The Top Nursing Schools in Idaho

March 2, 2022 , Modified on April 27, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Considering nursing school in Idaho? Learn about the best programs in the state, how to get your RN license, and salary prospects.

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The Top Nursing Schools in Idaho
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Idaho is the fastest-growing state in the country, with demand for nurses increasing even faster. This guide to the best nursing programs in Idaho can help you select a program and plan to earn your registered nurse (RN) license.

Keep reading for more on nursing schools and nursing practice in Idaho, including salary and job prospects.

The Best Nursing Schools in Idaho

Picking the right school is one of the most important choices of your nursing career. This guide to the top nursing programs in Idaho can help you make the right decision for your personal and professional goals.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Idaho, 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 Idaho

When choosing among the different nursing schools in Idaho, consider whether you want a two-year or four-year degree, cost and financial aid, and the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN) pass rate, which measures how prepared graduates are to practice.

The school's acceptance and graduation rates and program logistics are also important factors. If you plan to attend an online nursing program in Idaho, check to see if you can get clinical placement as an online student in your community.

Because nursing accreditation is key to program quality and your career prospects, this guide only lists accredited programs.

Why Become a Nurse in Idaho

Idaho is the fastest-growing state in the nation. Most new Idaho residents have moved from neighboring states, seeking a better cost of living than in other parts of the Pacific Northwest that still offers access to the coast and its commercial and technology hubs.

Demand for nurses is high in Idaho, and the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened this nursing shortage. To help fill the need, the state grants new nursing school graduates a temporary license, so they can start work immediately.

Because Idaho is a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, once you graduate from a nursing school in Idaho, you can apply for a multistate license. This lets you practice in any of the 39 participating NLC states, another advantage to nursing programs in Idaho.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Idaho

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average RN salary in Idaho is $71,640, compared to $80,010 nationally. The salary for nurse practitioners (NPs) is $113,890, also less than the $114,510 national average. The cost of living in Idaho is changing quickly because of the rapid population growth, and at 102.1, it is slightly higher than the national index of 100.

Between 2018 and 2028, the number of RN jobs is projected to grow 19.9%, significantly above the national rate of 12.1%.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Idaho

Residents of California, Oregon, and Washington, are likely to move to Idaho, seeking more affordable homes. Many are tech workers who are now working from home but still want to be within easy reach of companies on the coast.

Boise, in particular, is rapidly adding new dining, entertainment, and cultural attractions, but it is still within reach of beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation.

Highest-Paying Cities
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Lewiston $81,310
Coeur d'Alene $77,800
Boise City $74,120
Pocatello $70,960
Twin Falls $67,010
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Idaho

Like all states with RN licensing requirements, Idaho requires RNs to graduate from nursing school with at least an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and for advanced practice nurses a master's, pass the relevant national examination (either the NCLEX-RN exam or board certification for advanced practice nurses), and complete a criminal background check.

RN Requirements

To earn an RN license in Idaho, you must graduate from a state-approved nursing school in Idaho or another state with an ADN or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. You must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam and a criminal background check. You can complete the application on the state board of nursing website.

The application fee, which includes a criminal background check with fingerprinting, is $118.25 for licensure by examination and $138.25 for licensure by endorsement. To renew your license, you need either 100 hours of practice in the last two years or a current nursing specialty certification. You also must have at least 15 contact hours or equivalent education or teaching hours.

APRN Requirements

To become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in Idaho, you must have a master of science in nursing or doctor of nursing practice, board certification in the appropriate specialty, and a current and unencumbered RN license. You must also pass a criminal background check, though you are exempt if you submitted one within the last six months.

The application fee is $118.25. Idaho APRNs have full-practice authority. The state board of nursing, unlike most states, requires peer review as part of the biannual license renewal.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Idaho


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

It takes around two years to earn an ADN degree or four years for a BSN degree. Idaho has one of the fastest license processing times in the country. Once the state board of nursing receives your completed paperwork, you will be notified of your licensure status within five business days.

How do I become a nurse in Idaho?

You must earn either an ADN or a BSN degree, pass the NCLEX-RN examination, and complete a criminal background check to earn an RN license. The ADN takes two years and the BSN takes four years to complete.

If you have a multistate license, you are eligible to practice in Idaho.

How long is a nursing license good for in Idaho?

Nursing licenses in Idaho are valid for two years for both RNs and APRNs. You must complete continuing education units and either have 100 hours of practice or a specialty nursing certification.

APRNs must also complete a peer review for license renewal.

How do I apply for the NCLEX in Idaho?

To take the NCLEX-RN in Idaho, you must submit your application to the state board of nursing and register with Pearson VUE. If the state board of nursing determines you are eligible, you will receive an authorization code to take the NCLEX-RN examination.

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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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