By Laura Pereyra
With Obamacare’s exchanges rolled out last week, healthcare is on the minds of many Americans. Given that the nation’s healthcare needs are rising at a rapid rate and we presently face a nursing shortage, jobs in this profession and the sciences are unsurprisingly very much high in demand.
The job market for nursing is rapidly growing. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, only 10.6% of all registered nurses are under the age of 30 with the average age currently at 46 years old. What’s more, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), projected registered nursing as the top occupation in terms of the largest job growth. What does this mean for students considering a major in the health sector? It is a great investment if you are interested in the science and nursing field, and a nursing degree can yield you a big bang for your buck.
While earning a college degree is a really big accomplishment, it is also a very big commitment to pay for it. The income earned in the first year out of school is a key factor in paying off college loans and launching careers.
NerdScholar analyzed and evaluated over 40 nursing and health sciences programs’ self reported graduate surveys available at 250+ schools, spanning across 4-year public and private universities to find out what nursing and health science schools helped their students get the highest salaries.
This is the first in a series dedicated to help students compare colleges that will help them get the biggest bang for their buck when comparing colleges. Here are the top ten colleges of nursing with the average salary paying an average of approximately $51,816 across the over 40 nursing programs NerdScholar analyzed.
1. New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN): $70,235
The highest earning nursing school is the NYU College of Nursing, which helps their students earn $70,236. NYU has four critical areas of research: infectious diseases and global health, health systems, geriatrics, and chronic disease management. This past summer the college of Nursing was awarded a $960,000 grant to support the students enrolled in a second-degree baccalaureate-nursing program. NYU wants to help alleviate the nursing shortage that will worsen as the baby boomer generation ages and healthcare needs grow in the United States.
They are currently ranked as the 5th in research funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH). With their rigorous academic and experiential training, nursing students surely get a great research background and can even apply their skills to global experiences. The college currently has portal campuses in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, and other academic centers in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.
The NYU nursing school was one of the first to treat nursing as a science in 1967 under the leadership of Martha E. Rogers. Most recently, Dr. Tara A. Cortes, PhD, will launch “Interprofessional Care of Older Adults,” which is a partnership between NYU’s College of Nursing and School of Medicine that will focus on improving older patients’ chronic conditions via treatment.
2. Carnegie Mellon University’s Mellon College of Science: $60,720
A degree from Carnegie Mellon University’s Mellon College of Science earned students the second highest salary at $60,720. Although they do not have a dedicated nursing program, their college of science seeks to give their students interdisciplinary experiences across the biological sciences, chemistry, mathematical sciences, and physics.
They constantly encourage students to break the boundaries of science by going into professions spanning from marine biology and pharmacology to financial analysis. Carnegie Mellon is unique in that lets students push the envelope in their desired fields, helping them solve problems from all angles.
Students also have the opportunity to work with many academic experts like Dr. Chien Ho, who has pioneered cellular magnetic resonance research in medicine. Students’ exposure to academic experts, like Dr. Ho, helps students get valuable mentorship and experiential learning opportunities.
3. University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing: $57,680
Ranked nationally as a top nursing school, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing has tons to offer their students in addition to the average salary of $57,680. They have one of the most advanced state of the art simulation centers, classrooms with the latest hospital-based electronic medical records (EMR) technology and rigorous clinical experiences. Additionally, they have great research opportunities that allow students to have impact on health public policy.
In fact, they are designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHOCC) in Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. Under the leadership of Dr. Afaf I. Meleis, also Dean of the School of Nursing, their goal is to foster the development of human resources by working to reduce nursing shortages, improve the maternal health and reduce child mortality.
The University of Pennsylvania is the first university to offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in nursing and is the only Ivy League school to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
4. University of Connecticut’s School of Nursing: $55,000
The University of Connecticut’s School of Nursing is committed to “enhancing student learning and professional development. “ From our analysis, they come in in fourth place earning their graduates a salary of $55,000.
To support their students’ development in nursing, they have a new 15,000-square-foot addition to the schools existing space on the university’s main campus in Storrs, CT. Their facilities provide not only classrooms but also state of the art nursing equipment on which their students can have real experiential learning.
Moreover, the department is led by an internationally renowned faculty—many of whom are associated with many Connecticut state agencies—that guide and connect students to the opportunities that get them nursing experience on campus or abroad. Nursing students can even do their BS-DNP program, which is a nursing degree that leads to a doctoral degree and has a strong clinical concentration.
Alternatively, they can also study abroad to one of their programs in South Africa, Puerto Rico, Belgium, China, or Ireland. All the study abroad experiences are experiential learning opportunities in which students deliver real health care under the supervision of UConn faculty.
5. Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing: $53,833
Primarily focused on developing critical thinking and leadership skills through its nursing program, Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing wants to emphasize the development of the whole person and earns their graduates a salary of $53,833. This means that students who attend this college of nursing become life-long learners and health professionals, and students learn innovative ways to use knowledge as a service for others.
Nursing students pursuing a bachelor’s degree are prepared as general nursing practitioners who can provide care to individuals, families, and communities. To advance students’ specialties, the William F. Connell School of Nursing has partnered with over 85 health care clinics and facilities in the metropolitan Boston area—some include the Bedford Veteran’s Administration Hospital, the Boston Medical Center, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Tufts Medical Center. More recently, they became the nursing arm of the new Harvard Catalyst program to help “translate clinical science to bedside care.”
6. University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s School of Nursing: $53,687
At the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s School of Nursing, students can expect to learn how to practice confidently in a variety of health care settings and earn a salary of $53,687. At the heart of the nursing major at UMass-Amherst are foundation courses in the sciences and humanities to give students holistic backgrounds. Additionally, they also have the opportunity to develop clinical specialty roles using their 5 state of the art simulation facilities and a 16 hospital-bed exam area.
Students can go on to get their College’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to specialize as a Family Nurse Practitioner or a Public Nurse leader. Overall, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst aims to help alleviate the nursing shortage by significantly investing in scholarships and grants. Lastly, students can count on being part of a heavy research institution if they come here—they conduct sponsored research totaling $152 million annually, which is emphasized on the life sciences and biotech applications.
7. Purdue University’s College of Science– $53,081
Students who attend the Purdue University’s College of Science can specialize in biological science, chemistry, physics, and mathematics and earn a salary of $53,082. Their “Learning Beyond the Classroom Certificate Program” helps students get marketable work force experience through professional development, community service and leadership, and diversity.
All in all, their undergraduate curriculum consists of the following cornerstones: scientific literacy, interdisciplinary skills, and global impact. Much broader than the other nursing programs on this list, students who get a degree at Purdue University’s College of Science can have careers in public health or medicine. In fact, many become biostatisticians, epidemiologists, and community health workers.
8. University of Notre Dame’s College of Science: $49,879
The University of Notre Dame’s College of Science aims to integrate education and research to help develop tomorrow’s scientists and help them answer the questions they find fascinating. Graduating from this college can yield students an average salary of $49,880. For example, in their department of biological science, students are taught advances in human and environmental health through research and outreach, especially in global health, cancer and neglected diseases.
They even have the “Pre-professional Studies & the Center for Health Sciences Advising” program, which is dedicated to position students for careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary, physical therapy and psychiatry. This highly lauded pre-med studies program can help students make the health care impacts they want to make plus get a great bang for their buck.
9. Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: $49,307
Considered one of the best agriculture schools in the nation, Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CAL) helps students make impacts in a variety of industries including health and it earns graduates a salary of $49,307. They “discover, integrate, disseminate, and apply knowledge about food and energy systems, the life sciences, environmental sciences, and economic and community vitality as a basis for sustainable improvement in the lives of New Yorkers [and beyond].”
With global challenges, such as the increasing human population and climate change, the health and agricultural safety matters today more than ever. One example of Cornell making a huge difference in health science is Professor Dan Brown who has been working to develop a safe-to-use peanut based therapeutic food in Haiti to help alleviate the deadly aflatoxins found in these foods. He found a solution by having people simply screen supplies and reject soft, moldy or broken peanuts–since a fungus that causes aflatoxins gains entry through this plant damage– to ultimately let people consume this food and help the hungry avoid preventable disease.
All in all, Cornell helps students make these connections by developing students’ leadership ability, civic responsibility, and curiosity.
10. Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies: $48,907
The School of Nursing and Health Studies at Georgetown University prepares students to be great health care leaders who are ready to deal with complex societal issues and want to improve the health and wellbeing of all people with sensitivity to cultural differences. They earn an average of $48,907.
They also educate students to help bridge the gap between real health care practice and policy issues. This is most evident in their health care management and policy major. This program provides students with the unique opportunity to understand the role of health in achieving quality of life.
Additionally, their nursing students take a proactive role in helping their community. Earlier this month, students held Georgetown’s seasonal flu clinic – completely ran by junior and senior nursing majors and upper-level second-degree BSN students supervised by the departments’ faculty.
See the Top 20 college nursing programs' salary projections
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Laura Pereyra is a Communications Analyst at NerdScholar, brought to you by NerdWallet, a company focused on empowering young adults and students to make wiser financial decisions and maximize their education investments.