17 Best Nursing Trade Schools in the USA


If you are planning to become a registered nurse (RN), the school of nursing you choose and the educational program will play a role in your future career.  With so many options, how do you choose the best nursing trade schools?

Before choosing a nursing school, prospective students must first determine the type of nurse they would like to become, whether licensed as a practicing nurse, a certified nurse assistant, a registered nurse, or a nurse.  Each type meets different educational requirements.


Why go to Nursing Trade Schools in the USA?

  Nursing school programs prepare students to become nurses. They are offered through community and four-year colleges that lead to several types of degrees, including licensed general practice nursing and licensed professional nurse certification. 

Trade school programs are also offered through the same institutions and private educational and public institutions.  Trade schools prepare students for the workforce with skills taught in a specific field for specific jobs.


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Cost of Nursing Trade Schools

BSN programs offered at trade schools and public colleges are much cheaper.  Tuition and tuition fees at these faculties can range from $3,000 to about $ 4,000 annually. 

The cost of a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) ranges from $40,000 to more than $100,000 annually in private institutions and large universities.  This degree usually takes four years.


Nursing Trade School Vs College

Trade schools are commonly used to describe schools that teach students a profession or skills that are directly applicable to post-graduate work. Most trade schools provide practical training in a variety of fields, including health care. 

Nursing Trade and technical schools most often offer certification programs for licensed professional or practical nurses (LVN / LPN) and certified assistant nurses (CNA).  Most of these programs can be completed within 18 months.

Public colleges offer associate degree programs.  Nurses who have obtained the ADN for a two-year educational program may pass the National Council Examination to obtain an RN license (NCLEX-RN) and obtain an RN license. 

Four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSN), and some also offer graduate programs that offer masters and doctoral degrees.

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Best Nursing Trade Schools in the USA

#1 Coastal Pines Technical College (Waycros, GA)

The best graduation rate in any of the schools in our analysis can be found at Coastal Pines Technical College, which admits more than 3,400 students each semester and has a comfortable student-teacher ratio of 15: 1. 

This institution in southeastern Georgia also boasts low-cost tuition for qualified students in its nursing programs. Students here may receive a one-semester nurse certificate, a Licensed Practical Nursing Diploma (LPN), or a full-time Nursing Specialist Diploma (A.S.N.). 

Basic general education courses for all three programs are available in the evenings and on weekends, and some courses may be offered online.


#2 Rio Hondo College (CA)

The professional nursing program at Rio Hondo College in Whittier can be completed two semesters after students complete the prerequisite courses. 

The program prepares students to work in a variety of medical settings, including medical offices, hospitals, and surgical centers.  Courses include nursing / surgery, cardiovascular and respiratory issues, maternal and pediatric care, cancer care and pharmacology. 

Students must complete prior courses, meet health and immunization requirements, and be CPR certified.  

Before a student can begin the clinical part of the program, criminal background checks and drug tests are required.  Once a student completes the program, he or she will receive a career certificate and be able to pass NCLEX to obtain a license as an LVN.


#3 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College (GA)

Wiregrass Georgia College of Technology has one of the five lowest average net prices nationwide.  Nursing Programs at WGTC: Several nursing programs are offered here. 

Two associate degree plans are designed to prepare students for the National Council of Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) license, an associate specialist in nursing, and the LPN-ASN liaison program.  Certificate and diploma programs are also available.


#4 City College of San Francisco (CA)

The San Francisco City College of San Francisco offers a three-semester professional nurse program that requires 44.5 units to complete.  The program is open to high school graduates (or equivalents) who are in good health and eligible for admission. 

Each applicant must attend an orientation program and take prerequisite courses for the past five years.  Students take courses in children’s growth and development, nutrition and pharmacology. 

They learn about different areas of nursing, such as mental health, pediatrics, motherhood and medical / surgical.  Upon completion, students can take NCLEX.


#5 Ogeechee Technical College (GA)

If you hope to take advantage of the flexibility of online courses for nurses, this facility in East Georgia can help. 

Ogeechee Technical College has one of the highest enrollment rates among distance schools on our list, reporting that more than half of enrolled students take at least some of their courses online.

Nursing programs here focus on preparing students for LPN and other entry-level nursing work.  The Nursing Diploma consists of 57 credits of coursework, and the Certificates for Health Assistants and Nurse Assistants take 30 and 13 credits, respectively.


#6 West Kentucky Community and Technical College (Kentucky)

The West Kentucky Community and Technical College can be a great choice for those who enjoy the sociability of learning with a large group of nursing students. 

The more than 400 nurses and certificates awarded here in 2017 – about one-sixth of all graduates – make up the largest cohort of nurses of all the schools on our list.

WKCTC Nursing Programs: The WKCTC Nursing Assistant Program includes three certificate options: Advanced Nursing Assistant (ANA), Kentucky Medication Aide (KMA), and Medicaid Nurse Aide (MNA). 

The LPN-RN Accelerated Course allows nursing students with LPN experience to complete their programs in one year.


#7 Olney Central College (Illinois)

The success rates of students and graduates were high for this institution of the Eastern Community Colleges of Illinois. 

The Olney Central College alumni rank 93rd nationally, and only one other school on our list reported a higher retention rate for freshmen.  About 83 percent of graduates were employed within six years of enrollment.

OCC Nursing Programs: The OCC Junior Nursing Diploma takes 72 credit hours and provides advanced work for qualified students with transfer.  The Certificate of Practical Nursing for 44 credits is available for two standard semesters and one summer semester.


Nursing Technical Schools in Georgia

#8 Oconee Fall Line Technical College

Students who hope to get the most out of every dollar they spend on college education should be happy to hear about the average net price at Oconee Fall Line Technical College. 

The out-of-pocket costs in this small institution, which has about 1,400 students, gave it the most affordable net price in the country.

The path to a degree in nursing at OFTC requires students to obtain an LPN license or paramedic certification before gaining permission to enroll. 

Full-time students can expect to complete the ADN Bridge program in six semesters.  The diploma of practical nurses consists of 60 credit hours of course work.


#9 Georgia Northwestern Technical College

The Northwestern Technical College of Georgia fully demonstrates the flexibility of distance education for nursing students. 

Not only was 54 percent online enrollment, the highest rate among the schools on our list, but LPN students also have access to a bachelor’s degree program that makes half or more of its credits available online.

The online LPN to A.S.N. transition program here consists of at least 62 credit hours and includes courses in lifelong care, dosing calculation and care for foster families.  Standard A.S.N plan and practical diploma are also available.


#10 West Georgia Technical College

Graduate success in the workforce is an important indicator of the value of a college-level curriculum, and West Georgia Technical College has set solid figures for that. 

More than 84 percent of students who entered the institution in Waco, Georgia, graduated and found a lucrative job less than six years after first grade.

Novice registered nurses can be trained to receive an NCLEX-RN under the 70 WGTC Diploma Level Credit Plan.  For those who want to start their career as an LPN, there is a diploma program as well as a certificate of assistant nurse.


#11 South Georgia Technical College

The student performance indicators were distinguished by the statistics of the Technical College of South Georgia. 

No other school in our top ten reported higher student retention rates than Georgia’s approximately 2,000-strong institution, which graduated from the 93rd percentile of all nursing schools we surveyed nationwide.

The Nurse Certificate provides general health information and teaches students nutrition, medical terminology, and the basics of nursing.  The Diploma of Practical Nursing contains several clinical sections and teaches nursing surgeons, maternity care, nursing guidance, and more.


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Nursing Trade Schools in California

The path to a career in nursing in California begins with proper education and training at an accredited nursing school. 

California is home to the highest-paid nurses in the country, and all types of nursing careers require licensing, registration and/or certification, as well as continuing education. 

The most common career paths for a nurse include a registered nurse (RN), a certified nurse assistant (CNA), and a licensed professional nurse (LVN).

#12 Long Beach City College

Long Beach City College in Long Beach offers a professional nursing program that can be completed in less than three semesters. 

At the beginning of each week, students select a patient, medical diagnosis, medication, and research and focus their research on that patient throughout the week, learning through lectures, clinical experience, and laboratory research. 

Students must present evidence of criminal background, medical examinations, current vaccinations, and a CPR certificate from the American Health Association before beginning clinical trials.  Students who are CNAs (Certified Assistant Nurses) have already completed one of the prerequisites of the program.


#13 Pasadena City College

The three-semester program of professional nursing at Pasadena City College in Pasadena can be completed in one year.  The program begins each fall and requires students to attend classes during the summer. 

The core courses cover the laboratory skills of a nurse, medication and patient care.  The curriculum includes theory, laboratory research and clinical practice.  Each theoretical course is held simultaneously with a seminar and laboratory course. 

In addition to completing the required courses, the applicant must have a current CPR certification from the American Heart Association.  The college also has a career ladder option for current LVNs who want to become RNs (registered nurses).


#14 Riverside City College

Located in Riverside, this public school offers a full-time professional nursing certification program that can be completed in one year.  Each autumn semester the school accepts from 40 to 60 students; ineligible persons may re-apply next year. 

Applicants must complete the prerequisite courses and meet all the requirements for admission to this program.  Previous courses include anatomy and physiology, psychology and nursing. 

LVNs interested in becoming RNs can obtain a nursing degree by completing the certificate requirements, as well as general education and elective courses, to meet the 60-degree degree requirement.


#15 Sacramento City College

Sacramento College in Sacramento has a professional nursing program that prepares students for NCLEX and licensed professional nurses who provide basic care in hospitals, clinics, and other health care settings. 

A career certificate program can be completed faster than a degree program, and includes courses in intravenous therapy, medication, and care plans. 

Students interested in earning the qualification of a professional nurse in a professional nursing program must also meet the general educational requirements and a sufficient number of electives to meet a minimum of 60 credit units to obtain a degree. 

To be eligible for this program, applicants must take the following prerequisite courses: anatomy and physiology, English, human development: life expectancy, nutrition and medical language for health professionals.  Nursing courses must be taken consistently.


#16 Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa College has helped more than 1,000 students achieve their goals of becoming nurses.  The three-semester program provides students with a curriculum for didactic (classroom / laboratory) and clinical practice. 

Students can expect to complete about 665 hours of theory and 1,101 hours of clinical / laboratory classes. 

Although students attend classes during the day (usually four days a week), clinical rotation can occur during the day, in the evenings, or on weekends.  The college also offers a ladder option for LVNs who wish to become an RN.


Nursing Trade Schools Philadelphia

With Nursing Trade Schools Philadelphia, you get the education and training you need to play an important role in providing treatment, support and education to both patients and their families. 

You will learn the legal and ethical aspects of the profession; use case studies to analyze and establish patient care information; work in hospitals, long-term care and utilities; and use the results to critically assess situations and develop treatment plans

Daimar College

Daymar College is an accredited college that offers programs for certificates and degrees in health care, such as pharmaceutical technology, physiotherapy, nursing (RN to BSN), and more. 

Daymar has campuses in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee and they have day, evening and weekend schedules.  Daymar also has online courses and mixed (classroom and online courses) for a tight schedule.

ASPIRA City College

ASPIRA City College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is an accredited school with related health and information technology programs.  They offer financial aid and employment services to eligible students.

Scranton PA. Fortis Nursing & Medical Training

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, there is a campus of the Fortis Institute.  The Fortis Nursing Curriculum provides the knowledge and skills to prepare students for the NCLEX Licensing Exam.  Learn to pursue a career as a nurse at Fortis Schools.

All State Career School

All State Career School is an accredited school with campuses in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  They have professional training such as EMT, medical care and dental care.  All State’s fully accredited career school offers financial aid and career services such as employment.


The population of the United States is aging.  As the elderly population continues to grow, there is a growing demand for nurses to care for them. That is where the best nursing trade school comes in to save the day.

Although no one can predict what will happen in the future, it is safe to assume that aging is a trend that will continue to be relevant.  This is an ideal time to enroll in nursing programs.

While the prospects for a nurse’s career look very good, there are other important aspects to consider before devoting the next few years of your life to becoming a nurse.

Best Nursing Trade School FAQs

How Can I Pay For Nursing Trade School?

Federal student loans can be used to pay for tuition at the nursing school.  Students can apply for a federal student loan – other forms of federal assistance – by completing FAFSA (a free application for federal student assistance).  This program is used to determine federal student aid, including scholarships, grants, and work-study and federal student loans.

Are there Scholarships and Grants for Nursing Trade Schools in USA?

In addition to scholarships and grants offered by the federal government, private scholarships are available to nursing students.  The American Association of Nursing Colleges also maintains a database of scholarships for the best nursing trade schools.  In some cases, students may be forgiven or repaid student loans for nurses if they work in underserved communities in the Health Resources and Services Administration and meet certain criteria.

What is the Alternative Education Paths to First Earning a BSN?

Some nurses may prefer to attend a CNA-certified college so that they can work in healthcare with an ADN or BSN.  Some nurses attend LVN programs and work as LVNs, attending the BSN program to become RNs, but this is less common.  Most nurses who do not want to get a BSN right away usually get an ADN first to be able to work as an RN and then finish the RN-BSN program as a nurse.


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