Top Connecticut Nursing Schools and Programs

by NurseJournal Staff

The shortage of nurses in Connecticut is the second highest in the country. Use this guide to explore available Connecticut Nursing Schools & Degrees.

Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

Thousands of students choose to enroll in nursing programs in Connecticut every year. In 2017, over 3,100 nurses across every level graduated in the state. However, due to a national nursing shortage, the demand for new nurses in Connecticut continues to grow.

This resource covers the process of becoming a nurse, including requirements for licensure and career outlooks for four nurse types: certified nurse assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and nurse practitioner (NP). Students can become any of the four nurse types through online nursing programs in Connecticut.

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Connecticut?

Online programs offer added flexibility for students. Accredited online programs also match the quality of their on-campus counterparts and often come with lower tuition rates and fees. If you plan on becoming a nurse, an online nursing program in Connecticut might be the best option for you. In-state programs satisfy all of Connecticut's prerequisites for licensure, and in-state tuition in Connecticut is lower on average than in-state tuition rates in nearby New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Featured Online Programs

How to Become a Nurse in Connecticut

Becoming a nurse in Connecticut requires similar steps as other states, but with a few distinct differences. For example, Connecticut is not a member state of to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows RNs to work in other member states without having to earn new licenses. Licensing costs in Connecticut also differ from other states.

  • 1. Choose the Path That's Right for You

    To become a nurse, individuals need a diploma, undergraduate degree, or graduate degree from an accredited nursing school in Connecticut. Students can earn a nursing diploma or associate degree in about two years, while an online nursing degree at the baccalaureate level typically takes four years. Advanced nurses with a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) can teach college students or obtain leadership positions guiding other nurses.
  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    Students can earn online nursing degrees by taking distance courses at nursing schools in Connecticut. Online students usually complete clinicals at sites local to them, like health clinics and hospitals. Applicants must have graduated high school and taken prerequisite nursing courses, such as biology, nutrition, anatomy, and statistics.
  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    After earning an online nursing degree, graduates must obtain supervised employment in a healthcare setting, where they accrue supervised experience. Nursing candidates must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Connecticut nurses must also pay test and state application fees before they receive Connecticut nursing licensure.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in Connecticut

For most nursing careers in Connecticut, aspiring nurses need to obtain a minimum level of education. Nursing programs satisfy licensure requirements, and earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or an MSN degree can lead to high-paying, in-demand careers. Also, online nursing programs in Connecticut meet the state's rigorous requirements for licensure.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Connecticut?

Nursing courses vary by school and program, though most online nursing schools in Connecticut are designed to meet state nursing license requirements and thus teach similar courses. Depending on the level of education you pursue, you will probably encounter the following courses in your online degree.

Chemistry

This introductory course covers the basics of chemistry as it applies to health and life sciences. Students explore different chemical reactions and the various interactions of chemicals.

Human Genetics

The human genome can tell scientists a lot about potential health conditions. Nurses use genetic information to help treat patients. This course introduces modern genetics and teaches nurses how to combine genetics with nursing practices.

Public Health Nursing

Taught either during clinicals or to current RNs, public health nursing covers the collective health of a population. Students learn to identify threats to public health and develop strategies to prevent outbreaks.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Nurses need practical experience to receive licenses. Regardless of which nursing type you plan to pursue, you must complete a minimum number of in-person clinical experience hours. Outside of clinical experience, students must complete nursing courses. Online nursing programs in CT offer these programs either online or through a hybrid of on-campus and online courses.

Regardless of which nursing type you plan to pursue, you must complete a minimum number of in-person clinical experience hours.

Working nurses may not need additional clinical practice, depending on their current position and degree of choice. For example, a current LPN can take the NCLEX-RN and complete required registered nursing courses online. Similarly, an RN can complete an online RN-to-BSN program to increase their pay rate.

No matter how much experience a nurse has, Connecticut requires nurses to continue their education. Fortunately, Connecticut has no shortage of online programs for all four nursing types, and these online programs match the quality of on-campus nursing degrees, making it easy to meet continuing education requirements.

Nursing Licensure in Connecticut

Connecticut does not maintain membership in the nurse licensure compact (NLC), so CT sets its own standards for CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and NPs. The Connecticut State Department of Public Health Board of Examiners for Nursing sets these licensure standards. The board also approves nursing programs in Connecticut for each nursing type.

The Connecticut nursing licensure and renewal process has a few notable differences from other states. For example, LPNs and RNs have no continuing education requirements. Also, NPs receive prescriptive authority, though the types of drugs they can prescribe depends on how long they have been licensed.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

Each nursing type requires different levels of education, experience, and certification. This table outlines and compares some of the basic requirements for each nursing type in Connecticut.

Certified Nurse Assistant Connecticut also refers to CNAs as "nursing aides" and uses the terms interchangeably. An aspiring professional can pursue three main paths to becoming a nurse aide: completing a Connecticut program, completing an out-of-state program, and becoming a nurse aide while completing a nursing degree. Nurse aide candidates must apply within 24 months of completing an approved nurse aide program. LPN or RN students who complete 100 hours of clinical practice must also apply within 24 months of earning the experience. Nurse aides must renew their licenses every two years and complete eight hours of paid practice at least once during this two-year period. Finally, nurse aide applicants must pass the CNA exam, which consists of two parts: writing and practice. Applicants must complete the test in person and pay a $118 exam fee.

Connecticut Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Board-approved nurse aide training program
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in program
  • Exams: CNA written and practical exam.
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
  • Continuing Education: None
Licensed Practical Nurse Connecticut requires LPN applicants to complete at least 1,500 hours of theory over at least 10 months. These hours must occur through a practical nursing program, and half of them must take place in direct client care and observation. All board-approved programs in Connecticut satisfy these requirements. If a practical nurse program does not satisfy the board's requirements, applicants may use professional experience or hours earned in another nursing program. Nurses who complete Connecticut LPN programs become eligible for the NCLEX-PN. Nurses must earn a passing grade on the exam to earn practical nurse licensure. After passing the NCLEX-PN, applicants submit official transcripts to the nursing board. Connecticut only accepts online applications and renewals. Connecticut does not require continuing education for practical nurses. Each nurse must renew their license annually on their birthday and pay a renewal fee.

Connecticut Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Practical nurse program or ADN
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in program or through professional experience
  • Exams: NCLEX-PN
  • Renewal Frequency: Annually, on the nurse's birthday
  • Continuing Education: None
Registered Nurse RNs in Connecticut have similar requirements to LPNs, with a few exceptions. RNs must complete at least an ADN, while LPNs need only to complete an approved LPN program. Completion of an approved program is the only route to licensure for new RNs. No amount of clinical experience removes this requirement. Similar to LPNs, RNs must apply for and pass the NCLEX-RN. Before taking the exam, aspiring RNs must become eligible for the exam. Board-approved RN programs in Connecticut satisfy this requirement. During the RN application, each candidate must submit an official transcript and copy of their diploma or certificate and pay an application fee. RNs renew their licenses annually on their birthdays and pay a renewal fee. Nurses complete the application and renewal process online.

Connecticut Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Associate degree in nursing (ADN) or BSN
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
  • Exams: NCLEX-RN
  • Renewal Frequency: Annually, on the nurse's birthday
  • Continuing Education: None
Nurse Practitioner NPs in Connecticut earn advanced practice registered nurse licenses. To delineate the NP from other nursing types, applicants must also earn national certification as an NP in their field of choice. Connecticut accepts national certification from seven different credentialing bodies. Each applicant must also complete a graduate degree in their desired field of expertise. Aspiring NPs must complete 30 hours of continuing education in pharmacology. Connecticut requires these credits because all NPs have prescriptive authority. Nurses can complete some or all of these credits while earning their degrees, though applicants often complete them outside of their NP programs. The types of drugs or medications that NPs can prescribe depends on their experience. When applying, each NP must submit their transcripts, proof of national certification, proof of pharmacology continuing education, and an application fee. NPs need to maintain RN licensure in Connecticut, which means renewing their RN licensure annually and their NP licensure every two years. At least five of the required 50 continuing education credits must be in pharmacotherapeutics.

Connecticut Licensure Requirements

  • Education: MSN or DNP
  • Additional Clinical Hours: 30 hours of pharmacology
  • Exams: AACN, AANA, AANP, ANCC, NCC, PNCB, or ONCC
  • Renewal Frequency: Every other year
  • Continuing Education: 50 hours within the 24-month renewal period

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Connecticut FAQ

What Nursing Field Makes the Most Money? Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, NPs earn more than every other nursing type. Some NP specialties have higher average pay rates than others. However, nurse salaries depend heavily on location.
Can Someone Become a Nurse in Two Years? CNAs, LPNs, and RNs only require two years of schooling. However, many RNs complete four-year BSNs. The more education you complete, the higher your potential salary becomes.
How Should I Choose What Nursing Field to Go Into? Nurses should choose a field based on their interests. NPs have the most flexibility as they choose their field of expertise. Some fields have higher employment rates or salaries than others, so aspiring professionals should research all potential fields.
How Long Does it Take to Get an RN License in Connecticut? After 2-4 years of schooling, RNs must complete the application process. While applications process at different rates, most successful applicants earn their licenses within four weeks of applying.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Nursing School in Connecticut? Nursing schools usually have stricter admission requirements than the college or university at large. For example, a college may require a 2.5 GPA, while the RN program requires a 3.0 GPA. However, requirements vary by program.

Connecticut Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

According to the BLS, every type of nurse in Connecticut earns higher than the national mean annual wage in their field. Every nursing type is also projected to see growth from 2016-2026, with some positions projected for faster growth than others.

While the BLS only projects a 9% increase for RNs in Connecticut from 2016-2026, 57% of Connecticut's RN workforce is 50 or older. With the increased number of RNs needed coinciding with a large portion of the workforce quickly approaching retirement age, Connecticut could need even more RNs than projections show.

Aspiring nurses should note that BLS reports and job growth projections do not guarantee a nursing position or a specific salary, nor does any amount of education.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Connecticut, by Type

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $33,390 1.7%
Licensed Practical Nurse $56,970 3.7%
Registered Nurse $81,220 9.2%
Nurse Practitioner $118,020 28.8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Projections Central

Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States

  Certified Nurse Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
U.S. $29,580 $47,050 $75,510 $110,030
Rhode Island $31,340 $59,130 $78,420 $109,290
Massachusetts $33,630 $58,990 $92,140 $122,740
New York $37,010 $48,770 $85,610 $120,970
New Jersey $30,380 $56,290 $82,750 $122,100

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant


CNAs in Connecticut earned a mean annual wage of $33,390 in 2018 -- higher than the national average and the third-highest in the region behind Massachusetts and New York. Projections show the smallest growth among nursing types is for nurse aides, though projections indicate an increasing need there, too. Some nurses use a nurse aid career as a stepping stone to work toward becoming LPNs or RNs, earning professional experience and money while earning an education.

Licensed Practical Nurse


With an annual mean wage of $56,970, LPNs in Connecticut earn much more than the national mean annual wage of $47,050. However, LPNs in Connecticut earn less than those in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and projections for LPNs in Connecticut show slower growth, but growth nonetheless.

Registered Nurse


With nearly 62,000 currently licensed, RNs are by far the most common type of nurse in Connecticut. Even so, projections show an increased need for RNs over the next decade. In Connecticut, RNs earn more than the national average, but less than neighbors New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. Projections show a lower growth for RNs in Connecticut than nationally, though Connecticut still could see significant growth.

Nurse Practitioner


Projections show a much faster growth for NPs in Connecticut than other nursing types. The 29% projected job growth outpaces BLS projections of 26% national growth. NPs in Connecticut also earn more than the average NP, though NPs in New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts earn higher mean wages. Family nurse practitioners make up the largest portion of NPs in Connecticut.

Nursing Resources for Connecticut

  • CNA advocates for nurses at the local, state, and national levels. CNA also offers professional development opportunities, including e-learning, access to industry data, and a career board.
  • CTAPRNS promotes collaboration and education for advanced practice nurses, including NPs. Membership benefits include continuing education opportunities and access to an annual convention.
  • The Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing licenses all types of nursing in Connecticut. Nurses complete applications and renewals through the online portal and pay fees directly to the board.
  • ASNC offers school nurses newsletters and professional development opportunities. Members also receive access to a discussion board and networking opportunities.
  • As part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, CNC-AC advocates for building healthier communities for nurses and patients. Current objectives include facilitating nursing education and increasing diversity.

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