Editor's note: Military Times is supplementing our Best for Vets series of survey-based rankings with themed computer-based rankings from College Factual. College Factual uses public databases to evaluate colleges. These rankings were not compiled by Military Times.
The nursing profession is expected to grow by half a million jobs over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While many graduates are having a hard time finding jobs, nursing grads are in high demand. Nurse practitioner and registered nurse both fall in the top 10 best jobs, according to U.S. News and World Report. Plus, at the end of the day, nurses can feel good knowing they made a difference for sick and injured people.
Nursing can be a great challenge for veterans and active-duty service members accustomed to high-pressure combat situations. Parts of military training can transfer directly to the nursing occupation. Before applying, look into ACE-recommended credits and CLEP exams to see if some of your previous experience can turn into university credit.
College Factual's top nursing colleges for veterans ranking uncovers some of the best schools to go to for a bachelor's degree in nursing. These colleges are ranked both on the strength of the academic program as well as support offered to veterans and active-duty service members. Some of the factors ranked to determining the strength of the program include the salaries of graduates, the popularity and strength of the major at the college, the availability and strength of related majors, accreditation and overall quality of the school. Salaries are estimates with data provided by Payscale.
In order to determine whether a school this is a good choice for veterans and those in on active duty, we College Factual also include factors such as in affordability to veterans using the GI Bill, size of the veteran population at the college, availability of online classes, acceptance of ACE-recommended college credit, membership of in government veteran agencies, and support for veterans on campus. You can read more about how College Factual measures support for veterans here.
1. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
Nursing is one of the most popular majors at the University of South Florida. Graduates from USF's nursing program report average earnings of $49,000 in their early career and $71,000 mid-career. USF keeps costs affordable for veteran students, with full-time tuition and fees being below the maximum tuition benefit from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. There is a large veteran population on campus, and the school commits to several government programs that set standards for veterans in education, including the Principles of Excellence and the DoD Memorandum of Understanding. The school also offers a special nursing degree for veterans who have trained had training as medics.
2. George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
George Washington University has had a close connection with the military ever since our nation's first president left 50 shares of the Potowmack Company to build a university in the nation's capital. The school was also used as a barracks and hospital during the Civil War. The GW School of Nursing offers several different paths to a degree, including options for students who already have an associate degree. Graduates of the nursing program at GWU report average early career earnings of $64,000. GW participates in four federal programs that are important to veterans. The university does participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, though there are some limitations on the awards.
3. San Diego State University, San Diego
Graduates from San Diego State's nursing program report average salaries of $67,000 per year in their early career. SDSU tuition and fees would be fully covered by the maximum G.I. Bill benefit. The school participates in several federal programs that set standards for veteran education. The Bachelors of Science in Nursing is very popular, and they also offer the school also offers an RN to BSN program for students who already have an associate's degree.
4. University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
The nursing program at the University of Kentucky is a great choice for veterans for several reasons. The competitive department graduates nurses who earn an average of $51,000 in their early careers. UK participates in several different government programs setting standards for veteran and military education. The university also charges the same price for all students regardless of the state they live in, with tuition and fees being well below the maximum G.I. Bill benefit. Students with prior medical experience may be interested in UK's MedVet to BSN program for veterans with prior training in health care.
5. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Health is a popular subject to study at Florida State, with nursing being the most popular health degree offered. Graduates of the nursing program report average early career earnings of $48,000. FSU also takes care to support veteran and military students, committing to four important federal programs. Florida State is part of the Yellow Ribbon program, which means your tuition and fees could be completely covered.
6. The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
The University of Texas participates in the DoD Memorandum of Understanding, and Vet Success on Campus. Graduates from the nursing program report average starting salaries of $56,000. The school offers bachelor's, associates and post-graduate degrees in nursing. UTexas charges the same price for all students regardless of what state they live in.
7. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
The University of Arizona offers majors in several different subjects in the health professions field, including public health and nursing. Graduates from the nursing program report average early career earnings of $55,000. Arizona is also strongly committed to supporting veterans, being a members of three federal programs that set standards for veteran education. UA charges the same price to all students regardless of the state they live in.
8. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
The University of Florida offers several popular degrees in the health professions; one of the most popular is nursing. Graduates of UF's nursing program earn $54,000 per year on average in their early career. UF offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in two formats: a generic BSN for upper-level UF students or transfers, and an accelerated BSN for students who already have bachelor's degrees in other subjects. UF participates in several different programs that set standards for veteran education. The school is quite affordable for in-state students, but those from out of state may have to contribute more towards the final bill.
9. University of Colorado Denver, Denver
Nursing is one of the most popular majors at the University of Colorado Denver, with graduates reporting average early career earnings of $54,000. UC CU Denver offers a few different options for achieving a nursing degree, including an accelerated degree and an online RN to B.S. program. The university participates in several federal programs setting standards for veteran education. UC Denver charges the same tuition to all students regardless of the state they live in.
10. Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, as well as graduate degree options, an associate degree option, and an RN to B.S. degree for those who have already have been trained as an RN. Students who graduate from Penn State's nursing program report average earnings of $56,000 in their early careers. Penn State participates in three different programs setting standards for veteran education. The school participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, but there are some limitations on the awards it offers.