According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 500,000 registered nurses are expected to retire by 2022. To prevent a shortage of nurses in the healthcare field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects over 1.1 million new nurses must enter the industry. The field of nursing provides job security, good wages, career advancement and diversity in the work environment. By becoming a nurse, the individual provides a fresh perspective of care and emotional support to patients and their family members.

As an aging population sets the stage for a nursing shortage, the American Health Council has named its choices for “America’s Best Nursing School’s” as follows:


With a long and rich history entrenched in academic excellence, and a distinguished alumnus that includes renowned achievers: Mary Adelaide Nutting (World’s First Professor of Nursing), Isabel Hampton Robb (Founder of Modern American Nursing and the First Dean of the University) and Ernestine Wiedenbach (Major Authority in Maternity and Clinical Nursing) to name a few, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is an institution that continues to pioneer innovation in nursing and contemporary medicine. Founded in 1889, Johns Hopkins University prides itself in being one of the oldest schools of nursing in the nation. Ranked #1 nationally among graduate schools of nursing, #3 for online programs, and named the most innovative graduate program in nursing in the country, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing offers an array of academic programs from pre-licensure to masters and PhD programs.


Located in Seattle, Washington, the University of Washington School of Nursing is recognized internationally as a leader in nurse education. As an integral part of the Warren G. Magnuson Health Sciences Center, UW School of Nursing prepares the next generation of leaders through scientific discovery in a nurturing and inclusive environment. They provide excellent education and address healthcare needs through service and research. Ranked among the top nursing schools in research funding by the NIH, the UW School of Nursing offers an array of programs including a fast-track graduate entry program, graduate certifications, a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral program.


Located in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania — also known as Penn Nursing — is ranked among the top graduate schools for nursing education in the United States. With a flexible undergraduate curriculum, Penn Nursing provides a traditional and fast-track undergraduate program that includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree certificate attached at completion. This Ivy League institution has a 93% NCLEX pass rate for first-time US-educated test takers and is the only Ivy League institution to offer a bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degree program. Lastly, Penn Nursing is the ideal choice due to their laboratory of innovative and translational nursing research, where nurses can research on genetics, biochemistry, metabolism and much more.


According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has been ranked 1st among the 100 best U.S. public colleges facilitating premium academics at an affordable price. With a reputation of excellence spanning three centuries, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a solid undergraduate field of study which includes: 77 bachelor’s degrees, 109 master’s degrees and 66 doctoral degrees. The School of Nursing at UNC-Chapel Hill is recognized as one of the best in the nation in upholding excellence in education, practice and research in nursing. Each program is designed to provide students with the requisite knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to function effectively in the field of nursing.


Established in 1939, the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing consistently ranks high in several areas of specialization including: anesthesia, psychiatric/mental health clinical nursing, and pediatric primary care. Equipped with a faculty of fellows from the American Academy of Nursing, the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing is a top-notch nursing school offering undergraduate (BSN), accelerated 2nd degree BSN, post graduate (MSN), doctorate (Doctor of Nursing) and online programs respectively.


Located in the heart of New York City’s Midtown Manhattan, New York University (NYU) Rory Meyers College of Nursing was originally founded in 1932 and over a decade later in 1947, the nursing education program was established. With a state-of-the-art clinical simulation center, the nursing school provides each student the opportunity to become accustomed to the latest in medical procedures and tools. Ranked 5th overall in research funding by the National Institute of Health, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing offers undergraduate, graduate and clinical health programs in both a traditional (4 years) and accelerated (15 months) setting.


Nationally recognized as a research driven institution, Duke University School of Nursing was one of the first schools in the country to offer a graduate nursing program. Established in 1931, Duke University School of Nursing was developed under the direction of Dean Bessie Baker and Instructor Ann Henshaw Gardiner. As one of the nation’s top school of nursing, Duke University School of Nursing offers several undergraduate, post graduate and doctorate programs. Additionally, the nursing school offers online master’s and doctorate program to aid distance learning. Adorned in Georgian style architecture, the campus of Duke University is equipped with state-of-the-art cutting edge technology to bolster learning and research.


Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing serves as the nation’s top ranked nursing school due to a rich history and culture of attaining distinction and innovation in nursing education, research and service provision. Established in 1923, Case Western University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing offers a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, with an array of specialized master’s programs, tailor-made for students according to their dissenting educational interests and areas of practice. As one of the ten World Health Organization centers in the U.S., Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing is a pioneer in the development of the nation’s first practice doctorate in nursing, acute care nurse practitioner program, gerontological nursing program, BSN perioperative requirement, and the advanced practice flight nursing program.


Founded in 1949, University of California Los Angeles School of Nursing is one of the professional schools of the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences. With a faculty of forty-seven tenured and thirty-eight adjunct professors, UCLA School of Nursing provides the intimacy of a small school setting, coupled with the benefits of being a component of one of the world’s largest research universities. The school offers undergraduate, graduate, and PhD programs in nursing with a demanding course of study in both a classroom and clinical setting.


Honored as the Top Public Recipient of NIH Research Funding for the sixth consecutive year, the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing has upheld a reputation of exemplar excellence and innovation. With a history of nursing education spanning over a century, UCSF School of Nursing has trained and graduated the next generation of leaders in the field of clinical care, policy development, academia and nursing research within the state and across the nation. The school offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs in the following specialties: adult gerontology, occupational & environmental health nursing, sociology, advanced public health nursing, and much more.

What methodology is used in determining the Best Nursing Schools in America?

Throughout 2016, the American Health Council conducted nearly 100,000 interviews with healthcare professionals and students from various institutions and organizations across the county. These are individuals who have applied for Affiliation with the American Health Council or have been selected as part of one of our Recognition Programs.

In early 2017, our Analytics Team convened to begin reviewing publicly available data from the nation’s nursing schools, as well as any additional data provided by the schools at our request. This data was measured with a weighted score and then coupled with a weighted grade determined by the interview. Together, this provided us with a final score used to rank these institutions.

Data categories analyzed were as follows:

Institution/program accreditation
NCLEX pass rate
Graduation rate

Degree programs
Distance learning available
Weekend/evening schedule

Educator to student ratio
Percentage of tenured/tenure-tracked faculty
Percentage of faculty active in field

Tuition and fees
Financial aid
True-cost of living expenses (based on location)

Facilities and programs
Funding awarded to institution
Funding to faculty ratio

Interview scores were based on the following:

Active projects and research
Affiliations and credentials
Awards and accolades

Current activities and responsibilities
Education and experience

Outlook for specialty
Personal motivations