For our inaugural rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,200 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We included the following states within our New England rankings: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. We evaluated each nursing school in the region on three dimensions:
- The institution’s academic prestige and perceived value
- The breadth and depth of nursing programs offered
- Student success, particularly on the NCLEX national licensure exam
We then combined these assessments into an overall score and ranked the schools accordingly. For a detailed description of our assessment methodology and dimension weights, please see here.
#31: Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing | Bridgeport, CT
Not only is BHSN one of the oldest nursing schools in Connecticut, it is one of the oldest in the country. The school graduated six nursing students in its inaugural class of 1889. Since that time, BHSN has graduated approximately 5,000 nurses. The school is one of few in the country to offer an accelerated two-year nursing diploma through an intensive hospital-based program. Graduates can then complete additional credits at another nursing school to earn their ADN or BSN degree. Each year, approximately 100 nursing graduates sit for the NCLEX exam with a consistently stellar pass rate of 93-95%.
#32: University of Maine | Orono, ME
UMaine was one of the state’s first universities to create a baccalaureate program for nurses in 1939. More recently, the School of Nursing developed its first graduate program in 1992. Since then, UMaine has dispersed over 140 FNPs to rural primary care and specialty practices throughout the state. The school also offers an Individualized MSN (I-MSN), a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS), and a Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education. In the undergraduate ranks, UMaine maintains an NCLEX exam pass rate of 82-88% across all three campuses in Orono (core BSN program), Fort Kent (satellite BSN program), and Augusta (ADN program).
#33: Worcester State University | Worcester, MA
The Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Nursing Department at Worcester State University has educated nurses for almost 40 years. The department provides three undergraduate nursing tracks: traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, and LPN-to-BSN. Their small graduating BSN class of 40-50 students consistently passes the NCLEX exam at a rate of 93-100%. Worcester State’s MSN program is offered in two fields: community / public health nursing and nursing education. Designed for flexible scheduling, it offers blended learning between face-to-face classes and online study. The school also provides a post-master's certificate program in nursing education.
#34: Vermont Technical College | Randolph Center, VT
Vermont Tech has a hands-on curriculum that employs a unique career ladder model. Students can progress sequentially through three stages in their nursing education: an LPN certificate, an ADN degree leading to RN licensure, and an online RN-to-BSN baccalaureate completion program. Vermont Tech’s nursing students have program completion rates of 85-99%. In 2014, the school’s LPN graduates posted a stellar NCLEX-PN pass rate of 97.5%, a full 14 percentage points above the national average. That same year, the school’s ADN graduates passed the NCLEX-RN exam at a rate of 88.2%, also several points above the national average.
#35: Central Connecticut State University | New Britain, CT
CCSU focuses primarily on undergraduate nursing education, offering a traditional four-year BSN and an RN-to-BSN track. The school’s nursing department is committed to a rigorous curriculum: it has a well-furnished learning center, encourages global diversity, and does not offer any accelerated programs. Four-year BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at an 80% rate since the inaugural graduating class of 2012, and many have taken advantage of the school’s overseas study opportunities. CCSU also offers a Master of Science in Biological Sciences: Anesthesia for aspiring CRNAs.
#36: American International College | Springfield, MA
American International College (AIC) opened in 1885 as a school for international immigrants. The institution became coed in 1892, making it one of the first colleges in the region to educate women. AIC offers BSN and RN-to-BSN courses for undergraduate students. Graduates of the traditional BSN program typically pass the NCLEX exam at a rate of 80-97% each year. The college introduced its MSN program in 2005, which offers a hybrid of classroom and online modules. In fact, two-thirds of the content is available online, providing much-needed flexibility for working nurses.
#37: Rhode Island College | Providence, RI
The School of Nursing at Rhode Island College houses the largest baccalaureate nursing program in the state, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN tracks. Graduates typically pass the NCLEX-RN exam at a rate of ~93% on the first try, well above state and national averages. At the graduate level, RIC offers a DNP program and four MSN specializations: adult-gerontology with an acute care emphasis, nurse anesthesia, population / public health, and nursing care management. Located in the Providence metropolitan area, the college campus is within five miles of several major state healthcare institutions.
#38: Salve Regina University | Newport, RI
The Department of Nursing at Salve Regina strives to develop nurses that are liberally educated and ethically grounded. There is a heavy emphasis on service learning: as part of their studies, students serve in soup kitchens, the YMCA, senior centers, legislative committees, free clinics, or the state food bank. Graduating BSN students typically pass the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of 86-94%. Salve Regina also offers a joint bachelor's / master's program that confers a master's degree in healthcare administration and management. The university's Center for Adult Education in Warwick conducts a part-time BSN-to-DNP program, which awards an MSN degree with FNP focus as well as the terminal doctoral degree.
#39: New England Institute of Technology | East Greenwich, RI
NEIT was the first Rhode Island school to launch a 100% online RN-to-BSN program. The school also offers an associate’s degree in nursing that can be completed fulltime in as little as 21 months. Graduates of the ADN program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam, and they’ve recently passed it at a strong rate of ~90%. ADN graduates are then encouraged to enroll in the RN-to-BSN completion program while they work as registered nurses. Both programs are among the newest offerings in the state, and both are fully accredited by the ACEN.
#40: University of Southern Maine | Portland, ME
University of Southern Maine’s School of Nursing offers a host of flexible options for students seeking to enter the nursing profession. Its BSN program is available on both the Portland and Lewiston-Auburn campuses. An accelerated BSN and hybrid RN-to-BSN program are also on offer, along with a number of specialty MSN programs. Each year, the school graduates approximately 150 students that are eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam. These students have passed the licensure exam at an 87.7% rate over the past three years, significantly above state and national averages.
The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs in the New England area.