The Best Nursing Schools in Arizona

While there are many good reasons to choose a career, stability and pay are among the most important. While it might not be the first to leap to mind, those reasons make nursing an excellent choice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurses will grow by 7% over the next year, and those with nursing degrees average a salary of $75,300. And there’s good reason for these financial awards. More than other healthcare professionals, nurses play an essential role, caring for patients, coordinating with family, and preparing physicians. 

Because it is such an important job, future nurses should do their research when choosing the school that will teach them their trade. But while people generally think of Ivy Leagues such as Harvard and Yale, one can find excellent schools everywhere, especially in the field of nursing. In fact, future nurses would do well to consider Arizona as the place to look for a good nursing school. In addition to a pleasant and warm climate, the Grand Canyon State features a diverse population, one that the nursing schools in the state are dedicated to working with. 

With so many options, it can be challenging to choose the best school. Many factors go into deciding upon a college, including location, faculty, and concentration. To start making the decision, one can look at the list of best nursing schools published in the highly respected outlet, U.S. News & World Report

You can also get help in making your decision by reading this article. This list follows the U.S. News rankings (in the case of a tie, the editorial team at College Gazette judges the tiebreaker). 

Here are the best nursing schools in Arizona.

5. Grand Canyon University College of Nursing and Healthcare Professions (Phoenix, AZ)

A private, for-profit Christian institution, Grand Canyon University exists to help students realize their purpose. For the College of Nursing and Health Care Professionals, this means using systems- and evidenced-based practices, all while emphasizing a Christian worldview. That can be a real benefit for those whose career decisions are influenced by their religious beliefs. 

Another appealing element of GCU Nursing is its versatility. The program offers a variety of degrees, including eight online Master of Arts degrees. After three initial courses that teach nursing theory, research, and ethical practice, students develop an evidence-based project that demonstrates the knowledge they’ve gained. 

Two Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees are available from GCU Nursing, including one emphasizing educational leadership. But most students benefit from the RN to BSN degree, which allows those with nursing experience to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. 

Like every other quality institution, GCU Nursing isn’t cheap. But even in that case, GCU can help out. For those who need help paying for college, GCU directs students to several limited-time tuition scholarships. Between these payment assistance options and the range of degree courses available, GCU Nursing is perfect for working professionals who want to study nursing from a Christian perspective. 

4. Brookline College (Phoenix, AZ)

Founded in 1979 as the Arizona Institute of Business and Technology, Brookline College has developed into one of the state’s best institutions for studying business, healthcare, and law. In each discipline, Brookline strives to make a quality education affordable for students. The Healthcare College and Nursing School features more than twenty degree programs, including in-person, online, and blended courses.

These options mean that students can choose between a traditional college experience, in which they learn from instructors in a face-to-face classroom setting, or they can learn online, working their schooling around busy family and job schedules. Or, they can take blended classes, which combine classroom learning with online components. Of particular interest to many students is Brookline’s BSN program, which allows students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in as little as 32 months. The program runs year-round, making the most of the student’s time. 

These programs are all part of Brookline College’s mission to provide students with the education and skills to reach their goals. To that end, the school maintains fixed tuition to help students plan their finances, dedicated staff and faculty to support each student, and job placement guidance for those making their way into their fields. 

In short, Brookline College supports its students every step of the way, from helping to pay for school all the way to their days on the job market. 

3. Northern Arizona University School of Nursing (Flagstaff, AZ)

Northern Arizona University
Joshbiggs, NAU Campus, CC BY-SA 4.0

At Northern Arizona University’s School of Nursing, students find a school committed to not only training the next generation of healthcare providers, but also to taking concrete steps to improve the wellness of their communities. NAU Nursing recognizes that students who enter the nursing field do so because of genuine care for others, and the school reflects that care with their community programs. 

These programs include initiatives to foster diversity and civility in the relationship between the school and the Flagstaff community. Doing so demonstrates that NAU Nursing recognizes its dependence on those around them. Even more importantly, the school’s initiatives include plans to become the nation’s leading school of nursing serving American Indians by actively recruiting within Indigenous populations across the southwest and removing traditional barriers to entry. 

More than mere good deeds or marketing bullet points, these initiatives improve the quality of care for all by finding good healthcare workers in places too often ignored. By enriching both their school and their community, NAU Nursing enhances the wellness of the world. 

In addition to face-to-face classes on the Flagstaff campus, NAU Nursing provides several online options for working adults. These various tracks empower students to control their path through college and to their careers. Whether studying in a face-to-face accelerated BSN program or an online doctorate program, NAU offers everything future nurses need to become caring professionals. 

Simply put, NAU Nursing is the perfect program for those who not only want to learn the tools of their trade, but also want to take concrete steps to improve their larger community. With a diverse student body advancing a forward-thinking agenda, NAU Nursing teaches nursing skills while demonstrating its importance. 

2. University of Arizona College of Nursing (Tucson, AZ)

University of Arizona
Michael Barera, University of Arizona (Old Main), CC BY-SA 4.0

As part of the state’s flagship university state institution, the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing is among the best in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 33rd in the country for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and 39th for its Master of Nursing program. 

Those accolades don’t come easy. They’re the result of concentrated efforts on the part of the UA Nursing team to not only teach the fundamentals of the profession but also create a supportive learning environment. One of the best ways to make that environment is to recognize excellent work whenever you see it. To that end, UA Nursing has joined with the DAISY Foundation (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) to draw attention to extraordinary nurses in their program. Similarly, the SUNFlower Award goes to those who provide enthusiastic mentoring for students in the program. These awards announce to the world that UA Nursing cares deeply about good character and top-quality nursing, and refuses to let good practitioners work in the shadows. 

Recognition programs operate alongside programs to help students gain practical experience working in UA Nursing’s Steele Innovative Learning Center, a state-of-the-art simulation lab. The lab features 12 beds, several high-fidelity mannequins, and cutting-edge equipment. With these innovative features preparing them, UA’s nurses lead the way to the next generation of healthcare professionals. 

1. Arizona State University Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation (Phoenix, AZ)

Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation
Cygnusloop99, ASU Downtown, CC BY-SA 3.0

With just a glance, one can clearly see why Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation tops this list. U.S. News & World Report ranks their Master’s program #39 in the nation and places their Doctor of Nursing Practice #27. In other words, ASU Nursing isn’t just the best program in the state; it’s one of the best in the country. 

Despite achieving such milestones, ASU Nursing has no intention of resting on its past successes. Instead, the school has launched a five-year initiative called Edson 2026, which outlines its plans to move the school to the forefront of the field. Edson 2026 identifies 14 areas of innovation, including learning to work and local impact initiatives. ASU Nursing works to anticipate the healthcare needs of the future and train nurses ready to address them. 

These programs build on the school’s already impressive resources, such as the Grace Center for Innovation in Nursing and the new Health Futures Center. While the former provides a realistic training lab for students to put their skills into practice, the latter partners with the Mayo Clinic to transform healthcare standards.

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