Nursing Schools in Rhode Island – RI | Colleges | Degree | Education

Nursing Schools in Rhode Island – RI

Whether you're a high school student wondering which career choice to make or a working professional with a college degree who feels your career is going nowhere, this may be the time to join the helping profession of nursing. By exploring nursing careers in Rhode Island, you may discover your true calling! But why would Little Rhody be the place to make it happen?

Between 2016 to 2026, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has some impressive data showing a big demand for nurses in Rhode Island:

  • Registered nurses (RNs) are the fourth highest-growth occupation with more than 850 new nurses projected to be needed
  • Nurse practitioners (NPs) are among the top 20 fastest-growing occupations with a job growth rate of 17.3 percent
  • Nursing assistants are among the top 10 occupations with the highest demand. More than 12,000 nursing assistants would be needed by 2026

If you'd like to know more about different types of nursing professions, visit Nursing Education, Schools and Career Overview. Stay on this page if you are considering Rhode Island nursing careers.

What nursing schools are there in Rhode Island?

Nursing schools in Rhode Island may offer pre-licensure nursing programs to prepare students for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Nurses who are already licensed can earn a higher degree through bridge programs like the RN-to-BSN, often offered in a hybrid format (i.e., on campus and online). Nursing colleges in Rhode Island may also offer seamless programs that can take students from the bachelor's level to a doctorate in nursing.

Below you'll find examples of a few nursing degree programs in Rhode Island that represent the diversity of programs offered by different colleges in the state.

  • University of Rhode Island's College of Nursing offers students an opportunity to learn in a small classroom environment and gain clinical experiences. They offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), an RN to BSN on-campus or online program, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.), Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP), and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (MS to DNP). Nursing students have a unique opportunity to minor in thanatology, the study of death and dying.
  • Rhode Island College's School of Nursing offers a BSN as a traditional program, an accelerated program for bachelor-degree holders of non-nursing majors, and an RN to BSN bridge program. MSN program options are offered to students in five tracks: Adult/Gerontology with an Acute Care Emphasis, Nurse Anesthesia, Population/Public Health, Nursing Care Management, and Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety. Their DNP program is delivered in a hybrid format and can prepare students for advanced clinical and leadership positions.
  • Salve Regina University offers two undergraduate plans of study. Their pre-licensure track is for high school graduates, transfer and second-degree students. They also offer a RN to BSN degree completion program. Their MSN program is offered in a hybrid format; classes are mainly in the evenings. The simulation laboratory in Newport allows students to develop advance practice skills. Building on the MSN program is their DNP program with a focus on areas such as evidence-based practice, quality improvement and systems thinking.
  • Rhode Island Community College is the only public community college in the state offering an associate degree in nursing. Students can be prepared to become certified nursing assistants or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The college also offers an LPN-to-RN program.

What financial aid can I get for nursing programs in Rhode Island?

To help fund your nursing education without having to pay back the money, students may apply for federal, state, institutional and private grants and scholarships. Students are encouraged to explore more options for funding, as there may be plenty to be had for students who qualify. Here are just a few nursing scholarships in Rhode Island:

  • RNs can apply for the Edward J. and Virginia M. Routhier Nursing Scholarship if they are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate nursing program. Students must demonstrate financial need.
  • Students pursuing an LPN or RN program may apply to the Alan Edgar Wurdeman Scholarship Fund. Preference is given to students who are committed to working in Rhode Island after graduation.
  • The CharterCare Foundation offers grants and scholarships one of which is the Continuing Medical Scholarships for students in advanced nursing programs in specialties such as nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetists.

What do I need to know about nursing certification in Rhode Island?

The Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education (BNRNE), which is a part of Rhode Island's Department of Health, regulates the nursing profession in the state. It recognizes three categories of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs):

  • Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Students aspiring to be APRNs must graduate from a master's level program or higher that is accredited by an agency approved by the BNRNE. They must also obtain Rhode Island nursing certification in their field of specialty from a national certifying body that is approved by the BNRNE such as:

  • The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)
  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • The National Certification Corporation (NCC)

APRNs may apply for licensure related to any of the following categories:

  • CRNP Adult/gerontology
  • CRNP Family/individual across the lifespan
  • CRNP Neonatal CNP Pediatric
  • CRNP Psychiatric/mental health
  • CRNP Women's health/gender-related
  • CRNA Family/individual across the lifespan
  • CNS Adult/gerontology
  • CNS Family/individual across the lifespan
  • CNS Neonatal CNS Pediatric
  • CNS Psychiatric/mental health
  • CNS Women's health/gender-related

Do I need a nursing license in Rhode Island? How do I apply for it?

To practice their professions in Rhode Island, nurses must be registered as an LPN or RN. To apply for licensure, students should complete an accredited program from one of the Rhode Island nursing schools, obtain transcripts, and apply online at the Rhode Island's Department of Health website. General requirements include:

  • Demonstrating proof of Rhode Island residency
  • Paying an application fee
  • Passing a background and fingerprints check

Once these requirements have been met, candidates can apply to sit for the NCLEX through the website of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

RNs must renew their license every two years by completing 10 continuing education (CE) hours, two of which must be related to substance abuse. CE courses must be approved by the BNRNE.

RNs in Rhode Island may obtain specialty certificates from nationally accredited organizations to prove competency in a specific field. Nurses have the benefit of choosing from a diverse range of specialties, making it a career that offers versatility.

What can I do with a degree in nursing in Rhode Island?

We've presented some occupation facts and figures in the tables below to help you choose a program at one of the Rhode Island nursing schools that align with your career goals. Have a look at the nursing salaries in Rhode Island, and the projected job growth rates.


  • 2-Year College of the Year, December 2019, Education Dive: Higher Ed,, accessed March 2020
  • Academics, College of Nursing, The University of Rhode Island,, accessed March 2020
  • Associate Degree Nursing Program Overview, Rhode Island Community College,, accessed March 2020
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing, School of Nursing Rhode Island College of Nursing,, accessed March 2020
  • College of Nursing, The University of Rhode Island,, accessed March 2020
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice, School of Nursing Rhode Island College of Nursing,, accessed March 2020
  • Instructions and License Application for APRN, Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education,, accessed March 2020
  • LPN-to-RN, Rhode Island Community College,, accessed March 2020
  • Master of Science in Nursing, School of Nursing Rhode Island College of Nursing,, accessed March 2020
  • Nursing Application Requirements, Department of Health Rhode Island,, accessed March 2020
  • Nursing Scholarships, Rhode Island Foundation,, accessed March 2020
  • Occupational Outlook 2026, RI Department of Labor, Labor Market Information,, accessed March 2020
  • Report calls understaffed R.I. nursing homes a 'crisis', July 2019, Providence Journal,
  • Rhode Island dealing with shortage of home health-care nurses, June 2018,,
  • Rules and Regulations for the Licensing of Nurses and Standards for the Approval of Basic Nursing Education Programs, updated September 2012, Department of Health Rhode Island,
  • Scholarships, The CharterCare Foundation,, accessed March 2020
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