BSN programs to MSN and DNP degrees. These convenient programs offer the same level and quality of instruction as in-person programs but have the flexibility of distance learning. Most online programs require students to complete hands-on clinical training at an approved facility – the exception being bridge programs and some advanced nursing programs where students are already fully licensed. Didactic coursework is sometimes entirely remote in real-time or pre-recorded formats.

Best Online Nursing Programs in Indiana

Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech is a public institution with more than 40 campuses. Ivy Tech offers several flexible hybrid programs to accommodate individuals at various stages of education. Nursing students can take advantage of the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program with both remote classes and instruction in classrooms and clinical settings. Individuals with previous medical training or military experience can choose from ASN tracks like the LPN-to-ASN, Paramedic-to-ASN, Medical Assistant-to-ASN, and Military Medic-to-ASN.

All programs prepare students for the NCLEX-RN exam. Most full-time students complete the ASN at Ivy Tech in two years or less. Ivy Tech nursing students benefit from mentoring and tutoring provided by nursing faculty members as they prepare to meet Indiana’s statewide nursing requirements.

Indiana State University

Located in Terre Haute, ISU is a public institution with excellent online nursing program options. Distance learners can pursue an RN-to-BSN degree 100% online. Students complete 35 credit hours and ISU’s foundational studies program for graduation. Incoming ISU nursing students receive a free, for-credit portfolio evaluation that allows them to earn credit toward their BSNs for previous nursing experience.

ISU boasts strong financial aid and scholarship opportunities for nursing students. Aid includes work-study programs, freshman scholarships, transfer students scholarships, and veterans’ benefits. ISU also offers affordable tuition, at $337/credit for in-state learners and $438/credit for out-of-state students. The university and nursing programs hold accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), respectively.

Indiana Wesleyan University

IWU offers both hybrid and fully online RN-to-BSN programs with multiple start dates every school year. Accredited by the CCNE, full-time learners can complete this program in 13-15 months. Located in Marion, this private institution offers undergraduate nursing training focused on leadership skills, the integration of evidence-based knowledge with nursing practice, cultural competence, and Christian-centered professional ethics. Students complete 120 credits online or in-person and for-credit clinicals in students’ local areas. IWU RN-to-BSN nursing students must also complete a capstone course. Incoming students can transfer up to 40 credits toward their degrees. Applicants need an unencumbered RN license and an associate nursing degree from an accredited institution. IWU expects incoming students to possess a 2.0 or higher GPA.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Indiana

In addition to internal scholarships from individual schools, nursing students in Indiana can take advantage of scholarships and grants offered through the Indiana Healthcare Foundation (IHC). Indiana residents with a high school diploma or GED certificate are eligible to apply. Students accepted into an Indiana nursing program with an LPN or RN license and a 2.7 or higher GPA may also apply for financial aid. Applicants for IHC aid must submit three letters of recommendation and school transcripts for consideration. For more information on aid for nursing students, check out our nursing scholarship guide, guide to graduating from nursing school debt-free, and financial aid guide. With these tools, you can begin your search for financial aid and locate other ways to offset the costs of nursing school.

How to Become an RN in Indiana: Education and Licensing Requirements

To become a registered nurse in Indiana, you’ll need to apply through the Indiana State Board of Nursing. This governmental agency enforces all state laws related to nursing education, practice, and licensure in the state. The following step-by-step guide details the requirement for becoming a first-time RN in Indiana.

Step 1

Complete ADN or BSN Degree

The first step toward RN licensure is completing a state-approved nursing degree from an accredited institution. To become an RN, you’ll need to complete either an ADN or BSN program. Both include online or in-person coursework along with hands-on clinical experiences.

Step 2

Apply for Licensure by Examination in Indiana

Submit an application for state licensure by examination through the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA). The IPLA determines your eligibility to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. The Indiana state application must include transcripts, a 2.5-3.5″ professional headshot with appropriate credentials attached, and a $50 application fee.

Step 3

Submit NCLEX-RN Exam Application

Next, visit NCSBN to complete the NCLEX candidate bulletin. Note that the NCLEX-RN exam is a nationwide test, so a passing score is valid in Indiana and all other states in the U.S. Registration for the exam is also uniform among states, including the $200 registration fee.

Step 4

Pass NCLEX-RN Exam

The NCLEX-RN exam is a computerized, pass-fail test comprising four main subject areas: safe and effective care environments; psychosocial integrity; health promotion and maintenance; and physiological integrity. You’ll receive anywhere from 74-145 questions, including 15 pre-test questions.

Step 5

Keep Licensure Current

Indiana RN licenses expire on October 31st of odd-numbered years. Licenses that are expired for 18 months or less can be renewed online with a $100 fee. There are no continuing education requirements for RNs in Indiana as of December 2021.

Employment Outlook for RNs in Indiana

The job outlook for registered nurses in Indiana currently looks bright. RNs in Indiana will see a 12.4% growth in available positions from 2020-2028, which is slightly higher than the average growth of all other occupations in the U.S. This translates into over 4,700 average annual openings and over 8,500 new jobs through 2028. The demand for RNs will continue to increase to meet the needs of the aging baby boomer population. RNs are valuable within in-home healthcare and long-term rehabilitation centers, which are popular choices for care today, as well as in hospitals and other medical facilities.

Employment Projections for RNs in Indiana

New Jobs
Job Growth Rate
Average Annual Openings
Indiana 8,540 12.4% 4,750
United States 371,500 12.1% 210,400

Source: Projections Central

Nursing Earnings in Indiana: How Much You Could Make as an RN

The median earnings of registered nurses in Indiana are slightly lower than nationwide median earnings. According to BLS, RNs working in the Michigan City-La Porte area earn the highest median wage at $67,840. RNs working in Fort Wayne earn the lowest in the state at $61,150. The top 10% of earners in Indiana work in the Indianapolis area and earn $96,990 per year.

Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Indiana

10th Percentile Median Earnings 90th Percentile
Indiana $51,110 $65,000 $88,310
United States $53,410 $75,330 $116,230
Bloomington, IN $52,730 $63,400 $81,260
Columbus, IN $51,490 $62,210 $80,060
Elkhart-Goshen, IN $46,810 $63,890 $85,190
Evansville, IN-KY $52,290 $63,370 $82,210
Fort Wayne, IN $46,600 $61,150 $80,080
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN $52,980 $67,680 $96,990
Kokomo, IN $53,320 $67,150 $82,430
Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN $53,170 $66,180 $92,580
Michigan City-La Porte, IN $53,160 $67,840 $95,910
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI $49,580 $65,100 $85,060
Terre Haute, IN $46,730 $62,670 $81,200

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020