Nursing Degrees & Schools / Best Schools Connecticut
Finding the right nursing school is tough. Whether you’re looking forward to a new career in nursing or a seasoned RN trying to figure out your next move, the options can be dizzying. With programs ranging from entry-level associate degrees to terminal degrees like the DNP or Ph.D., it’s easy to get analysis paralysis.
To help set aspiring students at ease, Incredible Health has come up with a list of Connecticut’s top 5 nursing schools. By the end of this post, you’ll learn how to choose the right school based on tuition, program availability, graduation rates, and other vital factors.
Connecticut’s top nursing program:
- University of Connecticut
- Southern Connecticut State University
- Sacred Heart University
- Fairfield University
- University of Saint Joseph
Overall score: 69
NCLEX pass rate: 94%
Annual tuition: $15,030 in-state / $37,698 out-of-state
The University of Connecticut has a well-developed doctoral program and is the only school in Connecticut to offer both a DNP and a Ph.D. in Nursing. The school’s DNP program is primarily online and includes Post-Master’s and Post-Bachelor’s tracks. Post-Bachelor’s students can select from four nurse practitioner specializations or a nursing leadership track.
The University of Connecticut offers a Certificate Entry into Nursing (CEIN) program for prospective students who have already earned a Bachelor’s degree in another field. Students can earn their RN in as little as 12 months of full-time study in this program.
The school is CCNE-accredited and offers the following degree programs for nursing:
Overall score: 62
NCLEX pass rate: 100%
Annual tuition: $6,162 in-state / $18,436 out-of-state
Southern Connecticut State University offers a unique program in the State of Connecticut: the Doctorate in Nursing Education. This Ed.D. program is for Master’s-prepared RNs seeking to move into a nursing education faculty role. The program includes a few short on-campus sessions but is mainly online.
Southern Connecticut State University is CCNE-accredited and offers the following programs for nursing:
- RN to BSN
Overall score: 60
NCLEX pass rate: 99%
Annual tuition: $44,960 in-state & out-of-state
Sacred Heart University offers the typical on-campus options for traditional students and has several online programs for practicing RNs looking to take their education to the next level. One unique program offered by Sacred Heart University is the RN-BSN-MSN option. This fully-online program allows RNs to earn their BSN and MSN degrees one after the other, so it may feel a little less daunting than jumping straight into a Master’s program.
Sacred Heart University’s CCNE-accredited nursing program offerings include:
- RN to BSN
Overall score: 59
NCLEX pass rate: 96%
Annual tuition: $53,630 in-state & out-of-state
In addition to its degree offerings, Fairfield has optional certificates for students looking to customize their nursing education. Students take additional classes in either leadership or informatics in these add-on tracks. At the end of their path, students earn a certification in their selected specialty.
The school is CCNE-accredited, and its nursing program includes the following options:
Overall score: 58
NCLEX pass rate: 100%
Annual tuition: $44,040 in-state & out-of-state
The University of Saint Joseph offers an opportunity each March for student nurses and other health science students to travel to Guyana for a clinical immersion. Students on this trip get unique hands-on healthcare and research experience that they can’t get in the classroom. They’ll also work with Guyanese students on academic and social service projects.
The school is CCNE-accredited and offers the following programs for nursing:
Figure 1. Side-by-side comparison of the top five nursing programs in Connecticut
|School||Rank||In-state Tuition||Out-of-state tuition||Accredited||NCLEX Pass Rate||Graduation Rate||Nursing Programs|
|University of Connecticut||1||$15,030||$37,698||Yes||94%||82%||BSN, MSN, DNP, Ph.D.|
|Southern Connecticut State University||2||$6,162||$18,436||Yes||100%||53%||BSN, RN-BSN, MSN|
|Sacred Heart University||3||$44,960||$44,960||Yes||99%||64%||BSN, RN-BSN, MSN, DNP|
|Fairfield University||4||$55,630||$55,630||Yes||99%||82%||BSN, MSN, DNP|
|University of St. Joseph||5||$44,040||$44,040||Yes||100%||67%||BSN, MSN, DNP|
Expert advice from nurses like you
How to choose the right nursing program
Choosing the right nursing program depends on several factors. If you’re a pre-nursing student looking to get the right start, you may be more concerned with the graduation rate or NCLEX pass rate. If you’re well into your nursing career and looking to move into a new specialty, the variety of programs offered may be your deciding factor. For others, the location or cost of the school may be the most important.
If online programs aren’t an option, the location of your nursing school can be a make-or-break decision point. Nursing school is hard enough on its own. Nobody wants to commute an hour and a half back home every day after 8 hours of clinical rounds. If you’re living more than a comfortable drive away from a school, you may want to look at other options.
Even with online programs, it’s essential to determine whether there are any required on-campus intensives. It’s never fun to get that last-minute email that you need to be on-campus on short notice to meet with your professors and peers.
With the ever-rising cost of college education, it makes sense to take a hard look at tuition costs for nursing programs. The average RN in Connecticut makes about $84,850 a year. You’ll want to weigh the cost of education against the return on your investment. If you’re planning on taking out student loans, you’ll want to make sure you’re making enough to pay those back while maintaining your lifestyle. Choose a program that makes sense for your budget and offers the best support for your goals.
To find ways to offset the financial impact of your education, check out this list of the 50 best nursing scholarships.
NCLEX pass rate
If you’re an aspiring nursing student, a school’s NCLEX pass rate is crucial to your potential success. The average NCLEX pass rate for nursing students in the US is about 86% for a Bachelor’s degree student and about 79% for an Associate’s degree student. A good NCLEX pass rate is about 90%.
The most common points of entry into nursing are:
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN)
- Direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Employers tend to prefer graduates of BSN programs, but job offer percentages are about the same between BSN and MSN graduates.
For practicing nurses looking to expand their education or move into another specialty, options include:
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees
Areas of focus in these degrees include informatics, education, leadership, and advanced practice.
When considering nursing programs, the graduation rate is critical. Some schools have a graduation rate as low as 50%. It doesn’t do any good to make it halfway through a program only to end up with nursing credits that won’t transfer. It’s imperative to your success to choose a school with a solid graduation rate.
Top nursing jobs in Connecticut on Incredible Health
New London, CT | $70,000 to $150,000 /year
New London, CT | $70,000 to $120,000 /year
New Haven, CT | $54,000 to $120,000 /year
New London, CT | $70,000 to $120,000 /year
New Haven, CT | $70,000 to $120,000 /year
In order to determine the best nursing schools in a state, Incredible Health compared the top schools among five categories: graduation rate, tuition, NCLEX pass rate, accreditation, and the number of nursing programs offered.
Each metric was scored on a 100-point scale with 100 representing the highest total for that category. Then we compiled the individual scores to get an overall score.
We used data from:
- University webpages
- Connecticut Board of Nursing
- U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
- U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings
You’ve still got a lot of work cut out for you to figure out which school is best for your needs. Armed with the data in this post, you’re much better prepared to evaluate the programs that interest you. Consider all of the factors and decide what’s right for you. After settling on a few programs, reach out directly to the schools for more questions about their program offerings. You’ve got this!
- “A Closer Look at First-Time Pass Rates as the Primary Measure of Program Quality“. sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S8755722320301939. Accessed April 12, 2022.
- “Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer Preferences for Baccalaureate-Prepared Nurses.” aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Research-Data-Center/Employment/2019. Accessed April 1, 2022.
- “Failure to Complete BSN Nursing Programs: Students’ Views.” files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1252119.pdf. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- “Fairfield University: The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies.” fairfield.edu/undergraduate/academics/schools-and-colleges/egan-school-of-nursing-and-health-studies. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- “Inside Southern.” inside.southernct.edu/nursing/edd. Accessed April 11, 2022.
- “NCLEX® Statistics from NCSBN.” ncsbn.org/Table_of_Pass_Rates_2021_Q4.pdf. Accessed March 31, 2022.
- “Sacred Heart University: Dr. Susan L. Davis, RN, & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing.” sacredheart.edu/academics/colleges–schools/college-of-nursing. Accessed April 1, 2022.
- “Southern Connecticut State University School of Nursing.” southernct.edu/academics/nursing. Accessed March 31, 2022.
- “University of Connecticut School of Nursing.” nursing.uconn.edu. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- “University of Saint Joseph: Nursing.” usj.edu/academics/sihs/nursing. Accessed April 1, 2022.
- Photo by Rusty Watson on Unsplash