Top 20 Military Friendly Nursing Schools

In today’s post, I would like to share the top 20 military friendly nursing schools in the USA, as I see it. Whether you are a veteran, dependent, active duty service member or reservist, if you are thinking about earning your nursing degree, you should check out a military friendly nursing school.

I scoured the internet high and low to come up with a good list. This information was collected from independent research online. It is very subjective. You may agree or disagree with our rankings. That is okay.

Top 20 Military Friendly Nursing Schools

Top 20 Military Friendly Nursing Schools

Let’s get started with # 20 and work our way down to number one.

#20: University of Texas at Austin Nursing School

The University of Texas at Austin made # 20 on our list of the most military friendly nursing schools.

  • The major center of nursing education and scholarship in Texas
  • More than $20 million in extramural funding
  • Ranked #15 among Schools of Nursing receiving funding from the National
  • Institutes of Health (2018 – Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research)
  • Ranked #1 in Best Value PhD in Nursing Programs (2016 – Value Colleges)
  • Ranked #5 in Best Value BSN Programs (2019 – Value Colleges)
  • Ranked #7 in Best Value DNP Programs (2017 – Best College Values)
  • Ranked #16 among public schools of nursing and #24 among all schools of nursing in Best Nursing Schools: Master’s and DNP Programs (2019 – U.S. News & World Report)

Source: University of Texas Austin

#19: Drexel University College of Nursing

Coming in at # 19 we have the Drexel University College of Nursing.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has more than a century long history of educating nurses and health professionals. Since 2002, the College has embraced the practical ingenuity of Drexel through the refinement and development of more than 25 undergraduate and graduate nursing and health professions programs characterized by the integration of learning and work through cooperative education, a culture of excellence, innovation and technology infusion, research and deep civic engagement.

The College has grown to include more than 5,000 students, 200 full-time faculty and 104 staff. The College uniquely prepares clinicians to practice and lead in a rapidly changing healthcare system.

Source: Drexel University

#18: Ramapo College of New Jersey, Mahwah, New Jersey

Earning our # 18 spot is Ramapo College of New Jersey.

The highly-acclaimed and expanding nursing programs enjoy state-of-the-art labs that enhance the education of Ramapo College students in the nursing and sciences. Ramapo’s undergraduate nursing program has had significant increases in enrollment since its inception in 1993, a Master of Science in Nursing Education was added in 2002 and two new tracks in Nurse Administration and Family Nurse Practitioner were approved in 2016. More than 460 students are enrolled in all nursing programs and use the facilities of the Adler Center for Nursing Excellence on a daily basis.

Source: Ramapo College of Nursing

#17: Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Fitchburg State University takes the # 17 spot of military friendly nursing schools.

Fitchburg State University (FSU) has institutional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, while undergraduate nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and administered by the university’s Nursing Department. Fitchburg enjoys a ranking spot on the “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” published by U.S. News & World Report, which includes the online RN to BSN program mentioned here.

FSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four entry/ completion paths. One track is for traditional four-year nursing students. Another track is for currently-licensed RNs holding an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. The remaining two tracks are also completion programs — both for Licensed Practical Nurses with a diploma in nursing. One is a regular LPN to BSN, while the other is a special Military LPN track.

Source: CollegeChoice

#16: Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Chatham University has a highly respected nursing program. They take our # 16 spot.

Chatham University offers Bachelor’s through Doctoral level nursing programs on campus, and recently they partnered with UPMC schools of nursing to provide an affordable and convenient fully on-line program that was voted “Best Online Program” by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.

Other accolades include “The Best College in the Northwest” by the Princeton review, four consecutive years receiving the President’s higher education community service honor roll and three consecutive years as a military friendly school.

This university employs Problem-Based Learning techniques for nursing students and after graduation, students have career placement opportunities at UPMC Shadyside Hospital, a Magnet Recognition Program.

Source: Best Master of Science in Nursing Degrees

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#15: Westfield State University, Westfield, Massachusetts

Coming in at # 15 is Westfield State University.

What makes us great:

Small program size. In recognition of the growing health care needs of an aging population, the nursing curriculum places special emphasis on care of the older adult. A one-year formal student-to-student mentorship program where incoming freshman students are paired with an upper classman nursing student, to help transition into the program and help get the incoming student connected with other nursing students and activities on campus.

A patient Simulation Laboratory with video and voice recording equipment. Capstone Preceptorship program where students work at a health care organization during their last semester under the supervision of a registered nurse.

#14: University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB)

The University of Alabama Birmingham takes our # 14 spot for military friendly nursing programs.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing was chartered as the University of Alabama School of Nursing (UASON) in 1950. The school opened its doors that year, after the Alabama Legislature in 1949 authorized and provided funds for a collegiate baccalaureate-level school of nursing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at the University of Alabama (UA).

In 1967, the school moved from the Tuscaloosa campus to UA’s rapidly growing Birmingham satellite campus, where it became a component of the academic complex that in 1969 became an autonomous university – now known as the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

This school’s history has Birmingham-based nursing education roots dating to 1903, embedded in diploma nursing education provided by hospitals that became the foundation for UAB’s internationally known medical center.

Today the UAB School of Nursing—offering baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing education—continues to pioneer in educating nurse leaders in the UAB spirit of “knowledge that will change your world.” For 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked this school No. 8, in the top 3 public nursing schools in the country.

Source: UAB School of Nursing

#13: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas

Texas Teach easily earns our # 13 spot for military friendly nursing schools.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing is dedicated to training knowledgeable, compassionate nurses and nurse practitioners to meet the critical nursing shortage in West Texas and across the nation.

Since the first class in 1979, the school has grown from offering traditional programs to masters and post master’s programs in diverse areas of nursing specialization and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

The traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has more than 1500 students across campuses in Lubbock, Odessa and Abilene. Our multiple campuses give each nursing student a high-quality education with experienced faculty.

The school is dedicated to creating new, innovative routes for students to complete their education. With accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing tracks, students can apply the knowledge they’ve already gained to completing their BSN in less time.

Students may choose from the R.N. to BSN program, the Second-Degree BSN program or the Veteran to BSN Program, instituted to give veterans credit for their service in the armed forces.

Source: Texas Tech Nursing School

#12: Chamberlain University, Downers Grove, Illinois

Next, we have Chamberlain University taking our # 12 spot for military friendly nursing schools.

Chamberlain University has many campuses throughout the country, including several Yellow Ribbon program members, and two of its campuses offer a military to BSN option.

Veterans in Arlington, VA, and Jacksonville, FL, can take advantage of this nursing degree that is specifically designed for military members. The application fee for this program is waived for military members, and the degree can be completed in as few as three years.

The program includes three military-specific courses that have been designed to help veterans transition from their service career to the world of nursing education. To qualify for this program, you must be a veteran, have a healthcare specialist rating classification for at least two years, and complete a number of prerequisite courses.


#11: Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia

Coming in at # 11, we have Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia.

Located in Winchester, VA, Shenandoah University offers a unique Veteran to BSN program designed specifically for students who have served in the military. The directors of the program carefully look at each veteran’s training records and past transcripts to determine what qualifies for academic credit.

The school also offers a number of advanced nursing degrees, like nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery, and a DNP degree for students who are interested in pursuing further education after obtaining their BSN. Veterans can also qualify for the Yellow Ribbon program to receive tuition assistance.


#10: Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Penn State earns the # 10 spot for military friendly nursing schools.

Penn State’s College of Nursing is one of the largest educators of pre-licensure students in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with over 2000 undergraduate and graduate students on 13 campuses. Our College is positioned to lead the next generation of nurses and nurse scientists while enhancing the health of all people through quality care and education.

Source: Penn State website

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#9: University of Colorado Denver, Denver

Located in beautiful Colorado, the University of Colorado Denver earns our # 9 spot for military friendly nursing schools.

Nursing is one of the most popular majors at the University of Colorado Denver, with graduates reporting average early career earnings of $54,000. CU Denver offers a few different options for achieving a nursing degree, including an accelerated degree and an online RN to B.S. program. The university participates in several federal programs setting standards for veteran education. UC Denver charges the same tuition to all students regardless of the state they live in.

Source: Military Times Rebootcamp

#8: University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Go Gators! Coming in at # 8 we have the University of Florida.

The University of Florida College of Nursing is the nursing school of the University of Florida. The UF College of Nursing is Florida’s Flagship nursing program. Established in 1956, the College of Nursing is located on the university’s Gainesville, Florida main campus.

Source: Wikipedia

#7: University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Located in the beautiful southwestern USA, the University of Arizona takes the # 7 spot for military friendly nursing programs.

The University of Arizona—one of the country’s most respected research institutions—is a leader in health-sciences education and scholarship. The College of Nursing is ranked among the top 15 percent of graduate nursing programs in the United States.

As one of 21 colleges at the UA, and one of five colleges comprising the UA Health Sciences, the College of Nursing offers a wealth of educational resources. In addition, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson provides exceptional clinical and research opportunities.

Source: University of Arizona

#6: University of Maine Orono

The University of Maine Orono easily took our # 6 spot on our list of military friendly nursing programs.

The University of Maine established its nursing program in 1939, creating the first baccalaureate program for nurses in the state. The School has a long and very proud tradition of educating nurses. Our standards are high, our programs are rigorous, and our graduates are consistently sought after everywhere.

Both our baccalaureate and Master’s programs in nursing are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The BSN program is approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing. The School of Nursing is philosophically linked with the University of Maine’s mission to be the state’s center for learning, discovery, and service to the public. Faculty, staff, and students of the School serve as a vital resource to the people of Maine and the nation through clinical practice, scholarly activities, community engagement and disciplinary leadership.

Source: University of Maine

#5: Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

The FSU Seminoles take the # 5 spot for military friendly nursing schools.

The Florida State University College of Nursing, is the nursing school of the Florida State University. About 553 students are enrolled in classes, including undergraduates and graduate students. All programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Source: FSU Nursing

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#4: University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

Go Wildcats! They take our # 4 spot for military friendly nursing schools in the USA.

UK offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four entry paths. Two tracks are for pre-licensure students, with one for first-time undergraduates and the other for those with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. A completion track is available for current Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing. Finally, students with some health-related training / experience in the military have a track designed for them.

Source: CollegeChoice

#3: San Diego State University, San Diego

Located in beautiful San Diego, California, SDSU earns our # 3 spot for military friendly nursing schools.

SDSU’s Nursing program is ranked #57 out of 523 for veteran friendliness of all colleges and universities reviewed by College Factual. This puts SDSU in the top 15% of all schools in the nation when it comes to offering a quality education to veterans studying Nursing.

San Diego State University is located in a city setting, serving approximately 30,300 undergraduate students. Roughly 1,550 of these students are GI Bill recipients.

Source: college factual

#2: George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

George Washington University has a great nursing school. They take our # 2 spot.

The George Washington University School of Nursing offers bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs that make it possible for our students to succeed in providing high-quality, compassionate health care. As one of the top-ranked nursing schools in the nation, GW Nursing is proud to offer innovative educational programs led by top-tier faculty, supported by the latest in health care technology.

Our presence on GW’s Virginia Science & Technology Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, allows us to offer BSN students an expansive simulation center in which to prepare for encountering live patients.

GW Nursing is also committed to transforming policy, and having graduate faculty on our campus in Washington, D.C., allows us to maintain connections to the world’s most influential health organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health. Our students not only study the world but also work to improve it. And we make sure they have the resources and skills to do so.

Source: George Washington University

#1: University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

We had to put the University of South Florida in the # 1 spot for military friendly nursing schools.

Nursing is one of the most popular majors at the University of South Florida. Graduates from USF’s nursing program report average earnings of $49,000 in their early career and $71,000 mid-career.

USF keeps costs affordable for veteran students, with full-time tuition and fees being below the maximum tuition benefit from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. There is a large veteran population on campus, and the school commits to several government programs that set standards for veterans in education, including the Principles of Excellence and the DoD Memorandum of Understanding. The school also offers a special nursing degree for veterans who have trained as medics.

Source: Military Times Rebootcamp

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks. This is our list of the top 20 military friendly nursing schools in the USA. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

Suggested Reading

  1. Top Army ROTC Programs
  2. Top Military Friendly Colleges
  3. Top Military Friendly Banks

And here are a couple of nursing books on Amazon you might enjoy: Nursing School Cheat Sheet and Nursing School Entrance Exams.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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