Welcome to our 4th Annual RN Program Rankings - 2020 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 is 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. 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 have chosen 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 2018 count more towards overall rankings than scores from 2014. The weighting cofactor values table used:
    Number Years of Data AvailableWeighting Cofactors (Most Recent First)
    5 Years 0.37,0.27,0.17,0.12,0.07
    4 Years 0.4,0.3,0.2,0.1
    3 Years 0.45,0.35,0.2
    2 Years 0.65,0.35
    1 Year 1

Ranking Details By State

The table below lists information by state, including the years of NCLEX-RN pass rate data analyzed, the number of schools in each state, and the number of top-ranked programs.

State Years Rankings Based On Number Schools Analyzed Number Schools Ranked
Alabama 2015 - 2019 39 10
Alaska N/A 2 N/A
Arizona 2015 - 2019 28 10
Arkansas 2015 - 2019 26 10
California 2015 - 2019 126 50
Colorado 2015 - 2019 28 10
Connecticut 2015 - 2019 20 5
Delaware 2015 - 2019 7 3
Florida 2015 - 2019 153 50
Georgia 2015 - 2019 53 20
Hawaii 2013 - 2015 8 3
Idaho N/A 11 N/A
Illinois 2015 - 2019 77 30
Indiana 2014 - 2018 49 20
Iowa 2015 - 2019 33 10
Kansas 2014 - 2018 32 10
Kentucky 2014 - 2018 50 20
Louisiana 2014 - 2018 27 10
Maine 2015 - 2019 12 5
Maryland 2015 - 2019 25 10
Massachusetts 2015 - 2019 40 10
Michigan 2012 - 2016 59 20
Minnesota 2015 - 2019 45 20
Mississippi 2014 - 2018 23 10
Missouri 2015 - 2019 55 20
Montana 2014 - 2018 13 5
Nebraska 2014 - 2018 17 5
Nevada 2015 - 2019 12 5
New Hampshire 2014 - 2018 15 5
New Jersey 2015 - 2019 46 20
New Mexico 2014 - 2018 21 10
New York 2014 - 2018 97 30
North Carolina 2015 - 2019 82 30
North Dakota 2014 - 2018 11 5
Ohio 2015 - 2019 96 30
Oklahoma 2014 - 2018 44 20
Oregon 2014 - 2018 27 10
Pennsylvania 2015 - 2019 78 30
Rhode Island N/A 5 N/A
South Carolina 2015 - 2019 31 10
South Dakota 2014 - 2018 11 5
Tennessee 2015 - 2019 44 20
Texas 2015 - 2019 118 50
Utah 2014 - 2018 18 5
Vermont N/A 5 N/A
Virginia 2015 - 2019 65 20
Washington 2015 - 2019 35 10
West Virginia 2014 - 2018 26 10
Wisconsin 2015 - 2019 42 20
Wyoming 2014 - 2018 9 3

LPN to RN & Paramedic to RN Ranking Details

Much of our main state ranking methodology above was used in coordination with the Online LPN to RN ranking. Other contributing factors weighted into this ranking include but not limited to:

  • Tuition cost
  • Average program length
  • Geo coverage
  • Further educational pathways and partnerships
  • # of cohorts annually

Referenced Rankings

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