Online Nursing Programs
in Ohio

Graduates of online nursing degree programs pursue fulfilling careers helping others. An online nursing degree opens doors to a variety of career options, including jobs as registered nurses (RNs), nurse educators, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners (NPs). Professionals looking to expand their career opportunities in the nursing field can continue their education, earning up to a doctor in nursing practice (DNP).

The healthcare field is growing nationwide, but in Ohio, healthcare has been the top industry since 2009. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for RNs to increase by 15% between 2016 and 2026. With public health challenges facing the state, including a high rate of chronic disease, nurses are in high demand in Ohio.

In 2017, the BLS reported the average annual salary for an RN was $61,750, and nurses with specialized training or professional experience can make substantially more. Ohio needs more nursing professionals, making now an excellent time to earn your online nursing degree from one of the nursing schools in the state.

How to Become a Nurse in Ohio

The process of earning licensure and an online nursing degree in Ohio is similar to other states' processes. However, some details are unique to the state, including the licensing process for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Aspiring APRNs must earn a graduate-level nursing degree and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). APRNs complete additional steps, such as receiving a specific national certification and obtaining a certificate of authority from the Ohio Board of Nursing.

1. Choose the Path That's Right for You

Consider your career aspirations when choosing an online nursing degree. At minimum, you will need to complete a one-year licensed practical nurse (LPN) diploma program, but becoming an RN opens better salary and career opportunities. To become an RN, you must complete a two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN) program or a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. When considering online BSN programs in Ohio, current RNs may explore online RN-to-BSN programs in Ohio.

Nurses with a BSN may pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) to advance their careers. Ohio boasts some of the best online MSN programs in the country. Those who want to teach nursing at the college level or pursue top leadership positions will need a DNP.

2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

The numerous nursing schools in Ohio offer a variety of options for those pursuing a nursing degree. When choosing from the nursing schools in Ohio, make note of any prerequisites, such as undergraduate courses in medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. Most nursing programs require a clinical internship, which provides hands-on experience. Degree completion time depends on the specific degree; online RN programs in Ohio typically take two years to complete. Students hoping to earn their degree as quickly as possible may explore accelerated nursing programs in Ohio.

3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

Ohio's nursing school prepare students to take the licensing exam, which is the final step to beginning a career in the field. You must pass the NCLEX-PN to work as an LPN and the NCLEX-RN to work as an RN. APRNs must also have a certificate of authority from the Ohio Board of Nursing. The amount of studying required varies by individual, but licensing exams are rigorous for all types of nursing. Test takers receive up to five hours to complete the PN exam and up to six hours for the RN exam.

Nursing Licensure in Ohio

To earn a nursing license in Ohio, professionals must follow the process established by the Ohio Board of Nursing. Before working as an entry-level RN, you must pass the NCLEX-RN. The exam determines whether individuals can safely work with patients as entry-level nurses. To take this exam, you must hold an RN degree earned through an ADN or BSN program. Nurses licensed in Ohio may obtain a temporary permit to practice nursing in another state while undergoing the state's licensing process. Ohio is not part of the Nursing Licensure Compact, a 34-state agreement that allows nurses to earn one license to practice in multiple states.

Licensed APRNs in Ohio need to acquire a graduate degree in nursing, obtain national certification in one of four recognized areas of specialization, and possess a current certificate of authority.

Nursing Licensing Costs in Ohio


App Fee $75

Total $275

State Requirements by Nursing Type


To become an RN in Ohio, candidates must complete pertinent coursework through an accredited program. Candidates may earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) to enter the workforce more quickly, which prepares students for entry-level positions and requires just two years of full-time enrollment to complete. Many ADNs earn their BSN while working, which can boost earning power and job opportunities. An ADN-to-BSN requires two additional years, but students who directly enter BSN programs need four years to complete their program.

Out-of-state graduates may apply for an RN license in Ohio if their program maintains approval by a nursing board and their supervised clinical hours provided exposure to experiences across their lifespan. Candidates without a license in this type of nursing who wish to make Ohio their home state may complete the application process.

Applicants must submit official transcripts, pass a criminal background check, and apply for the NCLEX-RN, which includes a $75 application fee. The NCLEX-RN application process itself requires students to obtain an Authorization to Test from the board of nursing regulatory body (BON/RB), pay a $200 exam fee, and register with Pearson VUE.

Ohio RNs must renew their license every two years. RNs do not need to complete continuing education (CE) credits the first time they renew their license. After the initial renewal, professionals must acquire 24 CE credits. Renewal fees in Ohio cost $65 for on-time submissions, and late applications cost $115.


To become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in Ohio, applicants must show proof of completion through an approved program. Coursework for this type of nursing should include infection control, medical terminology, safety practices, roles of healthcare professionals, and patient care. Ohio CNA programs require a minimum of 75 hours. Out-of-state professionals should provide proof of their training and may need to complete additional requirements to qualify.

In Ohio, all CNAs must pass an exam created by the National Nurse Aide Program. This two-part assessment focuses on the knowledge and practical skills needed to perform job duties as a CNA. Testees must complete the written portion of the exam in two hours, which includes 70 multiple-choice questions, where 10 questions do not receive a score. This section focuses on physical care skills, psychosocial care skills, and the role of the nurse aide.

Similarly, test takers must complete the 60-question audio component within two hours. This section considers 22 relevant CNA skills. The exam costs $120 and remains valid for two years. Upon successful completion of the exam, candidates should receive their certificate within 2-3 weeks.

Ohio CNAs must renew their certification every two years through the Ohio Department of Health. Professionals who have not completed at least eight hours of work within the past two years do not qualify for renewal and must apply to have their certification reinstated, which may require retaking the exam and additional training.


To become an LPN in Ohio, professionals must provide proof of graduation from an accredited program. Out-of-state applicants may apply if their program holds an in-state approval from a nursing board. Additionally, out-of-state candidates must show that their clinical hours include relevant experiences across their lifespan. Applicants with insufficient hours may need to complete additional clinical experiences before they qualify for licensure. Qualified programs cover pertinent coursework including theories of nursing, pharmacology, and human anatomy.

Applicants must submit copies of official transcripts to the Ohio Board of Nursing, register with NCLEX Candidate Services to take the NCLEX-PN exam, obtain an Authorization to Test from the Board of Nursing, and submit the $200 exam fee. Testees must also pay a $130 exam processing fee. To gain full approval, candidates must also successfully pass a criminal background check.

The NCLEX-PN uses the computerized adaptive testing system, which allots a percentage of the total test items to students, based on their competency. All testees must answer at least 85 questions, while some test takers may answer up to 205 within the five-hour test period, and 25 items do not receive a score. Ohio LPNs must renew their license every two years, which requires 12 CE hours and costs $65. Professionals who allow their license to lapse must pay the $115 late renewal fee.


Nurse practitioners have access to different types of nursing. Therefore, professionals do not always follow identical educational paths. For instance, NPs can specialize in a particular age group such as pediatrics or gerontology, while family NPs serve people of all ages. Professionals may also choose educational programs by field, which could include emergency or oncology.

To become an NP in Ohio, professionals must hold a valid RN license, provide official transcripts and degree completion from an accredited advanced nursing program, meet the clinical hour minimum, and hold a national certification from an approved organization. Potential organizations include the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), or the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. However, NPs may also consider organizations that focus on a particular specialty, including the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board or the National Certification Corporation. Examination requirements and fees vary by organization. For instance, the ANCC offers four NP certifications that range from $290-$395 depending on membership status. The exam includes 200 questions. Credentials remain valid for five years, and the renewal process requires 75 CE hours.

Additionally, aspiring Ohio NPs must complete a criminal background check within 90 days of submitting their application for state licensure. The APRN application bears an initial $150 fee. Ohio issues temporary permits for professionals waiting for their exam scores. NP licenses with prescription authority carry a renewal cost of $135, and applicants must renew RN licenses separately.

Career Outlook for Nurses in Ohio

According to the BLS, healthcare and social assistance exists as the dominant industry in Ohio. This highly populated state has large hospital and healthcare systems that employ tens of thousands of nurses. Additionally, Ohio's population faces numerous health issues, including high rates of obesity and chronic disease, which demand increased nursing care.

Becoming an RN is the most popular option for graduates of nursing schools in Ohio; the BLS reports there were more than 128,000 RNs in Ohio in 2016. CRNAs, NPs, and LPNs are also common in Ohio. CRNAs in Ohio average salaries of $156,820 per year, making the specialization a lucrative option for professionals considering further education.

Employment Data For RNs in Ohio

Data provided by the BLS indicates that the demand for registered nurses continues to expand, with a projection of 15% growth nationwide from 2016-2026. Most RNs choose to work in work in hospitals. General medical and surgical hospitals employ nearly 1.7 million RNs nationwide, while other major industries in the field include physicians offices, home health care services, nursing facilities, and outpatient care centers. Each of these industries employ anywhere from 100,000-200,000 people.

While these top industries pay $65,500-$75,500 on average, professionals may also want to consider which industries offer the highest salaries. Currently, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, payroll services, the federal executive branch, training, schools, and the wholesale electronic markets offer the highest salaries for RNs, according to BLS data. Salaries range from $83,00-$90,500 on average.

While national averages hold value, RNs planning a career in Ohio should identify state-specific information. For instance, the mean salary for RNs in the state hovers around $65,500, while the national average rests at $70,000. Professionals exploring area options may also want to consider looking at organizations in Cleveland, Elyria, Toledo, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, or Canton as they retain the highest population of employment for RNs.

Employment Data For CNAs in Ohio

As the nursing profession expands, the need for knowledgeable CNAs also increases. According to BLS data, job outlook should increase by 11% through 2026. With the growing population of elderly patients who require specialized care, 40% of professionals choose to work in nursing care facilities, an industry that accounts for nearly 600,000 jobs with average pay rates hovering around $27,500.

State, local, and private hospitals also employ many CNAs, and general medical and surgical hospitals represent the second-highest industry for employment. On average, CNAs in hospital settings earn around $30,500. Still, other top industries include continuing care communities, assisted living facilities, home health care services, and employment services.

Current BLS data indicates that the federal executive branch, facilities support services, scientific research and development services, educational support services, and higher education facilities offer the highest salaries. Salaries range from $34,000-$38,000 on average. Professionals should note that these industries may have more competition. The average Ohio CNA earns $26,740, while the national average rests at $27,510. Furthermore, outside of Mansfield and Canton, Ohio CNAs can find many job opportunities.

Employment Data For NPs in Ohio

NPs handle many of the same responsibilities as physicians, and their education emphasizes preventative care, an area that many patients value in a care provider. This field continues to grow at a rapid pace, with a projected 31% rise in job outlook through 2026, according to BLS data. The largest concentration of NP job opportunities come from physicians offices and hospitals.

Other top industries include outpatient care centers, offices of other health practitioners, and higher education institutions. On average, these industries pay $100,000-$111,500, while the top paying industries, including personal care services, management, consulting services, dentist's offices, and office administrative services, pay up to $115,500-$139,500.

While national data holds value, NPs considering a career in Ohio should examine state-specific data. For instance, while NPs earn $101,710 on average nationally, the state average hovers around $103,740. Furthermore, BLS data indicates that Cleveland, Elyria, Toledo, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Canton, and areas in northeastern Ohio offer multiple employment opportunities, while Springfield offers the highest mean wages.

Biggest Hospitals in Ohio

Ohio, a state with many large hospitals, boasts a great number of job openings for nurses. States with a high demand for nurses are ideal for recent nursing graduates. Ohio's hospitals also provide fellowship and internship opportunities for nursing students.

  • Cleveland Clinic : The Cleveland Clinic is the second-largest employer in Ohio, with 49,050 workers, nearly 12,000 of whom are nurses. Experts hail the academic hospital as one of the best-known in the country. The Cleveland Clinic combines clinical care with research and education, and in 2016, it served 7.14 million patients as one of the largest in the country.
  • Mercy Health : A Catholic hospital serving numerous communities in Ohio and Kentucky, Mercy employs more than 34,000 people to make up one of the largest healthcare systems in the country, serving all patients, regardless of financial situation. Mercy offers nurses competitive salaries, full benefits, and a tuition reimbursement program. In 2013, the hospital had 3,233,080 outpatient visits and 664,551 emergency visits.

Additional Nursing Resources in Ohio

  • Ohio Nurses Association: ONA represents RNs in Ohio, who total more than 170,000. This member-driven organization protects, promotes, and advances the nursing profession. ONA's website provides resources for Ohio nurses, including newsletters, information regarding current issues in Ohio nursing, and nursing practice documents.

  • Ohio Association of School Nurses: OASN provides leadership, education, and support for professional school nurses. Their website offers resources for school nurses, such as employment, professional, and practice tools, as well as licensure advice and a discussion group for school nurses.

  • Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners: The Ohio chapter promotes and supports pediatric NPs, with the goal of improving children's healthcare. Nurses benefit from the organization's advocacy work and professional development resources. The website lists grants and scholarships available to Ohio nurses and student nurses.

  • Ohio Student Nurses Association: OhSNA helps graduates with online nursing degrees begin their careers. The association contributes to nursing education and provides programs relevant to current issues in the field. Resources include links to scholarships and financial aid opportunities, information about events, and publications relevant to nursing in Ohio.

  • Ohio State Association of Nurse Anesthetists: This association supports its members and advances the art and science of nurse anesthesia in Ohio. The statewide organization represents more than 2,200 nurses and student nurses specializing in the field. The website includes a section for students, with videos, programs, and student board updates.

Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Ohio

Nursing schools in Ohio offer a variety of degree options. Before applying to one of the nursing colleges in Ohio, explore the database below to determine the best online nursing degree to fit your career goals. The database includes all accredited ADN , BSN, RN to BSN , MSN , and DNP online nursing programs in Ohio.

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