January 16, 2022

Overview of Nursing Schools in Wisconsin

  • There are 45 nursing schools in Wisconsin. The CCNE accredits 21 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 28 schools in Wisconsin.
  • On average, attending an RN program in Wisconsin will cost you between $5,252.00 and $31,413.00 per year.
  • In Wisconsin, the average undergraduate student borrows between $4,725.00 and $14,000.00 per year.
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average, the NCLEX passing rate range for Wisconsin ADN students is between 79.53% and 96.50%.
  • On average, the NCLEX passing rate range for Wisconsin BSN students is between 78.38% and 96.40%.
  • The average annual salary for a registered nurse in Wisconsin is between $63,750 to $82,330 a year. For Nurse Practitioners it is between $99,010 and $124,940.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) throughout the country and in Wisconsin can expect a favorable job growth of 7.8% through 2028 which faster than the average for all occupations. For Nurse Practitioners the need is 23% through 2028.

About Nursing Schools in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is one of the many states that is facing a severe crisis in terms of nursing shortage. The average annual salary of the 63,630 registered nurses currently employed in the state is $99,060 with the ones with recent graduates earning about $54,040 per year. The state currently requires a whooping 3,600 nurses annually and the total number of nurses working here is predicted to increase by 7.8% from the year 2018 to 2028. There are multiple hospitals, clinics, community healthcare facilities, and other healthcare settings that demand nurses annually; more than the state is able to supply. Thus, nurses are less likely to face a shortage of job vacancies should they choose to work in Wisconsin. 

On top of that, the state also has an average job openings of 250 Nurse practitioners in addition to the 4,820 NPs currently working there. The US department of labor has predicted that the number of NPs working in the state will rise to 3,750 by the year 2028, hence the significant number of annual job openings. Recently graduated NPs earn about $100,570 while those with significant experience earn more than $137,000 in various healthcare settings across the state. 

Nurse Practitioners working in Wisconsin have Reduced Practice as per the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. A reduced practice means that the laws reduce the ability of the NPs to engage in at least one element of NP practice. They are required to have a career-long regulated collaborative agreement with another healthcare provider in order to provide patient care. In other words, it limits the setting of one or more elements of NP practice.

Working in Wisconsin opens doors for a wide variety of water recreation such as boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and rafting. Thus you can provide ideal patient care in a variety of settings while also allowing yourself to cool down and relax every once in a while. In addition to that, there are a number of high-quality nursing schools and colleges in the state that give you the option to further advance your career as a nurse and learn to become strong nurse leaders, educators, policy-makers, and researchers.

Nursing Programs Recommended by Our Education Experts

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

About Nursing Schools in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, seasoned nurses apply critical thinking skills to help structure the best healing environment for patients. As the healthcare industry evolves and becomes more complex, nurses become required to provide an advanced scope of practice beyond the traditional bed setting. However, meeting the objectives that are presented in the nursing industry require nurses to seek out higher education. While an associate’s degree in nursing can get you in the door with foundational skills, a bachelor’s degree will provide all the necessary tools that are needed to meet the challenges head-on.

In our Wisconsin RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Wisconsin RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Wisconsin, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Wisconsin RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs2325
Average NCLEX Passing Rate88.78%89.84%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range79.53% to 96.50%78.38% to 96.40%
Average Net Price$10,325.04$18,318.52
Average Net Price Range$5,252.00 to $20,018.00$11,557.00 to $31,413.00
Average Student Loan$9,637.33$19,055.79
Average Student Loan Range$5,499.00 to $24,750.00$12,000.00 to $29,000.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Wisconsin StateBSN Rankings for Wisconsin State

Best Ranked Nursing Schools in Wisconsin

Best Nursing School Programs State

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Wisconsin and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 19 ADN degree programs and 13 BSN degree programs in Wisconsin. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Wisconsin to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

Best Nursing Schools (BSN) in Wisconsin


Carroll University

  • 100 N East Ave, Waukesha, WI - 53186
  • (262) 547-1211
  • Grade: (A) 96.98%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Carroll University believes that college is a big investment in a bright future. The nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the department of nursing is approved by the Wisconsin State Board of Nursing. It leads to a bachelor’s degree, preparing students for their role
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University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

  • 800 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI - 54901
  • (920) 424-1234
  • Grade: (A) 96.02%
  • Programs: CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP
If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field or have LVN experience, you can earn your BSN quickly in this accelerated BSN program in nursing. It has been designed for those seeking a career change as it can be done with expediency. With a Bachelor of Science in
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Wisconsin Lutheran College

  • 8800 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI - 53226-4699
  • (414) 443-8800
  • Grade: (A) 95.11%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) is an independent, residential, nationally-ranked Christian institution, located in Milwaukee. It serves 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students either on campus and/or online. Its goal is academic excellence and a superior student experience with an view toward spiritual growth. Among the educational institutions in the state, the
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Bellin College

  • 3201 Eaton Road, Green Bay, WI - 54311
  • (920) 433-6699
  • Grade: (A) 95.05%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
Bellin College has the lofty goal of preparing healthcare leaders to meet the challenges of the future. Its motto is “A career in nursing promises a GREAT future!” It reputation is stellar for creating a strong bachelor’s program for a career in the healthcare sector. On campus in Green Bay
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Maranatha Baptist University (Maranatha Baptist Bible Col.)

  • 745 West Main Street, Watertown, WI - 53094
  • (9.2) 026-2E+13
  • Grade: (A) 94.44%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Maranatha Baptist University has had the mission to develop leaders in the local church and the world for five decades. Students have a ministry mindset; the classes are faith-based with a biblical core. The nursing vocation is a definite priority. Graduates will apply their talents to serving God and others.
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Alverno College

  • 3400 S 43rd St, Milwaukee, WI - 53234-3922
  • (414) 382-6000
  • Grade: (A) 91.27%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
There are a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs at Alverno College, a Franciscan liberal college for women located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The school dates back to its founding in 1887. It is sponsored by the School Sisters of St. Francis and boasts over 17,000 alums across the globe. Among
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Best Nursing Schools (ADN) in Wisconsin


Blackhawk Technical College

  • 6004 County Road G, Janesville, WI - 53547-5009
  • (608) 758-6900
  • Grade: (A) 96.54%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Blackhawk Technical College is located in Janesville, Wisconsin.  They offer an ADN degree.  They also offer an LPN progression program, which allows the LPN to advance their degree.  The LPN must take a bridge course prior to enrollment, but then is able to join the other students in the third
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Fox Valley Technical College

  • 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton, WI - 54912-2277
  • (920) 735-5600
  • Grade: (A) 96.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Fox Valley Technical College® is a two-year public college in Appleton and Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Locals consider the college of choice for hands-on learning and high-tech occupational training to enter today’s workforce. The program integrates social, mathematical, and physical sciences, pharmacology, and pathophysiology in clinical decision making. Whether you’re preparing for a new
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Milwaukee Area Technical College

  • 700 W State St, Milwaukee, WI - 53233-1443
  • (414) 297-6370
  • Grade: (A) 96.22%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Milwaukee Area Technical College is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They offer an RN program and an LPN-RN Educational Progression program.  Students opting to apply to the LPN-RN program should know that at least one year of LPN experience is required.  The program begins in August and January each year. If
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Waukesha County Technical College

  • 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI - 53072-4601
  • (262) 691-5566
  • Grade: (A) 95.03%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Waukesha County Technical College is located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.  They offer an ADN program and an LPN to RN progression option.  Their progression option is reserved for Wisconsin LPNs - students most hold an LPN nursing license in order to enroll.  The LPN also must pass LPN Progression Transition Success Strategies
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Mid-State Technical College

  • 500 32nd St N, Wisconsin Rapids, WI - 54494
  • (715) 422-5300
  • Grade: (A) 93.95%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Mid-State Technical College is a regional college in the Wisconsin Technical College System with multiple campuses. Associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates are offered in various career fields, including nursing. The goal is to provide a supportive and caring learning environment with state-of-the-art technology taught a professional faculty. Graduates are
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Moraine Park Technical College

  • 235 N National Avenue, Fond Du Lac, WI - 54936-1940
  • (920) 929-2483
  • Grade: (A) 92.81%
  • Programs: Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Moraine Park Technical College is located in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  Their nursing program is an "associate degree with a practical nursing exit point."  The first two semesters prepare the student for a career as a practical nurse; at that point, the student may choose to exit the program and
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North Central Technical College

  • 1000 Campus Dr, Wausau, WI - 54401-1899
  • (715) 675-3331
  • Grade: (A) 92.79%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
NTC offers a wide variety of programs with associate degrees, technical diplomas and certificate options in many career fields. Students can choose agriculture, food, manufacturing, finance, natural resources, architecture and construction and health science. Also available are arts, AV technology and communication, hospitality and tourism, business management and administration, information technology, human
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Lakeshore Technical College

  • 1290 North Avenue, Cleveland, WI - 53015-1414
  • (920) 693-1000
  • Grade: (A) 92.70%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Lakeshore Technical College is the go to place for students seeking an Associate Degree. It is done over seven terms and 65 credits. This Wisconsin college is proud to make education accessible to everyone in all walks of life and at any age. LTC is a proud member of the
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Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

  • 2740 W Mason St, Green Bay, WI - 54307-9042
  • (920) 498-5400
  • Grade: (A) 92.27%
  • Programs: Administration, Registered Nursing, Research or Clinical Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Founded in 1912, NWTC has over two hundred programs. It is a nationally-recognized, two-year public college, serving nearly 27,000 students each year and helping them attain degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Three main campuses populate the five state regional centers and most counties. Other specialty centers are throughout northeast Wisconsin. Student
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Additional List of Wisconsin Nursing Schools

Number of Degree Types Offered by Wisconsin Nursing Schools

  • Registered Nursing: 45
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: 10
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 6
  • CNL: 5
  • Administration, Research or Clinical Nursing: 2
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Administration: 1
  • Licensed Practical Nurse: 1
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Research or Clinical Nursing: 1

Number of Degree Types Offered by the Top 10 Wisconsin Nursing Schools

Wisconsin  RN Licensing Requirements

Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing
1400 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-2112

Continuing Education Requirements:

RN Licensure by Exams

Students are encouraged to turn in their applications six weeks prior to graduation. When the application is entered it will be given an identification number and the applicant will be notified with weekly email updates. There is a licensing fee of $90 and candidates will be able to obtain a temporary permit for an additional $10. The temporary permit is good for 90 days and allows candidates to work as a graduate nurse. Graduates are advised to register for the NCLEX exam and paying the $200 fee prior to submitting the application to the board. When and only when the candidate has received the authorization to test (ATT), can he/she schedule the NCLEX exam. It is worth noting that the candidate must pass the exam during the 90-day temporary permit period. Failure to pass the NCLEX will submit a short retake application and pay an additional $15 fee. Candidates should also be advised that there is a 45-day waiting period before the NCLEX can be reattempted.

RN License by Endorsement

Registered nurses who obtained licensure in one of the other 50 states may obtain licensure in Wisconsin by endorsement. Candidates must submit verification of licensure from every state where licensure was held and a copy of a current license. Candidates who obtained licensure in a Canadian province may also be endorsed in Wisconsin if they passed the appropriate exam. Registered nurses who have not practiced in the previous five years will be required to complete a refresher course.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Nurses who completed a nursing program in a country outside of the United States will need to complete the CGFNS certification process before Wisconsin licensure can be obtained. This does not apply to Canadian students who did their education in English.

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Wisconsin

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Wisconsin

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Wisconsin offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

MSN Programs Recommended by Our Education Experts

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

RN Salaries in Wisconsin

Baccalaureate-prepared nurses have a wide array of opportunities available to them. Rural communities and healthcare facilities fill the health care system in Wisconsin with a large population of elderly citizens. It has been reported that nurse leaders are needed to service and organize homebound patients in the rural populations that fill Wisconsin. Nurses who graduate from an RN program are able to obtain certification in more than 100 nursing specialties.

Employment Outlook for RNs Through 2028 In Wisconsin

State20182028Change% ChangeAvg. Yearly Openings

Wisconsin Registered Nursing Salaries

While Milwaukee has the most registered areas employed than any other metropolitan area in Wisconsin, it is Madison that has the highest hourly mean wage and annual median wage.
Source: BLS, Department of Education, State Board of Nursing, Nursing School Websites.

CityEmploymentAvg. Hourly WageAvg. Annual WageEntry Level20+ Years
Eau Claire2,210$32$66,890$25$42
Fond du Lac1,130$31$63,750$26$38
Green Bay3,970$33$68,860$26$40
La Crosse-Onalaska3,020$37$76,270$28$48
Northeastern Wisconsin4,410$33$68,180$26$40
Northwestern Wisconsin960$34$71,210$26$45
South Central Wisconsin3,110$35$73,790$27$45
Western Wisconsin2,670$36$74,780$27$47
Source: BLS 2021

Employment Outlook for NPs Through 2028 In Wisconsin

State20182028Change% Change Avg. Yearly Openings

Wisconsin Nurse Practitioner Salaries

CityEmploymentAvg. Hourly WageAvg. Annual WageEntry Level20+ Years
Eau Claire150$52$108,400$36$68
Fond du Lac60$53$109,300$44$64
Green Bay260$54$112,740$42$66
La Crosse-Onalaska80$56$116,860$43$75
Northeastern Wisconsin350$57$119,190$46$71
Northwestern Wisconsin80$54$111,990$41$68
South Central Wisconsin200$53$109,780$42$64
Western Wisconsin110$60$124,940$45$78
Source: BLS 2021

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