Welcome to our 2nd Annual RN Program Rankings - 2018 Edition!

We are firm believers in providing students with all the information possible to make the right choice when selecting a nursing school. With this in mind, we feel a great way to provide this transparency would be through studying nursing programs and their students' performance on the NCLEX-RN exam.

The NCLEX-RN exam is used by all state boards of nursing across the United States to help assess a student's competency and is required for licensure. Also, many state boards of nursing use the total overall NCLEX-RN pass rates for a school as one of the main ways to approve a school's ability to provide a nursing education in the state. This is why we feel the NCLEX-RN pass rates are one of the best ways to determine a nursing program's student preparedness, and that is why we decided to rank them using this method.

Methodology

Our methodology began with obtaining NCLEX-RN exam pass rates for all RN programs (ADN, BSN, Direct-Entry MSN) state by state through several methods, including making a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. We requested the previous 5 years of information that is available.

Once this data was obtained, we filtered out the programs with the following characteristics:

  • Programs that have closed or will be closing at the time of data collecting
  • Programs with no pass rate data available for the previous 1 or 2 years, depending on the state and number of years of data available
  • Programs with only one year of pass rates

Once non-qualifying programs had been filtered, the ranking process began:

  1. NCLEX-RN pass rates were analyzed going back to the most recent years of data available up to 5 years, each state may have varying years, see the data table below for each state's year range analysis.
  2. Schools pass rates were averaged together and weighted by the recency of the exam, for example, exam pass rates in 2015 count more towards overall rankings than scores from 2012. The weighting cofactor values table used:
    State Years Rankings Based On Number Schools Analyzed Number Schools Ranked
    Alabama 2013 - 2017 40 10
    Alaska N/A 2 N/A
    Arizona 2013 - 2017 28 10
    Arkansas 2013 - 2017 26 10
    California 2013 - 2017 131 50
    Colorado 2013 - 2017 28 10
    Connecticut 2011 - 2013 20 5
    Delaware 2011 - 2015 7 3
    Florida 2014 - 2017 144 50
    Georgia 2014 - 2017 51 20
    Hawaii 2013 - 2015 8 3
    Idaho N/A 11 N/A
    Illinois 2013 - 2017 75 30
    Indiana 2011 - 2014 55 20
    Iowa 2013 - 2017 32 10
    Kansas 2011 - 2014 36 10
    Kentucky 2011 - 2014 51 20
    Louisiana 2011 - 2014 25 10
    Maine 2013 - 2017 13 5
    Maryland 2013 - 2017 25 10
    Massachusetts 2013 - 2017 42 20
    Michigan 2012 - 2016 60 20
    Minnesota 2011 - 2014 42 20
    Mississippi 2012 - 2014 23 10
    Missouri 2011 - 2014 55 20
    Montana 2013 - 2017 12 5
    Nebraska 2011 - 2014 15 5
    Nevada 2013 - 2017 11 5
    New Hampshire 2013 - 2017 15 5
    New Jersey 2013 - 2017 40 10
    New Mexico 2011 - 2015 23 10
    New York 2013 - 2014 99 30
    North Carolina 2013 - 2017 78 30
    North Dakota 2013 - 2017 11 5
    Ohio 2013 - 2017 89 30
    Oklahoma 2011 - 2014 46 20
    Oregon 2013 - 2017 27 10
    Pennsylvania 2013 - 2017 76 30
    Rhode Island N/A 5 N/A
    South Carolina 2011 - 2014 29 10
    South Dakota 2011 - 2014 11 5
    Tennessee 2011 - 2014 41 20
    Texas 2013 - 2017 116 50
    Utah 2013 - 2017 18 5
    Vermont N/A 4 N/A
    Virginia 2013 - 2017 48 20
    Washington 2011 - 2014 37 10
    West Virginia 2011 - 2014 25 10
    Wisconsin 2014 - 2015 39 10
    Wyoming 2012 - 2014 8 3

    Concerns, Questions, and Corrections

    We understand there is much more in deciding which school best supports students on their path to becoming registered nurses, but providing this information for students can be another point to consider in choosing a school to attend. Our recommendation would be to use our rankings in addition to other factors in helping find the right school.

    Please send comments, questions, or corrections to us via our contact form