Ohio Nursing Schools and Programs

March 4, 2022 , Modified on June 28, 2022 · 6 Min Read

The Buckeye State houses some of the country's top nursing programs and offers plenty of opportunities for graduates. Check out our list of the best nursing schools in Ohio.

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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.

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Ohio Nursing Schools and Programs
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Ohio is home to some of the nation's top nursing schools and hospitals, making the state a great place to pursue a nursing degree and launch your career. Graduates who live and work in Ohio also enjoy a relatively low cost of living and above-average projected employment growth.

This guide details how to become a nurse in the Buckeye State, along with the salary and employment outlook for graduates, and some of the best nursing programs in Ohio.

Keep reading to learn more about the top nursing schools and programs in Ohio.

The Best Nursing Schools in Ohio

Learn more about Ohio's top nursing schools.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Ohio, 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.

Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Ohio

There are many factors to consider as you explore nursing programs in Ohio, including admission requirements, tuition rates, program length, and specialization options. You can also learn a lot by reviewing each school's National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rate and every nursing program's accreditation status.

Why Become a Nurse in Ohio

Some of the country's best hospitals are located in Ohio, including the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Residents also benefit from the state's low cost of living.

Ohio is also a member of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). As a nursing compact state, Ohio maintains a set of rules and procedures that all licensed registered nurses (RNs) must follow. The NLC makes it easier for RNs to qualify for licensure in other participating states.

Beginning in 2023, nurses with an NLC license do not need to pay renewal fees and can provide patients with telehealth care across state lines.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Ohio

The annual mean wage for Ohio RNs is $71,640, and $112,490 for nurse practitioners in the state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although both figures fall slightly below the respective national averages, Ohio's low cost of living makes the state an affordable option for new graduates.

Over 129,000 RNs work in Ohio, and that number is growing. The BLS projects a 9% job growth rate for RNs from 2020-30, slightly higher than the 8% national rate for all occupations combined.

The following table identifies Ohio's highest-paying metropolitan areas for RNs. Nurses earn the most in highly populated areas around the southeast, central, and northeast parts of Ohio.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Ohio
Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas Average Salary for RNs
Cleveland-Elyria $74,900
Cincinnati $72,400
Akron $71,340
Lima $68,680
Springfield $68,650
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Ohio

Prospective nurses in Ohio must graduate from a nursing program approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing. Next, they must pass the NCLEX for RNs (NCLEX-RN) before applying for state licensure.

Once the Ohio Board of Nursing accepts the candidate's application, the individual must complete state-mandated fingerprinting and pass a background check.

RNs are required to fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain their license and work in Ohio.

RN Requirements

To become an RN in Ohio, candidates must complete the following steps:

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Requirements

Prospective APRNs in Ohio must complete the following steps:

  • Applicants must hold an unencumbered RN license before applying for APRN licensure.
  • Candidates should attend an accredited nursing program to earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice. Both degrees qualify graduates to take an approved certification exam.
  • RNs must pass a certification exam in a state-recognized specialty before seeking APRN licensure.
  • APRNs should complete 24 continuing education hours every two years for each license held.
  • The Ohio Board of Nursing also requires professionals with certain nursing specialties to complete at least 12 of those continuing education hours in advanced pharmacology.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Ohio


How long does it take to become an RN in Ohio?

The amount of time it takes to become an RN in Ohio depends upon the prospective nurse's education path. Most spend two years earning an ADN or four years completing a BSN. Part-time study can extend graduation time lines for both degrees.

Direct-entry graduates are students who hold a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field and want to earn an MSN. They often complete accelerated programs in 15-36 months.

Is Ohio a good state to be a nurse?

While Ohio nurses earn slightly lower salaries compared to their counterparts in the rest of the country, the state's low cost of living makes it an affordable place to live and work.

Ohio is projected to face a significant surplus of nurses over the next decade. However, the state needs APRNs who specialize in areas like midwifery and anesthesia. Nurses who wish to work in Ohio should focus on an in-demand specialty.

How much does nursing school cost in Ohio?

The cost of nursing school in Ohio varies depending on the program and institution. Along with tuition, learners should calculate the potential costs of transportation and/or room and board, books and supplies, and fees.

An RN-to-BSN program at Ohio State University costs around $16,000 for Ohio residents and $17,000 for out-of-state students. An MSN at Kent State University costs between $18,000 and $22,000.

How much does a new RN Make in Ohio?

According to data from the BLS, the bottom 10% of all RNs nationally earn $59,450 a year, while the top 10% of earners make over $120,00 annually. However, Ohio RNs typically fall below national figures.

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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.

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