How to Become a Registered Nurse in Rhode Island

Rhode Island map

Although Rhode Island is a tiny state, it’s home to numerous outstanding colleges and universities, many of which offer state-accredited nursing programs.

Those interested in becoming a registered nurse must complete a two-year ADN (associate degree in nursing) or four-year BSN (Bachelor of Science in nursing).

Both degree paths prepare students for the NCLEX-RN exam, which certifies them as registered nurses.

Regardless of your choice, completing a nursing program at a Rhode Island educational institution prepares you for the real world.

Keep reading to learn more about the schools offered and how to become a registered nurse in Rhode Island!

5 Registered Nurse Schools in Rhode Island

Community College of Rhode Island

Community College of Rhode Island Logo

With an NCLEX pass rate of 89.2%, the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) well prepares its students for the accreditation exam and beyond.

Since CCRI is a community college, you cannot earn a BSN, but the ADN is accredited and well-recognized within the region.

In addition to the strong NCLEX pass rate, 97.5% of students were employed post-graduation in 2018.

CCRI is a great starting point for those who wish to pursue a BSN or higher.

Annual in-state tuition costs $4,700 while out-of-state tuition runs at $12,500.

New England Institute of Technology

New England Institute of Technology Logo

With an annual tuition cost of $30,000, the New England Institute of Technology focuses on giving students employable skills.

Nurses interested in earning a BSN through the school must complete the ADN requirement and then enroll in the RN-BSN program to proceed with their education.

You can complete the ADN in 18 months for those who want to jump into the workforce.

Like other bachelor’s degree programs, it takes four years to complete the BSN.

Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College Logo

Founded in 1854, Rhode Island College (RIC) is the state’s oldest institute of higher learning.

With 9,000 students at the main campus in Providence, RIC offers a traditional BSN program that students can only apply for during their first year at the college.

Since it’s a bachelor’s degree program, it takes four years to finish.

In-state tuition costs $10,200 while out-of-staters will get a bill for $24,700 annually.

One of the best aspects of RIC is the NCLEX pass rate of 97.69%, which is the highest on this list.

Salve Regina University

Salve Regina University Logo

Salve Regina University (SRU) is best known for its outcomes and values.

The university recently reported that 98% of recent graduates enrolled in graduate school or found a job within six months of undergraduate graduation.

That’s excellent news for those looking to enroll in the SRU BSN program.

With an NCLEX pass rate of 87.14%, students gain more knowledge than just how to pass a test.

They are required to complete clinical and service learning.

The cost of the BSN is a whopping $42,900 per year, and the program takes four years to complete.

University of Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island Logo

Continuously ranked as one of the top nursing universities in the region, the University of Rhode Island (URI) has 18,000 students from the U.S. and across the globe.

Half of the student body is from Rhode Island and pays the in-state tuition of $15,000.

The other half of out-of-staters pay $32,500 in annual tuition.

URI offers BSN, MSN, and doctor or nursing practice (DNP) programs, but those who hold an RN associate degree can select the RN-BSN option for online and on-campus completion.

The BSN program is four years from start to finish, including clinical work.

Registered Nurse Schools in Rhode Island – Summary Table

Top 5 Schools in Rhode Island

School NameAddress
Community College of Rhode Island400 East Ave, Warwick, RI 02886
New England Institute of Technology1 New England Tech Boulevard, East Greenwich, RI 02818
Rhode Island College600 Mt Pleasant Ave, Providence, RI 02908
Salve Regina University100 Ochre Point Ave, Newport, RI 02840
University of Rhode Island45 Upper College Rd, Kingston, RI 02881


The U.S. annual median nursing income is $82,900, ranging from $59,300 to $106,500.

Comparatively, the median income in Rhode Island is $87,100, ranging from $62,300 to $111,800.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Registered Nurse (RN)s in Rhode Island

City NameSalary
East Providence$69,730
North Providence$69,730
West Warwick$69,730
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Rhode Island

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA13,420$88,170$42.39$106,450$65,260
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Registered Nurses, OCC Code 29-1141, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times can you take the NCLEX in Rhode Island?

While most candidates pass the exam on the first attempt, those who fail can retake the test after 45 days from the original test date.

Candidates who continually don’t pass the exam can take it up to eight times yearly.

Which nursing degree is better, ADN or BSN? 

Since a BSN is a bachelor’s degree, which is a four-year program, it is one step higher than ADN.

Given that you will gain significantly more knowledge in a BSN program, you are more valuable to an employer and will make more money coming out of college than an ADN.

Is the nursing school in Rhode Island difficult?

Nursing school in the state is notoriously challenging.

Since nurses must know everything about the body, diseases, injuries, and how to deal with patients and their families, the educational aspect of becoming a nurse can be grueling.

However, the result is one of the most rewarding jobs you have ever experienced!

What is the fastest route to becoming an RN in Rhode Island?

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in any field, the quickest option to becoming an RN is through an ABSN program, which many schools offer.

This program takes many core classes from your bachelor’s degree and applies them to the nursing degree, so you can quickly take the most critical courses.

As a result, you can sometimes complete this second degree in as little as two years.

What are the requirements to become a nurse in Rhode Island?

To gain your RN license in Rhode Island, you must study at and graduate from an accredited nursing school.

Then to take the NCLEX-RN exam, you must submit proof of residency in Rhode Island and pass a background check with fingerprints.

Once you pass the NCLEX-RN exam, you can apply for certification via the State of Rhode Island Department of Health.

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