The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Updated November 28, 2022

Considering nursing programs in Maryland? Learn about the best nursing schools in Maryland and how to earn your Maryland nursing license.
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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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Maryland is home to many excellent universities, including Johns Hopkins University, one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. The state also offers many smaller private and public schools.

This guide outlines the best nursing programs in Maryland for registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs), explores how to earn a Maryland nursing license, and provides information on nursing salaries.

Keep reading to learn more about becoming a nurse in Maryland, or go straight to our list of the best nursing schools in Maryland or our list of the best nurse practitioner programs in Maryland.

The Best Nursing Schools in Maryland

The right nursing program for you depends on your background, experience, and career goals. Because accreditation is vital to program quality and meeting your career goals, this guide only lists accredited programs.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Maryland, 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 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Home to one of the top nursing schools in Maryland, Johns Hopkins University offers a full spectrum of nursing programs. Options include master's-level programs, post-master's certificates, and doctoral degrees.

Specializations include organizational leadership, psychiatric mental health, nurse practice, nurse anesthesia, and nursing education. Johns Hopkins students can choose to earn a concurrent MBA. 

Details:

  • Programs: MSN, DNP, Ph.D. in nursing, and post-master's certificates
  • Campus: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $52,300-$65,000 per year full-time MSN, $39,900-$50,760 doctorate, $21,480-$29,755 post-master's certificate
  • Admission Requirements: All applicants need prerequisite degree/coursework (depending on program) completed at a regionally accredited institution. MSN entry-into-nursing track applicants need a B- or higher. MSN specialties or doctorate applicants need a B or higher. 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Programs offered on-campus and online
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.5% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $95,359 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$55,350
Out-of-state
$55,350
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
27,079
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Towson University

  • Towson, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Towson University's options for nursing students include a traditional BSN and an RN-to-BSN bridge program. 

TU also offers an associate-to-bachelor nursing track in partnership with community college nursing programs in Maryland. The school's second bachelor's degree and MSN options may appeal to career changers. 

Details:

  • Programs: Associate-to-bachelor nursing dual enrollment, BSN, RN-to-BSN, and MSN
  • Campus: Towson, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $3,550 per term in-state, $11,076 out-of-state for full-time undergraduate; $460 per credit in-state, $952 out-of-state for graduate
  • Admission Requirements: 
    • Associate-to-bachelor: A 3.0 cumulative GPA and prerequisites in general chemistry, nutrition, and microbiology with a 2.0 
    • BSN: 42 undergraduate credits, lab science and English composition prerequisites, and TEAS scores
    • RN-to-BSN: An associate degree or diploma in nursing; RN license; 2.5 cumulative GPA; and prerequisites in general chemistry, nutrition, and microbiology with a 2.0
    • MSN: A bachelor's degree, 3.0 cumulative GPA, and prerequisite statistics and science courses 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 5 terms
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $66,984 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,962
Out-of-state
$21,098
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
22,709
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Salisbury University

  • Salisbury, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

With one of the most diverse offerings of nursing programs in Maryland, Salisbury University's options span both undergraduate and graduate levels. Options include a traditional or second BSN, an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN, an MSN-nurse educator or MSN-healthcare leadership, and a DNP. 

Details:

  • Programs: BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, RN-to-MSN, and DNP
  • Campus: Salisbury, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: 
    • On-campus: $10,396 per year in-state, $20,872 out-of-state for full-time undergraduate; $9,558 per year in-state, $15,678 out-of-state for full-time graduate
    • Online: $420 per credit in-state, $760 out-of-state for MSN; $665 in-state, $840 out-of-state for DNP 
  • Admission Requirements: University admission; prerequisites or degree (depending on track); RN license for RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, MSN, and DNP; and a 3.0-3.5 GPA for MSN and DNP
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 3 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.3% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $63,267 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$7,264
Out-of-state
$17,330
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
8,617
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Frederick Community College

  • Frederick, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Frederick Community College's nursing programs include a practical nursing (PN) certificate and an ADN. FCC also partners with nursing schools in Maryland for RNs to earn their bachelor's. 

FCC's transition-to-RN track provides students with military medical experience, paramedics, and licensed PNs an accelerated path to an ADN.

Details:

  • Programs: PN certificate, ADN, transition-to-RN, and BSN university partnerships
  • Campus: Frederick, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) for ADN program
  • Tuition: $129 per credit in-county, $282 in-state, $382 out-of-state
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants need college-level English and math or placement tests, CPR training, a background check, and TEAS exam scores. Prerequisite classes for clinical rotations include anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.1% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $61,516 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,552
Out-of-state
$8,880
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,129
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Harford Community College

  • Bel Air, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Harford Community College offers two nursing tracks: a traditional or accelerated ADN and an LPN-to-RN transition program. Both options prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

The curriculum includes clinical experiences and coursework in fundamentals of nursing, medical-surgical nursing, mental health nursing, pediatric nursing, and leadership.

Details:

  • Programs: LPN-to-RN and ADN
  • Campus: Bel Air, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $133 per credit in-county, $226 in-state, $319 out-of-state
  • Admission Requirements: A minimum 58.7 TEAS score, 16 college credits with a 2.5 GPA and completed prerequisites, and a criminal background check
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 4 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.4% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $58,582 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,427
Out-of-state
$7,664
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,705
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#6 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Carroll Community College

  • Westminster, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Aspiring RNs can earn their ADN at Carroll Community College, one of many nursing schools in Maryland that prepare graduates for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Carroll also offers ADN tracks for licensed practical nurses, paramedics, and military medics. Other programs lead to a practical nursing (PN) certificate. Carroll partners with nursing programs in Maryland to offer an associate-to-bachelor nursing dual degree.

Details:

  • Programs: PN certificate, ADN, and BSN university partnerships
  • Campus: Westminster, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $136 per credit in-county, $225 in-state, $288 out-of-state
  • Admission Requirements: A high school diploma or GED certificate, 2.5-3.0 GPA, prerequisite courses, and NLN-PAX exam scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 79.2% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $59,288 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,016
Out-of-state
$6,648
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,126
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#7 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

College of Southern Maryland

  • La Plata, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

The College of Southern Maryland's nursing programs include an ADN, practical nursing (PN) certificate, and two transition-to-ADN options. The transition programs tailored to LPNs and military medics/corpsmen help them earn their ADN faster. 

ADN graduates qualify to take the NCLEX-RN exam for their RN license and PN certificate-holders can take the NCLEX-PN exams to become LPNs.

Details:

  • Programs: PN certificate, ADN, and transition-to-ADN
  • Campus: La Plata, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $134-$235 per credit in-state, $301 out-of-state
  • Admission Requirements: A high school diploma or GED certificate, 2.0 GPA, prerequisites or college placement tests, and a 59% TEAS exam score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 14 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 77.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $56,641 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,496
Out-of-state
$7,056
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,351
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#8 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Anne Arundel Community College

  • Arnold, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Anne Arundel Community College awards practical nursing (PN) certificates and ADNs. ADN pathways serve prelicensure students; transfer students; and LPNs, paramedics, and military veterans.

AACC prepares nurses to provide evidence-based, holistic, safe, and systematic care. The programs build on a foundation of cultural diversity, humanities, nursing theory, and sciences.

Details:

  • Programs: PN certificate and ADN
  • Campus: Arnold, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $120 per credit in-county, $253 in-state, $408 out-of-state
  • Admission Requirements: Prerequisite coursework, TEAS exam scores, a criminal background check, and CPR certification
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.5% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $62,756 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$11,850
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,655
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#9 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Hood College

  • Frederick, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Hood College's BSN program prepares graduates to become licensed as RNs. The curriculum blends a liberal arts foundation with nursing coursework. Classes emphasize communication, critical thinking, leadership, nursing theory, and research and evidence-based practice. The program director and nursing faculty arrange students' clinical placements.

Details:

  • Program: BSN
  • Campus: Frederick, Maryland
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $42,510 per year
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants submit high school transcripts and an admission essay. Optional materials include test scores, an interview, recommendations, a resume, writing samples, or an online portfolio.
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 4 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.3% first-time pass rate
Average Tuition
In-state
$40,460
Out-of-state
$40,460
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
2,002
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#10 The Top Nursing Schools in Maryland

Hagerstown Community College

  • Hagerstown, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Hagerstown Community College offers two routes to becoming an RN: a traditional ADN and transition programs for LPNs, paramedics, and military veterans. 

Enrollees can complete their studies in three years or do the more rigorous two-year program. HCC also partners with two nursing schools in Maryland to offer an associate-to-bachelor track. 

Details:

  • Programs: ADN and BSN through university partnership
  • Campus: Hagerstown, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $123 per credit in-county, $192 in-state, $236 neighboring states, $252 other states
  • Admission Requirements: SAT, AP, and TEAS exam scores; nursing program preview attendance; official transcripts; prerequisite science courses; 2.0 cumulative GPA; and 2.5 prerequisites GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.6% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $61,218 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,835
Out-of-state
$7,665
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,848
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Maryland

Factors to consider when choosing a nursing program in Maryland include tuition and costs, financial aid, the curriculum, the NCLEX-RN pass rate, and the program format. If you attend an online nursing program in Maryland, find out about clinical placement in your community.

Why Become a Nurse in Maryland

While most nurses in Maryland live and work in Baltimore, nurses also find employment in rural communities and small towns with close access to big city attractions. The number of nursing jobs in Maryland is projected to grow 22.3% between 2018 and 2028, more than three times faster than the national projection of 7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Maryland is a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state. Attending nursing school in Maryland and receiving a Maryland license permits you to practice nursing in any other participating states.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Maryland

Almost 32,000 RNs and more than 2,000 NPs work in the Baltimore area alone. While the BLS projects 22.3% growth in nursing jobs between 2018 and 2028, the government expects a surplus of 12,100 nurses from 2014-2030. Because Maryland is an NLC state, though, attending nursing school in Maryland is still a good investment, especially if you attend one of the top-rated programs.

Maryland is one of the more expensive states, with a cost-of-living index of 121.4, compared to the national index of 100. However, the median salary for an RN in Maryland is $79,810, compared to $75,330 nationally. For NPs, the median salary is $112,730, compared to $111,680. Learn more about RN salaries in Maryland.

Nursing salaries in Maryland are highest in the Baltimore area, the home of Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore earned its nickname "Charm City" through its many neighborhoods, including Hampden, known as one of America's quirkiest communities, and its stock of 19th- and even 18th-century housing. Smaller communities also feature a sense of history and charm.

Highest Paying Cities for Nurses in Maryland
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson $80,120
Hagerstown-Martinsburg $76,640
Salisbury $73,340
Cumberland $72,130
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Maryland

All states require earning a nursing degree, passing the NCLEX-RN examination, and applying to the state board of nursing for a license. The application should include a passport-style photo. You must also pass a criminal background check and prove that you do not owe child support payments or have a tax hold.

RN Requirements

To earn your RN license in Maryland, you must graduate from an associate degree in nursing ADN or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) nursing program in Maryland or another state, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and apply to the state board of nursing. You must also submit your fingerprints for a criminal background check and may not owe child support or outstanding taxes. The board of nursing's website has the full application forms and requirements.

APRN Requirements

To become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), you need a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and have either a current RN license (either Maryland or NLC) or apply for one. If you did not graduate from an approved school, you can ask your school to apply for approval.

The state board of nursing requires a declaration of residence, sealed official transcripts, and proof of your board certification or eligibility to take the examination. Your transcript must show completed coursework in advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical assessment. The state board of nursing website includes full application information and forms.

The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Maryland

If you want more autonomy and a higher salary, consider enrolling in an APRN program in Maryland and becoming a nurse practitioner. Maryland offers NPs full practice authority, the highest level of NP professional autonomy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Maryland


Are nurses in demand in Maryland?

In Maryland, the number of nursing jobs is projected to grow 22.3% between 2018 and 2028. The BLS even projects a surplus of 12,100 nurses from 2014-2030. However, nurses with diplomas from the top nursing programs in Maryland will continue to be in demand.

How do I become a nurse in Maryland?

You must earn an ADN or a BSN, pass the NCLEX-RN examination, submit your fingerprints for a criminal background check, and submit an application to the state board of nursing. You may not owe child support or have outstanding taxes.

How long does it take to get a Maryland RN license?

An ADN takes two years to complete, and a BSN takes four years. While an ADN is faster and tuition is less expensive, a growing number of employers require or prefer a BSN for higher-level positions. There are excellent nursing schools in Maryland for both ADNs and BSNs.

Is the University of Maryland a good nursing school?

The University of Maryland NCLEX-RN pass rate is above the state average, an indicator that it is one of the better nursing schools in Maryland. Choosing the right program for your needs also depends on tuition, the curriculum, program structure, and the ability to get clinical placement in your community.

Find Nursing Programs in Other States

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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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