Healthcare is one of Louisiana’s greatest struggles, but not for the lack of effort from the state’s nurses and health professionals. A high proportion of Louisiana’s people avoid medical care because of the expense, and other indicators – such as life expectancy, infant mortality, and dental care – can look dire. But Louisiana also has a host of dedicated nurses who are working to care for the Pelican State (the pelican being a historical symbol of care and sacrifice), and the best nursing schools in Louisiana are working to prepare nurses to change life for the better.
Working RNs who want to leap from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree have a variety of choices. Online RN to BSN degree programs are offered by some of the best nursing schools in Louisiana, from public universities to private Christian colleges. Online RN to BSN programs in Louisiana give nurses the opportunity to increase their pay and get to higher positions – without having to leave their jobs or commute!
How We Ranked the Best Nursing Schools in Louisiana for Online Students
For our ranking of the best online RN to BSN programs in Louisiana, TopRNtoBSN editors researched all of the institutions in the state offering an online or hybrid BSN program. From there, we ranked programs according to a formula that takes into account factors important to working adults – Cost, Student Reviews, and Salary Potential. Those factors tell students they can expect their online RN to BSN degree to pay off in their career.
1. University of Louisiana at Monroe – Monroe
The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Online RN to BSN degree program comes from one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana. The program prepares students with advanced nursing skills and introduces pharmacological principles of nursing. The degree also provides a global outlook of nursing through courses with managerial aspects. Nursing students in as little as fourteen months can complete the RN to BSN program at ULM. Tuition costs are also affordable to most students.
Along with nursing programs, ULM offers education degrees at Bachelor and Master’s levels. ULM, founded in 1931, is a comprehensive, state-funded institute. According to their website, ULM is recognized among the top 200 universities in the nation for excellence in teaching, research, and innovation.
2. University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Lafayette
University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers an online RN to BSN degree that provides nursing students with knowledge of theoretical applications by applying scientific evidence, and promoting quality of care and wellness plans for individuals, families, and communities. The University provides a low tuition cost to all students in the program and is accredited by the CCNE. Nursing students are required to hold a 2.5 GPA to be eligible and while in the program.
UL Lafayette has an outstanding student pass rate of 95% on the NCLEX-RN exam, making it one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana. The college has over 19,000 students and continues to grow in number. The online RN to BSN degree program at UL Lafayette supports evidence-based practices with positive outcomes within the healthcare industry. The University also provides career advancement opportunities for their nursing students. Solving tomorrow’s challenges together is one of the school’s mottos that they live by.
3. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University – Baton Rouge
At the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, the online RN to BSN program provides the nursing student with leadership principles in nursing, professional nursing concepts, and learn the importance of healthcare policy. With the RN to BSN program being 100 percent online, there are no clinical hours required. The program’s tuition is competitive and affordable compared to most universities throughout the nation. The RN to BSN degree program accepts up to 90 credits from other institutions and the program is 100% available online.
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is located in Baton Rouge. The college provides a dedicated support system to nursing students within a student-centered community. The college is also ACEN accredited. The school has been a leader in healthcare education for the past century and stands firm on strong family values.
4. LSU Health Sciences Center – New Orleans
LSU Health Sciences Center provides a RN to BSN program that is perfectly designed for working adults wanting to increase their RN status to a bachelor’s degree level. The program will help students develop skills, knowledge, and abilities of what is expected of a professional nurse. The RN to BSN degree takes as little as 12 months to complete, with transfer credits added. The course load includes human physiology, human anatomy, biometry, and pharmacology. Students in the nursing program is required to keep a 2.8 GPA average. Tuition is also competitive to most Universities in the state of Louisiana.
Founded in 1929, LSU Health in New Orleans started in Baton Rouge through the Louisiana State League of Nursing Education. By 1933, the first BSN degree was initiated and in 1935, they had their first graduate of the BSN program. LSU Health Sciences center has been making nursing history for the past several decades and is one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana.
5.Southeastern Louisiana University – Hammond
At Southeastern Louisiana University, the RN to BSN degree is a one-year program that allows working nurses to achieve higher learning and is completely online. The military-friendly school assigns a faculty coach to all its incoming nursing students to help prepare them for the BSN degree. The University accepts up to 45 transfer credits to go towards their nursing degree and is accredited by the CCNE. The tuition rate is among the lowest in the state of Louisiana.
Founded in 1925, the college has drawn the public’s attention for being a diverse college that offers several fields of interest in students to choose. The Southeastern Louisiana University also has a moderate student to faculty ratio and is one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana. In 2014, the university celebrated its fiftieth year in the school of nursing.
6. Nicholls State University – Thibodaux
Nicholls State University is one college that is providing nursing students with many options. The Nicholls State online RN to BSN degree program curriculum builds upon the knowledge learned from previous nursing education and RN licensure. The school is evidence-based learning and teaches patient-centered care to nursing students that are working in the nursing industry. The program prepares students when entering graduate school with the knowledge of advanced practice education.
Nicholls State University is one of the most affordable universities and is considered one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana. Founded in 1948, the school has over 100 clubs or organizations for incoming students to get involved in as a student. The college also has a low student to Faculty ratio. There are also over 100 degree programs, with the school of nursing being the #1 choice among all Nicholls State University students.
7. McNeese State University – Lake Charles
McNeese State University offers an online RN to BSN degree that prepares nursing students a fulfilling career in the nursing industry. The program will provide each graduate with extensive knowledge of advanced nursing concepts that prepares them for a graduate level of learning. Sometimes referred as a “bridge” program, the RN to BSN degree connects the general associate’s achievement of courses to the bachelor’s degree. The McNeese State University’s tuition cost is low, compared to other colleges in Louisiana.
Established in 1939, McNeese State University is one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana and considered as one of the top schools in the South for innovation and academic excellence. The University has a faculty who stays connected to their students, by mentoring and encouraging them to achieve success. The college offers programs that provides a skills-based curriculum for students to engage in and be better equipped for once they graduate.
8. Loyola University New Orleans – New Orleans
Loyola University New Orleans’ online RN to BSN program provides nursing students with the option of higher learning. The degree is 120 credits, with seventy-five percent of it transferrable from other institutions. Students can complete the RN to BSN program in a matter of 3.5 years. The RN to BSN program builds on the basic principles of nursing, while introducing new nursing concepts and providing a strong foundation of studies; preparing the working RN for a rewarding career in the nursing industry. Tuition costs for Loyola University is affordable to most students.
Loyola University New Orleans is one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana and recognized as one of the ten best Universities in the south, according to the US News and World Report. Along with the School of Nursing, Loyola offers degrees in Business, criminology and justice, and Ministry and Theology. For over a century, Loyola University New Orleans has encouraged its students to be innovative, pursue wisdom, and have a creative mind while working to achieve success.
9. Northwestern State University of Louisiana – Natchitoches
Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers an online RN to BSN degree for nursing students who desire to expand their knowledge. The eNSU college provides nursing students with classes that ignites theory and practice to help advance them in their career path in the nursing field. At eNSU, the tuition costs are lower than most other Universities throughout the state and is listed as one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana. In addition, Online nursing students do not have to pay any out-of-state fees.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers array of online degrees for students that is looking to advance their college education. Education, Criminal Justice, Business, and an Art major are also possible schools of interest to students at eNSU.
10. Louisiana State University Alexandria – Alexandria
Louisiana State University Alexandria provides an online RN to BSN program to working nurses who want to continue their educational goals for higher learning. The program can be completed in as little as fourteen months, in participation with an associate’s degree or RN diploma. The total credit hours for the program is 30. Nursing students will learn the importance of quality care to patients, case management of acute care to special populations, and experience training in real-world situations and projects. Courses include health informatics, ethical dilemmas in nursing, and introduction to nursing research.
Tuition is based on transferable credit hours; however, most students at LSU Alexandria consider it an affordable choice. LSU Alexandria provides online programs in business, criminal justice, psychology, healthcare, and liberal arts and sciences. However, the nursing programs at the University are one of the best nursing schools in Louisiana. Many associates, bachelors, and masters programs are available completely online.
How Do I Become a Nurse in Louisiana?
The first step to becoming a nurse in the State of Louisiana is to earn your RN licensure. Any graduate with a nursing associate’s degree (ADN) is eligible; the license provides the student with the knowledge of basic nursing skills and the right to practice in the state.
The next thing to do is go for your NCLEX-RN test. This is an intense examination for many students. However, it will provide you with an accreditation from the NCSBN association. To take the exam in Louisiana, each applicant must pay $200; not including the $100 application fee, $40.75 for fingerprinting/background check, and $100 for the annual permit, totaling $440.75 to practice in the state.
The next step is to earn your RN to BSN degree. The RN to BSN degree program will provide nursing courses, such as systems management of nursing, public health systems, and healthcare policies. The degree also increase the nursing student with knowledge of advanced nursing skills and provide more career opportunities. Some nursing students do prefer to go for their BSN degree before the NCLEX exam. However, with all that is on the test, it may be more beneficial to wait until the four-year program is complete.
How’s the Job Market for Nurses in Louisiana?
The nursing industry is one of the top booming job markets throughout the nation. More and more students are enrolling in the nursing field due to the increase of baby boomers reaching the retirement age. This is a huge benefit for nursing students that have an interest in going to school in Louisiana. To become a nurse in the state of Louisiana requires the student to earn a RN licensure through the state. Earning a RN to BSN degree helps graduates with a better chance of employment options as well.
In the past few years, nursing positions have become more available throughout the state, especially in metropolitan cities or populated areas. There are approximately 43,000 nurses employed in Louisiana; and with the fifteen percent increase of the national average, it is expected to affect Louisiana as well. Right now, approximately thirty-three percent of RN’s in Louisiana have been working in the field for about twenty years and many do hold a BSN degree. Many nursing graduates of the ADN or RN to BSN degrees find employment at hospitals; however, some graduates may have a better chance of employment at mental health facilities, outpatient care offices, or home health care agencies. Nursing jobs are easily accessible in both the public and private sectors.
How Much Do Nurses Make in Louisiana?
The national average of RN salaries is $73,550, according to the BLS. Louisiana is not too far behind. The state’s average salary for students entering the nursing field in Louisiana is $63,970 (much more than an RN with an ADN). However, with the shortage of nurses within the state, the amount is expected to increase over the next few years.
However, a Louisiana nursing salary depends on the position and the place of work. For example, working as an RN in a busy hospital or physicians’ office will provide the nursing graduate with a salary of about $67,000 annually. However, finding work as a home health nurse or mental health RN can increase salaries up to $75,000 or higher. In fact, those working among the pharmaceutical field of nursing have a greater chance of making even six-digit annual figures. Of course, with higher salaries, the requirements of higher education levels is expected. Nurses with at least a master’s or PhD in Nursing are more equipped for the higher paid positions.