Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

Updated November 15, 2022

With more than 40 nursing schools in Alabama, how do you choose? This guide to the best nursing programs in Alabama can help you find the right school for your goals.
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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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There are more than 40 nursing programs in Alabama offering either an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. This guide identifies the best schools, explains how to get your nursing license, and explores salary and job outlook.

Keep reading to find the right nursing school in Alabama for your career goals.

The Best Nursing Schools in Alabama

Most ADN nursing programs in Alabama are at public community colleges, while BSN programs are available at public and private schools of all sizes. The best nursing program in Alabama for you matches your budget, goals, experience, and learning needs and preferences.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Alabama, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

#1 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

Samford University

  • Birmingham, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Birmingham, Samford University offers a bachelor of science in nursing. Unlike other nursing programs in Alabama, Samford's program is designed for students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree.

The five-semester BSN program accommodates working professionals and learners with family obligations. Students begin the program in the fall and do not need to take summer courses.

Degree-seekers can complete required clinical practicums at various healthcare facilities in Birmingham. Samford offers medical mission excursions and study abroad programs.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN)
  • Campus: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $955 per credit for per-time (under 12 credits per semester) for in-state and out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Non-nursing bachelor's degree from an accredited school; minimum 2.3 GPA; minimum 2.3 GPA in required classes, including chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology; no ACT or SAT scores required
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Five courses
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.1% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $54,948 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$32,000
Out-of-state
$32,000
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
5,692
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

Auburn University

  • Auburn, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Auburn University offers a 19-credit post-master's primary care nurse practitioner certificate program for nurses with a master's degree in a non-nursing area. The certificate qualifies holders for advanced health and wellness practice.

Students prepare to care for diverse populations. Degree-seekers can study in a hybrid format. These students take some courses online and complete practicums, workshops, lectures, supervised testing, and orientation on campus.

Core coursework explores diagnostic reasoning and clinical management, women and children, and adults and the elderly. Learners complete a primary care practicum.

  • Program: Post-master's primary care nurse practitioner certificate
  • Campus: Auburn, Alabama
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $607 per credit, plus $300 for some nursing courses
  • Admission Requirements: Master's degree in nursing, minimum 3.0 graduate GPA, RN license in good standing, at least one year of clinical experience, prerequisite coursework including advanced pathophysiology
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Five courses
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes 
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.0% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $57,082 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$9,816
Out-of-state
$29,448
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
30,460
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

The University of Alabama

  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, offers an RN-to-BSN program. The Capstone College of Nursing prepares students for advanced practice through undergraduate and graduate programs.

The RN-to-BSN program enrolls nurses with an ADN or diploma and an active, unencumbered nursing license. Degree-seekers complete 52-58 credit hours of lower division coursework and 25 core nursing credit hours. The program helps working professionals earn their BSN online. Students with an associate degree in nursing can transfer 40 credit hours into the BSN program.

Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA from an RN program with accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Applicants need an RN license in the state where they complete clinical practicum hours.

  • Program: RN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $325 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Associate degree or nursing diploma from an accredited program, current and unencumbered RN license, minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Credits Required: 83 credit hours
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.4% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $55,753 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$10,780
Out-of-state
$30,250
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
38,100
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Mobile

  • Mobile, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Mobile offers a doctor of nursing practice for bachelor's degree-holders. The BSN-to-DNP program incorporates a Christian worldview. The program helps working professionals advance their nursing education to the doctoral level.

The hybrid doctoral program features online classes and a required on-campus intensive that provides practical experience and networking opportunities. Learners present their capstone project during the intensive.

The curriculum focuses on improving nursing care quality for underserved populations. Admission requirements include basic life support certification. Candidates with at least one year of clinical experience receive preference.

  • Program: Doctor of Nursing Practice- BSN to DNP program.
  • Campus: Mobile, Alabama
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $675 per credit for Alabama residents and out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: BSN from an accredited school, minimum 2.75 GPA in last 60 credits, unencumbered RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$22,250
Out-of-state
$22,250
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
46%
Students Enrolled
1,989
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Alabama in Huntsville

  • Huntsville, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Alabama in Huntsville offers an on-campus bachelor of science in nursing program. Unlike many nursing programs in Alabama, UAH's offering features two pathways: a four-year BSN program and an online RN-to-BSN program. The pre-licensure BSN program qualifies graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Licensed nurses with a diploma or an associate degree in nursing can enroll in the RN-to-BSN program. Degree-seekers can complete the program in 12 months. UAH offers a "pay as you go" tuition payment option.

The university delivers the RN-to-BSN program in a hybrid format. Learners take nursing courses online and on campus. Both programs require in-person clinical practicum hours.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing; RN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Huntsville, Alabama 
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: BSN: $42 per credit (in-state); RN-to-BSN: $12,200 total
  • Admission Requirements: RN-to-BSN: ADN or nursing diploma from an accredited program, current RN license; BSN: minimum 3.0 GPA in nursing prerequisites, minimum 2.75 GPA in science prerequisites, minimum score of 75% on the Elsevier HESI Admission Assessment
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years (BSN); 12 months (RN-to-BSN)
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.0% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $50,554 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$9,730
Out-of-state
$22,126
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
9,988
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

Jacksonville State University

  • Jacksonville, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Jacksonville State University offers a graduate certificate in nursing education. The 15-credit program prepares RNs to pursue careers as nurse educators. The program emphasizes clinical instruction, nursing program development, assessment, and teaching skills.

Learners complete a required practicum at a facility near their location. Students cannot apply transfer credits toward the certificate program.

Students can transfer the certificate into JSU's MSN program, which offers a nursing education concentration.

  • Program: Graduate certificate in nursing education
  • Campus: Jacksonville, Alabama
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $410 per credit (in-state or online); $820 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Certificate: BSN from an accredited school and program, unencumbered RN license; BSN: minimum 2.9 high school GPA, minimum 20 ACT score or equivalent SAT score
  • Credits Required: 15 credits
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$9,720
Out-of-state
$19,440
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
9,021
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Birmingham, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of several nursing schools in Alabama that offers a pathway for registered nurses to pursue their bachelor's degree. After earning a diploma or ADN and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, licensed nurses can enroll in the 30-credit RN-to-BSN program.

The curriculum emphasizes community health, leadership, nursing informatics, and evidence-based nursing practice.

UAB offers start dates in the spring and fall. The flexible online format allows students to complete their studies around busy work and personal schedules. On-campus requirements include an orientation and 30 upper-division credits. Degree-seekers complete clinical rotations in person.

  • Program: RN-to-BSN 
  • Campus: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $440 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Nursing diploma or associate degree, minimum 2.5 GPA, active and unencumbered RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 974% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $55,753 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$8,568
Out-of-state
$20,400
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
22,080
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

Oakwood University

  • Huntsville, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, is a private institution offering a bachelor of science in nursing. Founded in 1896 by an African American educator, the university maintains affiliation with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The program requires 125-132 credits, which most students complete in 4-5 years. The curriculum includes nursing courses, electives, and Christian education requirements. Degree-seekers complete in-person clinical rotations.

Oakwood University offers classes in areas including literature of African people and fundamentals of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs. Students who did not take two years of a foreign language in high school must study a modern foreign language for at least one year.

  • Program: Bachelor's of science in nursing
  • Campus: Huntsville, Alabama
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $9,487 per semester (12-16 credits)
  • Admission Requirements: Minimum 3.0 high school GPA, minimum 17 ACT score or 840 SAT score, score of at least 75% on the HESI Admission Assessment Exam
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 4-5 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 64.3% first-time pass rate
Average Tuition
In-state
$18,974
Out-of-state
$18,974
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
1,526
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
16% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

John C Calhoun State Community College

  • Tanner, AL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in Tanner, Calhoun Community College is one of several nursing schools in Alabama offering an associate in applied science in nursing program. The 66-credit AAS program prepares students to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain RN licensure.

Registered nurses can work in home health, hospital acute care, and clinic settings. AAS-holders can work as registered nurses while pursuing advanced education to become nurse educators, nurse practitioners, or nurse anesthetists.

The college delivers the AAS program on campus. Degree-seekers complete several clinical practicums.

  • Program: Associate in applied science in nursing
  • Campus: Tanner, Alabama
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $123 per credit (in-state); $246 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: A minimum GPA of 2.5 from required prerequisites, A GED or High School transcripts with a 2.5 GPA, and an ACT or a HESI A2 score 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes 
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $46,730 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,315
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

Judson College

  • Marion, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A private, religious institution in Marion, Alabama, Judson College offers a two-year ADN program. The associate degree in nursing requires 72 credit hours, including coursework and clinical practicum components.

The Alabama Board of Nursing-approved program focuses on clinical practice. Learners gain practical experience during clinical practicums and in the school's specialized computerized simulator lab.

Graduates can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain registered nurse licensure. Judson boasts a 100% first-time pass rate for nursing graduates taking the NCLEX-RN.

  • Program: Associate degree in nursing
  • Campus: Marion, Alabama
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $743 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED, prerequisite courses with minimum C grades
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Two years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $52,733 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$17,240
Out-of-state
$17,240
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
250
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Featured Online Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Alabama

The first decision to make when choosing a nursing school in Alabama is whether you want a two-year ADN or a four-year BSN degree. ADN programs are faster, more affordable, and easier to get into, while BSNs are more comprehensive and position you for more career opportunities or educational advancement.

Other factors to consider include cost and financial aid, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rate (which indicates how prepared students are to practice nursing), the program quality and acceptance rate, and the logistics of attending. If you plan to attend an online nursing school in Alabama, make sure you can get clinical placement in your community.


This guide only lists accredited nursing schools, since unaccredited schools are an unnecessary risk of your time and money.

Why Become a Nurse in Alabama

At 87.5% the average NCLEX-RN pass rate for nursing schools in Alabama is above the national average of 86.6%.

Alabama is also a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, which means that once you graduate from a nursing program in Alabama, you can apply for a multistate license. Multistate licenses are valid in all 39 participating states.

The state is experimenting with a nursing apprenticeship model, matching community college students with hospital work opportunities. This innovation gives students in participating nursing programs in Alabama valuable experience and a head start on job networking and building relationships with potential employers.

Alabama is full of history, natural beauty, and delicious southern food. In addition to a low cost of living, the state is within driving distance to many beaches. It's also close to New Orleans and northern Florida, giving you a variety of popular leisure options.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Alabama

While salaries in Alabama are lower than national averages, the cost-of-living index is 87.9, one of the lowest in the country. The average salary for a registered nurse (RN) is $61,920, compared to the national average of $82,750. Nurse practitioners (NPs) in Alabama earn an average annual $102,410, while the national average is $118,040, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Projected job growth rates for nurses in Alabama is slightly lower than the national rate. Between 2018 and 2028, RN jobs are projected to grow 10.2%, slower than the national rate of 12.1%. The gap is wider for NP jobs, projected to grow 24.2% in Alabama and 28.2% nationally.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Alabama

Many Americans associate Montgomery and Birmingham with the Civil Rights Movement, and these cities honor their history.

Auburn, home of the Auburn Tigers, offers easy access to parks and recreational activities, including Chewacla State Park and Davis Arboretum. The Anniston — Oxford — Jacksonville area is home to one of the larger military bases, Fort McClellan, as well as Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center and Stringfellow Hospital.

Highest-Paying Cities
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Birmingham — Hoover $63,610
Montgomery $63,210
Auburn — Opelika $61,280
Daphne — Fairhope — Foley $60,910
Anniston — Oxford — Jacksonville $58,880
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Alabama

Like all states with RN requirements, Alabama requires nurses to earn a nursing degree, pass the applicable national examination — NCLEX-RN for RNs, board certification examinations for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) — and complete a criminal background check. Both RNs and APRNs renew their licenses every two years.

RN Requirements

To become an RN in Alabama, you must earn an ADN or a BSN degree from an accredited nursing school in Alabama or the equivalent in another state, pass the NCLEX-RN, and complete a criminal background check.

The state board of nursing requires students to graduate before applying for a license, but applicants may request a temporary license for an additional $50. The regular application fee is $100.

APRN Requirements

APRNs need a master of science in nursing or doctor of nursing practice, a current and unencumbered RN license, and board certification for their specialty area. NPs and nurse midwives also need a collaborative agreement with a physician. (Note that the Alabama Board of Nursing refers to NPs as certified registered nurse practitioners.)

The licensing fee is $175.

Other Top Nursing Programs in Alabama

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Alabama


How much do nurses make in Alabama?

In Alabama, the average salary for an RN is $61,920 and the average NP salary is $102,410, according to BLS data from March 2022. Salary.com shows an RN salary range of $62,940-$80,580, as of April 2022.

These are some of the lowest RN salaries in the country, but the cost-of-living index in Alabama is also low at 87.9, compared to the national average of 100.

Are nurses in demand in Alabama?

Nursing is one of the fastest growing careers in Alabama, with an estimated 3,275 average annual open jobs each year between 2016 and 2026. In January 2022, the CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association said that the shortage is so acute, "If you've got a nurse who wants a job in Alabama, they will be able to get a job. From the perspective of people going into nursing, this is absolutely the employee market."

How long does it take to become an RN in Alabama?

It takes two years to earn an ADN or four years to earn a BSN. The state board of nursing does not include a finite timeline for issuing licenses, though an applicant with an unencumbered license from another state can receive a temporary permit in 72-96 hours.

How do I get a nursing license in Alabama?

If you have a nursing license from another state, you can apply for a license by endorsement. Otherwise, you must apply to the state board of nursing, hold an ADN or a BSN from an accredited program, pass the NCLEX-RN, and get a criminal background check.


Find Nursing Programs in Other States

NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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