Nursing Programs in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s programs in nursing are fueling a solid nursing field by providing all ranges of degree opportunities, from certificates to several doctoral degrees.

The best way to understand your options when it comes to nursing schools are to split programs into three categories: transition programs for people who are already nurses, graduate programs for nurses with a BSN who want to specialize their medical expertise, and direct-entry nursing programs for non-nurses that might be for any level of degree.

Transition programs are the first type, and they typically help LPNs reach RN status or RNs achieve their BSN — which provides quite a jump in terms of employment opportunity and pay grade.

Transition Programs

1. If you’re an LPN looking to become an RN, there are literally dozens of programs that will fulfill your needs, and some in just two semesters of class. These classes are available all over the state, so you shouldn’t have to travel.

2. Registered nurses who want to earn their BSN are confronted with nearly as many choices as LPNs in Wisconsin, and their online options are even better to boot. With this extra options of online classes, registered nurses shouldn’t have to leave their job to become BSN graduates, and they can still choose from the best universities.

Graduate Nursing Programs in the Dairy State

1. Several nation-leading MSN programs are available to registered nurses in Wisconsin. Those who want to become nurse educators, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists will all need an MSN to join these elite ranks, and thankfully Wisconsin offers great schools to attend while achieving that goal.

Among several programs — both online and in-class — that are available, a few stand out as exceptional, and these are Marquette University and University of Wisconsin. Marquette has been ranked 19th in our nation for nurse midwifery, and University of Wisconsin offers a dual degree MSN/Master’s of Public Health, which will prepare graduates for top positions in public health education and administration.

2. In addition to master’s programs, Wisconsin offers several doctoral programs — some of which are offered online. Most of these programs require a master’s degree for entrance, and will help students reach the pinnacle of expertise in their specialty.

University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee offers a selection of online PhD programs unrivaled by any other school in the state, and Marquette stands out as offering the widest variety of in-class programs for advanced specializations.

Direct-Entry Nursing Programs

Direct-entry nursing programs in Wisconsin are numerous, so students will have plenty of options. From associate’s degrees for LPNs to accelerated BSN and MSN programs, Wisconsin offers non-nurses plenty of paths to break into the industry.

However, students reading this will benefit greatly from looking at which schools have acceptable pass rates. Wisconsin boasts many world-class education opportunities, but it’s an unfortunate reality that accreditation doesn’t guarantee quality education. The best schools in the state have NCLEX pass rates above 90 percent, but they sit right next to schools where fewer than half of the graduates pass their licensing exams. Be smart, and collect your information before committing.

Job Outlook for Nurses in Wisconsin

The first fact to take note of is that Wisconsin’s overall job market is going through challenging times, although that shouldn’t be any deterrent to anyone pursuing a nursing job in the state.

Whether you’ve grown up in the state or you have other reasons to look for work in Wisconsin, you’re probably in for good news if you’re a nursing student, as many of the basic nursing professions are thriving here.

Registered nurses and nursing assistants are strongly employed in Wisconsin, which gives nursing students who are pursuing a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree a wide range of options. These widely available positions can even help a grad student by serving as employment while going to school.

If you’re pursuing a higher education in nursing and want to work in Wisconsin, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives enjoy a strong job market in the state, with employment rates rivaling the rest of the country even in an economy that’s giving many people a run for their money.

Becoming Licensed as a Nurse in Wisconsin

Licensure in Wisconsin requires a passing score on the NCLEX, as it does in all states. Nurses are subject to no additional requirements, however, and can become licensed as soon as they pass the NCLEX.

Income for Nursing Professionals in Wisconsin

Data from BLS 2012 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Nursing Instructors and Teachers
Employment: 1,520
LQ: 1.32
$39,820 $62,310 $92,350
Registered Nurses
Employment: 54,640
LQ: 1.01
$49,060 $62,990 $84,790
Nurse Anesthetists
Employment: 430
LQ: 0.62
$55,340 $172,520 – *
Nurse Practitioners
Employment: 2,050
LQ: 0.94
$67,300 $86,670 $110,160
Nursing Assistants
Employment: 37,230
LQ: 1.28
$20,080 $25,020 $33,480
LPN / LVNs
Employment: 10,580
LQ: 0.72
$32,440 $42,090 $54,190
Nurse Midwives
Employment: 120
LQ: 1.02
$69,240 $98,410 $180,010

* Double dashes (–) indicate data not available.