Oklahoma Nursing Schools and Programs

Updated August 4, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Oklahoma offers new nurses a great start at a profitable career in an affordable state. See our roundup of the best Oklahoma nursing schools and programs.

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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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Oklahoma Nursing Schools and Programs
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Why become a nurse in Oklahoma? The state offers both a low cost of living and competitive median annual nursing salaries. Becoming a nurse in Oklahoma also includes financial incentives, such as hospitals offering retention bonuses and loan forgiveness to nurses working in prime need areas or Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA).

This guide outlines how to become a nurse in Oklahoma, salary data, and licensing requirements.

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

The Best Nursing Schools in Oklahoma

Nurses in Oklahoma must complete at least an associate in nursing degree (ADN), with employers often preferring graduates with a minimum of a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN). The degree you choose can determine your career and salary prospects. The best nursing schools in Oklahoma prepare students to succeed and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

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

#1

Oklahoma City University

School Information
Location Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Oklahoma City University's Kramer School of Nursing offers some of the best nursing programs in Oklahoma. Learners can complete the school's accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) in 16 months. OKCU offers programs for learners with and without an RN license. Students practice patient care in the state-of-the-art Meinders Simulation Center. 

  • Program(s): BSN; master of science in nursing; doctor of nursing practice; Ph.D in nursing; post-master's certificate
  • Campus: Oklahoma City
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing 
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $28,094 per year
  • Graduate Tuition: $590 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.2% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $63,900 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#2

Oklahoma Baptist University

School Information
Location Shawnee, Oklahoma
Admission Rate 57%
Graduation Rate 55%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Oklahoma Baptist University runs one of the best nursing schools in Oklahoma. OBU offers a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and an LPN-to-BSN option for nurses who want to advance in their careers. The curriculum includes classes like pharmacology and foundations of professional nursing practice.

  • Program(s): BSN, LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Shawnee
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Tuition: $29,330 per year
  • Admission Requirements: Minimum 3.0 high school GPA or class rank in the upper half; ACT of at least 20, SAT of at least 1030, or CLT of at least 66 (for regular admission)
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 4 years for traditional BSN
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $52,110 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#3

Oklahoma Christian University

School Information
Location Edmond, Oklahoma
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 55%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Oklahoma Christian University's pre-licensure bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program prepares students to become licensed RNs. One of the top nursing programs in Oklahoma, the 126-credit program emphasizes critical thinking, Christian principles, and positive patient outcomes. 

Learners take classes like leadership and management in nursing and community health nursing. Enrollees complete clinical experiences and a nursing capstone. 

Program: BSN

  • Campus: Edmond
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Tuition: $24,550 per year
  • Admission Requirements: Minimum 3.0 GPA; prerequisites complete or in progress; 58.7% Test of Essential Academic Skills score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 4 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.7% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $53,360 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#4

Southern Nazarene University

School Information
Location Bethany, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 55%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Southern Nazarene University offers a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. One of the best nursing programs in Oklahoma, the program prepares learners to work as RNs. Students can complete the degree in four years. Enrollees must complete clinical rotations in regional healthcare facilities. 

  • Program: BSN
  • Campus: Bethany
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Tuition: $27,000 per year
  • Admission Requirements: High school transcript; SAT or ACT scores; Test of Essential Academic Skills scores; minimum 2.75 GPA to progress beyond pre-nursing courses
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 4 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 76.5% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $58,670 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#5

Redlands Community College

School Information
Location El Reno, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 20%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 71% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Redlands Community College ranks among the top nursing schools in Oklahoma that offers an associate degree in nursing (ADN). The four-semester program emphasizes professional behavior and clinical decision-making. 

Learners study physiology and microbiology. They also complete a nursing capstone. Enrollees get practice providing patient care in the school's simulation lab.

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: El Reno
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing 
  • Tuition: $155 per credit for in-state learners; $240 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or college transcripts; grade of "C" or higher in general chemistry; Test of Essential Academic Skills score of 65% or higher; minimum 2.5 GPA; background check
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 4 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 54.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $58,670 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#6

Tulsa Community College

School Information
Location Tulsa, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 20%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Tulsa Community College offers one of the best competitive nursing programs in Oklahoma. The associate of applied science (AAS) program offers two tracks. Students can choose a traditional nursing track or a career mobility track for LPNs and paramedics who want to become RNs. 

The curriculum covers pharmacology and medical safety, pediatric nursing, and adult health. Learners complete multiple clinical experiences.

  • Program: AAS in nursing
  • Campus: Tulsa
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $113 per credit for in-state learners; $338 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: A current copy of an approved certification for the traditional track and a copy of an Oklahoma LPN license or National Paramedic Registration for the career mobility track; a "C" or better in all prerequisites 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 3-4 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $60,690 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#7

Eastern Oklahoma State College

School Information
Location Wilburton, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 26%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Eastern Oklahoma State College offers an associate of applied science (AAS) in nursing. One of the best nursing programs in Oklahoma, the program prepares students to work as RNs. The two-year program also offers a track for licensed practical nurses or EMT paramedics. The curriculum includes classes like family nursing and current issues in nursing. 

  • Program: AAS in nursing
  • Campus: Wilburton
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing 
  • Tuition: $115 per credit for in-state learners; $236 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: Minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA; minimum ACT score of 19; science prerequisites; current EMT, CNA, or LPN/paramedic license or certification; background screening
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $63,010 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#8

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College

School Information
Location Miami, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 26%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College offers one of the top nursing programs in Oklahoma. The associate of applied science (AAS) in nursing offers a traditional nursing track and a fast-track nursing program for qualified paramedics and licensed practical nurses. 

Students can also pursue a pre-bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program that prepares them for a BSN at a four-year school. 

  • Program: AAS in nursing
  • Campus: Miami
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $99 per credit for in-state learners; $305 per credit for out-of-state tuition 
  • Admission Requirements: ACT scores; Test of Essential Academic Skills scores; high school or GED transcript; evidence of current applicable license (for fast-track program only); minimum 2.5 GPA in all required classes; minimum 2.33 overall GPA; complete required prerequisite biological science courses with a "C" or better
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $51,210 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#9

Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

School Information
Location Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 11%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City offers a nurse science associate of applied science (AAS) program. One of the best nursing programs in Oklahoma, the program offers a traditional pathway and a transition pathway for licensed practical nurses and paramedics. Students take classes like complex nursing concepts and introduction to pharmacology.

  • Program: Nurse science AAS
  • Campus: Oklahoma City
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing 
  • Tuition: $128 per credit for in-state learners; $371 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: Acceptance to Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City; prerequisites with a grade of "C" or better; pre-admission nursing entrance exam scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.5% first-time pass rate
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#10

Rogers State University

School Information
Location Claremore, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 22%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Rogers State University runs one of the best nursing schools in Oklahoma. Degree-seekers can pursue a traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), an online RN-to-BSN, or a bridge to traditional BSN-entry program. About 95% of students in the traditional BSN program land RN jobs before graduating.

  • Program: BSN; RN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Claremore
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing 
  • Tuition: $157 per credit for in-state learners; $435 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; ACT scores; official college transcripts (if available)
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $58,220 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
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Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Oklahoma

Accredited nursing programs in Oklahoma offer ADN and BSN degrees, but not diplomas. The degree a nurse chooses varies based on their specific career goals, budget, educational background, and time commitment.

Associate degrees require a minimum of two years and bachelor's degrees require about four years. Online nursing programs in Oklahoma, unlike on-campus degrees, often include no set class times and shortened semesters that let degree-seekers graduate faster. However, students still must complete clinical placements at local hospitals and clinics.

The duration of a program also influences the cost. Financial aid options for nursing students vary between schools, withgrants and scholarships being more plentiful at specific nursing schools in Oklahoma.

Degrees prepare students to become registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). A school's NCLEX pass rate and acceptance rate often reflect how well a nursing program prepares students for the field.

Why Become a Nurse in Oklahoma

Becoming a nurse in Oklahoma offers excellent job opportunities. Employers in Oklahoma are projected to add RN jobs faster than national rates. RN positions could grow by 9.1%, compared to the national average of 7%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Oklahoma also remains one of 39 states in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Bordering states, including Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, and Missouri, also participate in the NLC. Licensed nurses working in an NLC state, such as Oklahoma, qualify for multi-state licenses, which permit them to work in another compact state without having to complete any additional licensing requirements.

Similar to other U.S. states, Oklahoma has been experiencing a shortage of nurses. Because of the need for healthcare workers in Oklahoma, nurses can find incentives. OU Health, the University of Oklahoma's network of hospitals and clinics, offers retention bonuses to recognize nurses who have been under stress due to COVID-19. These bonuses, as well as other incentives, particularly help since Oklahoma does not have nurse-to-patient ratio mandates. Nurses can also waive benefits under the OU Health Travel at Home innovation and earn a higher hourly wage.

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) offers loan repayment assistance to nurses working in areas affected by the opioid epidemic.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Oklahoma

Salaries for RNs and nurse practitioners (NPs) in Oklahoma fall below the national average. RNs make an average annual salary of $66,600 in Oklahoma, compared to the national average of $80,010, according to the BLS. NPs earn an average salary of $112,750 in Oklahoma, while nationally, NPs earn an average of $114,510. However, Oklahoma has one of the lowest costs of living in the United States. Oklahoma's cost-of-living index came in at 88.2%, the third lowest in the country behind Kansas and Mississippi.

Statewide employment growth may exceed national averages. Employers could add RN positions at a rate of 9.1% in Oklahoma, while nationally, jobs are expected to grow by only 7%. NPs should see a job increase of 19.4%, compared to 45% nationally.

Where you work in Oklahoma as a nurse influences your pay. Oklahoma City pays RNs the most. Lawton, Tulsa, and Enid also pay RNs top salaries, as the table below indicates.

Highest Paying Cities for Nurses in Oklahoma
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Oklahoma City $68,020
Lawton $67,350
Tulsa $66,250
Enid $63,200
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Oklahoma

Nurses need to complete at least an ADN to work in Oklahoma. Approved nursing programs in Oklahoma must include a minimum of two years and 64 credits. That said, Oklahoma's licensing requirements vary for different types of nurses.

RN Requirements

At the minimum, RNs in Oklahoma need to complete an ADN degree. Much like in other states, many nursing students in Oklahoma pursue BSN degrees before taking the NCLEX exam. Nurses can apply for licensure by examination or through endorsement if they have a current license in another state. As an NLC state, Oklahoma allows nurses to apply for multi-state licenses.

Applicants for Oklahoma licensure need to be at least 18 years old. They also must have graduated from an Oklahoma Board of Nursing-approved program. Candidates need clinical experience in pediatrics, maternal-newborn health, adult medicine, or psychiatric mental health nursing. RNs also need to undergo a criminal background check before they can begin working.

APRN Requirements

APRNs in Oklahoma, just like in other states, need an MSN or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree to work as a certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or NP. Nursing programs in Oklahoma must hold accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or the Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation.

APRNs often choose a specialty and obtain certifications to work with specific patient populations, such as adult-gerontology, pediatrics, women's health, or psychiatric and mental health.

Becoming an APRN in Oklahoma requires a valid RN license. The job requires supervising RNs at private practices, hospitals, and outpatient care facilities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Oklahoma


Is Oklahoma a nurse compact state?

Yes. Compact states allow nurses to hold multi-state licenses, which permit them to work in other states that participate in the NLC. Some 39 states take part in the NLC. When applying for licensure in Oklahoma, nurses request a multi-state license.

What is the starting salary for nurses in Oklahoma?

Nurses just entering the industry can expect to earn an entry-level salary. The bottom 25th percentile of RNs in Oklahoma earns $56,190 a year, or $27.01 an hour, according to the BLS. The top 90th percentile of RNs earn $85,160 a year.

What are the top hospitals for nurses in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is home to private and public hospitals. Some of the best facilities with high-performing adult procedures include OU Health, University of Oklahoma Medical Center, Integris Southwest Medical Center, and St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.

How long is RN school in Oklahoma?

Nursing students should expect to spend a minimum of two years studying full time to earn an ADN degree —the quickest pathway to becoming a nurse. Otherwise, RNs earn a BSN degree, which takes at least four years. Paramedics and current LPNs can enroll in a fast-track degree to become an RN.

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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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