Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

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Updated November 23, 2022

Review some of Louisiana's top nursing programs and how to earn a degree, become licensed to practice, and find employment in the state.
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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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Louisiana has one of the highest National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates and an increased demand for nurses. Both prospective and current nurses can benefit from earning a degree through a nursing school in Louisiana.

The state hosts a bustling healthcare community with high-ranking academic institutions, such as Louisiana State University and Southern University and AandM College, and one of the top hospitals in Ochsner Medical Center.

This guide provides an overview of becoming a nurse in Louisiana, the salary and job outlook, and the best nursing programs in the state.

Keep reading to learn more about the top nursing schools and programs in Louisiana.

The Best Nursing Schools in Louisiana

Learn more about the top nursing schools in Louisiana and discover the programs in the state that can provide the best options for prospective nurses.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Louisiana, 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 Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

Loyola University New Orleans

  • New Orleans, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

This Jesuit institution serves over 4,500 students through 110 undergraduate and 36 graduate and professional programs.Top-rated Loyno offers several nursing degrees through the doctoral level. The four-year bachelor of science in nursing features guaranteed clinical placements through its partnership with Ochsner Health.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing 
  • Campus: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $45,030 per year
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, official transcripts, personal statement, one letter of recommendation 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$38,926
Out-of-state
$38,926
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
4,367
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

Nicholls State University

  • Thibodaux, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The only university serving the Bayou Region, Nicholls enrolls 6,500 students in more than 107 programs. The 120-credit BSN prepares students for RN licensure and evidence-based care across the lifespan. Home to one of the top ranked nursing programs in Louisiana, Nicholls boasts that 100% of its graduates find employment or enter graduate school within a year after completing their bachelor's degree. 

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Thibodaux, Louisiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $2,461 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent official transcript, completion of Regents Core Curriculum, minimum 21 ACT or minimum 1060 SAT score or minimum 2.35 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $60,030 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,922
Out-of-state
$6,015
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
6,491
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

McNeese State University

  • Lake Charles, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students at McNeese can choose from over 100 undergraduate academic programs and 

36 graduate programs. The College of Nursing and Health Professions offers nursing degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The 120-credit BSN features six-week clinical rotations in a mental health facility, a medical surgical unit, and an obstetrics department. Students also participate in a three-week placement in a community health setting.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $9,000 per year for Louisiana residents; $14,000 per year for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent official transcripts, minimum 2.5 GPA, minimum 20 ACT or 1030 SAT score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $58,104 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,147
Out-of-state
$13,185
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
7,295
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

Louisiana College

  • Pineville, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

This Baptist-affiliated college, founded in 1906 as Louisiana College, took the name Louisiana Christian University in 2021. The nursing division offers several BSN and MSN options, including a traditional four-year BSN and an accelerated 17-month track for students who already hold a bachelor's in a non-nursing field. Graduates of the BSN program can transition directly into the online MSN program. 

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Pineville, Louisiana
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $8,929 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent official transcripts, minimum 2.6 GPA, ACT or SAT scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $62,211 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$17,500
Out-of-state
$17,500
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
1,224
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

Southeastern Louisiana University

  • Hammond, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Southeastern, the state's third-largest public university enrolls 14,300 students in more than 150 fields of study, including one of the top-ranked nursing programs in Louisiana. The bachelor of science in nursing offers several options: a generic four-year baccalaureate degree, an RN-to-BSN, an LPN-to-BSN, and an accelerated BSN for students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Hammond, Louisiana
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $2,889 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, official transcripts, completion of Regents Core Curriculum, minimum 2.5 GPA, 16+ ACT math score and 15+ ACT English score 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $61,728 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,777
Out-of-state
$18,255
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
14,220
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Louisiana at Monroe

  • Monroe, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in northeastern Louisiana, ULM is part of the University of Louisiana system. The Kitty DeGree School of Nursing offers a traditional 120-credit BSN degree, an RN-to-BSN, an LPN-to-BSN, and an online MSN. Applicants to the pre-nursing curriculum must meet ULM's general admission requirements and fulfill all requirements of the pre-nursing curriculum with a 2.8 cumulative GPA.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Monroe, Louisiana
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $364 per credit for Louisiana residents; $686 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, official transcripts, completion of Regents Core Curriculum, minimum 2.35 GPA, minimum 20 ACT
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $61,516 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,788
Out-of-state
$17,888
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
8,673
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

  • Natchitoches, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The first university in Louisiana to award business education and nursing degrees, NSU currently offers more than 50 degree programs. One of the best nursing schools in Louisiana, NSU offers degrees from the associate to the doctoral level. Prospective students can pursue an associate of nursing science, a traditional BSN, a BS-to-BSN for students who already hold a bachelor of science in another field, an LPN-to-BSN, and an RN-to-BSN. 

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Natchitoches, Louisiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $2,590 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent official transcripts, completion of Regents Core Curriculum, minimum 2.35 GPA, 18+ ACT English score or 19+ ACT math score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.9%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $63,326 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,180
Out-of-state
$15,968
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
10,900
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

Grambling State University

  • Grambling, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Grambling State University, a historically Black, public institution, provides quality liberal arts and professional training in more than 40 programs. The school of nursing offers both undergraduate and master's degrees. The BSN comprises a 60-credit, pre-nursing component and a 60-credit, upper-division professional component. Students complete general education and pre-nursing courses before applying for admission to the professional component. 

  • Program: Bachelor science in nursing
  • Campus: Grambling, Louisiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,556 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent official transcripts, minimum 2.0 GPA, minimum 20 ACT or 1030 SAT scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $68,219 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,140
Out-of-state
$5,140
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
97%
Students Enrolled
5,232
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

#9 Top Louisiana Nursing Schools and Programs

Louisiana State University-Alexandria

  • Alexandria, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The only state-supported undergraduate university in Louisiana, LSUA offers nursing students several degree pathways. The associate of nursing science (ASN) requires one semester of pre-requisites and four semesters of clinical courses. The LPN-to-ASN consists of one semester of pre-requisites, followed by 3-4 semesters of clinical courses. The fully online RN-to-BSN takes 12-18 months to complete, depending on the number of accepted transfer credits. 

  • Program: Associate of science in nursing
  • Campus: Alexandria, Louisiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $417 per credit for Louisiana residents; $720 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent official transcripts, completion of Regents Core Curriculum, minimum 2.0 GPA in core courses or minimum 20 ACT score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.9%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $44,021 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,984
Out-of-state
$4,984
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
56%
Students Enrolled
3,381
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Louisiana

Prospective nurses need to consider various factors before choosing the nursing program that works best for them. To help narrow down their options, applicants should review a program's admission requirements and reputation.

Researching the cost of tuition, program length, and financial aid options for nurses can help students determine their best option. It is also crucial to review the school's success in preparing its students, which can be determined by researching their NCLEX passing rates and verifying nursing program accreditation.

Why Become a Nurse in Louisiana

Prospective registered nurses (RNs) looking for programs that can successfully prepare them for the field need to look no further than Louisiana. In 2020, almost 93% of students in the state passed the NCLEX-RN on their first attempt.

Nurses interested in working in Louisiana can also benefit from Louisiana's membership in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). As anursing compact state, Louisiana, along with 36 other states, has agreed to a set of rules and procedures that all licensed RNs must follow. The NLC makes it easier for RNs who have a license in another state to practice in Louisiana with minimal paperwork.

Nurses with an NLC license also do not have to pay license renewal fees and can provide telehealth nursing care to patients across state lines.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Louisiana

RNs and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) do not earn as much as in other states, ranking 38th and 26th, respectively. However, these professionals benefit from a lower cost of living, which is below the national average. The average salary can stretch further in Louisiana than it can for nurses who might earn more but live in a state with a higher cost of living. Learn more about RN salaries in Louisiana.

TheLouisiana Center for Nursing projects a steadily increasing nursing shortage from 2019-2025, with over 7,200 positions expected to go unfulfilled.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Louisiana

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Louisiana
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
New Orleans — Metairie $70,930
Hammond $68,830
Alexandria $67,680
Houma — Thibodaux $66,940
Monroe $65,650
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Louisiana

To become licensed in Louisiana, prospective RNs need a nursing diploma, an associate degree, or a bachelor's degree from a program approved by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. After completing their program, students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam before applying to the state for licensure.

Prospective APRNs must already possess an RN state license and an advanced degree in nursing before applying for state licensure.

Both RNs and APRNs are obligated to satisfy continuing education requirements for nurses to maintain their license and continue working as a nurse in the state.

RN Requirements

To become an RN in Louisiana, prospective nurses must graduate from an accredited nursing program with either anassociate degree in nursing (ADN) or abachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Upon completion, prospective nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN and submit an application of licensure to the state, two fingerprint cards, an authorization for a background check, and a $62.50 application fee.

RNs must complete a minimum of 30 continuing education hours or 900 practice hours every two years to renew their license.

APRN Requirements

To become an APRN, prospective nurses need an unencumbered RN license. RNs must earn amaster of science in nursing (MSN) or adoctor of nursing practice (DNP). Louisiana's board of nursing recognizes four advanced practice roles: certified nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, and certified nurse midwife.

APRNs also need a population focus, such as adult, family, or pediatrics. Those with a focus on mental health can work with more than one age group.

APRNs without a national certification must complete 30 hours of advanced practice continuing education hours. Nurses with prescriptive authority must complete six hours of pharmacotherapeutics.

Those with controlled-substance authority need three hours of the following: drug diversion training, best practice in prescribing controlled substances, treatment for addiction, or other matters regarding the prescribing of controlled-dangerous substances.

Other Top Nursing Programs in Louisiana

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Louisiana


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

The fastest way to become an RN in Louisiana is by earning a nursing diploma, which takes one year to complete. However, if prospective nurses want more professional opportunities and a higher earning potential, they should pursue either a two-year ADN or a four-year BSN.

The length of time it takes to finish each program increases if the student can only complete courses part time.

How do I transfer my nursing license to Louisiana?

Nurses who earned their license in a non-NLC state must apply through endorsement. Through this process, RNs can only practice in the state that issued the license.

Nurses who earned a license in an NLC state can apply for a multistate license, which allows them to practice in Louisiana and all other nursing compact states.

Is LSU a good nursing school?

Louisiana State University provides a high-quality nursing program, evidenced by their average NCLEX-RN pass rate, which has exceeded 95% over the last decade. The program's scores are significantly above the national average. LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing has also been recognized as a Center for Excellence by the National League for Nursing.

What HBCU has the best nursing program in Louisiana?

As one of the top historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) in Louisiana, Southern University and AandM College offers affordable in-state tuition, along with an NCLEX pass rate of almost 90%. The school provides students with the opportunity to earn their BSN, MSN, or DNP.

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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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