Best Nursing Programs in New York: Top Online & Campus Options

The nursing field is growing rapidly in New York. The more education you have, the more you can take advantage of that growth to gain new responsibilities and a higher salary. Learn about top nursing programs in New York, financial aid, licensure, and much more to find the program that’s right for you.

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Last Updated: 06/03/2021
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Whether you’re a recent high school graduate set on becoming nurse, an RN who needs to meet New York’s BSN in 10 requirement, or a college graduate interested in moving to nursing but working in a different field, there’s a nursing program in New York that meets your needs. From ADN and BSN degrees to master’s degrees and post-graduate certificates, there are plenty of ways to enter and advance within the fast-growing nursing profession in New York.

In this guide, you’ll learn about best-in-class nursing programs and get an inside look at increasingly popular online nursing programs in New York. Plus you’ll find out more about financial aid opportunities, licensing requirements, and details on the job outlook and salary potential for RNs in New York. Keep reading to find the nursing program in New York that’s just right for you.

Find New York Nursing Programs in a City Near You

Best-in-Class Nursing Programs in New York for 2021

The best nursing programs in the state of New York not only prepare you for certification but also stand out in terms of affordability, accreditation, and student support. They have high NCLEX pass rates and provide top-notch clinical experiences. We’ve spotlighted three quality programs below that stand out in 2021 to get you started on your school search.

New York City College of Technology

City Tech offers two nursing programs, an associate in applied science (AAS) and a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). At $3,465 per semester for full-time, NY residents, City Tech’s nursing program is one of the most affordable in New York. Both programs are fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the New York State Office of the Professions; the NCLEX-RN pass rate is 95%. The AAS and BSN programs at City Tech are two of the college’s most competitive offerings, so early application is strongly recommended.

The AAS program covers biological sciences, psychology, and general education and provides hands-on practice in the college’s lab, New York City hospital, community health agencies, and long-term care facilities. The BSN program develops critical thinking and research skills for RNs who want to become leaders and managers.

In addition, the nursing portion of City Tech’s website has a robust offering of resources. You’ll find information on academics, the nursing laboratory, and other helpful, nursing-specific resources.

Touro College

Touro College meets the demand for qualified nurses through its two full-time tracks, a BS degree that takes four years and an RN to BS degree that takes two years. Tuition for these nursing programs at Touro is $14,000 per semester for full-time students. Both programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), approved by the State of New York, and prepare students for the NCLEX exam. Both degrees require 125 credits, however the RN to BS track accepts up to 90 transfer credits. Applicants for the RN to BS program must already be licensed RNs in New York. All nursing courses are at Touro’s Brooklyn campus, while general education courses are offered at multiple locations. Clinical sessions may be on weekends and weekday evenings and have early start and late ending times

Dominican College

Dominican College offers four BSN programs. The Traditional Baccalaureate Program Option is a day program following a conventional semester format. No prior nursing background is needed. Dominican also has two accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs. The Weekday Option ABSN is a 12-month program, and the Weekend Option ABSN is a 24-month program that takes place on weekends to allow students to continue working during the week. Both programs require 58 credits, are for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another discipline, and include the same components as the traditional option in an accelerated, back-to-back trimester format. Tuition is $14,930 per semester for 12-17 credits for students in the traditional and the accelerated options.

The fourth option is a 100% online RN to BSN program for current RNs with a diploma or associate degree in nursing. Cost for the RN to BSN program is $638 per credit. All of Dominican’s nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE and approved by the state of New York.

Common Qualities of the Best Nursing Schools in New York

Finding a nursing program in New York that fits your needs begins with knowing the common qualities that the best programs share beyond affordable tuition and great student services. When researching programs, always keep the following characteristics in mind.

  • Accreditation and State Approval

    Practicing RNs in New York must hold degrees from programs that are nationally accredited, indicating that the programs meet high academic standards. National accreditation comes through the ACEN or the CCNE. Equally important, your program must be registered by the New York licensing board (NYSED) as one that meets its quality standards.
  • NCLEX Pass Rate

    Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is required for licensure, so you’ll want to make sure the program you choose prepares its graduates well for that exam and has a high pass rate. You can check a school’s pass rate on the New York State RN NCLEX Results page through the NYSED.
  • Program Length and Pace

    Each nursing program caters to different needs in terms of program length and pace. Some provide accelerated programs, while others allow you to take classes at a slower pace and continue working full time. Likewise, some nurses want to further their education in stages, while others want to complete their entire education before focusing on full-time work. Make sure a program fits the length and pace you want and allows you to bridge to a higher level if that is your goal.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in New York

New York offers a variety of nursing programs for students at different points in their nursing education and career. Below are some of the most common options. Some programs are on campus and others have moved to a hybrid approach, but all of them are committed to the highest academic standards.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in New York

ADN Programs

Associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs prepare students for professional practice as RNs. Through a combination of classroom instruction and clinical practice, students are ready to take the NCLEX-RN exam upon graduation. Most ADN programs take about two years to complete, and some have significant online offerings.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with this Program

Traditional BSN Programs

A traditional BSN program prepares students for professional practice as RNs. A BSN generally takes four years and prepares you for leadership, administrative, and management roles in addition to direct patient care. New York requires all new nurses to obtain a BSN within 10 years of receiving their RN licenses, in what’s often referred to as the BSN in 10 requirement.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with this Program

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs are typically for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field and who have completed nursing prerequisites like nutrition, chemistry, and statistics. These programs are designed for those with non-nursing degrees to move into a nursing career and can be completed in as little as a year.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with this Program

Nursing Bridge Programs in New York for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

Licensed practical nurses (LVNs) who want to become RNs can take a nursing bridge program to earn their ASN or BSN degree. These programs recognize the academic preparation and clinical experience of LPNs and provide opportunities for credit equivalency.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to BSN Programs

RN to BSN programs allow RNs with associate degrees or diplomas to obtain their BSNs in as little as two years while continuing to work. Sometimes partially or fully online, these programs focus on increasing general science knowledge while expanding professional expertise.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to MSN Programs

These programs are designed for students with an ASN or ADN to obtain both a BSN and a master of science in nursing (MSN). Students who complete this nursing program in New York will be prepared for advanced nursing practice in roles like nurse practitioners, midwives, educators, and nurse managers.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with this Program

Advanced Nursing Programs in New York

MSN Programs

MSN programs are for nurses who want to pursue advanced health careers as administrators, nurse educators, and clinical nurse leaders. MSN graduates fill roles as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and more. Programs are available for specializations and generally take two to three years to complete.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with this Program

DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs prepare RNs or advanced practice registered nurses to meet the complex health needs of diverse populations in various settings. Doctor of philosophy (PhD) programs prepare nurses to conduct research across a range of populations and health conditions. DNP and PhD students need a BSN or MSN in nursing as well as RN licensure or eligibility.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with this Program

Post-Graduate Certificates

Post-graduate certificates prepare nurses for roles in advanced practice in areas like psychiatric/mental health, gerontology, pediatrics, midwifery, and informatics. These certificates are for nurses who want to refine their practices toward specific patient populations for work in advanced practice roles as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse educators, and nurse informaticists.

Examples of New York Nursing Schools with This Program

Inside Look at Online Nursing Programs in New York

Many New York nursing programs now offer flexible online programs with working RNs in mind. Some programs have residency requirements, meaning that students must meet periodically at the campus or at a satellite campus, but many are 100% online nursing programs in New York for those who already have (or will soon have) their RN license. These programs help meet New York’s BSN in 10 law, which requires nurses to earn their BSN within 10 years of initial licensure.

In addition to Dominican’s 100% online RN to BSN program profiled above, there are a variety of quality options for online nursing programs in New York. We’ve highlighted three schools offering online nursing programs in New York to give you an inside look at nontraditional approaches for obtaining your nursing degree.

Best Online Nursing Programs in New York

City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS)

CUNY SPS has eight online nursing undergraduate degrees for students who have already earned 24+ credits. Each of these online nursing programs in New York is approved by the state and holds ACEN accreditation.

These online bridge programs give RNs the academic credentials necessary for advanced positions in the field. BSN bridge programs enable ADN and ASN students to transition to BSN programs. The RN to BS-MS programs create a clear nursing path in three very specific areas and allow completion of both degrees in an integrated framework, taking less time than completing each degree individually. Of course, clinical requirements still must be met in person.

Utica College

Utica College provides advanced skills critical to job performance in its 100% online RN to BSN in Nursing (RN-BSN) program. This is a patient-centered degree with an innovative curriculum that develops the student intellectually, socially, culturally, and spiritually. Applicants to this RN-BSN program must have an ADN and an active RN license or become licensed within six months of starting the program. You can complete this online nursing program in New York in as little as three semesters with a full-time course load, but you can also choose a slower pace.

Flexible courses accommodate the busy schedules of working RNs. You’ll take 33 credit hours of major-related requirements and 25 credit hours of required nursing courses. Additionally, course offerings for liberal arts and science requirements are extensive. Clinical rotations take place at healthcare facilities throughout central New York. This online nursing program in New York is accredited by the CCNE and has no residency requirements.

State University of New York (SUNY) Delhi

SUNY Delhi offers an Online RN to BSN program that is flexible and affordable. The program is 100% online, and practicum experiences are completed at a hospital or healthcare agency in the student’s home area. This online nursing program in New York requires 61 credits, including 43 nursing credits. Up to 18 non-nursing credits may be transferred from previous coursework at another institution.

As a NY online nursing program, SUNY Delhi’s RN to BSN is designed for flexibility. Students can take courses part-time or full-time and have five years to complete their degrees. All nursing students are assigned an advisor who they consult with regularly to plan coursework. Courses in this program are seven weeks, and there are five different enrollment dates throughout the year. Tuition is $7,070 per semester for in-state residents.

The school also has a Nursing Administration online MS and a Nursing Education online MS. In-person nursing programs offered at SUNY Delhi include a Nursing AAS pre-licensure program and an AAS to BSN dual degree program.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in New York

Can I earn my nursing degree in New York completely online?

If you already have your ADN, it is possible to earn your nursing degree completely online in New York. There are many quality NY online nursing programs where RNs can earn their BSN and even their MS. Coursework is entirely online with any residency requirements are usually met in a student’s home area.

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

If your program is properly accredited and state-approved, employers will value your online New York nursing degree just as much as one earned in person. In fact, most employers won’t know you obtained your BSN or MS online unless you indicate you did so.

Are online nursing programs in New York more affordable than campus programs?

Online nursing programs in New York can be more affordable than campus programs. Tuition costs for online programs start as low as $300 per credit hour, which is less than many on-campus programs. Additionally, time saved on other expenses related to taking classes on campus also can reduce overall cost. Keep in mind, however, that there are usually additional fees associated with earning any degree, so be sure to check those before deciding on a program, online or in person.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in New York

Scholarships, grants, loans, and other financial aid opportunities can help you pay for nursing school. They are available through private foundations, colleges and universities, and the government. Check with individual schools about their financial aid offerings as well as with the following sources, some of which are specifically for New York nursing students:

Our scholarship guide for RN students and main financial aid guide can also help in your search for financial aid.

How to Become an RN in New York: Licensing Information and Requirements

Becoming an RN is a similar process from state to state, but each has its own requirements outlined by its Board of Nursing. Find the latest New York state information on licensing requirements and processes on New York’s board of nursing page before you begin your program. The step-by-step list below gives an overview of the requirements for first-time RNs completing New York nursing programs.

Step 1

Have a clean record

Your registration includes questions related to any felonies or misdemeanors, pending criminal charges, any professional misconduct, and your overall moral character. Any issues don’t necessarily disqualify you, however; decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Step 2

Graduate from a nursing education program registered by NYSED.

RN licensure in New York requires graduating from a nursing education program accepted by the NYSED. Your program can be in another state if it is approved by that state’s licensing authority. Some programs outside of the U.S. are also accepted by the NYSED.

Step 3

Complete New York State required infection control coursework and child abuse reporting coursework.

Before NYSED will issue your license, you must complete NYSED-approved child abuse reporting coursework and infection control coursework. If you graduated from a nurse education program registered by NYSED, you will have already completed this coursework. If you did not graduate from an NYSED approved program, such as one in another state or country, you must either take the coursework or receive an exemption.

Step 4

Apply for an RN license with the NYSED.

To apply for an RN license with NYSED, fill out Form 1 – Application for Licensure – RN online and pay a first-time license and registration fee of $143. To practice as a graduate nurse (GN), you can also apply for a limited permit for $35. This limited permit allows you to practice as a GN for 90 days immediately following graduation. A supervising RN must be on duty while you are practicing as a GN.

Step 5

Pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is required to become a nurse in New York. This exam, administered by Pearson VUE, tests the knowledge and skills essential for safe and effective entry-level RN practice. You must apply for RN licensure before taking the NCLEX-RN and then register for the NCLEX-RN directly with Pearson VUE. The exam costs $200.

Step 6

Practice nursing as a graduate nurse (GN) until receiving your RN license.

With a limited permit, you can practice as a GN for up to 90 days immediately following graduation. A limited permit holder can temporarily practice under the supervision of an RN in the health care facility noted on the permit.

Step 7

Keep your registration current.

Once you receive your license, it stays valid for life unless it is surrendered, revoked, annulled, or suspended by New York State. Your registration with the state of New York authorizes you to practice as an RN for up to three years. You must renew your registration every three years; you cannot legally practice as a nurse if your registration expires.

Job Outlook for RNs in New York

The career outlook for nurses in New York is overwhelmingly positive. Job prospects for RNs are expected to increase over 24% by 2028–double the national job growth rate for RNs. The RN job market for New York City and the surrounding area is very active, and the range of average salaries for RNs suggests opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, education, location, and years of experience.

Employment Projections for RNs in New York

Employment (2018)New Jobs (2018-2028)Job Growth Rate (2018-2028)Average Annual Openings (2018-2028)
New York199,87049,23024.6%16,910
United States3,059,800371,50012.1%210,400

Source: Projections Central

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

The high cost of living in New York also means a higher median wage, resulting in New York nurses earning more on average than in most other states. RNs in New York earn a median wage of $87,330, higher than the national median wage and that of surrounding states. The New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area is even higher, with a $93,090 median wage. The income range for RNs in New York typically is between $56,980 and $123,860.

Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in New York

10th PercentileMedian Earnings90th Percentile
New York State$56,980$87,330$123,860
United States$52,080$73,300$111,220
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY$53,770$71,110$95,850
Binghamton, NY$52,410$67,720$94,280
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY$54,260$76,400$99,740
Elmira, NY$50,810$67,670$81,650
Ithaca, NY$44,290$60,790$88,130
Kingston, NY$56,400$75,390$98,150
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$65,230$93,090$125,930
Rochester, NY$52,450$66,290$82,430
Syracuse, NY$51,570$69,600$93,260
Utica-Rome, NY$53,690$71,200$93,510
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY$52,860$68,940$90,740

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019

New York Nursing Resources

New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)

As New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses, the NYSNA unites 42,000 nurses for safe staffing, patient safety, and healthcare for all.

New York State Board of Nursing

The state board of nursing is the governing body for all nursing practices within New York. The board sets the standards for safe nursing care, decides the scope of practice for nurses, and issues licenses for qualified candidates.

Scholarships and Resources for Nursing Students

This site provides information on various types of student aid. It includes resources related to scholarships and grants for RN students, provides tips to help you submit the best application possible, and offers a variety of other resources for RNs.

Nursing Students’ Association of New York State (NSANYS)

The purpose of the NSANYS is to aid nursing students in transitioning from undergraduate student nurses to the professional world. Its goal is to help mold the future of nursing by developing leaders.

Center for Nursing at the Foundation of New York State Nurses, Inc.

This nonprofit advocacy organization supports working professional nurses through mentoring, educational advancement, and promoting research and evidence-based practice to drive excellence in care delivery.