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.


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:
    StateYears Rankings Based OnNumber Schools AnalyzedNumber Schools Ranked
    Alabama2013 - 20173810
    Arizona2013 - 20172810
    Arkansas2013 - 20172610
    California2013 - 201712950
    Colorado2013 - 20172810
    Connecticut2011 - 2013205
    Delaware2011 - 201573
    Florida2014 - 201714550
    Georgia2014 - 20175120
    Hawaii2013 - 201583
    Illinois2013 - 20177530
    Indiana2011 - 20145520
    Iowa2013 - 20173210
    Kansas2013 - 20173410
    Kentucky2011 - 20145120
    Louisiana2011 - 20142510
    Maine2013 - 2017135
    Maryland2013 - 20172510
    Massachusetts2013 - 20174220
    Michigan2012 - 20166020
    Minnesota2013 - 20174320
    Mississippi2012 - 20142310
    Missouri2013 - 20175320
    Montana2013 - 2017125
    Nebraska2011 - 2014155
    Nevada2013 - 2017103
    New Hampshire2013 - 2017155
    New Jersey2013 - 20174010
    New Mexico2013 - 20172110
    New York2013 - 20179930
    North Carolina2013 - 20177930
    North Dakota2013 - 2017115
    Ohio2013 - 20178830
    Oklahoma2013 - 20174320
    Oregon2013 - 20172710
    Pennsylvania2013 - 20177630
    Rhode IslandN/A5N/A
    South Carolina2013 - 20172810
    South Dakota2011 - 2014115
    Tennessee2011 - 20144120
    Texas2013 - 201711650
    Utah2013 - 2017185
    Virginia2013 - 20174820
    Washington2011 - 20143710
    West Virginia2013 - 20172610
    Wisconsin2014 - 20153910
    Wyoming2012 - 201483

    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