Best Nursing Schools in Louisiana

Updated on January 11, 2024

At a Glance

  • Louisiana is home to over 35 nursing schools offering a mix of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
  • LSU Health Sciences Center – New Orleans is ranked as the best nursing school in the state.
  • Other top nursing schools in Louisiana include Northwestern State University, Louisiana College, and McNeese State University.
  • Louisiana nursing schools offer a variety of degree options, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN programs.

Louisiana is home to over 35 nursing schools that offer a mix of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. With nationally-ranked schools and affordable in-state tuition rates, Louisiana provides aspiring nurses access to quality nursing education programs. This article highlights the 10 best nursing schools in Louisiana based on factors like NCLEX pass rates, reputation, and return on investment.

1. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – New Orleans

Overview

The Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center School of Nursing in New Orleans tops the list as the best nursing school in the state. Widely considered one of the most prestigious nursing schools in the south, LSU maintains top-tier NCLEX pass rates and offers highly competitive acceptance rates across its nursing programs.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Acceptance Rate: 2%

Tuition: $8,446 per year (in-state)

Average Salary After Graduation: $67,490

Website: http://nursing.lsuhsc.edu/

LSU Nursing features several nursing programs including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, MSN, DNP and PhD options. The school is affiliated with several major medical centers in New Orleans which provide exceptional clinical training sites for students. Graduates benefit from the school’s reputation across Louisiana and strong alumni network.

2. Northwestern State University

Overview

With over a century of nursing education history, Northwestern State University (NSU) lays claim to the first baccalaureate nursing program established in Louisiana. NSU remains a top choice today for its affordability, high NCLEX pass rates and flexible online nursing options.

Location: Natchitoches, LA

Acceptance Rate: 73%

Tuition: $8,827 per year (in-state)

Average Salary After Graduation: $59,163

Website: https://nursing.nsula.edu/

NSU’s College of Nursing offers traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN and DNP nursing degree options. Undergraduate students benefit from NSU’s focus on clinical practice and graduate students can complete much coursework 100% online.

3. Louisiana College

Overview

Louisiana College earns top marks statewide for its high NCLEX pass rates and competitive tuition pricing. The faith-based institution attracts nursing students seeking academic rigor within a supportive Christian learning environment.

Location: Pineville, LA

Acceptance Rate: 47%

Tuition: $23,500 per year

Average Salary After Graduation: $59,800

Website: https://lacollege.edu/

Nursing students complete clinical placements across Central Louisiana to prepare for real-world practice after graduation. The school’s strong reputation results in high job placement rates for graduates entering registered nursing or seeking advanced nursing credentials.

4. McNeese State University

Overview

McNeese State University lands a top five spot for nursing schools thanks to its excellent NCLEX pass rates and reputation within Southwest Louisiana. Nursing graduates benefit from the school’s longstanding partnerships with major regional employers.

Location: Lake Charles, LA

Acceptance Rate: 76%

Tuition: $8,987 per year (in-state)

Average Salary After Graduation: $61,130

Website: https://www.mcneese.edu/nursing

The Burton College of Nursing offers traditional BSN, LPN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN and MSN nursing degree options. Undergraduate students gain hands-on experience across Lake Charles medical facilities while online options cater to working nurses.

5. Louisiana Tech University

Overview

Louisiana Tech University garners attention for its rigorous yet supportive Division of Nursing. High student retention and competitive NCLEX pass rates make it a hidden gem for aspiring nurses statewide.

Location: Ruston, LA

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Tuition: $10,962 per year (in-state)

Average Salary After Graduation: $59,069

Website: https://ans.latech.edu/nursing/

Louisiana Tech offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN and online MSN programs. Undergraduate focus on evidence-based practice and leadership prepares graduates to excel in modern healthcare settings after licensure. The school also operates the North Louisiana Health Hub for clinical simulations.

6. University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Overview

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) maintains top-tier nursing programs focused on student-centered learning and community healthcare partnerships in Acadiana. Graduates benefit from the program’s strong reputation across South Louisiana.

Location: Lafayette, LA

Acceptance Rate: 77%

Tuition: $9,354 per year (in-state)

Average Salary After Graduation: $61,500

Website: https://nursing.louisiana.edu/

ULL offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN and DNP degree options through the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. The school recently opened a $34 million on-campus health facility for simulations and clinical experiences.

7. Our Lady of the Lake College

Overview

Our Lady of the Lake College offers a traditional BSN program steeped within the Franciscan values of service, reverence and integrity. With direct ties to the renowned Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center, students receive unparalleled clinical experiences in Baton Rouge.

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Acceptance Rate: 73%

Tuition: $10,965 per year

Average Salary After Graduation: $65,600

Website: https://ololcollege.edu/academics/nursing

Graduates pursue licensure and top nursing jobs across Our Lady of the Lake’s facilities or other major health systems statewide. The College is set to join the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University in Fall 2023.

8. Southeastern Louisiana University

Overview

For affordability and proximity to major hospitals, Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) rates as a hidden gem nursing school within the state. Graduates find ready employment with leading Northshore and Southshore healthcare providers.

Location: Hammond, LA

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Tuition: $9,384 per year (in-state)

Average Salary After Graduation: $59,500

Website: https://www.southeastern.edu/academics/nursing/index.html

SLU’s College of Nursing offers traditional BSN, LPN-to-RN, RN-to-BSN and MSN options. Undergraduates complete over 1,000 clinical training hours across 70 regional partners as they prepare for the NCLEX exam after graduation.

9. Grambling State University

Overview

Grambling State University holds the distinction of graduating the first African American baccalaureate nurses in the nation. Today, Grambling upholds its legacy with top nursing education and high NCLEX pass rates.

Location: Grambling, LA

Acceptance Rate: 36%

Tuition: $8,034 per year (in-state)

Average Salary After Graduation: $55,500

Website: https://www.gram.edu/academics/department/nursing/

Grambling’s Department of Nursing relies on technology and evidence-based practice to ready caring, compassionate professionals for underserved communities statewide. It offers BSN, LPN-to-RN and RN-to-BSN options.

10. Nicholls State University

Overview

As the nursing school with the highest NCLEX pass rates in Southeast Louisiana, Nicholls State University delivers a top-tier yet affordable BSN education. Its renowned faculty and partnerships with Thibodaux Regional Medical Center provide a direct pathway for graduates into practice.

Location: Thibodaux, LA

Acceptance Rate: 67%

Tuition: $8,758 per year (in-state)

Average Salary After Graduation: $57,000

Website: https://www.nicholls.edu/casn/

Nicholls comprises the region’s only four-year nursing program with offerings in traditional BSN, LPN-to-BSN, and MSN concentrations priming students for advanced practice roles post-graduation.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

What degree options exist among Louisiana nursing schools?

Louisiana nursing schools offer undergraduate options like traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN programs as well as graduate pathways to becoming an APRN such as MSN and DNP degrees. There are also specialized PhD in Nursing programs available statewide.

Which Louisiana nursing school has the highest NCLEX pass rate?

Among pre-licensure programs, Nicholls State University’s BSN nursing graduates uphold the state’s highest first-time NCLEX pass rate at 95-100% over the past decade.

Is an LPN program different from traditional nursing programs in Louisiana?

Yes, while longer professional nursing pathways lead towards registered nurse (RN) licensure and roles, 1-year LPN programs train graduates for vocational nursing licensure in more restricted care settings statewide. Some schools offer LPN-to-RN bridge options.

Can I complete prerequisite nursing courses at a Louisiana community college?

Many Louisiana nursing schools allow prospective applicants to complete foundational coursework in sciences, writing, psychology and statistics at accredited community or technical colleges statewide prior to applying.

What is the average cost to earn a Bachelor’s nursing degree in Louisiana?

Among four-year public institutions, in-state tuition hovers from $8,000 to $12,000 per academic year though costs vary by school and program length. Accelerated options tend to cost more overall than traditional 2+2 pathways.

Can I work as an RN without a four-year degree in Louisiana?

Yes, Louisiana offers alternative pathways to RN licensure outside of BSN programs including hospital diplomas and Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) options that confer eligibility for the licensing exam. Most facilities encourage nurses to pursue BSN education as the minimum entry level.

Which Louisiana nursing school boasts the highest graduate salaries?

Thanks to its reputation and proximity to major metro hospitals, LSU Health – New Orleans graduates see the highest average starting salaries around $67,000 per year with career trajectories towards six figures.

Are there online nursing degree options in Louisiana?

Yes, over a dozen Louisiana nursing schools now offer online RN-to-BSN and MSN degrees catering to working nurses statewide. These feature mostly asynchronous course delivery with some on-campus labs or intensive sessions.

How competitive is nursing school admissions in Louisiana?

While minimum GPAs range from 2.7 to 3.0, admissions remains highly selective statewide with most schools seeing single digit acceptance rates. Securing healthcare experience and acing entrance exams is essential.

What prereqs help qualify applicants to top Louisiana nursing schools?

Successful applicants often hold prior degrees, shine in science coursework like A&P, chemistry and microbiology, secure top TEAS or HESI entrance scores and demonstrate compassion through patient contact hours.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.