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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Wisconsin

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 7/12/2023

Explore some of the best online nursing degrees available in Wisconsin. These institutions offer a range of nursing programs at all degree levels, from online associate nursing degrees to master's in nursing degrees. The rising interest in online nursing programs is a result of their flexibility, enabling prospective nurses to balance their educational pursuits with other life obligations.

Our 2023 list includes colleges in Wisconsin that offer online nursing programs and have available NCLEX data, so you can easily determine which online nursing program results in graduates with the best pass rate.

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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Wisconsin

School NCLEX Pass Rate Online Enrollment
Herzing University 100.0% 2,960
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire 99.1% 652
Madison Area Technical College 96.26% 1,537
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College 92.86% 450
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee 88.28% 2,376
Alverno College 87.01% N/A
Rasmussen University Online 83.64% 19,588
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Becoming a Nurse in Wisconsin

Students interested in pursuing a career in nursing have the opportunity to find job stability due to the critical need for skilled nurses in the state. Attending nursing programs in Wisconsin is the best way to ensure a seamless transition to become a licensed professional. 

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's 2022 survey reveals that the state currently had 67,900 registered nurses (RNs).

Individuals graduating from one of the accredited nursing programs in Wisconsin will have the opportunity to go on to work as different types of nurses, including a certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), RN, or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). There are several accredited nursing schools in Wisconsin that can provide individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in these fields.

To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:

Nursing Degrees by State

Can I Take a Nursing Course Online?

There are plenty of nursing schools in Wisconsin that offer online degrees. In order to become a licensed nurse, students must complete a nursing degree online or in person. 

Online nursing programs in Wisconsin are supported by a school's learning management system (LMS), which allows for remote studying through digital tests, video lectures, and discussion forums. Students can choose anywhere from large public universities to small technical colleges. Each institution offers different nursing bridges, such as an LPN to RN online degree that is designed to set students up for specific careers in Wisconsin. 

Beyond nursing degrees, professional nurses may seek an online nursing certification to solidify their expertise in a given area and expand their job opportunities. 

If you are a nurse interested in changing your career, check out our article about other career opportunities.

How To Get CNA Certification in Wisconsin

CNAs provide essential hands-on care to patients, including bathing, feeding, dressing wounds, and repositioning and turning patients. Working under the supervision of RNs and LPNs, they help provide dignified care to patients.

To be eligible to work in Wisconsin, all CNAs must first complete a CNA training program that has been approved by the Wisconsin Department of Health and the Division of Quality Assurance. Approved CNA training programs provide students with comprehensive instruction on the requirements to work in all types of licensed healthcare facilities — such as nursing homes, home health agencies, hospices, and hospitals.

To be certified and placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, an individual must take and pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam within one year of completing their training. This test consists of two parts: a written or oral portion and a skills demonstration portion.

CNA Certification Renewal

CNA certification is renewed every 24 months. Federal regulations require a nurse aide to do the following to maintain eligibility to work in a federally certified nursing home, intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities, home health agency, or hospice:

How To Get an LPN License in Wisconsin

LPNs in Wisconsin provide a range of medical care to patients. Working alongside RNs and doctors, LPNs perform an array of duties from taking vital signs and inserting catheters to assisting with tests and procedures. The State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) regulates LPN licensure in the state.

Individuals applying for a Wisconsin LPN license must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN). 

The NCLEX evaluates an individual's knowledge and skills in several areas, including health promotion and maintenance, safe and effective care environments, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity.

Individuals are required to register for the exam online. Before sitting for the examination, an applicant may receive a temporary permit. Completion of a temporary permit form and payment of $10.00 are required to receive a permit.

Other requirements for becoming an LPN include the following:

LPN License Renewal

LPN licenses expire on April 30 of odd-numbered years. It's possible to renew an LPN license completely online.

How To Get an RN License in Wisconsin

Online RN programs in Wisconsin are available to train individuals in managing a range of responsibilities, including administering medications, monitoring sick patients, assisting during medical procedures, and even managing other nurses. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Nursing Board regulates RN licensure in the state. 

The first step to becoming a licensed RN is graduating from a nursing program that the Wisconsin nursing board has approved. 

RNs in Wisconsin must hold an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited program.

After graduating from an accredited nursing program, individuals must take the NCLEX-RN. Testers are responsible for registering online to take the exam. They must also have a Statement of Graduation form submitted directly to the board by their board-approved school.

Before sitting for the examination, an applicant may receive a temporary permit. To receive a permit, individuals must meet all requirements, submit an application form, and pay a $10 fee. The temporary permit allows the applicant to practice under the direct supervision of an RN for a period of up to three months. A temporary permit is valid for a period of three months or until the holder receives notification of failing the NCLEX, whichever may occur first.

Other requirements for receiving a Wisconsin RN license include the following:

RN License Renewal

RN licenses expire on February 28 of even-numbered years. Wisconsin renewal applications are available online.

How To Get an APRN License in Wisconsin

An APRN is a registered nurse who holds a master's degree in nursing (MSN) or doctoral degree in nursing from an accredited program. An APRN in Wisconsin must receive national certification in one of the following specialties: nurse practitioner (NP), certified nurse midwife (CNM), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), or clinical nurse specialist (CNS). APRNs can apply for certification as advanced practice nurse prescribers, which gives them the authority to prescribe medications and medical devices.

To receive initial certification as an advanced practice nurse prescriber, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit an application form and fee
  • Provide evidence of holding a current license to practice as a professional nurse
  • Provide evidence of current certification by a national certifying body as an NP, CNM, CRNA, or CNS
  • Provide evidence of a master's or doctoral degree in nursing or a related health field
  • Provide evidence of completion of 45 contact hours in clinical pharmacology or therapeutics within five years preceding the application 
  • Provide evidence of passing an examination for advanced practice nurse prescribers

Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber License Renewal

Advanced practice nurse prescriber licenses expire on September 30 of even-numbered years. Sixteen contact hours in clinical pharmacology or therapeutics are required for renewal. These hours need to (1) be relevant to the advanced practice nurse prescriber's area of practice and (2) include two hours in which the individual is responsible for prescribing controlled substances. In addition, individuals must provide evidence of current specialty certification through a national certifying body.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in Wisconsin

How Many Nursing Schools Are in Wisconsin?

There are currently 26 nursing schools in Wisconsin that offer online programs. Tuition costs range from approximately $6,000 to over $40,000. There are various bridge programs to choose from, which depend on the student's level and what direction they want to take their career. 

How Long Is a Nursing Program in Wisconsin?

The completion time for a nursing program in Wisconsin depends on the degree level a student is pursuing. For example, a BSN can take as little as four years to complete when studying on a full-time schedule. Keep in mind that many students first complete certificate programs or ADNs prior to BSN degrees. These programs often take one to two years to complete. 

How Long Does It Take To Become an RN in Wisconsin?

Students must complete either a BSN or ADN program in order to apply for licensure and become an RN in Wisconsin. The process may be accelerated if students are able to complete their required practicum hours during the course of their studies.

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