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Vocational, career, and community colleges offer an inexpensive path to an education that can propel you into a successful nursing career. These schools provide more focused studies than traditional four-year colleges, landing students in the job market more quickly. They focus on certificate and associate’s degree programs rather than bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.

Community colleges generally accept a higher share of applicants, so you'll have a better chance of admittance into the degree or certificate program of your choice. These schools are also substantially less expensive than four-year colleges, due to both a lower cost per credit hour and a shorter time to degree or certificate completion.

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As a result, community colleges provide an accelerated and cost-effective path to nursing employment. For example, you can complete a licensed practical nurse (LPN) certificate program in 12-18 months or a registered nurse (RN) associate's degree program in just two years of study. In that short time, you'll gain an education that can significantly enhance your earnings potential. LPNs in the DC area earn an average of $23.36 per hour, while RNs earn an average hourly wage of $37.28.

The DC area is home to a number of prominent healthcare facilities which actively seek recent LPN and RN graduates from local two-year schools. Employers like Washington Hospital Center, MedStar National Rehabilitation Center, and Volunteers of America Chesapeake have all recently posted job openings for qualified applicants.

To assist your search for the best nursing program, we’ve compiled below a list of DC's best vocational and community colleges.