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Following a national trend, jobs for registered nurses (RNs) in Alabama are expected to grow in the coming years. Registered nurses play a critical role in addressing the need for more qualified healthcare workers to attend to the increasing number of sick, disabled, and elderly patients. Proof of this critical demand is similar growth in the number of nursing aides needed to help registered nurses perform basic nursing functions.

There are two types of prelicensure programs for nursing: a two-year associate’s degree and a four-year bachelor’s degree. Both courses allow their graduates to take the NCLEX-RN, a government licensure exam for registered nurses.

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Registered nurses who are graduates of either course are in great demand in Alabama, although bachelor’s degree holders are more sought-after and receive higher pay than associate’s degree graduates. This is why many associate’s degree holders still pursue a full-term bachelor’s degree.

There are many employment opportunities for registered nurses in Alabama, including public and private offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and even private homes with critically ill patients. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs earn an average annual salary of $66,220. This can range from a low of $45,630 to a high of $96,320, depending on the degree earned, salary grade level, and place of assignment, among other factors.

The first step towards embarking on a nursing career is finding the right school. Below is a list of the top schools in Alabama offering associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in registered nursing.

Birmingham

Samford University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Jefferson State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
  • Direct Entry MSN
Bevill State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Lawson State Community College - Birmingham
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Herzing University - Birmingham
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 73.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Virginia College - Birmingham
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 47.3% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2011-12)

Huntsville

Oakwood University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
John C. Calhoun State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 82.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)

Mobile

University of South Alabama
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
  • Direct Entry MSN
University of Mobile
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Bishop State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Virginia College - Mobile
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
Spring Hill College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 73.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)

Montgomery

South University - Montgomery
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
Auburn University at Montgomery
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Troy University - Montgomery
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Virginia College - Montgomery
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 72.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2011-12)
Fortis College - Montgomery
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing

Other Alabama cities

Tuskegee University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Auburn University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 98.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
James H. Faulkner State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
University of Alabama
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 97.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Alabama Southern Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Troy University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
University of North Alabama
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
George C. Wallace State Community College - Selma
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Southern Union State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
George C. Wallace State Community College - Hanceville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Jacksonville State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Northwest-Shoals Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Northeast Alabama Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Gadsden State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Shelton State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
University of West Alabama
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Chattahoochee Valley Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Jefferson Davis Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Snead State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Central Alabama Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
George C. Wallace State Community College - Dothan
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 78.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Lurleen B. Wallace Community College - MacArthur
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 74.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Judson College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
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