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    Best Nursing Schools in Oklahoma for 2024: Online & Campus

    Start or advance your career as an RN by enrolling in one of the top online or on-campus nursing programs in Oklahoma. Find out which schools rank best in the state for 2024.

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    According to the American Medical Association, there’s a serious shortage of trained and licensed nurses across the country. Oklahoma is not immune from the problem, with the shortage there worsened further by COVID-19. For those interested in entering or moving up in the nursing profession, that means increases in salaries and other benefits for nurses along with more open positions in the state.

    If you want to take advantage of this heightened demand, there are many accredited nursing schools in Oklahoma that can give you the necessary training. This guide spotlights the best nursing schools in Oklahoma for the 2023-2024 academic year to help you find a quality, affordable online or campus program that’s right for you, whether you’re a first-time nursing student or are a current RN who wants to qualify for advanced nursing roles. You’ll also find other helpful information on financial aid, licensing requirements, and salary potential for Oklahoma nurses. Get started on your Oklahoma nursing school search below.

    About the ranking


    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 NameTypeTuitionOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
    1Southwestern Oklahoma State UniversityWeatherford, OKPublic$3

    The LPN to BSN Program is one of many nursing degree programs offered at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. It's designed for people who already hold an unencumbered LPN or LVN license and want to earn their BSN degree. Courses are taught online with an in-person clinical component. Other programs offered at SOSU include the traditional Nursing BSN program, the RN to BSN program, and the MSN Nursing Administration, among many others.

    Program Highlights:

    LPN to BSN Program

    • Credits: 33
    • Length: 1 year
    • Cost: $339.76 per credit
    • Mode: Hybrid
    • Accreditation: ACEN
    Faculty Ratio
    Student %
    2Northeastern State UniversityTahlequah, OKPublic$2

    Northeastern State University has several choices for online nursing degree programs -- including an RN to BSN program and various RN to MSN programs. That also includes three graduate nursing certificates. One online RN to MSN program option is the RN to MSN in Nursing Informatics, which prepares students to manage healthcare information systems. To apply, applicants must have a current and unencumbered RN license, an associate degree in nursing, and a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. Students are additionally required to have at least a cumulative 2.5 GPA in undergraduate coursework or a 3.0 GPA in nursing coursework.

    Program Highlights:

    RN to MSN in Nursing Informatics Online

    • Credits: 45
    • Length: 1 year
    • Cost: $370.40 per credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: ACEN
    Faculty Ratio
    Student %
    3Oklahoma Panhandle State UniversityGoodwell, OKPublic$1

    Oklahoma Panhandle State University has various healthcare-related programs for those interested in fire protection and emergency medical services. It also offers an RN to BSN Program that is designed for practicing nurses juggling family, work, and other obligations. This program can be completed completely online either full-time or part-time. Students are also provided with a degree plan that best suits their needs. The program focuses on certain values such as rural nursing, community, leadership, and professionalism.

    Program Highlights:

    RN to BSN Program

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 1-2 years
    • Cost: $160 per credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: ACEN
    Faculty Ratio
    Student %

    Profiling Popular Nursing Schools in Oklahoma

    Elements like accreditation, affordability, study convenience, curriculum comprehensiveness, and student support services are important, but they don’t give you the complete picture. Check out our school spotlights to get a more detailed idea of what to expect from some of the most popular programs in the state.

    Oklahoma City Community College

    Oklahoma City Community College offers three program options for earning an ADN. Students with no nursing or college experience can opt for the Traditional Nursing Pathway with a curriculum consisting of four semesters of core courses and labs attended on the school’s campus along with clinical rotations completed at local hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Students also complete any general education and support courses in an additional semester of study.

    The Career Ladder Pathway allows current LPNs and paramedics to earn their ADNs in three semesters while continuing to work in their current jobs. The third option is a 10-month, full-time, hybrid BSN to ADN Accelerated Pathway for students with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees.

    All options qualify graduates to take the (NCLEX-RN).

    Oklahoma City University

    Oklahoma City University offers one of the most extensive nursing degree and certificate programs in the state. There are several fully-accredited programs available for earning a BSN, starting with a pre-licensure BSN program with four track options. The four-year Traditional BSN is for students with little or no college or nursing background while the Accelerated BSN allows students to earn their BSNs with 16 months of full-time study. The four-semester Transfer BSN is for students with non-nursing bachelor’s or associate degrees or some completed general education credits.

    There’s also an LPN to BSN track that can be completed in as few as 12 months, and an RN to BSN program is also available for current RNs and can be completed in as few as nine months. The RN to BSN program features online synchronous, online asynchronous, and on-campus options.

    Graduate nursing programs at OCU include an MSN delivered in a unique hybrid format allowing students to choose between attending class on-campus or online. There are also DNP and PhD in Nursing programs, both with post-BSN and post-MSN pathways, and post-master’s certificates in five specialized fields.

    University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

    The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is home to the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, the largest nursing school in Oklahoma. The college offers an array of baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. BSN options include a Traditional BSN program consisting of 60 upper-division courses in nursing theory, both with online and on-campus options, and clinical content. Students complete 67 credits of lower-division courses before enrollment, and on-campus courses are available at several campuses throughout the state.

    Other undergraduate options include an Accelerated BSN for students with bachelor or higher degrees in non-nursing majors, an LPN to BSN designed for working LPNs that combines Saturday classes and online coursework with in-person clinical rotations, and a 100% online RN to BSN. Graduate programs include MSNs in three specializations, a DNP with both post-BSN and post-master’s options, and a full-time PhD in Nursing for students seeking careers in academics and geriatric nursing practice.

    Types of Nursing Programs Available in Oklahoma

    Below are descriptions of the most common nursing degree and certificates available from nursing schools in Oklahoma. Links to examples of each type of program are also provided.

    Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Oklahoma

    ADN Programs

    An ADN offers a quick path to NCLEX-RN eligibility for students with little or no previous college experience. ADN programs typically require two years of full-time or three years of part-time study and are available at community colleges, state colleges, and some state universities.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with this Program

    Traditional BSN Programs

    Traditional BSN programs are for students with little or no previous college coursework seeking both NCLEX-RN eligibility and bachelor’s degrees. Programs are usually structured with four-year curriculums combining two years of lower-division general education and two years of upper-division nursing theory and clinical courses.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with this Program

    Accelerated BSN Programs

    Accelerated (Second Degree or Fast Track) BSN programs allow non-nursing bachelor’s degree holders to apply previously-earned, lower-division coursework to their BSN requirements, significantly reducing program time and cost. Most Accelerated BSN students complete all degree requirements in 18 months or less of full-time study. Accelerated BSNs also qualify for the NCLEX-RN.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with this Program

    Nursing Bridge Programs in Oklahoma for Current Nurses

    LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

    LPN to RN and LPN to BSN programs are for current LPNs and, in some cases, other healthcare professionals like EMTs, interested in advancing their careers to become RNs. LPN to RN programs are usually offered by community colleges and require three semesters of coursework with graduates awarded ADN degrees. RN to BSN programs take three years or more and are usually available from four-year schools.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with this Program

    RN to BSN Programs

    Current RNs looking to expand their careers often opt for RN to BSN programs. Completion times are a year of full-time and two years of part-time study. Some RN to BSN programs in Oklahoma are 100% online.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with this Program

    RN to MSN Programs

    RN to MSN programs are for current RNs without BSNs and who to advance into administration and other leadership roles. RN to MSN programs feature specialization options and are often offered in fully-online formats. Applicants usually need non-nursing bachelor’s degrees and ADNs. Program lengths vary from 2 ½ to three years or longer depending on study pace, specializations, and clinical hour requirements.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with this Program

    Advanced Nursing Programs in Oklahoma

    MSN Programs

    Earning an MSN is practically a requirement for anyone interested in moving into an advanced nursing practice or nursing administration leadership position. Admission normally requires both a current RN license and a BSN. There are usually several specializations, some of which are 100% online. Completion times vary from 18 months to two years or longer.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with This Program

    DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

    Nursing doctoral degree programs are for nurses determined to reach the very top of the profession. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) prepares students for senior leadership roles in healthcare administration and advanced nursing practice. The PhD in Nursing is for nurses seeking top positions in post-secondary education and advanced research.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with This Program

    Post-Graduate Certificates

    Nursing post-graduate certificates provide current graduate degree holders the opportunity to specialize without having to complete another degree. Specializations include nursing education, nursing and healthcare leadership, and any of several advanced nurse practitioner areas. Completion times vary by specialization and study pace, but most require approximately one to two years. Fully-online programs are sometimes available.

    Examples of Oklahoma Nursing Schools with This Program

    Detailing Online Nursing Programs in Oklahoma

    Distance learning plays a major role in many nursing programs in Oklahoma, and you’ll likely find online elements like assignments, lectures, and exams in most programs. You’ll also communicate with your instructors and peers online a lot as well. Many nursing programs, especially pre-licensure ones, still include clinical rotations that you’ll attend in-person in addition to any labs, seminars, short-term residencies, and similar activities that require attendance on-campus. At the same time, some nursing schools in Oklahoma now offer degrees and certificates that are completed 100% online.

    Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Oklahoma

    There are many financial aid resources available to Oklahoma nursing students. These include scholarships and grants, some offered by the State of Oklahoma and Oklahoma nursing schools themselves, work study programs, assistantships and fellowships (mostly for grad students), employer tuition assistance, and the GI Bill for active-duty military and veterans.

    The most common financial aid resource for most students is student loans, particularly those through federal student loan programs. The federal government also sponsors student loan repayment opportunities through its Health Resources & Services Administration open to qualifying nursing students. Another important funding opportunity is the State-sponsored Nursing Student Assistance Program with substantial financial assistance for nursing students willing to fulfill a practice obligation in a rural Oklahoma community upon graduation.

    For more information and advice on funding your nursing education, visit EduMed’s financial aid guide, nursing scholarship guide, and guide to graduating from nursing school debt-free.

    How to Become an RN in Oklahoma: Licensing Details and Requirements

    An RN license is a requirement for practice as a registered nurse in Oklahoma, and this requirement is met in one of three ways. First, you can possess a multistate license from one of the 39 member jurisdictions making up the Nurse License Compact, or you can obtain an Oklahoma RN license through the endorsement process. For a first-time license applicant, though, obtaining an Oklahoma RN license happens via examination.

    Application for licensure by examination is administered by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN) and can result in either single state (Oklahoma) or multistate licensure. Below are the steps you’ll take to obtain your multistate RN license. Although there are some differences in the single state and multistate licensure requirements, the basic steps are generally the same.

    Step 1

    Submit your Oklahoma RN license application

    The OBN recommends you submit your application approximately two months before graduation from your pre-license nursing program. You’ll complete your application online using the Oklahoma Nurse Portal. Submission requirements include proof of citizenship, declaration of your primary state of residence, and your fingerprint card for conducting state and national criminal history searches. You may also need to provide descriptions and additional documentation regarding any criminal charge, disciplinary action, or competency questions to which you answered “yes” on the application.

    Step 2

    Graduate from your pre-licensure nursing degree program

    For most Oklahoma residents, this means completing either an ADN or BSN degree program through one of the many nationally-accredited and state-approved nursing schools in Oklahoma. Upon graduation, make sure a copy of your official program transcript is submitted to the OBN.

    Step 3

    Register for and take the NCLEX-RN exam

    The NCLEX-RN examination is administered exclusively by Pearson VUE. Once you register, including paying the registration fee, and your RN license application is approved by the OBN, you’ll receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter from Pearson VUE that allows you to schedule your exam, which you do through your Pearson VUE account. You’ll then take the exam at any one of Pearson VUE’s domestic or international test locations.

    For helpful information on preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam, visit this NCSBN website.

    Step 4

    Verify the issuance of your RN license

    You’ll receive the official results of your NCLEX-RN exam and verification of your newly-issued RN license from the OBN via the Nurse Portal approximately six weeks after taking the exam. Pearson VUE will not provide you with your official exam results. However, you may access unofficial results through Pearson VUE two business days after taking the exam.

    Step 5

    Keep your Oklahoma RN license current

    All Oklahoma-issued RN licenses expire on the last day of the licensee’s birth month of even-numbered years. You can renew your license online using the OBN Nurse Portal. Renewal requires payment of the renewal fee and proof of meeting one of five options for continuing qualifications, including CE hours, professional employment, and certification in a nursing specialty area

    Job Outlook for RNs in Oklahoma

    The employment outlook for registered nurses in Oklahoma is strong and projected to remain that way for the next several years. Oklahoma RNs interested in advancing their careers as nurse practitioners can expect even better job growth in the state with a projected at 19.4% for the same ten-year period. Major employers of nurses in Oklahoma include hospitals like Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, healthcare systems like Parallon and SSM Health, and nurse staffing agencies like GHR Travel Nursing.

    Employment Projections for RNs in Oklahoma

    New Jobs
    Job Growth Rate
    Average Annual Openings
    United States371,50012.1%210,400

    Source: Projections Central

    Nursing Pay in Oklahoma: How Much You Could Make as an RN

    Salaries for RNs in Oklahoma lag somewhat behind those in the nation as a whole, but this is most likely due to the lower cost of living in the state. What you earn in your job as a registered nurse in Oklahoma depends on several factors, including your employer and job title, geographic location, and level of professional experience in the nursing field.

    Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Oklahoma

    10th PercentileMedian Earnings90th Percentile
    United States$53,410 $75,330$116,230
    Enid, OK$46,280$63,200$80,590
    Lawton, OK$37,830$67,350$85,380
    Oklahoma City, OK$49,080$68,020$85,810
    Tulsa, OK$50,470$66,250$87,110

    Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020