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Best Nursing Schools in Alabama: Top Rated Choices for Aspiring Nurses

As the demand for skilled and compassionate nurses continues to grow nationwide, many aspiring healthcare professionals are looking for quality nursing education in their home state. In Alabama, prospective students have several top-notch nursing schools to choose from, offering a broad range of degree programs tailored to suit their unique needs and career goals.

nursing student

By diving into the world of nursing education in Alabama, students have the opportunity to learn from experienced faculty, participate in hands-on clinical experiences, and be well-prepared to pass the NCLEX licensure exam upon graduating. These nursing schools not only equip students with essential knowledge and skills in patient care, but also provide a strong foundation for pursuing career opportunities within the diverse healthcare sector.

Key Takeaways

  • Alabama’s best nursing schools offer comprehensive degree programs to suit various career goals
  • Accreditation, ranking, and NCLEX pass rates indicate the high quality of nursing education in the state
  • Clinical experiences and career opportunities make Alabama nursing schools a top choice for aspiring professionals

Top Nursing Schools in Alabama

University of Alabama

The University of Alabama at Birmingham stands out for its excellence in both clinical preparation and research and scholarship. UAB School of Nursing offers a solid foundation for individuals who desire a career in nursing. With diverse programs that cater to various learning preferences, students can choose from traditional, online, and accelerated coursework.

Auburn University

Auburn University’s nursing program boasts an impressive NCLEX pass rate of 97.78%. Offering a mix of in-person and online classes, students can enjoy the flexibility their learning requires. While the annual in-state tuition stands at $12,176, the investment is worthwhile for a quality nursing education.

Samford University

Samford University is renowned for its Moffett Nursing School. The school offers well-rounded programs for both undergraduate and graduate students, striving for excellence in their nursing careers. With state-of-the-art facilities and experienced faculty, students can expect top-notch education and hands-on training.

University of South Alabama

The University of South Alabama offers nursing programs aimed at creating highly-skilled medical professionals. With a variety of program options, including Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees, students can select the right path for their nursing aspirations. The curriculum emphasizes clinical experiences and innovative teaching approaches to ensure students are equipped with essential skills.

University of Alabama in Huntsville

The University of Alabama in Huntsville is known for providing exceptional nursing education in collaboration with the latest scientific advancements. This institution offers both graduate and undergraduate programs in nursing. Students get hands-on training and extensive clinical experiences to ensure a well-rounded understanding of the profession.

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University provides high-quality nursing programs that cater to the ever-changing needs of the healthcare industry. With diverse learning options, including traditional, online, accelerated, and bridge coursework, students can pursue their nursing goal at their own pace. The faculty and staff at JSU are dedicated to providing individualized support and academic success.

University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama offers comprehensive nursing programs that emphasize evidence-based practice, leadership, and compassion. Students can opt for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses that suit their unique needs. With a supportive learning environment, the University of North Alabama ensures students receive the best nursing education as they prepare for their careers.

Degree Programs Offered

In Alabama, there are a variety of nursing schools that offer comprehensive degree programs. These programs are designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become successful, competent, and compassionate nursing professionals. In this section, we will discuss the different degree programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

The BSN program is a popular choice for aspiring nurses looking to acquire a strong foundation in nursing theory and practice. This program typically takes four years to complete and is offered by universities such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Oakwood University in Huntsville. Most BSN programs include a combination of general education courses, nursing-specific coursework, and clinical experiences.

Key Features of BSN Programs:

  • Duration: 4 years
  • Focus: Nursing theory and practice
  • Approach: Combination of general education courses, nursing-specific courses, and clinical experiences

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The MSN program is designed for registered nurses (RNs) who wish to advance their education and career opportunities. Usually, students can pursue the MSN program after completing their BSN or through an RN to MSN pathway. This program allows students to specialize in areas such as nursing education, administration, or specific patient populations. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of the schools in Alabama offering this advanced degree.

Key Features of MSN Programs:

  • Duration: 2-3 years
  • Focus: Advanced nursing practice and specialization
  • Approach: Combination of core nursing courses, specialized courses, and clinical experiences

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP program is the highest level of practice-focused nursing education. This program is intended for experienced nursing professionals, including nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives, who want to expand their clinical expertise and leadership skills. The DNP program emphasizes evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership. Alabama schools such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham offer this doctoral degree.

Key Features of DNP Programs:

  • Duration: 3-4 years
  • Focus: Highest level of nursing practice, leadership, and expertise
  • Approach: Combination of advanced nursing courses, research, clinical experiences, and leadership training

Accreditation and Ranking

In Alabama, there are over 40 nursing schools that offer programs to ambitious students seeking to join the healthcare profession. Accreditation of these nursing programs is essential to ensure that students receive a high-quality education that meets industry standards. The two primary accrediting agencies for nursing programs in Alabama are the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

The CCNE accredits 11 nursing schools in Alabama, while the ACEN accredits 27 schools throughout the state. Schools with either of these accreditations have proven their commitment to adhere to rigorous educational standards. It is crucial for students to attend an accredited school to ensure qualification for licensure and significantly impact their future nursing career prospects.

Rankings for nursing schools are based on several factors, such as NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, and tuition costs. While attending a highly ranked nursing school may seem attractive, your personal needs and preferences should still play a significant role in your decision-making process. Several nursing schools in Alabama consistently rank high, such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

It is important to keep in mind that the duration of the nursing programs varies depending on the degree pursued. Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, while a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) takes about four years.

Admission Requirements and Process

The admission process for nursing schools in Alabama varies depending on the institution, but there are certain common requirements that students must meet. Below are the general requirements for admission to nursing schools in Alabama.

GPA requirement: Most nursing schools in Alabama require a minimum GPA for admission. Although the specific GPA requirement may vary, many institutions require a minimum of 2.3 in both overall GPA and in required prerequisite courses, such as chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology.

Acceptance Rate: The acceptance rate for nursing programs in Alabama varies by school, but it is important to note that some programs may be highly competitive and may have limited spots available for incoming students.

Applying: To apply to a nursing school in Alabama, students need to have completed an Alabama High School Diploma or its equivalent. In addition to meeting the GPA requirements, students should submit transcripts, professional or personal references, and any additional required documentation as specified by the institution they are applying to. Some schools may also require ACT or SAT scores, but this is not always the case.

Methodology: Many nursing schools in Alabama offer a variety of pathways to enter the profession. Programs can range from Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. ADN programs typically take between 18 to 24 months to complete, while BSN programs require around four years.

Early Acceptance Program: Specific early acceptance programs may not be universally offered across all nursing schools in Alabama, but students who are well prepared and meet or exceed the admission requirements may have an advantage when applying to highly competitive programs within their chosen institutions.

Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships

The cost of tuition for nursing schools in Alabama varies depending on factors such as the school, the program, and the student’s residency status. For example, the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) has an annual tuition cost of $9,730 for in-state students and $22,126 for out-of-state students.

Most nursing schools offer financial aid options to help students cover tuition costs and related expenses. Students should explore both federal and institutional financial aid, including loans, work-study programs, and grants. Filing FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is essential to determine eligibility for need-based financial support and should be submitted by prospective students.

In addition to financial aid, numerous scholarships and grants are available to nursing students in Alabama. One such scholarship is the Alabama Nursing Scholarships & Grants Programs for AL Student Nurses, which can be applied for through the University of Alabama’s Financial Aid office. The contact information for further inquiries is: the School of Nursing, Office of Student Affairs, 504 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 (tel: 1-800-313-3591 and website:

Another scholarship opportunity is the Baptist Health System Nursing Loan / Scholarship Program, assisting nursing students with their educational expenses. Further information can be found by contacting the Alabama Board of Nursing.

NCLEX Pass Rates and Outcomes

The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a crucial milestone for nursing graduates, as passing the exam demonstrates their readiness to enter the nursing profession as competent and qualified practitioners. In Alabama, nursing schools have consistently shown a high performance in their students’ NCLEX pass rates, making the state a competitive choice for aspiring nurses pursuing their Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

The average NCLEX passing rate for ADN students in Alabama ranges from 63.50% to 93.50%. On the other hand, the average NCLEX passing rate for BSN students in the state is between 50.38% and 98.56%. These results reveal that the majority of nursing programs in Alabama perform at or above the national average NCLEX-RN pass rate of 86.6%.

One of the top-performing nursing schools in Alabama is Auburn University, which boasts an impressive average NCLEX exam pass rate of 98.56% between 2019 and 2021. The pass rates for each year were as follows:

  • 2019: 98.90%
  • 2020: 99.01%
  • 2021: 97.78%

Another notable institution is the University of Alabama in Huntsville, which recorded a 97.92% NCLEX pass rate. Furthermore, most faculty at the University of Alabama in Huntsville hold doctorates (71%), while the remaining 29% are enrolled in doctoral programs.

As a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, Alabama offers nursing graduates the advantage of applying for a multistate license. These multistate licenses are valid in all 39 participating states, providing nursing professionals with increased flexibility and mobility in their careers.

With a variety of nursing programs available, Alabama is an excellent choice for those seeking quality nursing education. The consistently high NCLEX pass rates among the state’s institutions reflect the dedication to producing skilled and knowledgeable nursing professionals who are ready to make a difference in the healthcare industry.

Clinical Experience and Simulation Labs

The University of South Alabama’s Simulation Program offers a range of high-quality, realistic simulated clinical learning experiences for health and medical professions students, including nursing students1. These simulation labs provide a valuable opportunity for students to practice their skills in a controlled environment before entering clinical rotations. They incorporate various discipline-specific and interprofessional settings to prepare students for the demands of an evolving healthcare system.

Capstone College of Nursing, at the University of Alabama, has a dedicated Learning Resources Center (LRC) to support nursing education2. The LRC comprises a clinical practice laboratory, simulation laboratory, and computer laboratory. These facilities help students to understand essential nursing concepts and provide diverse learning experiences.

Nursing schools in Alabama emphasize the importance of clinical learning experiences for their students. Students gain proficiency in providing safe and effective care across the life span through a combination of theoretical and clinical learning experiences3. This includes exposure to adult, maternal/infant, pediatric/child, and psychiatric/mental health nursing at different stages of their nursing education.

The use of simulation labs helps to enhance students’ clinical decision making, collaboration, and clinical judgment skills4. Virtual simulation tools have become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional clinical experience in Alabama nursing programs. They allow learners to interact in authentic clinical scenarios and practice nursing procedures without any risks to actual patients.

Career Opportunities and Salaries

In Alabama, nurses have a wide range of career opportunities, with positions available for various types of nursing roles:

  • Registered Nurses (RNs) provide direct patient care in various healthcare settings like hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics.
  • Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses who have specialized education and training, and are qualified to diagnose and treat medical conditions independently or as part of a healthcare team.
  • Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) focus on providing primary healthcare services to families across a lifespan, offering preventive care through to the management of acute and chronic conditions.
  • Nurse Educators are responsible for teaching and training future nurses in academic and healthcare settings, guiding and inspiring the next generation of nursing professionals.
  • Nurse Anesthetists administer anesthesia and provide care before, during, and after surgical, therapeutic, and diagnostic procedures.

For nurses working in Alabama, salaries vary based on factors like education, experience, and job location. According to national data, these are some average annual salaries:

  • Registered Nurse: $67,930
  • Nurse Practitioner: $110,000
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: $105,500
  • Nurse Educator: $76,310
  • Nurse Anesthetist: $167,950

The demand for nurses in Alabama is growing, with an anticipated 10% growth rate in RN employment from 2018 to 2028. As the population continues to age and healthcare needs increase, there will be a consistent need for nursing professionals across the state. By pursuing a career in nursing, you can look forward to various employment opportunities, a stable job market, and competitive salaries in the field.

Approved Nursing Programs in Alabama

Alabama offers a variety of nursing schools and programs. The Alabama Board of Nursing plays a vital role in monitoring and regulating these initiatives, ensuring high-quality education and high standards are maintained. Here, we will discuss state-approved nursing programs in Alabama to help you make an informed decision when selecting a school.

There are over 40 nursing schools in Alabama, ranging from community colleges to large universities. To provide well-rounded nursing education, these programs offer various degrees including Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and higher-level degrees. Approved programs often have accreditations from organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). For example, CCNE accredits 11 nursing schools in Alabama, while ACEN accredits 27 more institutions.

Some top-ranked nursing programs in the state of Alabama based on factors like clinical preparation and research include:

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing
  • Auburn University School of Nursing

The Alabama Board of Nursing also offers a list of approved nursing programs, including LPN, ADN, and BSN programs, along with their respective NCLEX pass rates. This information is essential for prospective students to assess the quality of the programs they are considering.

Here are the types of nursing programs available in Alabama:

  • Approved LPN Programs: These programs focus on practical nursing skills and usually take around 12-18 months to complete.
  • Approved ADN Programs: These degree programs offer the necessary education to become a Registered Nurse (RN) in approximately 18-24 months.
  • Approved BSN Programs: These programs provide a comprehensive nursing education, typically taking about 4 years to complete.

The State of Alabama supports military transition into nursing careers by offering assistance through the Veterans Affairs’ GI Bill, which can cover tuition and fees for eligible veterans.

Additional Nursing Schools in Alabama

In addition to the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Samford University, there are several other prominent nursing schools in Alabama worth mentioning. These institutions cater to a diverse range of students aspiring to enter the nursing profession.

One noteworthy nursing school in Alabama is the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Boasting a 97.92% NCLEX pass rate, this university offers a comprehensive nursing program that accommodates both in-state and out-of-state students.

West Alabama is also home to a variety of nursing schools. For example, the University of West Alabama offers a flexible nursing program designed to accommodate working professionals and learners with family obligations.

Located in Mobile, the University of Mobile is another institution offering quality nursing education in Alabama. Its nursing program is recognized for its commitment to providing a strong foundation in both theory and practice.

In the eastern part of the state, Auburn University at Montgomery offers nursing programs that help students acquire the skills they need to excel in their careers. The curriculum covers various aspects of nursing, such as patient care skills, nursing research, and leadership development.

Spring Hill College, located in Mobile, is a small liberal arts college that provides a close-knit and supportive environment for nursing students. Its curriculum emphasizes the connection between nursing theory and practice, enabling students to be well-prepared for careers in nursing.

For those looking for nursing schools with a focus on community, Lawson State Community College is a top choice. This institution is dedicated to transforming lives by offering affordable and comprehensive nursing programs in Alabama.

Noteworthy Characteristics of Alabama Nursing Schools

Alabama offers a variety of top-notch nursing schools catering to students with diverse needs. Some of the renowned institutions include the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing, Auburn University School of Nursing, Capstone College of Nursing, Ida Moffett School of Nursing, and Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions.

The UAB School of Nursing has been widely commended for its excellence in clinical preparation and research. It has an NCLEX pass rate of 97.92%, which demonstrates a strong foundation in nursing education. With a variety of degree programs, including Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), it offers great opportunities for students at different levels of their careers.

Similarly, the Ida Moffett School of Nursing at Samford University is well known for its personalized, hands-on education. It boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio which ensures that students receive individualized attention, further enhancing their skills and knowledge in nursing. Students have access to accredited programs such as BSN, MSN, and DNP, catering to their career goals.

Auburn University’s School of Nursing, located in the picturesque city of Auburn, focuses on preparing nurses who can make a difference in health care. Offering BSN and Primary Care Nurse Practitioner programs, it emphasizes the importance of providing quality nursing care in a range of settings.

Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama aims to produce graduates who are competent and compassionate nurse leaders. With its Center of Excellence, which focuses on promoting diversity and cultural competency in nursing education, the college stands out for its commitment to inclusivity.

Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of North Alabama offers undergraduate and graduate programs, including an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), BSN, MSN, and DNP. Its comprehensive curriculum and emphasis on hands-on experience prepare students to excel in their nursing careers.

Key Qualities of Alabama Nursing Students

Alabama nursing students are known for their confidence and knowledge in the field. They possess a strong foundation of nursing skills that allow them to excel in diverse healthcare settings. One of the primary reasons behind their competence is the high-quality education received at top nursing schools in the state, such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of South Alabama.

Communication is a vital skill for nursing students, and those in Alabama are no exception. They are trained to effectively communicate with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals. This skill ensures proper understanding, empathy, and rapport building, which ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.

Alabama nursing schools emphasize the importance of diversity among their student body. They actively promote an inclusive environment by admitting students from various cultural backgrounds, which allows nursing students to gain a broader perspective on patient care. This, in turn, prepares them to cater to the unique needs of different patients while maintaining a respectful and culturally sensitive approach.

In addition to their technical capabilities, successful Alabama nursing students also display a strong sense of respect towards their patients and colleagues. This quality is the cornerstone of nurse-patient relationships, enabling them to maintain trust and confidentiality. By showing respect, nursing students contribute to a positive healthcare environment that fosters better health outcomes for their patients.

Finally, effective teaching and learning methods play a crucial role in shaping Alabama nursing students’ abilities. Alabama nursing schools excel in offering rigorous and evidence-based curricula that incorporate a blend of classroom learning, simulations, and hands-on clinical experiences. This comprehensive approach not only equips students with the knowledge and skills required to excel in their nursing careers but also nurtures their passion for patient care.


  1. USA Simulation Program | University of South Alabama

  2. Learning Resources Center – Capstone College of Nursing

  3. Alabama Board of Nursing (ABN) Education Clinical and Curriculum

  4. Nursing Education Innovation: Simulation to Build Clinical Experience