Introduction to 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 Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 23 25
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 88.78% 89.84%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 79.53% 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 Detail ADN Rankings for Wisconsin State BSN Rankings for Wisconsin State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Wisconsin

Best Ranked RN Programs in WisconsinTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at 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


Blackhawk Technical College

  • 6004 County Road G, Janesville, WI - 53547-5009
  • (608) 758-6900
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • 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 semester of the program.


Carroll University

  • 100 N East Ave, Waukesha, WI - 53186
  • (262) 547-1211
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor

Fox Valley Technical College

  • 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton, WI - 54912-2277
  • (920) 735-5600
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Fox Valley Technical College is located in Appleton, Wisconsin.  FVTC offers a variety of options for its students; they offer an ADN degree but they also offer a pathway for LPNs and paramedics that allows them entrance into the program.  They also offer refresher courses for LPNs and RNs who are out of practice and need to review their skills before returning to the workforce.


Milwaukee Area Technical College

  • 700 W State St, Milwaukee, WI - 53233-1443
  • (414) 297-6370
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • 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.


University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

  • 800 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI - 54901
  • (920) 424-1234
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • Programs: CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP

Bellin College

  • 3201 Eaton Road, Green Bay, WI - 54311
  • (920) 433-6699
  • Grade: (A) 95.00%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate

Waukesha County Technical College

  • 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI - 53072-4601
  • (262) 691-5566
  • Grade: (A) 95.00%
  • 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 course prior to entering the program.


Wisconsin Lutheran College

  • 8800 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI - 53226-4699
  • (414) 443-8800
  • Grade: (A) 95.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor

Maranatha Baptist University (Maranatha Baptist Bible Col.)

  • 745 West Main Street, Watertown, WI - 53094
  • (9.2) 026-2E+13
  • Grade: (A) 94.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor

Mid-State Technical College

  • 500 32nd St N, Wisconsin Rapids, WI - 54494
  • (715) 422-5300
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Lakeshore Technical College

  • 1290 North Avenue, Cleveland, WI - 53015-1414
  • (920) 693-1000
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Moraine Park Technical College

  • 235 N National Avenue, Fond Du Lac, WI - 54936-1940
  • (920) 929-2483
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursingg, 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 begin their career.  They can also continue for further education and earn their associate's degree.


North Central Technical College

  • 1000 Campus Dr, Wausau, WI - 54401-1899
  • (715) 675-3331
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

  • 2740 W Mason St, Green Bay, WI - 54307-9042
  • (920) 498-5400
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Administration, Research or Clinical Nursing, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Alverno College

  • 3400 S 43rd St, Milwaukee, WI - 53234-3922
  • (414) 382-6000
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate

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.

Online NP Programs Liked by Wisconsin Nurses

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

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.

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.

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.

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