Top Nebraska Nursing Schools and Programs
| NurseJournal Staff
Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources
As a large state with many residents located far from cities, online nursing programs in Nebraska provide an ideal alternative to on-campus degrees for many students. Online programs match the quality of on-campus programs, while offering greater flexibility and, in some cases, reduced tuition costs. Students who attend online nursing programs in Nebraska can pursue lucrative careers in a growing industry.
This resource covers four main nursing types: certified nurse assistants (CNA), licensed practical nurses (LPN), registered nurses (RN), and nurse practitioners (NP). All four nursing types are in demand in Nebraska, and projections show solid job growth for each role.
Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Nebraska?
Online nursing programs allow students to earn their degrees without making frequent commutes to college campuses. These affordable degrees for Nebraska residents beat average in-state tuition costs in South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, and Colorado with a low average in-state tuition rate. Nebraska also ranks among the top 10 most affordable states to live in, and nursing positions tend to pay respectable wages.
Students attend online nursing programs in Nebraska to meet the requirements set by Nebraska's nursing licensure board. Schools in other states may not satisfy requirements for nursing licensure in Nebraska.
Featured Online Programs
How to Become a Nurse in Nebraska
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services oversees nursing licensure in the state. To become an LPN or RN, candidates must complete an approved on-campus or online nursing program. RNs must complete a two- or four-year nursing program in Nebraska. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) must complete an advanced degree and relevant specialized training.
1. Choose the Path That's Right for YouTo become an LPN in Nebraska, a student must complete a nursing program that lasts at least nine months. RNs must hold an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. BSN graduates can pursue careers in areas such as midwifery and anesthesia. NPs must hold at least a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree, which also qualifies graduates for specialized occupations as psychiatric nurses, flight nurses, and neonatal intensive care nurses. Professionals need doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees to teach nursing at the college level.
2. Earn Your Nursing DegreeNebraska's Department of Health and Human Services maintains a list of approved nursing programs. Currently, no nursing school in Nebraska offers an online ADN program. Online nursing schools in Nebraska currently offer BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees. A practicing RN who holds an ADN can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program through University of Nebraska Omaha, Bellevue University, or Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health. Several Nebraska nursing schools, including Clarkson College in Omaha, offer RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN programs online. Applicants must be practicing RNs. Students who do not hold licensure can enroll in an online BSN program in Nebraska. Each nursing student must complete an internship or clinical work experience at an approved site. Learners can complete online nursing degrees in 1-3 years, depending on their program and enrollment status.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your LicenseEvery nursing type in Nebraska requires students to pass at least one exam. CNAs must pass a written, oral, and skills exam administered by the State of Nebraska. LPNs and RNs must qualify for and pass the NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN, respectively. These nationally recognized exams verify nursing quality, and nurses may only take each exam several times before they are no longer eligible. Applicants who lose eligibility must complete another nursing program and retake the exam. APRNs take an exam while obtaining national certification, which is a necessary step when applying for a license. Exams vary in length and style, depending on the specialty and national certification.
Online Nursing Degree Programs in Nebraska
Nebraska only issues nursing licenses to nurses if they meet educational and experiential requirements, so all applicants must attend nursing school. Completing additional education could increase your potential income and employment chances.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Nebraska?
Nursing programs approved by Nebraska meet specific educational requirements. As a result, many nursing students end up taking similar courses or studying the same material. While course names and content may vary slightly, undergraduate nursing students commonly take the following courses.
Healthcare Delivery SystemsNurses regularly work with computer healthcare systems to process payments, contact other agencies, and find healthcare coverage. Students spend time learning the current systems used in Nebraska.
Leadership in NursingCommonly taken by bachelor's-level students, leadership in nursing introduces leadership principles that students can apply to the workplace or a graduate degree, should they choose to continue their education.
PharmacologyThis course covers the basics of prescribing drugs, the process of determining the correct treatment for various diseases, and how patients' bodies react to various prescriptions.
How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?
Online nursing programs in Nebraska combine online courses and in-person clinical hours. Schools offer courses either entirely online or in a hybrid format by combining in-person and online instruction.
Program lengths vary based on previous nursing experience and college credit, though students should expect a CNA program to take 4-8 weeks, an LPN program to take 1-2 years, an RN program to take 2-4 years, and an NP program to take 2-3 years. Students with no previous nursing experience cannot complete any of these programs entirely online. However, some nurses, such as current RNs without BSN degrees, can complete online RN-to-BSN programs.
While most programs require in-person practice, online courses give students more flexibility to study at their own pace. Also, because online programs meet the quality of on-campus programs, expect the same admission requirements for both types of programs.
Nursing Licensure in Nebraska
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) handles all nursing licenses in Nebraska. The DHHS also approves training and education programs for each nursing type.
Nebraska maintains membership in the nurse licensure compact (NLC), an agreement between states to simplify the process of obtaining a multi-state RN license. Students who earn an RN license in Nebraska can easily earn a multi-state license for another NLC state and begin working there.
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, NPs in Nebraska receive full-practice rights, which allow them to easily begin practicing once they earn their licenses in Nebraska. Specific requirements for each nursing type vary, as we explore in greater depth in the next section.
State Requirements by Nursing Type
Nebraska requires a combination of education and experience for licensure. After completing a program, students must also pass an exam to prove their competency. This table explores the basic requirements for Nebraska nursing licensure.
Nebraska Licensure Requirements
- Education: Approved nurse aide training
- Additional Clinical Hours: None
- Exams: Nebraska-approved exam through training program
- Renewal Frequency: None
- Continuing Education: None
Nebraska Licensure Requirements
- Education: Approved LPN program or associate in nursing
- Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in program
- Exams: NCLEX-PN
- Renewal Frequency: Every odd-numbered year by Oct. 31st
- Continuing Education: 20 hours within licensing period
Nebraska Licensure Requirements
- Education: ADN or BSN
- Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
- Exams: NCLEX-RN
- Renewal Frequency: Every even-numbered year by Oct. 31st
- Continuing Education: 20 hours, unless also APRN licensed
Nebraska Licensure Requirements
- Education: Approved graduate or post-graduate program
- Additional Clinical Hours: None, unless required by national certification
- Exams: Related national certification exam
- Renewal Frequency: Renewed at the same time as RN license
- Continuing Education: 40 hours within clinical specialty
Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Nebraska FAQ
Nebraska Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends
In 2017, Nebraska reported 20,739 full-time RNs, compared to a demand for 23,531 RNs. The same report also noted a shortage of LPNs and NPs. A forecast for nurses in Nebraska shows the nursing shortage continuing from 2017-2025.
Nebraska hospitals require more of every type of nurse. As the demand for nurses expands, potential salaries could also grow. Also, where nurses work influences potential wages. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that RNs who work in hospitals earn more than those in ambulatory services or residential care facilities.
Any prospective nurses should note that projections do not guarantee job growth, and no level of education guarantees a job or a specific salary.
Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Nebraska, by Type
|Annual Mean Wage||Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)|
|Certified Nurse Assistant||$28,730||12.3%|
|Licensed Practical Nurse||$43,160||14.9%|
Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States
|Certified Nurse Assistant||Licensed Practical Nurse||Registered Nurse||Nurse Practitioner|
Certified Nurse Assistant
CNAs in Nebraska earned a mean annual wage slightly lower than the national mean wage in 2018. However, CNAs in Nebraska also took home more than nurse assistants in Missouri, Kansas, and South Dakota. BLS projections indicate a 12.3% job growth for CNAs in Nebraska, compared to 11.5% growth in the U.S. Nebraska's nursing shortage could also affect future wages for nurse aides.
The nursing shortage in Nebraska indicates a particularly pressing need for RNs. However, RNs in Nebraska earned a mean annual wage of just $64,470 in 2018, compared to a national mean annual wage of $75,510. Nebraska does pay RNs a higher mean wage than South Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas. RNs can also try to increase their potential pay by earning BSNs.
NPs in Nebraska earned a mean annual wage of $103,800 in 2018, compared to a national mean wage of $110,030. An NP's specialty can significantly affect their potential pay. Projections show a 22.3% job growth for NPs in Nebraska, while national projections show a 36.1% job growth. According to projections from the Nebraska state government, Omaha, Lincoln, and central and northeast Nebraska should experience the greatest demand for NPs.
Nursing Resources for Nebraska
Nebraska Nurses AssociationThis 100-year-old organization supports nursing professionals and provides members with free webinars, continuing education opportunities, discounts, and leadership opportunities.
Nebraska Nurse PractitionersCreated to represent NPs, NNP offers membership for current practitioners and NP students. Benefits include networking opportunities, advocacy, and reduced registration fees to conferences.
Nebraska Board of NursingDHHS approves nursing programs, collects application fees, and outlines requirements for nursing licensure. Nurses can submit all initial licenses and renewals through the website.
Nebraska State Student Nurses AssociationCurrent nursing students use NSSNA to meet other nursing students, gain access to a statewide convention, and apply to awards and scholarships.
Nebraska School Nurse AssociationCurrent, future, and retired school nurses use the Nebraska School Nurse Association to find jobs, receive discounts on insurance and materials, and connect with other school nurses in Nebraska.
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