Best Nursing Schools in Maryland: Top Online & Campus Programs for 2021

This guide to nursing schools in Maryland covers your most important questions: What are the top on-campus and online nursing programs? Are jobs and salaries growing? Where can I get financial aid? Find the answers here..

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Last Updated: 05/12/2021
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You’ll have lots of decisions to make before you start your nursing program in Maryland. You’ll need to choose what school to attend, what type of nursing program to pursue, how you’ll pay for tuition and other costs, and where you’ll find financial aid. Plus you’ll need to confirm that the school you chose has the proper accreditation to ensure a top-quality education.

This guide simplifies the process. Review spotlights of some of the best nursing schools in Maryland, learn what to look for in a quality program, explore whether on-campus or online classes are best for you, find a checklist of requirements for nursing licensure in Maryland, get answers to FAQs, and more.

2021’s Best-in-Class Nursing Schools in Maryland

To give you a better idea of what nursing schools in Maryland are like, dive into the three college spotlights below. These programs are all accredited, offer a high-quality education, and prepare students to pass the NCLEX-RN exam—exactly what you should be looking for in your search.

Coppin State University

Coppin State University offers undergraduate nursing programs designed for students who want to make a difference in healthcare. This four-year program focuses on teaching students about patient care technology, health promotion and disease prevention strategies, clinical strategies and expertise, leadership and communication skills, evidence-based practice, and client-centered health care.

To be admitted, students must supply transcripts from any previous college showing a minimum GPA of 2.5, three letters of recommendation, and competitive scores from the HESI A2 entrance exam.

Morgan State University

Morgan State University offers a highly competitive undergraduate nursing program. Designed for juniors or seniors who have completed their general education requirements or have transferred from another school, this nursing program in Maryland focuses on teaching students effective, safe, evidence-based practices, preparing students for the constantly changing healthcare setting, and providing students with a solid nursing education.

Prospective students apply after they have completed all prerequisite courses. Applicants must provide three letters of reference and proof of health insurance and immunizations, and they must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. In addition, some clinics require a background check before students can start their rotations.

Maryland College of Nursing

The University of Maryland offers a rigorous undergraduate nursing program designed to prepare students for the NCLEX exam and future educational studies. Students learn from experienced faculty and develop their nursing skills with up-to-date technology. This program emphasizes clinical experience to help students succeed in real-life situations and make logical judgments.

Applicants must have completed 59 credits of prerequisite coursework as well as maintain an overall GPA of 3.0. Students need one recommendation from a professor, a resume, transcripts, and a written essay.

Common Traits of the Best Nursing Schools in Maryland

Not all nursing schools and programs in Maryland are equal, so how can you be sure you’re getting a quality education? Factors that can help you make the decision include experienced faculty, NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, accreditation status, scheduling flexibility, and solid curriculum. Review the top three things to look for when searching for the right nursing school in Maryland.

  • Nationally Accredited and State Approved

    To be sure you’re attending a quality school, always check that your nursing program in Maryland is nationally accredited and state-approved. These are not mutually exclusive, so check for both. For more information, visit the Maryland Board of Nursing or check the website for the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
  • High-Quality Curriculum

    Technology and research are constantly moving and improving, so it’s important that you get the most current information from professors. Attending a school that has been accredited provides assurance that the curriculum is solid and will prepare you for the workplace.
  • Prepares You for Licensure

    One of the reasons you get a degree is so that you can become a licensed or registered nurse upon graduation. Make sure the school you’re looking at will prepare you for the NCLEX exam, and if pass rates aren’t listed on the website, request at least three years’ worth from the admissions office.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in Maryland

Nursing schools in Maryland offer a lot of different nursing programs, so how do you know which one to choose? Depending on your career goals, each degree will be suited to a different outcome. To help you decide, below we’ve listed different types of nursing programs and the types of students whom those programs best suit. Here’s the rundown:

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Maryland

ADN Programs

ADN stands for “associate degree in nursing,” and these programs take approximately two years to complete instead of the four years required for a bachelor’s degree. You can become a registered nurse with an ADN. The curriculum will focus on clinical day-to-day tasks, monitoring patients, and updating charts. Anything beyond that will typically require a more advanced degree. Nurses with an ADN will generally get a lower salary than those with other nursing degrees.

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

Traditional BSN Programs

Abachelor ofscience innursing(BSN)takes four years tocomplete. Although the general curriculum isthe same as an ADN, a bachelor’s degree will go much more indepth. A BSN also prepares you forleadership rolesandfurthering your education with more advanced nursingdegrees.

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs are condensed programs typically for those who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to become registered nurses. This program takes one to two years, not including any prerequisite courses. Upon completion, a student will have a BSN in addition to their other bachelor’s degree.

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

Nursing Bridge Programs in Maryland for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

An LPN to RN or LPN/LPN to BSN program is for licensed practical nurses seeking to become registered nurses. These bridge programs are especially helpful as they take the skills and knowledge you already have and use them to shorten the time needed to obtain a BSN.

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to BSN Programs

An RN to BSN bridge program is for students who already have their nursing license and are seeking a BSN. This bridge program is perfect for students who want to advance their career and education within a short period of time. Building on your current education and experience, this nursing program in Maryland takes approximately 12 months.

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN programs take approximately three years and are for students with a nursing license seeking both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. While bachelor’s in nursing programs focus on nursing in general, an MSN is more specialized and is perfect for those looking to advance their career in a specific field

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

Advanced Nursing Programs in Maryland

MSN Programs

A MSN is a more specialized degree than a BSN. You’ll find basic MSN programs for students with bachelor’s degrees as well as direct-entry MSN degrees for students who have degrees in other areas. Professionals with MSN degrees have higher salaries than those with BSNs and often specialize within the field

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

A DNP or PhD nursing program in Maryland is a terminal degree for those wanting the highest occupations and education levels in the nursing field. DNP programs usually take three to five years, and PhD programs take four to six years.

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

Post-Graduate Certificates

Post-graduate certificates are for students who already have a graduate degree and are interested in pursuing further specializations. A post-graduate certificate may be required for some occupations and can be obtained with either an MSN or a DNP.

Examples of Maryland Nursing Schools with this Program

Inside Look at Online Nursing Programs in Maryland

Students love the adaptability and convenience that comes with online learning, so nursing schools in Maryland are adapting their courses to be taught online. With options for every degree from ADN to DNP, you’ll find an online nursing program in Maryland that fits your schedule. While all coursework, assignments, and research can be completed virtually, any clinical rotations will have to be coordinated with an institution in your area to be completed in person. If you choose an online nursing program in Maryland, you’ll have the flexibility to study whenever and wherever you want, you’ll have access to many online resources, and in most cases you won’t have to do any on-campus visits.

Best Online Nursing Programs in Maryland

Salisbury University

Salisbury University is an accredited university that has adapted many of its programs for online learning. The Salisbury nursing program stands out for its high NCLEX-RN pass rate. This program also provides every online student with an advisor, and all professors and faculty are experienced and prepared to bridge the gap between textbooks and the real world of healthcare.

Admission to Salisbury University is competitive. After students have completed all prerequisites, they’ll apply to the program and include transcripts of previous academic work.

Notre Dame of Maryland University

Notre Dame of Maryland University is an accredited academic institution with online RN to BSN and online accelerated second degree BSN programs. Students participate in simulations, internships, and clinical experiences. Experienced faculty teach the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the healthcare environment and obtain licensure upon graduation.

To be admitted into Notre Dame of Maryland University, students must have a high school diploma or a GED with a score of 145 or higher. They must provide all previous academic transcripts and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Frostburg State University

Frostburg State University offers a four-year BSN delivered in a hybrid format. This partially online nursing program in Maryland accepts first-year students and community college transfers. Frostburg collaborates with Allegany College of Maryland to provide a quality education and experienced faculty. While many courses can be taken online, some courses and clinical experiences must be taken on the campus.

First-year students applying to Frostburg State University will be judged by their high school transcripts, essays, letters of recommendation, and optional SAT/ACT scores. Transfer students need at least 24 credits and can transfer up to 90 credits. Your grades from a previous academic institution will not be applied to your GPA at Frostburg.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in Maryland

Can I earn my nursing degree in Maryland completely online?

Several academic institutions allow you to complete all coursework and assignments online. However, clinical experiences will still have to be done in person at an approved clinical location or at your school.

Will my online Maryland nursing degree be considered less valuable by employers?

Universities work hard to make sure their online programs are equal to their on-campus programs. The curriculum and at least some of the professors remain the same. An online nursing degree should not be valued any less than a traditional degree.

Are online nursing programs in Maryland more affordable than campus programs?

Online nursing programs typically cost the same as campus programs, except for the rare schools that have online students pay out-of-state tuition. Ask lots of questions to be sure you understand how your online tuition will be determined. Even if tuition is the same as for campus programs, remember you’ll save money in other areas like housing and commuting when you take an online nursing program in Maryland.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Maryland

Attending college is a big financial commitment, so it’s a good idea to know how you’re going to pay for it. Fortunately, there are many financial aid options available, and many don’t require taking out student loans. If you’re currently working in the healthcare field, it’s worth asking your employer if tuition assistance is available. Federal grants, as well as private and public scholarships, are also options. Your nursing school in Maryland may offer scholarships, so be sure to research all of your options.

How to Become an RN in Maryland: Licensing Information and Requirements

When it comes to getting licensed, a lot of states have similar requirements. However you’ll also find there are important differences, too. Check the Maryland Board of Nursing for the licensing requirements you need to complete before choosing a nursing school in Maryland. After all, you need to make sure the program will meet all of your state’s nursing requirements. Here are a few detailed steps to help you get licensed as a nurse in Maryland.

Step 1

Complete an Approved Program

Before you can obtain your license, you’ll need to complete a state-approved nursing program. Typically this program will be in the state, however, there can be some exceptions depending on if the state is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact. Check the Maryland Board of Nursing website to make sure the program you choose is state-approved.

Step 2

Apply to take the NCLEX Exam

Once you’ve completed your nursing program, request and complete an NCLEX application. You’ll also need to complete an application for Licensure by Examination, which requires a $100 nonrefundable application fee and a criminal background check.

Step 3

Take the NCLEX Exam

Once the Maryland Board of Nursing receives your application, they’ll also need an official transcript as proof that you’ve completed your Maryland nursing program requirements. At that point they will submit authorization to Pearson VUE, the NCLEX testing company, which will send you an Authorization to Test (ATT) code. Once you have the ATT, you can go online to schedule your test. If you don’t pass the NCLEX exam, you’ll need to wait 45 days before you can attempt the test again.

Step 4

Receive and Maintain Your License

Once you’ve passed the NCLEX-RN exam, the Maryland Board of Nursing will issue your nursing license. You’ll need to renew it every two years and pay the $136 renewal fee.

Step 5

Endorsement & Temporary License Options

If you’re interested in working before completing the NCLEX exam, you can get a temporary license by paying a $40 fee. Students obtaining their license through endorsement must apply online and pay a $100 fee. Fingerprints, verified ID, and background checks are usually part of the process.

Job Outlook for RNs in Maryland

The job outlook for registered nurses in Maryland is very optimistic through 2028. Not only are registered nurses currently in high demand, but the job rate is expected to grow more than 21 percent, which is almost double the national average. Every year Maryland has over 5,000 job openings for registered nurses, and that’s in addition to the more than 13,000 new jobs expected between now and 2028.

Employment Projections for RNs in Maryland

Employment (2018)New Jobs (2018-2028)Job Growth Rate (2018-2028)Average Annual Openings (2018-2028)
Maryland60,62013,13021.7%5,150
United States3,059,800371,50012.1%210,400

Source: Projections Central

Nursing Salaries in Maryland: How Much You Could Make as an RN

Registered nurses in Maryland make a median annual salary of $76,780, which is on the higher end when compared to the national average. The Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area and the areas around Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington (including parts of Maryland) lead the salary scale. To give you a better idea of the salaries available in individual cities in Maryland, take a closer look at the table below.

Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Maryland

10th PercentileMedian Earnings90th Percentile
Maryland$55,400$76,780$102,490
United States$52,080$73,300$111,220
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD$56,120$77,320$103,260
Cumberland, MD-WV$52,420$70,290$96,580
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV$55,010$72,410$97,450
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD$55,470$76,820$101,440
Salisbury, MD-DE$53,580$70,330$99,300

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019

Maryland Student and Professional Nursing Resources

Maryland Nurses Association

The Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) is the only nonprofit professional membership organization for nurses in the state. The primary purpose of MNA is to provide statewide direction and a voice for the nursing profession.

Maryland Board of Nursing

This website is where you’ll find licensure requirements, state announcements concerning nurses, healthcare laws, and continuing education options.

Scholarships and Resources for Registered Nursing Students

Need a hand getting through school? This page lists the most-needed resources for nursing students, including financial aid opportunities.

Maryland Association of Nursing Students

Students attending nursing schools in Maryland will find invaluable resources ranging from scholarships to student leadership tips.

Maryland Nursing Workforce Center

This website provides nursing resources specific to Maryland, from educational videos and nursing organization links to statewide healthcare workforce reports.