Best Nursing Schools in Maryland | 2024

From entry-level nursing programs to graduate degrees equipping students to become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), discover the best nursing schools in Maryland. Programs

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Maryland, located on the eastern seaboard of the United States, offers a diverse range of nursing programs catering to aspiring nurses at various stages of their journey.

Whether you're seeking entry-level nursing education like an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or seeking to advance your career as a registered nurse (RN) with an RN to BSN program, or seeking to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), we've got you covered.

Discover the best nursing schools Maryland has to offer, along with insights into salary expectations after graduation and answers to frequently asked questions.

Best Undergraduate Nursing Programs in Maryland

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most while selecting schools with the addition of NCLEX pass rates (when applicable), graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rate of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

Discover the best undergraduate nursing schools by program:

Best ADN Programs in Maryland

An ADN is a two-year nursing program typically offered at community colleges and some technical schools. It provides students with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to become an RN. ADN programs in Maryland are accessible and often more affordable than bachelor's programs, and graduates of ADN programs can become licensed RNs and begin working in various healthcare settings.

1. Chesapeake College

Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Maryland offers an ADN program at an affordable annual tuition of $4,373. The program is known for its commitment to providing quality nursing education, boasting a remarkable 91% NCLEX pass rate. With ACEN accreditation, Chesapeake College ensures that students receive an excellent foundation for a successful nursing career.

2. Frederick Community College

Frederick Community College, located in Frederick, Maryland, is home to a renowned ADN program with an estimated annual tuition of $4,222. This program has garnered a reputation for affordability and success, maintaining a solid 90% NCLEX pass rate. With ACEN accreditation, Frederick Community College offers aspiring nurses a reputable and cost-effective pathway to their nursing education.

3. Cecil College

Cecil College, situated in North East, Maryland, presents an exceptional ADN program with an estimated annual tuition of $9,226. This program stands out with its impressive 97% NCLEX pass rate, highlighting its commitment to producing highly skilled nurses. Cecil College's ACEN accreditation ensures students receive a top-notch nursing education to excel in their future careers.

4. Harford Community College

Harford Community College, located in Bel Air, Maryland, offers an ADN program with an estimated annual tuition of $6,819. This program strikes a balance between affordability and quality education while maintaining ACEN accreditation. With an 88% NCLEX pass rate, it provides a cost-effective option for nursing education with a track record of exam success.

5. College of Southern Maryland

At the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, Maryland, an ADN program with an estimated annual tuition of $7,724 is available. The program holds ACEN accreditation, maintains an 86% NCLEX pass rate, and provides an affordable and accessible pathway to a successful nursing career, ensuring that students receive a strong foundation for their future in nursing.

Score School Program City Estimated
NCLEX Pass Rates
(Avg. 2018-2022)
98.76 Chesapeake College ADN Wye Mills $4,373 91% Yes
96.85 Frederick Community College ADN Frederick $4,222 90% Yes
90.03 Cecil College ADN North East $9,226 97% No
85.50 Harford Community College ADN Bel Air $6,819 88% Yes
78.54 College of Southern Maryland ADN La Plata $7,724 86% Yes

Best BSN Programs in Maryland

A BSN is a four-year bachelor's degree program in nursing offered by universities and colleges. It provides a comprehensive education in nursing, including a strong foundation in science, research, and clinical skills. Completing a BSN in Maryland opens up a broader range of career opportunities and positions graduates for leadership roles in nursing than an ADN.

1. Towson University 

Towson University BSN Program in Towson, Maryland offers an affordable BSN program with an estimated annual cost of $12,621. This ACEN-accredited program maintains a robust 88% NCLEX pass rate, ensuring students receive a comprehensive and high-quality nursing education.

2. Coppin State University 

Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland, provides an accessible BSN program with an estimated annual cost of $6,010. With CCNE accreditation and an NCLEX pass rate of 78%, this program offers an affordable pathway for aspiring nurses to establish a strong foundation for their nursing careers.

3. Salisbury University

Salisbury University, located in Salisbury, Maryland, offers a comprehensive BSN program with an estimated annual cost of $18,706. Accredited by CCNE and featuring an outstanding 94% NCLEX pass rate, this program prepares students for success and excellence in the nursing field.

4. Stevenson University 

Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Maryland, offers a BSN program with an estimated annual cost of $23,428. The program holds CCNE accreditation and maintains an 83% NCLEX pass rate, providing students with a top-quality nursing education to excel in their careers.

5. Washington Adventist University 

Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland, offers an economical option for pursuing a BSN program at an annual cost of $13,625. The program, accredited by CCNE, boasts a 69% NCLEX pass rate, equipping students with the essential skills needed for a rewarding and fulfilling nursing career.

Score School Program City Estimated
NCLEX Pass Rates
(Avg. 2018-2022)
99.25 Towson University BSN Towson $12,621 88% Yes
98.83 Coppin State University BSN Baltimore $6,010 78% Yes
97.49 Salisbury University BSN Salisbury $18,706 94% Yes
85.69 Stevenson University BSN Owings Mills $23,428 83% Yes
85.63 Washington Adventist University BSN Takoma Park $13,625 69% Yes
84.77 Morgan State University BSN Baltimore $16,645 72% Yes
84.56 Hood College BSN Frederick $22,508 80% Yes
84.17 University of Maryland Baltimore BSN Baltimore   86% Yes
81.50 Notre Dame of Maryland University BSN Baltimore $27,149 82% Yes

Best Graduate Nursing Programs in Maryland

The two main types of graduate nursing programs in Maryland are:

Best MSN Programs in Maryland

Maryland offers various MSN programs at universities and colleges, providing opportunities for nurses to specialize in areas such as family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, or nurse administrator. MSN-prepared nurses are in demand for their advanced skills and expertise.

1. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University offers two MSN tracks:

  • Entry into Nursing
  • Healthcare Organizational Leadership

The MSN Entry into Nursing program is an accelerated path for students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree to transition into the healthcare field. It's a 5 semester, in-person full-time course costing approximately $1,881 per credit.

Moreover, the Healthcare Organizational Leadership MSN requires a BSN from an accredited school and opens doors to leadership positions in health education, program development, consultation, and administration. It shares the same costs as the Entry into Nursing MSN -- however, it is offered online with the option to study at a full or part-time pace. The MSN programs at Johns Hopkins University are accredited through the CCNE. 

2. University of Maryland - Baltimore

The University of Maryland offers three CCNE-accredited MSN specialties:

  • Community/Public Health Nursing
  • Health Services Leadership and Management
    • HSLM Focus
    • HSLM Education Focus
    • HSLM Business Focus
  • Nursing Informatics

Graduates will gain the skills required to excel in careers as clinical nurse leaders, administrators, public health nurses, or informaticians. Each program's hands-on courses are taught by leader experts, while the school's research makes transformative discoveries.

3. Frostburg State University

Frostburg State offers two CCNE-accredited MSN tracks with specialty options:

  • Traditional MSN Track
    • Education
    • Leadership and Management
  • Nurse Practitioner Track
    • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
    • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Frostburg is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and provides students access to modern facilities and models, giving hands-on experience to positively contribute to their success.

Best DNP Programs in Maryland

Maryland has universities offering DNP programs, which prepare nurses to lead in clinical practice, healthcare administration, and policy development. DNPs in Maryland often engage in advanced clinical roles and may contribute to healthcare policy and practice improvements.

1. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University offers two CCNE-accredited DNP tracks, of which one encompasses seven specialties:

  • DNP Executive Track
  • Advanced Practice Track
    • Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Pediatric Dual Primary/Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Anesthesia

The Executive DNP takes two to three years to complete with an estimated cost of $1,939 per credit. Graduates are taught the analytical and evidence-based practice skills and principles needed to significantly impact healthcare outcomes. The advanced practice track takes three years to complete with a yearly estimated tuition of $50,079. DNP-prepared APRNs are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and respect needed to drive healthcare innovation and positively impact health outcomes.

2. University of Maryland - Baltimore

The University of Maryland offers two CCNE-accredited DNP tracks:

  • Post-Master's DNP
  • Advanced Practice
    • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGAC-NP)
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPC-NP)
    • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
    • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
    • Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA)
    • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (PAC-NP)
    • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPC-NP)
    • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Graduates with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from UMSON will be well-prepared to translate scientific research advancements into improved healthcare outcomes.

3. Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

USU offers multiple CCNE-accredited advanced practice DNP programs:

  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

The university maintains a student-faculty ratio of 3:8, with 91% of graduate nursing students enrolled in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program.

Studying Nursing in Maryland

Studying nursing in Maryland, like in any other state, can be a rewarding and challenging experience. The specific experience of studying nursing in Maryland will vary depending on the university or college you attend, the nursing program you choose, and your individual preferences. However, here are some general aspects to expect:

  • Quality of Education: Maryland is home to several reputable universities and colleges with well-established nursing programs. Institutions like Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, and Towson University have highly regarded nursing schools. The state is known for offering a high-quality education in healthcare and nursing.
  • Clinical Opportunities: Maryland has a diverse healthcare landscape, including urban hospitals, suburban clinics, and rural healthcare facilities. This diversity provides nursing students with a wide range of clinical placement options to gain hands-on experience in various healthcare settings.
  • Specialization Options: Many nursing schools in Maryland offer opportunities for specialization. The availability of these specializations can enhance your career prospects.
  • Research Opportunities: Maryland is a hub for healthcare research and innovation, particularly in areas like biotechnology and healthcare policy. Nursing students interested in research may find unique opportunities to get involved in cutting-edge projects.
  • Cost of Education: The cost of nursing education in Maryland can vary significantly depending on the institution and program. Public universities often have lower tuition rates for in-state residents, while private institutions tend to have higher costs. It's essential to consider your financial situation and explore scholarship and financial aid options.
  • Diversity: Maryland is a diverse state with a multicultural population. Studying nursing in Maryland may expose you to a wide range of patient populations and healthcare needs, helping you develop cultural competence and adaptability as a nurse.
  • Job Opportunities: Maryland has a strong demand for healthcare professionals, including nurses. After completing your nursing program and obtaining licensure, you're likely to find a variety of job opportunities in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and more.
  • Community Engagement: Many nursing programs in Maryland emphasize community service and engagement. You may have opportunities to participate in outreach programs and healthcare initiatives to serve underserved populations.

Maryland can provide you with a solid foundation for a nursing career, access to a diverse range of clinical experiences, and the potential to contribute to the state's dynamic healthcare landscape.

Salary Expectations

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides insight into the average nursing salaries in Maryland, however when considering salary expectations, it's crucial to account for various factors that can influence earnings.

These factors encompass education, years of experience, the type of healthcare facility, your employer, the demand for your nursing specialty, and your work shift and hours. To gain a comprehensive understanding of potential salaries, it's advisable to delve deeper into the specifics that pertain to your unique circumstances and your employer's policies. 

RN Salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs in Maryland in 2022 earned:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $42.30
  • Annual Mean Wage: $87,990

Unfortunately, the BLS does not specify whether this is an ADN-prepared RN or BSN-prepared RNs; however, given that a BSN is likely to increase earning potential, this is likely to be representative of slightly lower than the average BSN-RN salary.

RN salary in Maryland is 1% lower than the national estimates for 2022, as the BLS reports RNs across the U.S. earning:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $42.80
  • Annual Mean Wage: $89,010

With the highest-paying states being:

  • California: $133,340
  • Hawaii: $113,220
  • Oregon: $106,610
  • Massachusetts: $104,150
  • Alaska: $103,310

The BLS collected the Maryland RN wage data from over 49,790 nurses.

Advanced Practice Salaries: MSN- and DNP-Prepared Nurses

For advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with an MSN or DNP, the BLS reported the average salaries in Maryland are:

  • Nurse Practitioners: $119,650
  • Nurse Anesthetists: $182,710

Compared to the national averages of:

  • Nurse Practitioners: 124,680
  • Nurse Anesthetists: $205,770

Accredited Nursing Programs 

Accreditation stands as a pivotal factor across all nursing programs for several key reasons:

  • Upholding Academic Quality: Accreditation signifies that a nursing program meets established criteria for curriculum quality, faculty credentials, and resource availability, maintained through periodic reviews.
  • Licensure Eligibility: Most jurisdictions require nurses to have graduated from an accredited program to qualify for licensure, a critical step for entering the nursing profession.
  • Job Market Readiness: Graduates from accredited programs are often preferred by employers for their verified educational quality that adheres to national benchmarks, offering greater career versatility and adaptability.
  • Educational Progression: Accreditation ensures the broader acceptance of academic credits, streamlining the pursuit of advanced degrees or transfer between institutions.
  • Reputation and Trust: An accredited degree signals to the healthcare community that the nurse has undergone rigorous training that meets or exceeds the national standards.
  • Financial Aid Access: Students may need accreditation to qualify for federal financial support, an important consideration for funding their education.

It is crucial for nursing students to verify that their program is accredited by esteemed organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which can significantly impact their educational and professional trajectory.

Maryland NP Scope of Practice

State regulations define the scope of practice for nurse practitioners. These laws determine the level of independence and the responsibilities APRN NPs are authorized to undertake, which can range from full autonomy to mandatory physician oversight, depending on the state.

Maryland grants APRNs full practice authority, allowing Nurse Practitioners (NPs) to perform a wide range of patient care functions. These include evaluation, diagnosis, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, and initiating treatment plans with prescribing rights for medications, including controlled substances. This authority falls under the exclusive licensure of the state board of nursing. 

When choosing a program for NP preparation, it's crucial to research and understand the regulatory environment of the state where you intend to practice, as program qualifications may vary. A clear grasp of the state-specific scope of practice and the responsibilities entailed in your desired specialty is necessary to ensure that your education aligns with your professional objectives and meets the regulatory requirements of the state.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How do I become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Maryland?

To become an NP in Maryland, you typically need to earn an MSN or a DNP degree with a specialization in the desired NP role (e.g., family, pediatric, adult-gerontology). You must also pass a national certification exam in your chosen NP specialty.

Q: How can I stay updated on nursing regulations and policies in Maryland?

You can stay informed about nursing regulations and policies in Maryland by regularly visiting the Maryland Board of Nursing website, attending professional nursing associations, and participating in continuing education courses.

Q: How do I pick a nursing degree that's right for me?

Choosing the right nursing degree program that aligns with your career goals and aspirations is a crucial decision. Here are some considerations:

  • Determine Your Career Goals: Start by identifying your long-term career goals. Do you want to become a registered nurse (RN), a nurse practitioner (NP), a nurse educator, or pursue another nursing specialty? Knowing your career aspirations will guide your degree choice.
  • Research Nursing Roles: Research different nursing roles and specialties. Understand the scope of practice, responsibilities, and educational requirements for each. This will help you decide if a particular nursing degree aligns with your interests.
  • Consider Your Prior Education: Your current educational background can influence your choice of nursing degree. If you have a bachelor's degree in another field, you might consider an accelerated BSN program or an entry-level MSN program. If you're just starting your education, you can choose between an ADN or a traditional BSN program.
  • Assess Your Learning Preferences: Consider your preferred learning style and pace. If you prefer a more gradual approach to nursing education, an ADN program might be suitable. If you thrive in a structured and immersive learning environment, a BSN program might be a better fit.
  • Evaluate Financial Considerations: Determine your financial situation and budget for tuition, fees, and other educational expenses. Explore scholarship opportunities, financial aid, and loan repayment programs specific to nursing students.
  • Research Accredited Schools: Look for accredited nursing programs at universities, colleges, and community colleges. Accreditation ensures that the program meets quality standards and prepares you for licensure and practice.
  • Location Matters: Do you want to study locally, or are you open to relocating for your education? Some regions may have more nursing program options than others.
  • Clinical Opportunities: Investigate the clinical opportunities offered by nursing programs. Clinical experiences are a vital part of nursing education, so assess the variety and quality of clinical sites available to students.
  • Talk to Current Students and Alumni: Connect with current nursing students and program alumni to gain insights into their experiences. They can provide valuable perspectives on the program's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Visit Campus: If feasible, visit the campuses of nursing schools you're interested in. This can give you a sense of the facilities, faculty, and overall atmosphere of the program.
  • Review Admission Requirements: Ensure that you meet the admission requirements for your chosen nursing program. Different programs may have specific prerequisites, GPA requirements, and application deadlines.
  • Seek Advice from Advisors and Mentors: Talk to academic advisors, nursing faculty, and practicing nurses for guidance. They can offer valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.
  • Consider Your Timeline: Think about your timeline for completing your nursing education. Some programs, such as accelerated BSN programs, may have shorter durations than traditional BSN programs or ADN programs.
  • Evaluate Certification and Licensing: If you have a specific nursing specialty or role in mind (e.g., nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist), research the certification and licensing requirements associated with that role. Ensure that your chosen program aligns with these requirements.

Take your time to research, gather information, and make an informed decision that sets you on a path to a fulfilling and successful nursing career.

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