Nurses far and wide work hard to care for others. Louisiana, where nurses work in doctors’ offices, outpatient services, nursing homes and hospitals, is no exception to this rule. Without nursing help, medical personnel at hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the state might be stretched too thin to provide quality care and treatment.

A future in nursing can only truly start after a person has received an education, however, and academic programs in nursing are available in the state at private, nonprofit and even two-year schools. Read on for some information on how to become a nurse in Louisiana, as well as information about the state’s top nursing colleges, nursing certification and licensure requirements, and ways to continue improving your skills and knowledge after graduation.

Best Nursing Schools in Louisiana

Louisiana Badge ImageOverall, there are 24 schools offering nursing degree programs at various levels in Louisiana in 2018, which can make choosing the right one for you no easy task. Rankings help you make that decision by distilling a large amount of research down into an easy-to-read list of schools.

Two lists of the best nursing schools in Louisiana are posted on this page — one at the undergraduate level and the other at the graduate level. We created these rankings with data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), using data points such as number of nursing programs and graduation rate to determine the relative quality of these institutions. More information on our methodology can be found at the bottom of this page.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$5,180
Undergraduate graduation rate
39%
Undergraduate retention rate
76%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,148
Undergraduate graduation rate
42%
Undergraduate retention rate
68%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,214
Undergraduate graduation rate
27%
Undergraduate retention rate
46%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
87%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,868
Undergraduate graduation rate
11%
Undergraduate retention rate
47%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,335
Undergraduate graduation rate
5%
Undergraduate retention rate
44%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
86%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,407
Undergraduate graduation rate
44%
Undergraduate retention rate
75%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,140
Undergraduate graduation rate
35%
Undergraduate retention rate
68%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,922
Undergraduate graduation rate
47%
Undergraduate retention rate
70%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,788
Undergraduate graduation rate
41%
Undergraduate retention rate
72%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$12,480
Undergraduate graduation rate
52%
Undergraduate retention rate
69%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
92%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$5,511
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$5,110
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$5,738
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$5,686
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$5,703
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$5,336
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$6,490
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$6,684
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$14,724
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$14,368
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0

Nursing Accreditation in Louisiana

Nursing students deserve to know that the education they receive consists of quality instruction that is meeting or surpassing national educational standards. This is why enrolling in accredited nursing schools and/or programs is so important. During the accreditation process, an outside agency reviews the curriculum and instruction being offered and determines whether it meets with U.S. standards of quality. Accreditation marks a school as meeting these standards, which can have additional benefits for students such as access to federal financial aid or ease of transferring credits.

Make sure the Louisiana nursing school you choose is accredited by one or more of these agencies:

  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • National League for Nursing (NLN)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC)

Louisiana Nursing Licensure

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in Louisiana must seek licensure through the Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners. To apply for LPN licensure, candidates first have to submit transcripts from an eligible school. The number of clock hours and the number of clinical hours a student completed should be included on the transcript. Applicants also have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs (NCLEX-PN) to be eligible for licensure.

Registered nurses (RNs) in the state need to complete a licensure process available through the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. A background check and fingerprinting are a component of the process for RN applicants, who additionally need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. This must be done within four tries and within four years of graduating from an approved degree program.

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse practitioners (NPs), must complete a background check and possess a valid RN license. Proof of completion of a post-graduate award or degree, related to an APRN role, is required. This post-graduate education must be completed within the past two years of licensure application.

Louisiana Nursing organizations

Nursing school students and working students who want to expand their professional network, find continuing education classes or learn about job opportunities may want to join a nursing association in Louisiana. Associations in the state include the following:

  • Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners: 

    A job board, career center and news and announcement pages are available to members of the LANP. This association’s purpose is to engage in legislative efforts and supply NPs with continuing education opportunities.

  • Louisiana Association of Student Nurses:

    LASN’s mission is to help nursing students transition successfully into the healthcare workforce. Education, leadership and mentorship are components. Members have access to the association’s newsletter, an annual convention and education, leadership and mentorship resources.

  • Louisiana Emergency Nurses Association: 

    This state branch of the National Emergency Nurses Association represents more than 500 emergency nurses and advocates for excellence in emergency nursing practice. Members can attend a state educational conference, apply for scholarships and recommend others for recognition by the organization.

  • Louisiana State Nurses Association: 

    This association advocates for high standards in nursing practice. Services include legislative representation, continuing education opportunities and a nurse relief fund. A scholarship program is also available.

Louisiana-Specific Continuing Education

Obtaining licensure is just one step in the employment process; maintaining your license is also important. Although LPNs in Louisiana are not required to complete any type of continuing education (CE) program, RNs and APRNs must continue learning throughout their careers.

Full-time registered nurses must complete five contact hours per year to maintain their licenses. The Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) defines a contact hour as direct contact in an educational activity for 60 minutes. The activity must be approved the by the state board of nursing, but could include college level courses.

APRNs must renew their license annually and complete either two college credits of career-relevant coursework per year or at least 30 nursing contact credits. More details on continuing education requirements for RNs and APRNs can be found in the ‘Licensure/ Renewals’ tab of the LSBN website.

Hospitals in Louisiana

Hospitals are the largest employers of working nurses nationwide, but they’re much more than just a place of employment. Louisiana’s hospitals are places where emerging nurses can build skills, earn experience and develop lifelong professional relationships. Let’s briefly discuss three of the largest hospitals in Louisiana and what they might be able to offer nurses.

  • Ochsner Medical Center (New Orleans) Ochsner Medical Center is a part of the much larger nonprofit Ochsner Healthcare System and one of six training sites in the world for the practice of robotic surgery. The on-site Ochsner Cancer Institute, Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Center and Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute are recognized centers of excellence.
  • Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge Featuring two emergency rooms, a children’s hospital and a Level II Trauma Center, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center serves about 35,000 inpatients each year. The center is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System and has been recognized for its clinical expertise and compassionate care.
  • Willis-Knighton Medical Center, Shreveport Originally founded in 1924 as a small hospital, the Willis-Knighton Medical Center now encompasses an eye institute, an innovation center, a medical museum, a center for women’s health and more. The Shreveport medical center takes its name from Dr. James C. Willis and Dr. Joseph E. Knighton, two doctors who purchased the hospital in its early years.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

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

  1. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate- and bachelor’s-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- and doctoral-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s- and doctoral-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. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  2. About Us, Our Lady of the Lake, Accessed September 2018, https://ololrmc.com/about-us/
  3. American Hospital Directory, American Hospital Directory, Accessed September 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  4. Applications, Louisiana State Board of Nursing, Accessed September 2018, https://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Licensure,Renewals/Applications.aspx
  5. Continuing Education, Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners, Accessed September 2018, http://www.lsbpne.com/continuing_education.phtml
  6. History, Ochsner Medical Center, Accessed September 2018, https://www.ochsner.org/patients-visitors/about-us/history
  7. History, Willis-Knighton Health Center, Accessed September 2018, https://www.wkhs.com/about/history
  8. Instructions for APRN Licensure by Examination, Louisiana State Board of Nursing, Accessed September 2018, https://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/1/Documents/Forms/APRNExamApplication.pdf
  9. Instructions for Initial Licensure by Examination for Registered Nurses, Louisiana State Board of Nursing, Accessed September 2018, https://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/1/Documents/Forms/RNExamApplication.pdf
  10. Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners, Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners, Accessed September 2018, https://lanp.enpnetwork.com/
  11. Louisiana Association of Student Nurses, Louisiana Association of Student Nurses, Accessed September 2018, https://www.lasn.org/september-2018-newsletter
  12. Louisiana State Nurses Association, Louisiana State Nurses Association Accessed September 2018, https://www.lsna.org/
  13. Nursing CE Requirements, Louisiana State Board of Nursing, Accessed September 2018, http://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/1/Documents/Audit/CEBrochure.pdf
  14. Ochsner Medical Center, Ochsner Medical Center, Accessed September 2018, https://www.ochsner.org/locations/ochsner-medical-center
  15. Requirements for Endorsement, Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners, Accessed September 2018, http://www.lsbpne.com/requirements_for_endorsement.phtml
  16. The Louisiana Healthcare Landscape, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Accessed September 2018, https://www.kff.org/health-reform/fact-sheet/the-louisiana-health-care-landscape/
  17. 2016 Annual Report, Louisiana State Board of Nursing, Accessed September 2018, https://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/1/Documents/AnnualReport/AnnualReport2016.pdf
  18. Verification of Renewal Requirements for APRNs Without National Certification, Louisiana State Board of Nursing, Accessed September 2018, https://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/1/Documents/Forms/vr1.pdf

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