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2021 Best Nursing Associate's Degree Schools

870 Colleges
$54,473 Avg Salary
$16,880 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Nursing Associate's Degree School for You

Nursing is the most popular major in the United States with 305,309 degrees and certificates handed out in 2018-2019.

It's not easy to decide which nursing program to enroll in when you have so many options available. With more and more schools offering online options, you could even register for a great program on the other side of the country. On top of that, there are a considerable number of trade schools that offer fast-track entry to many fields.

To assist you in seeing some of the education options that are available to you, Nursing Degree Search has created its Best Nursing Associate's Degree Schools ranking. This report analyzed 870 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best associate's degree programs for nursing students. Factors related to overall quality of the school, post-graduation earnings, average student debt, and more accumulated were considered when coming up with this list.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools in the United States

Check out the nursing associate's degree programs at these schools if you want to get the best education that money can buy.

Top 25 Top Schools for an Associate's in Nursing

#1

Unitek College

Fremont, CA

Our analysis found Unitek College to be the best school for nursing students who want to pursue a associate’s degree in the United States. Located in the large suburb of Fremont, Unitek College is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

On average, nursing graduates from Unitek College take out $17,986 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $183, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#2

Stanbridge University

Irvine, CA

Out of the 870 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Stanbridge University landed the # 2 spot on the list. Stanbridge is a small private for-profit school located in the large city of Irvine.

While working on their Associate's Degree, nursing majors at Stanbridge accumulate an average of around $30,037 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $304, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Out of the 870 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Standard Healthcare Services-College of Nursing landed the # 3 spot on the list. Standard College of Nursing is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the suburb of Falls Church.

While working on their Associate's Degree, nursing majors at Standard College of Nursing accumulate an average of around $17,772 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $208, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#4

Excelsior College

Albany, NY

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Excelsior College. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the small city of Albany, Excelsior College is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

Nursing majors at Excelsior College take out an average of $10,346 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $108.

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#5

Mount Saint Mary's University

Los Angeles, CA

A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Mount Saint Mary’s University is a great place for nursing students working on their associate’s degree. MSMU is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Los Angeles.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at MSMU take out while working on their Associate's Degree is $18,577. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $190, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Columbia Gorge Community College ranked #6 on this year’s Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the remote town of The Dalles, Columbia Gorge Community College is a public college with a fairly small student population.

On average, nursing graduates from Columbia Gorge Community College take out $19,855 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $206, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#7

Ambria College of Nursing

Hoffman Estates, IL

Ambria College of Nursing did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #7 on the list. Located in the small city of Hoffman Estates, Ambria College of Nursing is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Ambria College of Nursing take out while working on their Associate's Degree is $25,788. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $262.

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#8

Jersey College

Teterboro, NJ

Jersey College ranked #8 on this year’s Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the large suburb of Teterboro, Jersey College is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

After completing their Associate's Degree, nursing graduates from Jersey College carry an average student debtload of $24,114. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $218, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the large suburb of Medford, Lawrence Memorial is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

After completing their Associate's Degree, nursing graduates from Lawrence Memorial carry an average student debtload of $19,259. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $208, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #10 on the list. Located in the city of San Mateo, Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

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Riverside College of Health Careers ranked #11 on this year’s Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the medium-sized city of Newport News, Riverside College of Health Careers is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

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#12

Vermont Technical College

Randolph, VT

Vermont Technical College came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools ranking. Vermont Tech is a small public school located in the remote area of Randolph.

After completing their Associate's Degree, nursing graduates from Vermont Tech carry an average student debtload of $15,775. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $197, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Baptist Health System School of Health Professions ranked #13 on this year’s Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools list. Baptist Health System School of Health Professions is a small private for-profit school located in the large city of San Antonio.

Nursing majors at Baptist Health System School of Health Professions take out an average of $17,762 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $203, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Helene Fuld College of Nursing came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools ranking. HFCN is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York.

While working on their Associate's Degree, nursing majors at HFCN accumulate an average of around $14,662 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $149.

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St Joseph School of Nursing ranked #15 on this year’s Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools list. St Joseph School of Nursing is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Nashua.

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Baptist Health College-Little Rock did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #16 on the list. BHCLR is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Little Rock.

Nursing majors at BHCLR take out an average of $13,761 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $148.

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Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #17 on the list. Located in the small city of Troy, Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

After completing their Associate's Degree, nursing graduates from Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing carry an average student debtload of $17,154. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $189, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#18

Southeast Technical Institute

Sioux Falls, SD

Southeast Technical Institute came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Associate’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the rural area of Sioux Falls, Southeast Technical Institute is a public college with a small student population.

Nursing majors at Southeast Technical Institute take out an average of $15,214 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $146.

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Saint Elizabeth College of Nursing did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #19 on the list. Located in the city of Utica, Saint Elizabeth College of Nursing is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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Rasmussen College - Minnesota did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #20 on the list. Rasmussen College - Minnesota is a small private for-profit school located in the small city of St. Cloud.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Rasmussen College - Minnesota take out while working on their Associate's Degree is $20,107. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $205.

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Rasmussen College - Florida did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #21 on the list. Rasmussen College - Florida is a moderately-sized private for-profit school located in the small city of Ocala.

While working on their Associate's Degree, nursing majors at Rasmussen College - Florida accumulate an average of around $20,107 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $205.

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#22

Laboure College

Milton, MA

With a ranking of #22, Laboure College did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students working on their associate’s degree. Laboure College is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Milton.

While working on their Associate's Degree, nursing majors at Laboure College accumulate an average of around $24,130 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $252.

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Pennsylvania College of Technology landed the #23 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best associate’s degree nursing programs. Located in the city of Williamsport, Penn College is a public college with a small student population.

On average, nursing graduates from Penn College take out $31,491 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $291, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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With a ranking of #24, Maine College of Health Professions did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students working on their associate’s degree. Located in the city of Lewiston, MCHP is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

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With a ranking of #25, Dallas Nursing Institute did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students working on their associate’s degree. Dallas Nursing Institute is a small private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Dallas.

Nursing majors at Dallas Nursing Institute take out an average of $25,026 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $239.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Nursing Associate's Degree Schools

#26

New England Institute of Technology

East Greenwich, RI
#29

Centra College of Nursing

Lynchburg, VA
#30

Galen College of Nursing-Tampa Bay

Saint Petersburg, FL
#33

Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa, CA
#34

Schoolcraft College

Livonia, MI
#36

Union County College

Cranford, NJ
#38

Sumner College

Portland, OR
#43

Pacific Union College

Angwin, CA
#44

Santa Fe College

Gainesville, FL
#45

Capital Community College

Hartford, CT
#46

Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, CT

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Nursing Associate's Degree Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 870 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 St Paul’s School of Nursing-Queens Rego Park, NY
51 Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown, SD
52 Mercy College of Ohio Toledo, OH
53 Rivier University Nashua, NH
54 Carrington College-Sacramento Sacramento, CA
55 Fresno City College Fresno, CA
56 Lone Star College System The Woodlands, TX
57 College of the Canyons Santa Clarita, CA
58 River Valley Community College Claremont, NH
59 Becker College Worcester, MA
59 Riverside City College Riverside, CA
60 Nassau Community College Garden City, NY
61 College of Staten Island CUNY Staten Island, NY
62 City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
63 Delaware Technical Community College-Terry Dover, DE
64 Bay State College Boston, MA
65 St Joseph’s College of Nursing at St Joseph’s Hospital Health Center Syracuse, NY
66 Alvin Community College Alvin, TX
67 College of the Sequoias Visalia, CA
68 Nightingale College Salt Lake City, UT
69 Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL
70 Weatherford College Weatherford, TX
71 Amarillo College Amarillo, TX
72 Butte College Oroville, CA
73 Joliet Junior College Joliet, IL
74 Career Networks Institute Orange, CA
75 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, MN
76 Prince George’s Community College Largo, MD
77 Memorial College of Nursing Albany, NY
78 Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire, WI
79 Seminole State College of Florida Sanford, FL
80 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA
81 California Career College Canoga Park, CA
82 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN
83 Daytona State College Daytona Beach, FL
83 Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI
84 Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN
85 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI
86 Cypress College Cypress, CA
87 Carrington College-Boise Boise, ID
88 American River College Sacramento, CA
89 University of Pittsburgh-Titusville Titusville, PA
90 Cuesta College San Luis Obispo, CA
91 Suffolk County Community College Selden, NY
92 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
93 Altierus Career College-Henderson Henderson, NV
94 Texas State Technical College Waco, TX
95 Lock Haven University Lock Haven, PA
96 Victor Valley College Victorville, CA
97 College of the Mainland Texas City, TX
98 Luzerne County Community College Nanticoke, PA
99 Polk State College Winter Haven, FL
100 Galen College of Nursing-Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
101 Denver College of Nursing Denver, CO
102 La Roche College Pittsburgh, PA
103 Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg, PA
104 Carrington College-Mesquite Mesquite, TX
105 Good Samaritan College of Nursing & Health Science Cincinnati, OH
106 Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines, IA
107 Naugatuck Valley Community College Waterbury, CT
108 Western Technical College La Crosse, WI
109 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
110 Alfred State College Alfred, NY
111 Taylor College Belleview, FL
112 Kent State University at Tuscarawas New Philadelphia, OH
113 University of Pittsburgh - Bradford Bradford, PA
114 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND
115 Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences Canton, OH
116 Southern Adventist University Collegedale, TN
117 Passaic County Community College Paterson, NJ
118 Goodwin College East Hartford, CT
119 Modesto Junior College Modesto, CA
119 CUNY Medgar Evers College Brooklyn, NY
120 San Jacinto Community College Pasadena, TX
121 SUNY Delhi Delhi, NY
122 Middlesex Community College Bedford, MA
123 College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV
124 Bergen Community College Paramus, NJ
125 County College of Morris Randolph, NJ
126 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
127 Trocaire College Buffalo, NY
128 Yuba College Marysville, CA
129 Kent State University at Geauga Burton, OH
130 Kent State University at Ashtabula Ashtabula, OH

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Nursing students that almost earned our Best Nursing Associate's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
131 Cox College Springfield, MO
132 Maria College of Albany Albany, NY
133 William Rainey Harper College Palatine, IL
134 Regis College Weston, MA
135 Jefferson Regional Medical Center School of Nursing Pine Bluff, AR
136 Orange County Community College Middletown, NY
137 Kent State University at East Liverpool East Liverpool, OH
138 Ridgewater College Willmar, MN
139 Gateway Community College New Haven, CT
140 St Luke’s College Sioux City, IA
141 Glendale Career College Glendale, CA
142 St Cloud Technical and Community College Saint Cloud, MN
143 Miami Dade College Miami, FL
144 Butler County Community College Butler, PA
145 Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL
146 Waubonsee Community College Sugar Grove, IL
147 Saddleback College Mission Viejo, CA
148 Hondros College of Nursing Westerville, OH
149 Northwestern Connecticut Community College Winsted, CT
150 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI
151 Evergreen Valley College San Jose, CA
152 Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS
153 Morton College Cicero, IL
154 Rio Hondo College Whittier, CA
155 Raritan Valley Community College Branchburg, NJ
156 Lehigh Carbon Community College Schnecksville, PA
157 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY
158 Ohio University - Zanesville Campus Zanesville, OH
159 Brookdale Community College Lincroft, NJ
160 Mount Aloysius College Cresson, PA
161 Weber State University Ogden, UT
162 University of Saint Francis - Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN
163 The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences Cincinnati, OH
164 Quinsigamond Community College Worcester, MA
165 Lake Region State College Devils Lake, ND
166 Sacramento City College Sacramento, CA
166 Andrew College Cuthbert, GA
167 Howard Community College Columbia, MD
168 Anoka-Ramsey Community College Coon Rapids, MN
169 Victoria College Victoria, TX
170 Mt San Antonio College Walnut, CA
171 Ocean County College Toms River, NJ
172 NHTI-Concord’s Community College Concord, NH
172 Merced College Merced, CA
173 San Joaquin Valley College-Visalia Visalia, CA
174 Mount Wachusett Community College Gardner, MA

Nursing by Region

View the Best Nursing Associate's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Nursing Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Registered Nursing 251,279
Family Practice Nurse/Nursing 15,536
Nursing Administration 9,071
Other Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing 6,319
Nursing Practice 6,250
Nursing Science 4,704
Nurse Anesthetist 2,031
Adult Health Nurse/Nursing 2,012
Nursing Education 1,991
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse/Nursing 1,266
Public Health/Community Nurse/Nursing 1,022
Critical Care Nursing 643
Clinical Nurse Leader 527
School Nursing 523
Nurse Midwife/Nursing Midwifery 475
Geriatric Nurse/Nursing 464
Clinical Nurse Specialist 428
Perioperative/Operating Room and Surgical Nurse/Nursing 236
Maternal/Child Health and Neonatal Nurse/Nursing 211
Emergency Room/Trauma Nursing 37
Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing 35
Palliative Care Nursing 23

Related Major Annual Graduates
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 93,192

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Aleksahgabrielle.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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