The Top Nursing Schools in Nebraska
Nebraska needs qualified nurses and may pay more for frontline healthcare workers. See what you need to become licensed in Nebraska and what you could make.
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Do you want to serve as a nurse on the front lines? Nebraska needs nurses to fill positions left vacant by healthcare workers burnt out from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses in high-need areas may even receive bonuses up to $5,000 if proposed legislation passes.
This guide explores nursing salaries, top-ranked nursing programs, and how to become a nurse in Nebraska.
The Best Nursing Schools in Nebraska
Not every nursing school produces the same student outcomes. The nursing schools listed here prepare students to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), go to graduate school, and land a nursing job.
Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Nebraska, 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 Nebraska
In Nebraska, much like throughout the country, education costs vary by institution. Private colleges often cost more than public institutions. Public colleges in Nebraska can voluntarily join the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, which provides affordable tuition to students who live in participating states, including Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Nursing schools in Nebraska also have different NCLEX pass rates, a measurement of how well a program prepares students to become nurses. Acceptance rates can indicate the quality of nursing schools in Nebraska, as does accreditation. Employers and graduate schools may only accept nurses from accredited nursing programs in Nebraska.
Other factors to consider include convenience and flexibility. Nursing schools in Nebraska may offer online, part-time, and weekend courses that make going back to school convenient for working nurses.
Nursing students should also consider the curriculum and available career services. Does the school offer nursing specialties? Do they have partnerships with local and national healthcare facilities for clinical experiences and job placement? Considering these factors can help nursing students decide on a school best suited for their career path.
Why Become a Nurse in Nebraska
Nebraska offers nursing students and nurses many opportunities not available in other states. For instance, nursing schools in Nebraska have lower than national average tuition rates.
National in-state students at four-year colleges pay an average of $10,560 a year, according to the College Board. Nursing students in Nebraska pay less than $10,000 a year for in-state tuition.
Federal funding for nurses in Nebraska has also increased since 2016, with the state receiving more than $3 million for title VIII nursing workforce development programs and $879,695 for the National Institute of Nursing Research. In addition, the state reports higher than average satisfaction rates with 59.5% of registered nurses (RNs) and 57.7% of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) "very satisfied" with their jobs in 2021.
Nebraska needs nurses, particularly in rural areas where some counties have no RNs. In 2020, the state faced a shortage of 4,191 RNs, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and LPNs.
As a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, Nebraska allows nurses from other participating states to work without having to get an additional license. As a right-to-work state, Nebraska nurses cannot be required to join or pay union dues, which can make collective bargaining and organizing a union difficult.
Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Nebraska
Employers in Nebraska staff some 24,060 RNs, 1,500 nurse practitioners (NPs), 5,530 LPNs, and 13,390 certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Nebraska RNs earn an average annual salary of $69,480, less than the national average mean wage of $80,010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, Nebraska nurses enjoy a lower cost-of-living index at 93.6, compared to the national average of 100. Learn more about RN salaries in Nebraska.
Nebraska expects RN job growth to increase by 11.1% from 2018-2028. Employment for NPs should grow by 19.7%, LPNs 11.9%, and CNAs 6.8%.
Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Nebraska
Rural areas in Nebraska may have the highest need for nurses, but cities pay the most. Nurses in Omaha — Council Bluffs and Lincoln earn the highest salaries in Nebraska.
|Top Paying Metropolitan Areas||Median Salary for RNs|
|Omaha — Council Bluffs||$70,510|
Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Nebraska
Nebraska requires that RNs complete a state-approved education program — either an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) — and the NCLEX-RN.
During the COVID-19 pandemic through March 31, 2022, the governor of Nebraska waived continuing education and examination requirements to hire retired and inactive nurses from other states.
After passing the NCLEX, nurses must apply for licensure through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Nurses who hold multistate licenses from NLC states can work in Nebraska without any additional schooling or credentials. Nurses from other states must have graduated from an accredited program, passed the NCLEX, and have a valid nursing license.
RNs can become licensed only after completing a two-year ADN or a four-year BSN degree. An accredited nursing program in Nebraska prepares graduates to pass the NCLEX, a computerized assessment that nursing students take no earlier than 35 days after graduation.
Nursing students can apply for licensure through the DHHS up to 90 days before graduating, if they have registered for the NCLEX. The state RN licensing requirements include an application fee, evidence of citizenship, a photo, a criminal background check, and transcripts.
An RN license costs $30-$123, depending on if the license expires on an odd- or even-numbered year. The criminal background check requires a $45 fee and submission of fingerprints.
It takes a master's in nursing degree or doctor of nursing practice degree to become an APRN. APRNs have their RN license and an advanced degree in a specialty area, such as certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or NP.
Each APRN specialty has a different application required by the DHHS. Candidates submit a fee of $25-$68 and proof of citizenship or legal green card. Admission requirements also include a criminal background check, transcripts, an ID, RN license, and proof of a national certification exam.
Other Top Nursing Programs in Nebraska
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Nebraska
I took my exam. When will I be licensed in Nebraska?
You must first complete the appropriate nursing form. RNs, APRNS, and LPNs have different licensing processes and application forms due to the DHHS. The licensure unit of the DHHS processes nursing licenses in the order received. Applicants wait about 8-10 weeks, which includes criminal background check processing time.
How will I know if I've been licensed in Nebraska?
The License Lookup feature on the DHHS website displays all active nursing licenses. After the Nebraska DHHS publishes a license to its website, nurses receive their licensing paperwork and physical license by mail. Any incomplete application will be returned by mail.
How much does nursing school cost in Nebraska?
Exact tuition varies by school, with two-year colleges often charging less than four-year institutions. The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture charges about $5,347 per year, while the University of Nebraska in Lincoln costs $9,366 per year.
What are peer-reviewed courses?
Peer-reviewed courses teach nurses the basics of becoming peer reviewers for medical research. Students learn how to assess reports and identify any conflicts of interest or fraud. Courses also cover research ethics and the different types of plagiarism.
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