If you’re interested in becoming a nurse in Wisconsin, you’re in good company. Any student or working learner who wants to earn their Registered Nursing license (or more advanced nursing degree) needs to determine which of the best Wisconsin nursing schools offer a program and cost that meets their needs and the state’s minimum requirements. There are also numerous nursing schools in the Badger State offering master’s and doctoral programs.
The best nursing schools in Wisconsin are following the national trend in the nursing profession, advocating for Registered Nurses (RNs) to earn their Bachelor of Sciences degree in Nursing (BSN) within an agreed-upon time after passing their NCLEX-RN national examination.
How We Ranked the Best Nursing Programs in Wisconsin
To rank the best nursing schools in Wisconsin, Nursing School Hub editors feature only accredited, reputable institutions. We rank programs according to a variety of factors, including tuition, student satisfaction, and salary potential.
1. University of Wisconsin – Madison
Students looking for the best nursing programs in Wisconsin often turned to the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The school has a competitive Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program students can complete in two years. Prior to applying to the school, students must complete pre-nursing requirements and general education courses. The school also accepts transfer credits for students who have completed nursing prerequisites at another college. Graduates are ready to sit for their state licensing exam and attend grad school, if they so choose.
UW Madison has over 30,000 students at the undergraduate level. This popular school has its pick of students and the acceptance rate is just 54%. Prospective students should prepare their applications with care to improve their chance of getting accepted. Popular majors include economics, biology, and information science. The school has an excellent graduation rate of 88%. UW Madison received an A+ ranking in diversity, academics and value for money.
2. Marquette University
Marquette University has one of the best nursing programs in Wisconsin, and students can complete their BSN or MSN degrees at the school. The nursing school also offers doctorate of nursing practice and doctor of philosophy and nursing degrees. This wide range of degree levels allow students to progress through each program in order to advance in their careers and expand their practices. Founded in 1936, Marquette’s School of Nursing has been educating nurses for nearly a century.
This Jesuit University is located in downtown Milwaukee and offers 11 majors to national and international students. The large Catholic University has a good reputation for producing high-quality students ready to take on active roles in their fields. Marquette University provides financial aid to 100% of its students.
Programs: BSN, MSN
3. University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
Another one of the best nursing programs in Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire offer students an opportunity to complete multiple levels of proficiency. The school offers a BSN, MSN and DNP. Students choose from traditional programs at the baccalaureate level and can go on to complete higher levels of education as needed. There are 800 graduate and undergraduate students who form a collective learning environment and tight-knit community inside and outside of the classroom. The college is known for community involvement and often takes on initiatives that benefit local residents.
UW – Eau Claire has a good reputation and is open to the public. With nearly 9,800 undergraduate students, the university is able to offer dozens of majors. It accepts nearly 82% of those who apply, giving applicants a fair chance to study here. Popular majors include nursing, business, and communications. Of students who attend the university, 81% receive some kind of financial aid. UW-Eau Claire ranks third among Wisconsin’s top universities.
Programs: BSN, MSN, DNP
4. University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee also has one of the best nursing programs in Wisconsin. The school’s exceptional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is based on an urban, academic setting which prepare students from diverse backgrounds for science-based careers. Students who come here often leave as compassionate, thoughtful leaders who bring quality and innovation to their future educational prospects or first jobs.
Wisconsin – Milwaukee has a good reputation as a large public university. It has more than 17,000 undergraduate students who enroll in a diverse range of majors including liberal arts, humanities, and sciences. Nearly three out of four students who apply to the school receive an acceptance letter and choose majors that match their career goals. Wisconsin – Milwaukee ranks number five among the state’s top public universities.
Programs: BSN, MSN, MSN, DNP, PhD
5. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Students evaluating the best nursing programs in Wisconsin should include the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh on their shortlist. The college offers perspective students the opportunity to get their Baccalaureate or master’s in nursing. Students who complete their programs emerge as knowledgeable experts in their various fields. Nurses must think critically on the job and this program focuses on helping students make the right decisions for their patience and to advance the health care industry as a whole. Wisconsin Oshkosh is one of the largest nursing schools in the state. Graduates consistently perform well in the National Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Wisconsin – Oshkosh is located in the Appleton area. It’s a midsized institution with around 8,500 students at the undergraduate level. Of students who apply, 76% or accepted. The school offers a wide range of majors including liberal arts and humanities and elementary education. Three out of four students who attend the school receive some form of financial aid.
Programs: BSN, MSN
6. University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay has one of the best nursing programs in Wisconsin. Popularly referred to as UW-Green Bay, this campus has a long history of graduating high-quality RNs and MSNs. The RN to BSN program allows licensed nurses to get their bachelor’s degree. Some nurses take the RN to BSN program in preparation for their master’s degree. Students who already have a Baccalaureate degree in nursing can pursue the accelerated BSN to MSN program. The program focuses on advancing nurses who are already working in the field. Engaging faculty members teach students to use the latest technology in patient care.
Wisconsin – Green Bay has nearly 5,000 students at the undergraduate level. Located in the Green Bay area Wisconsin, it accepts 85% of those who apply. This means that most students who want to attend the university will have the opportunity to do so. Popular majors include biology and business. The school ranks 29th among Wisconsin’s best value for money colleges.
Programs: RN to BSN, BSN to MSN
7. Viterbo University
Viterbo University’s BSN program is among the best nursing programs in Wisconsin. The faculty and staff prepare students to become leaders with a holistic approach to nursing education. Faculty members create a rich educational experience that embraces inclusion and diversity. Employment is always a major concern for prospective students as well as those nearing graduation. Of those surveyed, 97% of Viterbo find employment within two years of graduation, compared to a national average of 83%.
Viterbo University has 40 academic programs, and students can take classes online or in a traditional setting. Students can pursue their baccalaureate, post-graduate or doctoral degrees at this eclectic university. Small class settings enable professors to know each student by name. There are many opportunities for internships and study abroad programs.
Programs: BSN, BSN Completion, DNP
8. Carroll University
Students who wish to obtain their associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree often choose Carroll University, one of the best nursing programs in Wisconsin. Students learn in a simulation-based program which helps them solidify their theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience. Lab skill development and academics are both important to training competent nurses. Students will find those at this university, known for its rigorous academic requirements.
Carroll U is located in the Milwaukee area and has 2,800 undergraduate students. Around 2/3 of students who apply are accepted to the university. Due to the competitiveness of the application process, candidates are urged to take the time in fill out the application completely and review it carefully. Although it’s a relatively small school, Carroll University offers a number of majors including exercise science and psychology. Carroll University ranked seventh among Wisconsin’s best value colleges.
Programs: ADN, BSN
9. Edgewood College
Edgewood College also has one of the best nursing programs in Wisconsin. the school gives students the opportunity to earn their Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. Students gain knowledge and experience needed for entry level nursing positions and prepare to sit for the state nursing exam. The school helps students keep up with rapid changes in health care.
Originally a Catholic University, this private university is located in Madison, Wisconsin, and has 1,200 undergraduate students, making it one of the smaller schools on our list. The small size of the school makes emissions competitive, and the school accepts 70% of those who apply. Although it’s not as large as other schools in this state, it offers a number of programs including business, psychology and nursing. Edgewood college ranks #10 among schools that offer good value for money in the state.
10. Concordia University Wisconsin
Another one of the best nursing programs in Wisconsin, Concordia University Wisconsin offers a BSN and DNP program. Nursing students learn to provide routine and acute care for people of all ages. Faculty members are working members of the medical profession who execute a rigorous academic agenda.
Concordia – Wisconsin is a private Christian University with 2,300 undergraduate students. Located in Mequon, the school accepts 64% of students who apply. Popular majors include nursing, rehabilitation and business. Of students who attend the university, 100% receive some form of financial aid.
Programs: BSN, DNP
How Do I Choose a Nursing School in Wisconsin?
If you are a student or working learner who is actively researching the best Wisconsin nursing schools, be sure to confirm these two essential aspects-
The programs or schools are accredited by the Wisconsin Board of Nursing (WBON) or the AACN or ACEN. That provide relevant statistics about the school’s program options, with regard to
- Preparation programs to take the NCLEX Exam.
- NCLEX–RN Exam Pass Rates.
- Graduation Rates.
- Post-graduation Employment Rates
Selecting the right program from one of the best nursing schools in Wisconsin will ensure you meet the state’s minimum requirements, plus it allows students to connect with some of the best nursing opportunities in Wisconsin and across the nation.
How is the Job Market for Wisconsin Nursing Jobs?
According to a study done by the University of Wisconsin, the state of Wisconsin has been experiencing a nursing workforce shortage, nicknamed the ‘Silver Tsunami,’ which is code for the aging baby boomer generation. This has caused a significant demand for the following Wisconsin nursing jobs as follows –
- Nursing Jobs in Wisconsin at various levels
- Nurse practitioner jobs in Wisconsin within subspecialties
- Various rural and urban Wisconsin travel nursing jobs
- Nurse Practitioner jobs in Wisconsin in hospitals and other medical facilities
Much of the current demand for travel nursing jobs in Wisconsin are likely created by the 2020 pandemic and the newly introduced and popular telemedicine options. In addition, Wisconsin nurse practitioner jobs offer advanced nursing professionals these types of nursing jobs in Wisconsin –
- Acute Care
- Cardiac Nurse Practitioner
- Primary Care
- Pediatric or Neonatal
- Women’s Health
Many Wisconsin nurse practitioner jobs are available for those who are interested in travel nursing jobs in Wisconsin. These Wisconsin travel nursing jobs offer RNs or APRNs shorter-term nursing roles at clinics or hospitals around the state.
How Much Do Nurses Make in Wisconsin?
According to the federal government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) from the BLS – The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May of 2020, there were more than 63,000 nurses in the state of Wisconsin (> 3,000,000 nursing professionals working in the U.S.) with an average nursing salary in Wisconsin of $74,760 or $35.94 per hour.
To help understand the range of salaries for Wisconsin nurses, consider this chart that delineates the percentiles of Wisconsin Nursing Salaries as follows –
|Percentile||Wisconsin Nurse Salary||Wisconsin Nurse Salary – Hourly|
|10%||$ 53,410 per annum||$ 25.68 per hour|
|25%||$ 61,630 per annum||$ 29.63 per hour|
|Median – 50%||$ 75,330 per annum||$ 36.22 per hour|
|75%||$ 93,590 per annum||$ 44.99 per hour|
|90%||$ 116,230 per annum||$ 55.88 per hour|
Further, the various Wisconsin nursing salary options for more advanced nurses include the following professions, among others. First up are the percentiles and average nurse salary in Wisconsin for nurse anesthetists –
|Wisconsin Nursing Salaries||Wisconsin Nurse Salary – Hourly|
|10%||$ 133,970 per year||$ 64.41 per hour|
|25%||$ 154,540 per year||$ 74.30 per hour|
|Median – 50%||$ 183,580 per year||$ 88.26 per hour|
|75% – 90%||$ 200,000+ per year||$100.00+ per hour|
Next, the percentiles and average nursing salary in Wisconsin for nurse midwives –
|Nurse-Midwives||Wisconsin Nursing Salaries||Nurse Salary in Wisconsin – Hourly|
|10%||$ 67,710 per year||$ 32.55/hourly|
|25%||$ 91,590 per year||$ 44.03/hourly|
|Median – 50%||$ 111,130 per year||$ 53.43/hourly|
|75%||$ 136,960 per year||$ 65.84/hourly|
|90%||$ 179,770 per year||$ 86.43/hourly|
Next, the Wisconsin nursing salary percentiles and median nursing salary in Wisconsin for nurse practitioners –
|Percentiles For Nurse Practitioner Salary in Wisconsin||Average Nurse Salary In Wisconsin||Nurse Practitioner Salary in Wisconsin|
|10%||$ 53,410 per annum||$ 25.68/hourly|
|25%||$ 61,630 per annum||$ 29.63/hourly|
|Median – 50%||$ 75,330 per annum||$ 36.22/hourly|
|75%||$ 93,590 per annum||$ 44.99/hourly|
|90%||$ 116,230 per annum||$ 55.88/hourly|