mini logo

Top New York Nursing Schools and Programs

mini logo

Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

New York provides many opportunities for aspiring nurses. Nursing candidates in New York can earn licensure as certified nurse assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs). This page explores the steps necessary to obtain these licenses in the state.

Our guide provides additional information on what to expect from nursing programs in New York, along with salary and employment figures. Finally, we include a full list of accredited online nursing programs in New York.

Advertisement 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.

Featured Online Programs

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in New York?

Despite New York’s high cost of living, both in-state and out-of-state tuition fees for public colleges and universities rank as more affordable than the national tuition fees, according to a CollegeBoard report. College students in New York can also find several financial assistance opportunities if they pursue degrees in health and medicine. The Lauterbach Nursing Scholarship offers up to $6,000 in scholarship funds for RNs and LPNs pursuing home and community-based care.

New York also runs the nursing faculty loan forgiveness program. This program cancels $8,000 in student debt for each year that advanced practice nursing professionals work as faculty members at colleges and universities.

How to Become a Nurse in New York

The process of becoming a nurse is similar in most states, but specific requirements vary. To become licensed and registered in New York, aspiring nurses must prove they are of good moral character, be at least 18 years old, have met or be completing the education requirements at an accredited school, and have passed the NCLEX before applying for a license with the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

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

    Candidates must earn a minimum of an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) to become an RN, but many employers now require a bachelor’s degree. Individuals with an ADN also become qualified to pursue roles as travel nurses or school nurses. Students interested in becoming an advanced nurse like an NP, nurse educator, or a clinical nurse specialist must obtain a master’s degree in nursing (MSN).

    A student looking to become a certified nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, NP, or clinical nurse specialist should pursue a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. Online nursing schools in New York offer all of these degree opportunities.

  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    Students interested in pursuing online nursing degrees at nursing schools in New York should research each school’s specific requirements. For admission into some bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs, each candidate must already possess an ADN.

    For MSN programs, students must maintain their nursing licenses. Nursing programs also require clinical hours to graduate, and some require 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 an accelerated nursing program in New York can complete their degree more quickly.

  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    Graduates from online nursing schools in New York must take the NCLEX, a national licensing exam. Online nursing degree programs prepare students for the exam, but students should still study extensively. The RN exam is six hours long, and the PN exam lasts five hours. Both exams include two optional breaks. Before testing, nursing students in New York must undergo a background check and pay an examination fee.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in New York

No matter what type of nursing license you choose, New York requires each nursing candidate to obtain an educational certificate, degree, or diploma. Several online nursing programs in New York allow candidates to pursue these educational requirements with flexibility and independence. The following section explores online nursing schools in New York in more detail.

Online nursing schools in New York provide many different course offerings, and students can choose courses from various specializations. However, most programs require students to take similar courses at the foundational level. The courses listed below represent some common curricular offerings from online RN programs in New York.

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

Introduction to Professional Nursing

Most nursing programs include an introductory course covering the foundations of nursing. This course typically explores the history of nursing, including ethical and legal considerations, along with how nursing fits into the healthcare delivery system.

Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology examines the science of bodily systems and human anatomic dysfunction. Enrollees learn about diseases and illnesses through the lens of physiology, anatomy, and chemistry.

Contemporary Issues in Healthcare

This class covers socioeconomic and racial health disparities, bioethics, and global health issues. Students learn to contextualize their clinical practice within the larger healthcare system.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Aspiring professionals may feel intimidated by the educational expectations required to become a nurse, especially if they work full time or care for a family. Luckily, these individuals can find several online nursing programs in New York that allow them to pursue their degrees on their own terms. These distance learning programs allow students to log on for class from wherever and at whatever time, as long as they meet assignment deadlines. Learners can watch video lectures through the university website, participate in online forum discussions, and upload assignments.

Some schools offer accelerated programs, allowing students to complete two-year associate degrees or four-year bachelor’s degrees much quicker.

Distance learners can also pursue degrees at their own pace. Some schools offer accelerated programs, allowing students to complete two-year associate degrees or four-year bachelor’s degrees much quicker. Other learners opt to enroll part time, allowing them a few extra semesters or years to graduate. Online nursing programs in New York also include supervised clinical experience, and students need to participate in these clinical experiences at hospitals or other healthcare locations.

Nursing Licensure in New York

The state’s Board of Nursing (BON) operates through the New York Office of the Professions (NYSOP), the regulatory body for careers that require licenses to practice in the state. The BON approves applications for nursing licensure. The board also enforces state laws and regulations with nurses, such as continuing education requirements needed for licensure renewal.

Each type of license comes with different education and clinical requirements. You can read more about how these qualifications vary in the section below. To receive prescriptive authority, for example, NPs must obtain several authorizations from the federal and state governments. These authorizations include a national provider identifier, a Federal Drug Enforcement Administration number, and official prescription forms from New York.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

Each type of license includes different requirements, which can seem confusing. The table below lays out an easy-to-read comparison of each type of New York nursing license.

  • CERTIFIED NURSE ASSISTANT

    To become CNAs in New York, candidates must first complete a state-approved training program. The program covers theory and clinical skills, such as ambulating patients using a gait belt, assisting residents who need to use a bedpan, and changing patients’ positioning. The curriculum also teaches soft skills that include interpersonal skills and nonverbal communications. The program must last at least 100 hours, including 30 hours of supervised clinical work at a nursing home. CNAs can usually find programs that last a few weeks or months.

    Then, candidates take the nurse aide state competency examination through Prometrics. Once on the registry, nurse aides in New York must renew their licenses every 24 months. Although New York state does not require CNAs to fulfill a continuing education requirement, CNAs must have worked at least seven hours in a clinical setting every two years to qualify for renewal.

    New York Licensure Requirements

  • LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE

    Each LPN in New York state must pass an LPN training program. Many community and technical colleges around the state offer these programs, and NYSED provides a full list online. These programs usually last about one year and prepare students for the NCLEX-PN. Once candidates pass the exam, they can apply for licensure.

    New York state allows LPNs to follow a few other possible educational pathways, including a nine-month education program from the U.S. Armed Forces and practical nurse training programs from other states.

    LPNs need to renew their licenses every three years. LPNs do not need to complete continuing education hours within this three-hour time frame. Instead, New York state requires them to fulfill three contact hours of infection control coursework every four years. LPNs can find approved providers of these courses on the New York OP website.

    New York Licensure Requirements

    • Education: State-approved LPN training program

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in the training program

    • Exams: NCLEX-PN

    • Renewal Frequency: Every three years

    • Continuing Education: Three contact hours of infection control coursework every four years

  • REGISTERED NURSE

    Each RN needs at least an associate degree to obtain licensure, but many opt for a bachelor’s degree instead. Although a bachelor’s degree lasts longer than an associate degree, RNs with this higher-level degree can often find more lucrative positions.

    RN candidates should also complete NYSED-approved child abuse reporting coursework. An individual who earns their degree from an accredited New York state university accomplishes this as a part of their college coursework. RN candidates from out of state, however, may need to fulfill this requirement separately. After they complete their educational requirements, candidates can take the NCLEX-RN and apply for licensure.

    Just like LPNs, RNs should renew their licenses every three years. However, they should also complete three contact hours of infection control coursework every four years.

    New York Licensure Requirements

    • Education: ADN or BSN

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program

    • Exams: NCLEX-RN

    • Renewal Frequency: Every three years

    • Continuing Education: Three hours of continuing education coursework on infection control every four years

  • NURSE PRACTITIONER

    NPs in New York must apply for an NP state certificate. Before doing so, they need a bachelor’s degree and RN licensure. After fulfilling these steps, NP candidates should enroll in either an MSN or DNP. The program must offer at least three credit hours of pharmacology coursework. Throughout their graduate degree, each student chooses a specialization that later determines their area of practice. New York state allows NPs to choose one specialty practice area in community health, family health, gerontology, oncology, psychiatry, and more.

    After graduating, candidates should pass a certification exam from a state-approved certifying agency. This certification qualifies NPs to work in one of the areas listed above. The state also allows NPs to obtain two different specializations. Once candidates pass the exam and obtain national certification, they can apply for state certification.

    NPs must renew their state certification every three years, along with their RN licensure. They must also renew their national certification by fulfilling continuing education hours required by their national certifying agency.

    New York Licensure Requirements

    • Education: MSN or DNP

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in a degree program for state certificate; plus, any clinical hours as required by a national certifying agency

    • Exams: Certification exam from a national certifying agency

    • Renewal Frequency: Every three years; plus national certification as dictated by the national certifying agency

    • Continuing Education: Any continuing education requirements from a national certifying agency

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in New York FAQ

  • WHAT NURSING FIELD MAKES THE MOST MONEY?

    NPs make the most money, earning mean annual wages of nearly $121,000 in 2018. Remember, though, NPs need to invest more time and money into their education.

  • CAN SOMEONE BECOME A NURSE IN TWO YEARS?

    Yes. RNs can earn licensure with an associate degree, which traditionally lasts two years. CNA training programs last a matter of weeks, while students can typically complete LPN education programs in one year.

  • WHAT IS A GOOD SPECIALTY FOR NURSING?n

    The ideal specialty aligns with your personal and career goals. Consider the population you’d prefer to work with, how long you want to stay in school, your education budget, and your salary goals.

  • IS NEW YORK A GOOD STATE FOR NURSES?

    Yes. The average salary for nurse professionals in New York state surpasses the national average for every level of licensure. Plus, New York’s projected job growth rates outpace national job growth rates.

  • HOW HARD IS IT TO GET INTO NURSING SCHOOL IN NEW YORK?

    This depends on the school and level of education. Individuals with high school diplomas or GEDs can usually gain admission into CNA and LPN training programs. However, associate and bachelor’s degree programs may require students to hold minimum high school GPAs ranging from 2.0-3.0.

New York Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

New York nursing professionals receive higher mean annual wages than nationally for every type of nursing license. New York City remains one of the cities with the highest cost of living in the U.S., and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York City makes up half of the state’s population. However, New York has the highest number of nurses of any state, which likely drives up the average salary figures.

In terms of employment number, New York ranks in the top five for the states with the greatest number of nursing assistantsLPNsRNs, and NPs. A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also projects that the demand for LPNs will outpace supply over the next decade.

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

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $37,010 15.8%
Licensed Practical Nurse $48,770 18.4%
Registered Nurse $85,610 20.1%
Nurse Practitioner $120,970 41.6%

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
Vermont $30,730 $49,720 $69,160 $106,000
Massachusetts $33,630 $58,990 $92,140 $122,740
Connecticut $33,390 $56,970 $81,220 $118,020
New Jersey $30,380 $56,290 $82,750 $122,100
Pennsylvania $30,630 $48,120 $70,390 $98,250

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant


CNAs in New York earned mean annual wages of $37,010 in 2018, compared to the national figure of $29,580. New York offers the second-highest salaries for CNAs, right behind Alaska. Additionally, BLS projections indicate that the number of CNAs in New York should increase by 15.8% from 2016-26, which outpaces the national projected growth rate of 11.5% in the same period.

Licensed Practical Nurse


New York-based LPNs brought home a mean annual wage of $48,770 in 2018, slightly above the national figure of $47,050. Overall, the state boasts the fourth-highest employment of LPNs, and New York City has the highest number of LPNs in any city in the United States. The Utica-Rome metropolitan area ranks as the seventh-highest concentration of nurses. BLS projections indicate that the LPN profession will increase by 18.4% in New York state, compared to a 12.3% national growth rate.

Registered Nurse


RNs in New York make about $10,000 more than RNs on a national scale. Across the U.S., RNs took home a mean annual wage of $75,510 in 2018, while the annual mean wage for RNs in New York reached about $85,610.

New York ranks as the state with the third-highest number of RNs, while New York City boasts the most RNs of any metropolitan area in the nation. With a projected state growth rate of 20.1%, compared to a national growth rate of 14.8%, those employment numbers will only continue to increase.

Nurse Practitioner


NPs in New York state also make significantly more than NPs in the rest of the country. While the mean annual wage for NPs reached $110,030 nationally in 2018, the mean annual wage in New York surpasses it at $120,970.

New York follows only California in the rankings of states with the highest employment of NPs. Like every other nursing profession, New York City remains the metropolitan area with the highest number of NPs. BLS data projects that number to continue to increase rapidly, with a projected 41.6% growth rate.

Nursing Resources for New York

  • New York State Nurses Association This organization operates as a collective bargaining agency. Nursing professionals can participate in legislative advocacy and sign up for the pension plan and benefits fund.
  • The Nurse Practitioner Association New York State This professional association invites NPs to join. Members can benefit from educational conferences and a job search engine. The association also publishes an NP practice resource guide and connects NPs with potential mentors.
  • New York State Board of Nursing The BON functions as an arm of the state's Office of the Professions, which regulates licensed careers. Aspiring nurses can find instructions for New York nursing licensure applications, along with information about continuing education and frequently asked questions.
  • Nursing Students' Association of New York State Students pursuing nursing degrees in New York state can join this association. The group awards scholarships, hosts an annual convention, and connects students with working professionals.
  • New York State Association of School Nurses Nurses who work in primary and secondary schools can join this organization, which spearheads legislative advocacy and provides professional resources. Members can find continuing education opportunities and browse job postings. Student members can apply for scholarships.

Jump to Another State

Advertisement 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.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.