According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Wisconsin’s Registered Nurse (RN) workforce is growing. In 2018, nearly 80,000 RNs renewed their Wisconsin license — 3,000 more than in 2016. Of these 80,000 RNs, about 60,000 reported that they work in direct patient care and 25,000 RNs plan to leave direct patient care in the next 10 years.

As nurses leave direct patient care, Wisconsin nursing schools are likely to gain greater importance as they work to meet the demand for new nurses. Every county in the Badger State is predicted to have more than 20% of its population over the age of 60 by 2030, particularly leading to the demand for nurses.

Today, nurses are seen working in a variety of healthcare environments throughout the state including hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and community care facilities.

Best Nursing Schools in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Badge ImageThere are 45 schools offering nursing degree programs at various levels in Wisconsin, as of September 2019. We’ve compiled two separate rankings to help prospective nurses in the Badger State select a nursing school. While one ranking is for the best nursing schools for undergraduate students, the other one is for graduates.

Our rankings are designed to help prospective students learn about the tuition and fees, acceptance rates, number of online programs, and other important factors of Wisconsin nursing schools. Data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System or IPEDS was used to create these rankings. Please visit the bottom of this page for more information on our ranking methodology.

Below are undergraduate and graduate rankings for nursing schools in Wisconsin:

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$6,298
Undergraduate graduation rate
51%
Undergraduate retention rate
73%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
88%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Undergraduate tuition
$28,844
Undergraduate graduation rate
45%
Undergraduate retention rate
77%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
99%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,966
Undergraduate graduation rate
43%
Undergraduate retention rate
54%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
71%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$9,273
Undergraduate graduation rate
87%
Undergraduate retention rate
95%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
62%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,002
Undergraduate graduation rate
61%
Undergraduate retention rate
82%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
82%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$8,091
Undergraduate graduation rate
41%
Undergraduate retention rate
74%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
84%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,523
Undergraduate graduation rate
42%
Undergraduate retention rate
55%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
94%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,966
Undergraduate graduation rate
54%
Undergraduate retention rate
73%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
63%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,361
Undergraduate graduation rate
67%
Undergraduate retention rate
82%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
80%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$6,422
Undergraduate graduation rate
52%
Undergraduate retention rate
77%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
81%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$8,544
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$10,422
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
3
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
0
Graduate Tuition
$5,130
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$10,728
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$7,831
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$7,640
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$7,793
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$10,394
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$10,387
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$19,800
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0

Nursing Accreditation in Wisconsin

Accreditation is one of the more important qualities that students should look for when evaluating Wisconsin nursing schools. When a school is accredited, it has been reviewed by an educational agency and meets certain quality standards.

Essentially, accredited nursing schools are able to deliver the type of education that can lead students to successful nursing careers following graduation. Students should only choose a school that is accredited by the following organizations.

  • Commission for Education in Nursing
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Board of Nursing

Wisconsin Nursing Licensure

After students graduate from a nursing school in Wisconsin, they must meet the state’s licensing requirements before they can work as nurses in the state. The Wisconsin Board of Nursing requires that students who wish to work as registered nurses or licensed practical nurses graduate from an accredited diploma or degree program, pass the NCLEX exam as well as a criminal background check and pay a $90 application/licensing fee.

Those who want to become an Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber (APNP) must earn a graduate degree, receive a national certification in their area of specialization, and complete the APNP application.

For more information about the Wisconsin nurse licensing process, visit the Wisconsin Board of Nursing’s website.

Wisconsin Nursing organizations

There are a number of nursing organizations in Wisconsin that can be beneficial to nurses before and after nursing school. These organizations can offer networking opportunities and resources for continuing education and skills improvement. Let’s take a closer look at some them.

  • Wisconsin Nurses Association (WNA): 

    WNA has served at the voice of professional nursing in Wisconsin since 1909. Members can view electronic versions of the Wisconsin Nurse Newspaper, attend free monthly webinars, and gain access to hundreds of discounted study modules so they can meet their continuing education requirements.

  • Metro Milwaukee Nurse Practitioners (MMNP):

    MMNP began in 1993 as an effort to identify and network local NPs in a variety of specialties in the Milwaukee area. It offers various webinars, links to a number of online resources, and a local job board. Scholarships and grants are also available to members.

  • Wisconsin Student Nurses Association (WSNA):

    WSNA aims to bring together students who are pursuing nursing school in Wisconsin. Students who join can apply for scholarships and grants as well as participate in local chapter events such as blood pressure screenings and presentations on nursing at high schools throughout the state.

Wisconsin -Specific Continuing Education

Most states require RNs and LPNs to complete some type of continuing education every few years. Wisconsin, however, is an exception as the Badger State does not require RNs or LPNs to complete regular CE credits or contact hours to renew their license.

Advanced Practice Nurses are required to participate in 16 hours of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics that are relevant to their practice. Two of these hours must be related to prescribing controlled substances.

Hospitals in Wisconsin

Being aware of the hospitals in Wisconsin can help students understand the climate of nursing employment of the state. While Wisconsin’s major hospitals hire a significant percentage of nurses in the state at the entry, mid-career, and senior levels, they also serve as great places for student nurses to gain valuable hands-on training. Here’s a brief overview of three of the largest hospitals in Wisconsin.

  • Aurora Saint Luke’s Medical Center (Milwaukee)Aurora Saint Luke’s Medical Center is the only hospital in Wisconsin with a 24/7 on-site heart care team and has been recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for treating cardiac and stroke patients. In addition, its cancer center offers advanced treatments and clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
  • University Hospital (Madison): University Hospital is home to a Heart Failure Management Program that offers cutting-edge diagnostic, medical, and surgical options for heart failure patients. There is also a Heart Transplant Clinic, Lung Transplant Clinic, Kidney Transplant Clinic, and Liver Transplant Clinic.
  • Froedtert Hospital (Milwaukee): Froedtert Hospital is the only academic medical center in eastern Wisconsin and features an adult Level I Trauma Center. Additionally, the hospital offers a Reproductive Medicine Center with fertility specialists, a Plastic Surgery Center for cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, and an on-site pharmacy.
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. Accreditation and Approval, Concordia University-Wisconsin, Accessed September 2019, https://www.cuw.edu/about/accreditation-approval.html
  2. American Hospital Directory, Accessed September 2019, https://www.ahd.com/
  3. Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center of Aurora Health Care Metro, Inc., Aurora Health Care, Accessed September 2019
  4. https://www.aurorahealthcare.org/locations/hospital/aurora-st-lukes-medical-center
  5. Become Nurse In Wisconsin + Requirements & Licensing, Nursing Journal, Accessed September 2019, https://nursejournal.org/licensing/wisconsin-nursing-requirements/
  6. Board of Nursing, Wisconsin.Gov, Accessed September 2019, https://dsps.wi.gov/Pages/RulesStatutes/Nursing.aspx
  7. Froedtert Hospital, Accessed September 2019, https://www.froedtert.com/
  8. Metro Milwaukee Nurse Practitioners, Accessed September 2019, https://metromilwaukeenp.enpnetwork.com/
  9. Wisconsin 2018 Health Care Workforce Report, Wisconsin Hospital Association, Accessed September 2019, https://www.wha.org/WisconsinHospitalAssociation/media/WHA-Reports/2018_Workforce_Report.pdf
  10. Wisconsin Nurses Association, Accessed September 2019, https://www.wisconsinnurses.org
  11. Wisconsin Student Nurses Association, Accessed September 2019, http://www.wisconsinsna.com/
  12. University Hospital, UW Health, Accessed September 2019, https://www.uwhealth.org/findadoctor/location/170
  13. Go to Geek Prank and try the online Windows XP simulator, play with the classic Minesweeper and Tetris games or listen to some music.

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