As is the case across the entire U.S., nursing schools in Wyoming are striving to meet rising healthcare demands, particularly when it comes to the health of children. The rate of infant deaths in Wyoming per 1,000 live births increased by 31% from 4.8 in 2016-2017 to 6.3 in 2018-2019, and the percentage of children 0-17 years old receiving well-child visits decreased by 7%, from 80.1% in 2016-2017 to 74.1% in 2020-2021. Though the nursing education landscape of Wyoming is relatively small, nursing programs across the state are well-regarded for their challenging and engaging curriculum. If you envision yourself in a career where you’re engaged in improving health outcomes not only for children but for all patients, you’ll want to keep reading to learn about the best online nursing programs in Wyoming, scholarships and grants for nursing school, and how to become a licensed RN in the state.
2023’s Best-in-Class Nursing Schools in Wyoming
If you’re a nursing student looking to launch your career, some nursing schools in Wyoming offer an affordable education with top-notch accreditation and excellent student support. Three of the nursing programs that stand out are:
- University of Wyoming
- Northern Wyoming Community College District
- Central Wyoming College
These institutions are committed to offering a mix of both traditional and online course options while providing a solid foundation for your continued nursing education and growth. With robust curricula and resources designed to support student success, these nursing programs provide a clear path for you to kickstart or further advance your nursing career in Wyoming.
University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming is known for its high-quality nursing program. Accredited by theCommission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the University’s nursing program offers BSN, MS, DNP, and PhD degrees with small class sizes and personalized advising within a broad curriculum encompassingthe art, science, and practice of nursing.
Students enrolled in nursing programs at the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing at the University of Wyoming become part of a tight-knit nursing community at a university that prides itself on a “small school” feel. Despite the small school vibes, it offers up-to-date equipment and simulation laboratories designed for hands-on experience, as well as experienced faculty dedicated to helping students succeed.
With an above-average NCLEX-RN passing rate of 80.85%, nursing students in Wyoming have plenty to look forward to and can rest assured that they are getting a quality education.
Northern Wyoming Community College District
Wyoming is home to the Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD), which offers top-tier nursing programs at two schools. At both colleges, located in Sheridan and Gillette, students can earn an associate degree (ADN) or certificate of practical nursing (CPN).
All graduates are eligible for their National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). With a passing rate average of 87%, NWCCD could be an ideal choice for students seeking a quality education on a rewarding career path in a short period of time. Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the programs offer hands-on simulation training and extensive clinical experience.
In-state tuition and fees at both NWCCD schools are $4,830 per year and $11,130 for out-of-state students. If you live in one of the neighboring western states and qualify for Western Undergraduate Exchange reduced tuition, you’ll pay $6,420 in tuition and fees for one year. Students looking for an accredited, affordable, quality nursing education in Wyoming will find NWCCD hard to beat.
Central Wyoming College
Central Wyoming College’s nursing program is an excellent opportunity for aspiring nurses in the state of Wyoming to pursue their nursing education. The school offers students an ASD in nursing, which provides students with the necessary education and knowledge to excel in this highly rewarding profession.
Located in Riverton, Central Wyoming College has been providing quality nursing programs since 1972 and offers courses that meet the highest standards set by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC). The program has been tailored to best prepare students for successful careers as registered nurses.
By completing this program, graduates will receive hands-on experience from experienced faculty members able to teach how to care for patients and communities through clinical rotations, seminars in advanced healthcare topics, and real-world job shadowing opportunities.
Accredited by the ACEN, with a whopping 93.50% NCLEX-RN passing rate average and only slightly higher tuition costs than the state average, Central Wyoming College is a fierce competitor for students who want to kick off their career in nursing quickly and effectively, yet also affordably.
Types of Nursing Programs Available in Wyoming
Nursing schools in Wyoming offer a variety of nursing programs that can help aspiring nurses reach their career goals. Registered nursing programs are the most popular among nursing students, allowing them to earn nursing licensure. The RN program focuses on essential nursing skills, as well as health promotion, disease prevention, and chronic care management.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees for advanced nursing practitioners are available in Wyoming. These nursing degrees prepare nurses for specialized nursing roles such as nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and nurse midwife.
Wyoming also offers entry-level nursing programs. The state has certified nursing assistant (CNA) programs, which provide the necessary training for CNAs to work in long-term and acute care settings, providing basic caregiving services and helping patients with everyday activities.
No matter where you are on your nursing career path, a nursing program is available in Wyoming to match your educational needs.
Here are some of the most common options currently available.
Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Wyoming
Nursing Bridge Programs in Wyoming for Current Nurses
Advanced Nursing Programs in Wyoming
Inside Look at Online Nursing Programs in Wyoming
Nursing students in Wyoming have several options for completing their nursing education. Those who choose an online nursing program can expect to find traditional bachelor’s nursing programs along with accelerated and hybrid programs.
In most cases, nursing theories, pathophysiology, pharmacology, nursing informatics and health assessment coursework can all be fully completed online.
However, clinical nursing courses must typically take place on-site at a nursing school or healthcare facility with an active clinical affiliation. Nursing students generally require on-campus visits at selected times during their studies.
Additionally, some schools may require students to travel for simulation training exercises and examinations. Therefore, students need to be prepared for instances where they will need to attend campus events and visit training sites.
Best Online Nursing Programs in Wyoming
For aspiring nurses in Wyoming, Northwest College’s ADN program offers two distinct paths: an entirely on-campus experience at Powell or a hybrid course that blends online studies with face-to-face labs and on-site clinicals near Cody.
Regardless of which choice you make, graduating from this program paves the way to enter the University of Wyoming’s BSN degree. But even if you don’t transition straight to your bachelor’s education after graduation, this nursing program can still set you up for success as an RN before continuing your journey toward furthering your career with a baccalaureate degree down the line.
Western Governor’s University
Western Governor’s University (WGU) offers an RN to BSN program to help enhance your nursing career. At WGU, students have access to a leading and diverse learning environment designed to provide them with the highest quality education available in Wyoming.
By obtaining your BSN through WGU, you learn through an innovative model led by a faculty of experts committed to helping students succeed and reach their academic goals.
This approach combines solid academic rigor with all the flexibility and convenience necessary for working nurses who also must juggle family obligations without sacrificing quality instruction or support.
Given their flexible scheduling options, excellent financial aid resources, and comprehensive curriculum offerings that meet today’s healthcare industry demands, WGU can give aspiring nurses everything they need on the path toward earning their degree.
University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming offers a 15-month program known as BRAND (Bachelors Reach for Accelerated Nursing Degree). This program allows rural and isolated hospitals to mentor and raise their own BSN-prepared nurses without relocation. Students take courses in topics that include human anatomy, foundational pathophysiology, fundamentals of pharmacology, and nursing care in acute, chronic, and complex illnesses.
Offered through the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing, this innovative summer-to-summer accelerated distance learning model combines online classes with clinical experiences. The result is an intensive education in nursing studies tailored towards motivated, independent students seeking self-discipline through higher academic achievement.
Invest in Your Nursing Education: Financial Aid in Wyoming
Wyoming nursing schools offer several financial aid options to help students pay for tuition and other school-related expenses. From nursing loan programs to state-specific nursing scholarships and grants, there’s sure to be something for everyone. For example, the Wyoming Nurses Association awards the $1,200 Margaret L. Hageman scholarship every year to a resident of the state who is working towards an RN degree, with preference given to nontraditional students.
Nursing loan programs specifically designed for nursing study can cover tuition, fees, and other educational costs, while nursing scholarships may be available from the nursing school directly or through external organizations that offer a variety of awards based on factors such as merit, need, and personal experiences.
Step-by-Step Guide: Wyoming RN Licensing
Knowing the specific licensing requirements of nursing programs in Wyoming is essential before you enroll in any nursing school. Such details will play an important role in the success of your nursing career and can affect your ability to practice nursing in the state.
You need to attend a nursing program that is approved by the Wyoming Board of Nursing. These schools meet the rigorous standards and precise criteria that help ensure a high-quality nursing education and provide the necessary skills and competencies that nursing professionals need to be successful.
Step #1: Completion of Nursing Education Program
You must successfully complete either an associate degree, diploma, or bachelor’s degree program in nursing that qualifies you to sit for the NCLEX. Some nurses can complete a board-approved refresher course if they are already licensed in a reciprocal state.
Step #2: Pass the NCLEX Test
Once you have completed your training program, you must pass the NCLEX exam. This is an important milestone that all future nurses must pass before they can become officially licensed and begin practicing their profession. The NCLEX comprises multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge of medical procedures, practices, patient care techniques, and safety protocols.
Step #3: Apply for Licensure
After passing the NCLEX test, the next step is to apply for licensure with the Wyoming State Board of Nursing (WSBON). This requires submitting an application form along with any required supporting documents, such as transcripts from your nursing school and proof of citizenship/legal residency status. Your application will then be reviewed by WSBON staff, who will determine if you meet all requirements set forth by WSBON for licensure in Wyoming.
Step #4: Complete the Background Check
The board also requires all applicants to complete a background check prior to receiving their license. All applicants who have lived outside of Wyoming within the last five years must submit fingerprints so that their criminal records can be checked against national databases maintained by both state and federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and Homeland Security Department. The results of this background check will determine whether you are eligible for licensure within Wyoming’s borders.
Step #5: Pay Licensing Fees
The final requirement for becoming a licensed nurse in Wyoming is paying licensing fees, which vary depending on the type of license requested (i.e., RN vs. LPN) and the time frame of application submission (i.e., regular vs. expedited). For example, applying for a standard RN license costs $115, while applying for an expedited license costs $180 ($125 + $55 expedited fee). Once all fees have been paid, you will receive your official license from WSBON via U.S. mail within 14 business days upon successfully completing all the abovementioned requirements.
RN Employment Forecast in Wyoming
The nursing job market in Wyoming is projected to remain strong, with nursing schools in the state expected to continue to provide nursing programs that meet the growing demand for BSN-educated registered nurses.
The metro areas of Jackson, Cheyenne, and Riverton are presently experiencing a nursing shortage because of an increase in their populations, which makes them a great place for those who have obtained their BSN degrees.
Prospective nurses can also benefit from researching nursing workforce websites of each respective state prior to beginning a nursing program, as these can provide helpful information on current job market demands across Wyoming.
Employment Projections for RNs in Wyoming
Source: Projections Central
Wyoming RN Salary Breakdown
Registered nursing is an attractive career path in Wyoming, boasting a median salary of up to $78,050 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is slightly higher than the national average of $77,600 and slightly higher than nursing salaries in nearby states like Utah ($72,790) and Idaho ($73,640). Some states, like Colorado, are higher ($80,670).
Hospitals and nursing schools in Wyoming are taking note of these appealing figures. Nursing programs have seen an influx of students from all over the nation. Serious students interested in nursing should research nursing schools in Wyoming for more information on education and salary opportunities.
With comprehensive nursing programs, experienced teachers, and strong job growth potential – not only when compared to nearby states but nationally – Wyoming provides registered nurses with promising salary potential.
Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Wyoming
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021