Top Nebraska Nursing Schools and Programs

September 29, 2021 · 6 Min Read

All four nursing types are in demand in Nebraska (CNA, LPN, RN and NP) and projections show solid job growth for each role in the state.

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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 You

    To 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 Degree

    Nebraska'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 License

    Every 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 Systems

Nurses 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 Nursing

Commonly 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.


This 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.

Certified Nurse Assistant Known as certified nurse aides in Nebraska, CNAs must be at least 16 years old and fluent in either English or the prominent language where they plan on working. CNAs must complete a 75-hour training program or a 21-hour resident care course. Next, applicants complete one hour of abuse/neglect/misappropriation training and pass the written, oral, and skills exams. Nebraska does not require nurse aides to submit an application or pay a fee. Instead of renewing a license, each CNA remains active on the registry by working in a paid position within 24 months of any previous nurse aide position. Nurse aides that fail to work within the 24-month period must retake the exams. Nebraska does not require additional education. Current nursing students apply for nurse aide status by providing a transcript and a signed letter from an instructor. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher.

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
Licensed Practical Nurse LPNs complete either an approved program or associate degree to become licensed. Approved LPN programs take as little as nine months to complete, and associate degrees take up to two years. During this time, applicants become eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN. A student who earns a passing score and completes their program must then complete an LPN application, submit fingerprints, undergo a criminal background check, and pay a $123 application fee. LPN licenses expire on Oct. 31 of odd-numbered years. During the two-year renewal period, nurses must work as LPNs for 500 hours over the past five years and complete 20 hours of continuing education, with four in CPR. LPNs who earned their licenses within 24 months of the first renewal period have their renewal requirements waived. Nebraska also waives the 500 required hours if the nurse has been licensed for less than five years.

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
Registered Nurse Nebraska requires RNs to complete an ADN or BSN. Before completing the program, students sit for the NCLEX-RN. Students can apply after passing the NCLEX and completing the RN program. Application requirements include fingerprints, a criminal background check, proof of citizenship, and a $123 fee. RN licenses expire on Oct. 31 of even-numbered years. During this time, nurses must have worked for at least 500 hours over the past five years and completed 20 hours of continuing education, 10 of which must be peer-reviewed. RNs who earned their licenses within the past 24 months have their renewal requirements waived. Nebraska also waives the 500 required hours if the RN has been licensed for less than five years. An active certification from a nationally certifying body also satisfies renewal requirements.

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
Nurse Practitioner NPs must apply for APRN licenses and hold current RN licenses in Nebraska or another compact state. After completing an approved graduate or post-graduate program, APRN applicants earn national certification related to their specialty and apply. All NPs in Nebraska receive prescriptive authority. APRN licenses expire on Oct. 31 of even-numbered years, so Nebraska nurses renew the APRN and RN licenses at the same time. During this two-year period, NPs must complete 40 hours of continuing education, with 10 in pharmacotherapeutics. After working for five years, each NP must also prove at least 2,080 hours of practice within the past five years when reapplying. NPs must also maintain their national certification. Some continuing education credits may count for both national certification and Nebraska license renewals.

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

What Nursing Field Makes the Most Money? NPs make the most money of the four nursing types. In Nebraska, the mean annual wage for an NP is $103,800, compared to $64,470 for RNs.
What Is a Good Specialty for Nursing? Most NP nursing specialties lead to high-growth and lucrative positions. Ambulatory care tops the list of most common specialties in Nebraska, though niche specialties could lead to higher-paying roles.
Does an Online Nursing Degree Have the Same Value as an On-Campus Degree? Online nursing degrees have the same value as on-campus nursing degrees, so long as the online program holds programmatic accreditation and meets DHHS standards.
How Long Does it Take to Get an RN License in Nebraska? After applying, licenses take 8-10 weeks to process. This includes the 4-6 week period it takes to process fingerprints. Once processed, nurse licenses appear on the license lookup.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Nursing School in Nebraska? Nursing schools across the country must meet accreditation standards from national organizations to meet state approval. Therefore, admission standards in Nebraska mirror those set in other states.

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%
Registered Nurse $64,470 11.6%
Nurse Practitioner $103,800 22.3%

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
South Dakota $26,820 $38,630 $58,340 $100,690
Iowa $29,120 $42,820 $59,130 $106,290
Missouri $25,930 $42,580 $65,130 $102,470
Kansas $26,210 $43,240 $61,030 $99,430
Colorado $32,610 $51,210 $74,240 $111,210
Wyoming $30,910 $46,790 $67,360 $116,030

Source: BLS

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.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Like CNAs, LPNs in Nebraska earned an annual mean wage lower than the national figure in 2018. However, LPN wages in Nebraska exceed mean wages in Iowa, South Dakota, and Missouri. Projected growth for LPNs in Nebraska also outpaces national projections.

Registered Nurse

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.

Nurse Practitioner

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

  • This 100-year-old organization supports nursing professionals and provides members with free webinars, continuing education opportunities, discounts, and leadership opportunities.
  • Created to represent NPs, NNP offers membership for current practitioners and NP students. Benefits include networking opportunities, advocacy, and reduced registration fees to conferences.
  • DHHS approves nursing programs, collects application fees, and outlines requirements for nursing licensure. Nurses can submit all initial licenses and renewals through the website.
  • Current nursing students use NSSNA to meet other nursing students, gain access to a statewide convention, and apply to awards and scholarships.
  • Current, 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.

Jump to Another State 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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