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Indiana Nursing Schools and Programs

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Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

Online nursing programs in Indiana prepare graduates for many different careers in healthcare, including entry-level nursing assistant and independently practicing nurse practitioner (NP). These online nursing schools in Indiana provide a flexible, convenient alternative to on-campus programs, while providing a high-quality classroom and clinical education.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for registered nurses (RNs) in Indiana to increase by 16.5% from 2016-26. The 2017 Indiana Nursing Licensure Survey, with almost 70,000 nurses responding, found that more than 10,000 nurses planned to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree within the next two years.

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Featured Online Programs

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Indiana?

With a low cost of living and average tuition below surrounding states, Indiana offers prospective nursing students the opportunity to advance their careers and education through flexible degree paths. Online RN programs in Indiana help nurses with an associate degree advance their education by earning a BSN. These bridge programs consider the knowledge that learners bring to the classroom and grants them academic credit for prior coursework and on-the-job experience to accelerate their degree completion and may require as little as 18 months.

How to Become a Nurse in Indiana

All nursing students complete similar steps to obtain licensure to practice in Indiana. However, specific procedures and costs depend on the type of nurse the candidate aspires to become. RNs undergo a different process than certified nurse assistants (CNAs). Nursing schools in Indiana prepare students to earn the credentials necessary to practice in the state.

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

    To practice nursing in the state, professionals need at least an associate degree from an accredited nursing school in Indiana or an out-of-state school that meets the same standards. An associate degree in nursing (ADN) prepares students to become a CNA, LPN, or RN. To teach nursing at the college level or become an NP, students need a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. Practicing RNs find online RN-to-BSN programs in Indiana ideal for pursuing their bachelor’s degree.

  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    Many online BSN programs in Indiana have no on-campus requirements. However, students need to complete internships, fellowships, or clinical experiences. Students can often earn an accelerated online nursing degree in just one year.

  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    To practice in the state, each nursing graduate must obtain a license. Candidates for licensure must pass the NCLEX, a standardized exam that tests skills and knowledge necessary for entry-level nursing positions. The exam costs $200 and takes 4-5 hours to complete. Most candidates begin studying about two months in advance.

    All nursing schools in Indiana prepare students to take the NCLEX. While licensure does not guarantee a position in the field, demand for nurses in Indiana continues to grow.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in Indiana

Online nursing schools in Indiana help individuals with nursing experience advance their careers. A degree often serves as a step toward a promotion or obtaining more responsibility within an organization. Online programs offer working nurses the flexibility to take classes while continuing to work. Schools often build on the clinical skills of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or RNs to help them advance their skills with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

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

Online nursing programs in Indiana build upon the practical skills learned in an associate or certificate program. The coursework helps to develop research skills and leadership abilities for advanced licensure and career growth. Each school develops a unique curriculum to achieve these objectives. The courses below offer a sample of classes you may encounter as part of your nursing degree.

Nursing Foundations

This undergraduate course may include both classroom and clinical components. The course emphasizes techniques used to assess the patient’s physical, developmental, and psychological health. Faculty and clinical facilitators also discuss patient safety, infection control, and hygiene.

Pharmacology

At the undergraduate level, students evaluate basic concepts of drug therapies, including drug classes, side effects, and interactions. The course provides practice in calculating dosage and ensuring patient safety.

Ethics

This course asks students to evaluate contemporary healthcare issues through ethical analysis. Students discuss cultural differences, political and religious controversies, economic constraints, and current legislation.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Approximately 25 schools offer traditional and online nursing programs in Indiana. Many online programs feature asynchronous course scheduling, which allows learners to complete classes without having to appear online at specific times. Some schools offer an accelerated format to help students focus on 1-2 classes for a shorter time.

Nursing requires students to obtain practical experience working with patients and in clinical settings. Hybrid programs help balance the convenience of online learning with the clinical experience nursing students need. Some students receive help in arranging clinical placements near their homes. Schools often require students to complete some on-campus components, such as week-long intensive courses or weekend seminars. Fully online programs typically cater to RNs seeking to advance their education. These programs build on an RN’s practical skills with courses in leadership and management.

Schools often require students to complete some on-campus components, such as week-long intensive courses or weekend seminars.

Specifics vary by school, but some programs organize enrollees in cohorts, where students advance through the coursework together. Some programs only accept applicants with valid nursing licenses. Other schools feature a two-phase admissions process. First, candidates must be admitted to the school and then to the nursing program. Learners who lack particular prerequisites may enroll in those courses before starting their nursing curriculum.

Nursing Licensure in Indiana

Indiana law sets requirements for nursing training, exams, and state licensure. The Indiana State Board of Nursing administers these laws and approves nursing programs. Individuals working as nursing assistants, staff nurses, NPs, or telemedicine providers must hold the proper license to practice in the state.

Requirements vary, depending on the type of nursing license. CNAs can complete their training in a few weeks, while LPNs require a year or more to meet the educational standards. RNs need a minimum of a two-year degree for state licensure.

The state allows advanced practice registered nurses to prescribe medications if they meet specific educational and regulatory requirements. Indiana does not allow these providers to practice independently, however, as the state operates under a reduced practice model. To prescribe medication, NPs must enter a written collaborative agreement with a licensed provider who can prescribe medication.

The section below details the training and certification required for each type of nursing license and the fees you may need to pay.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

Indiana has established educational and professional requirements for various nursing professions. The chart below explains the steps required for each nursing license.

  • Certified Nurse Assistant

    Students must complete a 105-hour training course approved by the Indiana State Department of Health and apply to the Indiana nurse aide registry. CNAs assist patients with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They also work under the supervision of an LPN or RN.

    Indiana requires CNAs to demonstrate their understanding of their scope of practice through a written and practical exam, the nurse aide competency evaluation. Administered by the Ivy Tech Community College System, the exam costs $65 for one of the two portions or $75 for both. Students enrolled in approved nursing programs may also register as CNAs. They must complete a nursing fundamentals course with at least a “C” and pass the written portion of the exam. Registration also requires a background check.

    Once registered, you must work at least eight hours in 24 months. You should also complete 12 hours of in-service training each year, including safety and accident prevention, resident rights, and needs of a specific population.

    Indiana Licensure Requirements

    • Education: 105-hour approved nurse aide training program

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program

    • Exams: Nurse aide training competency evaluation

    • Renewal Frequency: Every two years

    • Continuing Education: 12 hours of in-service each year

  • Licensed Practical Nurse

    The Indiana State Board of Nursing requires LPNs to complete a state-accredited nursing preparation program. These postsecondary programs include instruction in anatomy and physiology, fundamentals of nursing, pharmacology. Hands-on clinical courses ensure that students understand how to perform basic nursing tasks.

    Once you complete the LPN program, you may apply for a license from the state. Indiana charges $50 for the application. The application includes a criminal background check and, if applicable, court documentation. The state also verifies high school and nursing education. Once approved, the state provides information on registering for the NCLEX-PN, which costs $200. This multiple-choice test includes 85-205 items to be answered over five hours.

    If you pass the NCLEX, the state sends an email when they issue the license, usually within 24-48 hours of the exam. You must renew the license by October 31 of even-numbered years with a $50 fee. The state does not require continuing education as part of license renewal. However, it does ask questions about criminal or professional disciplinary actions.

    Indiana Licensure Requirements

    • Education: 45-credit certificate program approved by the Indiana State Board of Nursing

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program

    • Exams: NCLEX-PN

    • Renewal Frequency: October 31 of even-numbered years

    • Continuing Education: None

  • Registered Nurse

    RNs must complete nursing programs approved by the Indiana State Board of Nursing. Currently, 26 Indiana schools offer approved ADNs, while 30 schools offer BSNs. Whether you attend a two-year or a four-year program, the curriculum should prepare you to provide high-quality patient care. Courses cover health promotion, psychosocial integrity, safety and infection control, management of care, and pharmacological therapies. You should complete both class lectures and hands-on clinical rotations.

    After completing your program, you may begin the application process. Indiana charges a $50 application fee. The board reviews your transcripts and your background check. If necessary, they review court documents and interview applicants before granting permission to register for the NCLEX-RN exam.

    Applicants must pay the $200 exam fee. The test includes 75-265 multiple choice questions with a six-hour time limit. Once the state receives notice that the applicant passed the exam, the board issues the license. This process generally takes 1-2 days.

    RN licensure expires October 31 of every odd-numbered year. Indiana does not require continuing education credits for renewal, but it does charge a $50 fee and updates disciplinary and background information.

    Indiana Licensure Requirements

    • Education: ADN or BSN

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program

    • Exams: NCLEX-RN

    • Renewal Frequency: October 31 of odd-numbered years

    • Continuing Education: None

  • Nurse Practitioner

    NPs, clinical nurse specialists, and other advanced practice nurses only need additional state licensure if they want to prescribe medication. The state requires advanced practice nurses to indicate what type of practice they have: clinical nurse specialist, NP, or certified nurse midwife. Applicants must hold a valid RN license, or if moving from another state, a pending application by endorsement. These nurses must complete a graduate-level nursing program from an accredited school and at least two credits in pharmacology.

    Indiana also requires NPs to establish a written collaborative agreement with a licensed practitioner and Indiana controlled substances registration. Fees include $60 for the controlled substance registration and $50 for the prescriptive authority license. Both the license and controlled substance registration expire October 31 of odd-numbered years. Indiana requires 30 hours of continuing education, with eight hours in pharmacology.

    Midwives must graduate from a nationally accredited school of nursing with a specialization in midwifery. They must also pass the national certifying exam of the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMBC). The five-year certification cycle requires nurse midwives to complete three certificate maintenance modules from the AMBC, take part in 20 hours of continuing education, and pay annual fees.

    Indiana Licensure Requirements

    • Education: MSN

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Determined by national credentialing agency

    • Exams: Determined by national credentialing agency

    • Renewal Frequency: October 31 of odd-numbered years

    • Continuing Education: 30 hours with eight hours in pharmacology

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Indiana FAQ

  • Can Someone Become a Nurse in Two Years?

    Yes. Indiana requires each prospective RN to complete an approved nursing program. An associate degree typically requires two years to complete, though students attending school part-time may require additional time.

  • What Is a Good Specialty for Nursing?

    About 20% of RNs in Indiana specialize in acute care or critical care. NPs often complete specializations that align with a nationally recognized certification program as part of their master’s education. Certified nurse midwives must complete specialized education programs as part of their licensure requirements.

  • How Long Does it Take to Get an RN License in Indiana?

    The licensing process requires several weeks to verify transcripts, background checks, and, if necessary, appear before the board. NCLEX results typically require 1-2 days to process. Indiana provides email notification of licensure immediately upon receipt of scores.

  • How Long Does It Take To Get an Indiana Nursing License by Endorsement?

    Individuals with an active RN license in another state can apply for licensure by endorsement. The state must verify the license and educational information. Applicants must also complete a background check, which can take several weeks.

  • Is Indiana a Nurse Compact State?

    Indiana began the process of joining the nurse licensure compact in July of 2019. However, it cannot provide multi-state licensure until it has completed the process. The Indiana State Board of Nursing will post updates on the process as it moves forward.

Indiana Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

Indiana offers strong employment opportunities for nursing professionals at all levels. The BLS projects job growth in these healthcare specialties to outpace the 5% average growth for all professions. However, no education or degree guarantees employment or a specific wage.

Nurses make up the largest segment of Indiana’s healthcare workforce, with 110,000 nurses holding state licensure. While the state has a relatively young nursing workforce with an average age of 44.4 years, the 2017 Indiana Nursing Licensure Survey found 24.1% of Indiana nurses are over age 55. While most nurses plan to continue working for the next two years, about 1,213 nurses plan to retire.

Indiana also offers opportunities for nurses who specialize in a specific area of care. Hospitals serve as the primary employer for nurses, with 58.8% of the RN workforce, and 19.2% of nurses specializing in acute or critical care. Other popular specialties include medical-surgical (11.4%), pediatrics/neonatal (5.1%), and geriatric/gerontology (5%).

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Indiana, by Type

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $27,210 21.7%
Licensed Practical Nurse $44,310 12.3%
Registered Nurse $64,860 16.5%
Nurse Practitioner $103,200 38.7%

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
United States $29,580 $47,050 $75,510 $110,030
Michigan $30,130 $49,040 $71,330 $106,880
Ohio $27,570 $43,430 $66,820 $101,970
Kentucky $26,800 $41,920 $63,100 $99,790
Illinois $28,810 $51,080 $73,890 $105,800

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant


CNAs in Indiana earned mean annual wages of $27,210 in 2018, but that wage varies depending on location. The area outside Chicago in Naperville, Indiana, ranks among the top metropolitan areas for its employment of nursing assistants, with demand driving wages above the state average to $29,890. The Bloomington, Indiana, region also offers an above-average wage at $29,020. Rural regions of the state tend to offer wages below the state average.

Licensed Practical Nurse


LPNs enjoy strong job growth in Indiana. The BLS projects a 12.3% growth rate from 2016-26, which outpaces the 11% projected nationally. Indiana’s LPN wages fall slightly below the national average and in the middle of the average salaries of surrounding states. Skilled nursing facilities, physician offices, and hospitals serve as the top employers for LPNs. Naperville, Indiana, outside Chicago, offers one of the top metropolitan regions for LPN employment, and the mean annual wage there jumps to $55,140.

Registered Nurse


RNs in Indiana find their wages fall below the national average of $75,510, and surrounding states also outpace Indiana employers. However, the demand for RNs remains high across the state. Naperville, Indiana, in the Chicago metropolitan area, offers an average salary of $77,710. Most RNs in Indiana work in hospitals, with outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and home health agencies as the top employers. Most (58.7%) of Indiana’s RNs hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing.

Nurse Practitioner


NPs make up 7.5% of the RN workforce in Indiana. The state projects job growth of 38.7% for these master’s-level nurses as the state looks to shore up primary care services across the state. Overall, Indiana employs about 4,780 NPs, making it one of the top states for the profession in the country. The state’s mean annual wage of $103,200 falls below the national average but sits at the midway point of surrounding states.

Nursing Resources for Indiana

  • Indiana State Nurses Association Founded in 1903, this association promotes the nursing profession and quality healthcare as an affiliate of the American Nurses Association. Members receive discounts on continuing education and free monthly educational webinars. Professional conferences and workshops offer networking and leadership opportunities.
  • Coalition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Indiana This organization promotes the role of advanced practice nurses in healthcare and advocates for legislation to protect their members. The online career center offers local job search tools, while the student toolbox includes resources and educational information. Regional and state meetings offer professional collaboration and networking.
  • Indiana State Board of Nursing This board administers nursing licensure in Indiana. It also ensures compliance with rules and laws regarding nursing practice in the state. Consumers can verify licensing or file a complaint through the board.
  • Indiana Association of School Nurses As an affiliate of the National Association of School Nurses, this organization promotes the role of professional school nurses in educational systems. Members can achieve professional recognition through the awards system and take part in continuing education opportunities at workshops and conferences. Membership also includes access to a member directory, online discussion boards, and a weekly newsletter.
  • Indiana Action Coalition This organization brings together consumers, educators, businesses, and healthcare providers to develop solutions to the state's unique healthcare challenges. In Indiana, the team works to promote nursing leadership, transform nursing education, and foster collaboration among multiple professions. It also works to increase access to care. Initiatives include several educational campaigns, legislative advocacy, and teambuilding.

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Advertisement 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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