Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs

February 21, 2022 , Modified on May 2, 2022 · 4 Min Read

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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Top Alabama Nursing Schools and Programs
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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.

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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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