The first registered nurse in Alabama was Sister Chrysostom Moynahan, whose illustrated history laid the foundation for healthcare as we know it in Alabama today. Decorated by both the Italian and United States governments for her service to the military, founder of the first nursing school in the state, and a hospital administrator during the Great Depression who ordered that all patients be helped whether they could pay or not, this noble nurse left behind a legacy of bravery, charity and healing for her fellow Alabama nurses.

Decades after Sister Chrysostom Moynahan was buried with military honors, nurses following her example can be found throughout the Yellowhammer State, making a positive change in a variety of public and private environments: hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, patient homes and more. If it is your dream to join their ranks, this page may be the right place to help you get started.

Best Nursing Schools in Alabama

Through the use of data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), NursingDegrees.com has created two rankings of the best nursing schools in Alabama. One ranking is for undergraduate students, while the other one is for graduate students.

Our rankings are good for more than just a number. We display data on each school in our ranking, such as the acceptance rate, tuition and fees, the number of nursing programs offered and more. Not only was this data part of how we ranked the schools, but it allows prospective nurses to get a better idea of the differences between these Alabama nursing schools.

Further information about our ranking methodology and the factors we used for it can be found at the bottom of this page.

01
George C Wallace State Community College...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,510
Undergraduate graduation rate
38%
Undergraduate retention rate
65%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
84%
02
Troy University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$7,224
Undergraduate graduation rate
37%
Undergraduate retention rate
74%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
80%
03
George C Wallace Community College-Dotha...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,510
Undergraduate graduation rate
21%
Undergraduate retention rate
61%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
88%
04
George C Wallace State Community College...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,510
Undergraduate graduation rate
17%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
92%
05
Gadsden State Community College
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,510
Undergraduate graduation rate
16%
Undergraduate retention rate
57%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
84%
06
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$8,040
Undergraduate graduation rate
53%
Undergraduate retention rate
82%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
92%
07
John C Calhoun State Community College
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,510
Undergraduate graduation rate
17%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
81%
08
University of South Alabama
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,248
Undergraduate graduation rate
38%
Undergraduate retention rate
73%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
93%
09
Alabama Southern Community College
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,510
Undergraduate graduation rate
36%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
87%
10
The University of Alabama
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$10,470
Undergraduate graduation rate
69%
Undergraduate retention rate
86%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
79%
01
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$7,588
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
02
The University of Alabama
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$10,470
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
03
Auburn University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$9,072
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
04
University of North Alabama
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$5,598
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
05
Samford University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
5
Graduate Tuition
$18,530
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
4
06
Troy University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$7,146
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
07
University of South Alabama
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$7,326
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
08
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$9,834
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
09
Jacksonville State University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$8,904
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
10
Spring Hill College
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$8,820
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1

Nursing Accreditation in Alabama

Accredited nursing schools in Alabama have undergone a rigorous review by one or several organizations. They have met or exceeded the minimum quality standards for nursing schools in the United States, and accreditation is the proof of this accomplishment.

Attending an accredited nursing school can be a beneficial move for students. Not only can students feel confident about the baseline quality of their school and education, but they may be eligible for additional financial aid, find it easier to transfer credits, and be able to apply for job positions after graduation that a student from an unaccredited school may not be eligible for. The major nursing school accreditation agencies in Alabama are:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Nursing Licensure in Alabama

Completion of an LPN program — which is usually one year of coursework and hands-on practice — and successful passage of the NCLEX-PN exam are both required in order for a student to become a licensed practical nurse in Alabama.

Students who wish to become registered nurses must graduate with a nursing diploma, Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Then, they must pass the NCLEX-RN (not to be confused with the NCLEX-PN that LPNs need to pass).

RNs who hope to advance their careers and become certified nurse practitioners, or CNPs, are required to earn a graduate degree and pass the national NP certification exam.

Alabama Nursing Organizations

There are several organizations that Alabama nursing students and working nurses may be able to gain intellectual and professional benefits from. Let’s dive deeper into some of these organizations.

  • Alabama State Nurses Association (ASNA):

    ASNA was founded in 1913 and has been the voice of Alabama nurses for over 100 years. This organization values modeling professional nursing practices after other nurses, unifying nurses, promoting cultural diversity, and advancing professional competence.

  • Alabama Association of Nursing Students (AANS):

    AANS’s mission is to foster nursing education, facilitate unity among future colleagues, and optimize the exposure of nursing students to the various specialties and pathways in the ever-evolving field of nursing.

  • West Alabama Nurse Practitioners (WANP):

    WANP’s purpose is to promote the professional and educational advancement of nurse practitioners in the West Alabama region. They generally feature a speaker at each of their monthly meetings, and they host a continuing education seminar each spring.

  • Advanced Practitioners for the River Region (APRR):

    APRR was created to support advanced health care providers, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwifes, and clinical nurse specialists. Professionals and students in Montgomery, Lowndes, Elmore, Dallas and Autauga are encouraged to join.

Alabama-Specific Continuing Education

Nurses in Alabama are required to complete 24 Board-approved or Board-recognized continuing education contact hours every two years. A particular nurse-specific class, known simply as “the mandatory class,” is required as part of these 24 hours for all Alabama nurses.

LPNs and RNs are able to take these 24 contact hours in whatever nursing-related subjects they desire, as long as they are Board-approved. However, NPs have some more specific requirements. Six of the contact hours for NPs and nurse midwives must pertain to specific pharmacology content. Similarly, six hours for nurse anesthetists must be in the field of pharmacology, although specifics are not required as they are for NPs.

It’s always wise to double-check with your state’s Board of Nursing before committing to continuing education classes, just to make sure you don’t take the wrong kind or number of courses. You can check the Alabama Board of Nursing for up-to-date information on continuing education requirements for nurses in Alabama.

Hospitals in Alabama

Hospitals can be a great place for nurses to begin, advance or continue their careers, and Alabama has a number of hospitals that can serve as opportunities for Alabama nurses. The three largest hospitals in the state of Alabama include:

  • Huntsville Hospital (Huntsville): Established in 1865, Huntsville Hospital is a nonprofit, volunteer-led and community-owned hospital. It is home to one of only three Level I Trauma centers in Alabama.
  • Mobile Infirmary Medical Center (Mobile): Mobile Infirmary Medical Center has been recognized for its stroke treatment by the Joint Commission. It is considered Infirmary Health’s flagship hospital.
  • DCH Regional Medical Center (Tuscaloosa): DCH Regional Medical Center is known as the cornerstone of the DCH Health System. It offers various specialty units and services, including cancer, cardiology, robotic and minimally invasive surgery, and an advanced trauma center.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we ranked 6,758 United States institutions with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list and our graduate list. Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. (Schools that did not provide data for all 11 criteria were disqualified from the ranking.)

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  1. American Hospital Directory, Accessed August 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  2. Sister Chrysostom Moynahan, Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, Accessed August 2018, http://www.awhf.org/moynahan.html
  3. Continuing Education, Alabama Board of Nursing, Accessed August 2018, https://www.abn.alabama.gov/continuing-education-ce/
  4. Alabama State Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, https://alabamanurses.org/
  5. Alabama Association of Nursing Students, Accessed August 2018, http://www.alabamanursingstudents.org/
  6. West Alabama Nurse Practitioners, Accessed August 2018, https://wanp.enpnetwork.com/
  7. FAQs, West Alabama Nurse Practitioners, Accessed October 2018, https://wanp.enpnetwork.com/page/678-faqs
  8. Advanced Practitioners for the River Region, Accessed August 2018, https://riverregionap.enpnetwork.com
  9. Huntsville Hospital, Accessed August 2018, https://www.huntsvillehospital.org/
  10. Infirmary Health, Accessed August 2018, https://www.infirmaryhealth.org
  11. DCH Health System, Accessed August 2018, https://www.dchsystem.com
  12. Continuing Education FAQs, Alabama Board of Nursing, Accessed October 2018, https://www.abn.alabama.gov/continuing-education-ce/#faq/are-there-content-requirements-for-continuing-education

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