Top New Hampshire Nursing Schools and Programs

by NurseJournal Staff

Top New Hampshire Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs. According to economists, the increase in job openings for nurses across the country is 26% between now and 2020. For New Hampshire in particular, the growth is likely to be 25%.

Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

While New Hampshire lacks the major metropolitan areas offered by other states, New Hampshire nurses enjoy professional and economic stability. According to a recent report from the Bi-State Primary Care Association of Vermont and New Hampshire, nurses are in high demand in nearly every part of New Hampshire.

While all nurses must complete some clinical experience, many online programs lead to New Hampshire nursing licensure. Online nursing programs in New Hampshire result in four main nursing credentials: certified nurse assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and nurse practitioner (NP).

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in New Hampshire?

All prospective nurses in New Hampshire must complete an approved program. New Hampshire approves many in-state programs, so attending an online nursing program in New Hampshire can satisfy this requirement.

Online programs prepare candidates for licensure and lead to the same programmatic outcomes as on-campus degrees, but provide busy students with added flexibility. Some online nursing schools in New Hampshire also offer reduced tuition rates for distance learners. An online degree could be a more affordable alternative to an on-campus program.

Featured Online Programs

How to Become a Nurse in New Hampshire

New Hampshire's RN licensing guidelines are similar to the requirements in other states. However, certain fees are specific to New Hampshire, including an examination fee, a background check fee, an application fee, and the NCLEX-RN fee.

  • 1. Choose the Path That's Right for You

    At minimum, candidates must hold an degree in nursing (ADN) to become an RN. However, many employers require a bachelor's degree. Individuals with an ADN are also qualified to serve as travel nurses or school nurses. Students interested in advanced roles like NP, nurse educator, or clinical nurse specialist must obtain a master's degree in nursing (MSN). Prospective certified nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, NPs, or clinical nurse specialists should also pursue a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Online nursing schools in New Hampshire offer all of these programs.
  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    Students interested in pursuing a degree from one of the many nursing schools in New Hampshire should research their prospective institution's program requirements. Some bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs expect students to hold an ADN upon admission. MSN candidates are expected to maintain a valid nursing license. Nursing programs also require students to complete clinical hours in order to graduate, and some include fellowships or internships. It typically takes two years to earn an ADN, four years to earn a BSN, two years to earn an MSN, and two additional years to earn a DNP. Students enrolled in accelerated nursing programs may complete their degrees more quickly.
  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    All students who graduate from online nursing schools in New Hampshire must take the NCLEX, a national licensing exam. While online nursing degree programs prepare students for the exam, learners should still study extensively. The RN exam is six hours long, and the LPN exam is five hours long. Both exams include two optional breaks. Prior to testing, candidates must complete an application and pay an application fee, undergo a background check and pay the associated fee, and pay an examination fee.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in New Hampshire

Educational requirements for different nursing positions vary, with some specialties requiring more advanced education than others. Online programs allow nurses to complete courses at their own pace while meeting New Hampshire nursing licensure requirements.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in New Hampshire?

While course offerings differ considerably between schools and programs, many online nursing schools in New Hampshire that meet state requirements offer some similar classes. Below are a few commonly required courses for undergraduate nursing students.

Ethical and Legal Nursing

Nurses must be aware of numerous legal and ethical considerations related to healthcare policy. This course covers laws and policy, nursing conduct, and other regulatory factors.

Community Health

Groups and communities often present specific healthcare problems. In this course, nurses analyze different demographics and populations, exploring various treatment strategies for different groups and situations.

Psychology

This introductory-level course surveys behavioral and mental processes. Students explore different psychological specializations and apply their acquired knowledge to nursing and patient care.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Nursing is a highly technical field and requires a great deal of hands-on experience. No matter what type of nurse someone plans to become, they must complete a program that includes an in-person clinical experience component. Students without nursing experience cannot complete an online nursing program in New Hampshire entirely online. Instead, most learners take hybrid programs, in which they complete coursework online and clinical experience in person.

Some nursing types do not allow online education. For example, CNAs must complete entirely in-person programs. While RN-to-BSN programs are offered entirely online, students need prior nursing experience to gain admission. Nurses with previous experience may prefer the flexibility of online programs to on-campus programs.

Although online programs offer additional flexibility, they maintain the same academic standards as on-campus programs and uphold the same requirements.

Nursing Licensure in New Hampshire

New Hampshire participates in the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), a national organization that standardizes nursing licensure across most states. Thanks to the NLC, RNs who hold a New Hampshire license can easily obtain a multi-state license in other participating states.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) defines New Hampshire as a full-practice state for NPs. This means that NPs automatically receive prescriptive authority upon earning an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license and may prescribe medication within their field of expertise, in accordance with federal laws.

Nurses submit license applications to the New Hampshire Board of Nursing (NHBON). NHBON also approves nursing education programs and oversees the nursing assistant registry. All four types of nurses send their initial and renewal applications and fees to NHBON.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

All types of nurses in New Hampshire must complete certain degrees of education and experience, and submit proof of competency through examination. Nursing licenses also expire, and nurses may need to meet additional requirements for renewal. The following table includes basic requirements for each nursing type.

Certified Nurse Assistant NHBON grants nursing assistants a license, so the official title for nurse assistants in New Hampshire is Licensed Nurse Assistant (LNA). LNA applicants must meet several requirements before applying for licensure. First, candidates complete an NH Nursing Assistant Education program and take both a written and a clinical exam. Next, applicants submit their fingerprints and undergo a background check before submitting their applications with a $35 fee. Students who are partially through an RN or LPN program can apply for a nurse assistant license. In this instance, applicants submit a letter from the nursing program verifying competency or pass the exams. Finally, they submit their application and pay a $35 fee. LNA licenses expire every two years on the nurse's birthday. NHBON requires 24 contact hours within the two-year period for renewal eligibility, unless the nurse assistant completed a competency test within the two-year period.

New Hampshire Licensure Requirements

  • Education: NH Nursing Assistant Education Program
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in program
  • Exams: Written and clinical competency exams
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years on nurse's birthday
  • Continuing Education: 24 hours within two years leading up to renewal
Licensed Practical Nurse LPNs are required to complete an approved LPN program in New Hampshire before starting their applications. After graduation, applicants undergo a background check and submit an application for licensure. Candidates who never served as LPN in another state must declare New Hampshire as the primary state of residency. Finally, applicants submit their transcripts to the state board and take the NCLEX-PN exam. LPN licenses must be renewed every two years on the candidate's birthday. During the two-year period leading up to license renewal, nurses must complete 30 hours of continuing education. An LPN must also complete 400 hours of active practice every four years. While an approved LPN program satisfies the 400 required hours, most nurses seeking renewal likely fulfill this requirement through employment.

New Hampshire Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Practical nurse program or associate in nursing
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in program
  • Exams: NCLEX-PN
  • Renewal Frequency: Every other year on nurse's birthday
  • Continuing Education: 30 hours before renewal date
Registered Nurse Prospective RNs in New Hampshire follow steps similar to LPN applicants. First, the RN candidate completes an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing. These programs take roughly 2-4 years to complete. Next, the applicant undergoes a criminal background check, submits their fingerprints, and declares New Hampshire as their state of residency. Candidates must also pass the NCLEX-RN. If they do not pass on their first try, applicants may take the exam four more times over the next three years. Applicants also become eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN. RN licenses expire every other year on the nurse's birthday. To renew a license, nurses must complete 30 hours of continuing education. Like LPN renewals, RNs must complete 400 hours of work experience every four years. Approved RN programs satisfy this requirement.

New Hampshire Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Associate or bachelor degree in nursing
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in program
  • Exams: NCLEX-RN
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years on nurse's birthday
  • Continuing Education: 30 hours within two years leading up to renewal
Nurse Practitioner NPs must apply for an APRN license. First, applicants must complete an accredited advanced nursing program that includes 225 hours of nursing theory and 480 hours of clinical practice within the nurse's specialty area and pharmacology. Next, applicants must possess an active New Hampshire RN license. Finally, APRN candidates must earn national certification related to their specialty. Nurse practitioners renew their APRN and RN licenses at the same time. NHBON requires 60 total continuing education credits for nurse practitioners. However, 30 of these credits satisfy national certification renewal standards, and New Hampshire requires national certification maintenance. Outside of national certification, NPs complete only 30 hours of continuing education every two years. Five of these credits must be in pharmacology. NPs with a DEA license must complete three of those five hours in opioid prescribing, pain management, or substance abuse.

New Hampshire Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Advanced nursing graduate program
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in program
  • Exams: AANP, AACN, ANCC, NCC, or PNCB
  • Renewal Frequency: With RN license renewal
  • Continuing Education: 30 hours, including five hours in pharmacology

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in New Hampshire FAQ

What Nursing Field Makes the Most Money? Of the four nursing types in New Hampshire, NPs make the most money. However, some NP specialties lead to higher-paying careers than others.
Is New Hampshire a Good State For Nurses? New Hampshire pays above-average wages for nurse assistants and LPNs. Projections show an increased need for all nursing types over the next decade.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Nursing School in New Hampshire? Nursing schools in New Hampshire generally require strong high school transcripts and educational histories. Most nursing programs have limited spots, and admission to some programs is highly competitive.
How Long Does It Take To Get a New Hampshire Nursing License by Endorsement? The amount of time it takes to earn licensure by endorsement depends on the license type. Nurse assistants can quickly obtain their licenses, while LPN, RN, or APRN applicants might need to complete additional clinical hours. Applicants who meet the minimum requirements can obtain a temporary license and practice immediately.
Is New Hampshire a Nurse Compact State? New Hampshire is a Nurse Compact State, meaning a New Hampshire RN license easily transfers to other member states. Additionally, nurses with an RN license from other compact states can easily obtain their licenses in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

Many nursing projections and data groups New Hampshire with Vermont. A recent bi-state report showed an immediate need for more nurses in both New Hampshire and Vermont. As a compact state, some NH nurses may end up working partly or entirely in Vermont. Projections also demonstrate a growing need for every nursing type in New Hampshire from 2016-26.

Nurses who earn a license in Vermont should also look at job opportunities in nearby states. According to the BLS, large cities tend to be the highest-paying regions for RNs. While New Hampshire is not home to any major metropolitan areas, the Boston-Cambridge-Nashua region on the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border pays the highest RN wages in the state.

Before applying to a nursing program, applicants should note that no degree or amount of education guarantees a nursing position. In addition, projections and reports do not guarantee specific salaries or positions for nurses in the future.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in New Hampshire, by Type

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $32,200 10.5%
Licensed Practical Nurse $52,510 10.0%
Registered Nurse $72,760 13.9%
Nurse Practitioner $109,460 34.7%

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
Maine $28,710 $45,610 $67,610 $103,220
Vermont $30,730 $49,720 $69,160 $106,000
Massachusetts $33,630 $58,990 $92,140 $122,740

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant


CNAs are known as licensed nurse assistants in New Hampshire, where they enjoy an above-average mean wage. However, the $32,200 mean salary from licensed nurse assistants comes in just behind Massachusetts' mean wage of $33,630. Projections Central also demonstrates a 10.5% increase in the number of nurse assistant positions in the state over the next decade, a higher growth rate than the national average for any position.

Licensed Practical Nurse


As with licensed nurse assistants, LPNs earn mean wages above the national average. However, the $52,510 mean salary for NH LPNs falls behind Massachusetts' mean salary of $58,990, and wages for LPNs in New Hampshire edge out wages for those in Vermont. Job projections indicate healthy growth for New Hampshire LPNs, although growth rates for practical nurses are lower than any other type of nurse in the state.

Registered Nurse


RNs in New Hampshire earn a mean salary of $72,760, which is lower than the national mean salary of $75,510. However, the region in which RNs work greatly influences their earning potential. In addition, nurses who complete a bachelor's degree could see higher wages than associate degree-holders. New Hampshire's projected 13.9% job growth rate for RNs is the country's second-highest growth rate for all nursing types.

Nurse Practitioner


According to the BLS, New Hampshire NPs' $109,460 mean salary falls slightly under the national mean salary of $110,030 for all occupations and the mean salary for NPs in Massachusetts. However, mean wages for NPs in NH exceed overall earnings in both Vermont and New Hampshire. With a projected job growth rate of 34.7%, New Hampshire could see one of the nation's largest growth rates for NPs.

Nursing Resources for New Hampshire

  • NHNA advocates for all nurses, regardless of their specialty or practice. Members may participate in a mentoring program and continuing education opportunities.
  • Discounts, leadership opportunities, and a national conference are only a few of the benefits to joining NHPNA. Applicants must possess and maintain national certification to be eligible for membership.
  • The New Hampshire Board of Nursing licenses nurses and provides information on initial licensure, renewals, and continuing education. Nurses also pay licensing fees through NHBON's website.
  • NEAOHN offers educational and networking opportunities for the region's occupational health nurses. NEAOHN provides membership levels for professionals, students, and retired nurses.
  • NHSNA offers scholarships, career guidance, and industry information for aspiring, current, and retired school nurses. The association also hosts an annual conference and regular meetings with state legislators.

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