Nursing Diploma Programs

Hospital-based programs were the first source of training for RNs in the United States. They were particularly popular in the 1920s and 1930s when approximately 2,000 programs could be found across the country. Numbers have declined since then, mainly because nursing education has moved into colleges and universities. According to the National League for Nursing, fewer than 100 hospital-based programs are available today.

Becoming an RN with a Hospital-Based Diploma

If you want a lot of clinical experience before beginning your career as an RN, a hospital-based nursing diploma may be a good option for you.

Those numbers are reflected in today’s working nurses. According to the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration, 13.9 percent of RNs have a hospital-based diploma, 36.1 percent have an associate’s degree, and 50 percent hold a bachelor’s or graduate degree.

Contact your state’s board of nursing for a current list of hospital-based programs in your area.

What a Nursing Diploma Program Can Be Like

Programs vary from one to three years in duration depending upon the hospital. All require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED). Some expect you to complete non-nursing prerequisite courses such as biology and math before you apply, and some work in conjunction with local colleges so that you can take prerequisites there. A few programs teach everything within their hospital system.

After completing prerequisites, you begin nursing classes. Hospital-based programs focus on clinical or practical experience as opposed to teaching comprehensive nursing theory, so from a skills standpoint you will be well-prepared to start your first job.

Getting Your RN License

Upon graduation you will take your RN licensing exam. Contact your state’s board of nursing to learn more about how to obtain your license. Most states also require you to obtain continuing education credits to maintain licensure.

General information about the RN licensing exam can be found at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing

RN Careers

RNs use their education and skills to care for patients. This includes both physical care and emotional care when someone is sick and also teaching patients to care for themselves and stay well.

Nurses can work in almost any healthcare setting. Your scope of practice, hours, and pay will vary depending upon your chosen specialty and work setting.

Other Education Options

You can also choose to get an associate’s degree in nursing from a community or junior college instead of a hospital-based diploma, or a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university. An associate’s degree is equivalent to a hospital-based diploma in terms of education or professional advancement. A bachelor’s degree enables you to work in a greater variety of professional roles and settings, and also acts as a springboard to a graduate education.

More Information and Resources:

American Nurses AssociationAmerican Student Nurses AssociationNational League for Nursing

List of Programs

Programs That May Be Currently Accepting Applicants
Abington Memorial Hospital
Willow Grove PA
  • Full-Time RN Diploma
Baptist Health Schools Little Rock
Little Rock AR
  • Registered Nursing (Traditional Track)
Beebe Medical Center
Lewes DE
  • Nursing
Chamberlain College of Nursing
St. Louis MO
  • LPN to RN Bridge Program
Chemeketa Community College
Salem OR
  • LPN to RN Entry Process
Chesapeake College
Wye Mills MD
  • LPN to RN Transition
  • Paramedic to RN Transition
Cincinnati State Technical Community College
Cincinnati OH
  • Nursing
Clark College
Vancouver WA
  • Associate Degree in Nursing
Cleveland State Community College
Cleveland TN
  • Online Nursing Program
College of Central Florida
Ocala FL
  • Associate Degree Nursing
Covenant Health System
Lubbock TX
  • Advanced Credit program
  • Hospital-based Diploma program
Firelands Regional Health System
Sandusky OH
  • 3-year Nursing Diploma
Frankford Hospital
Philadelphia PA
  • Diploma in Nursing
Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development
Cincinnati OH
  • Registered Nursing
Harrison College - Indianapolis East
Indianapolis IN
  • Associate of Science Degree
Helene Fuld School of Nursing in Camden County
Blackwood NJ
  • Nursing Diploma
Henderson Community College
Henderson KY
  • Online Nursing Assistant
Hillsborough Community College
Tampa FL
  • Online AS Nursing Basic
Holy Name Hospital
Teaneck NJ
  • Registered Nursing
Indian River State College
Fort Pierce FL
  • Online Associate Degree Nursing
Lake Michigan College
Benton Harbor MI
  • One-Year RN Certificate
Northeastern Hospital School of Nursing
Philadelphia PA
  • Diploma in Nursing
Northland Pioneer College
Holbrook AZ
  • AAS in Nursing
  • LPN to RN
Ohio Valley General Hospital
McKees Rocks PA
  • RN Diploma program
Reading Hospital and Medical Center
West Reading PA
  • Diploma Program in Nursing
Riverside Health System
Newport News VA
  • Professional Nursing Program
Roxborough Memorial Hospital
Philadelphia PA
  • Diploma Nursing Program
Saint Joseph's Health Services of Rhode Island
North Providence RI
  • Diploma in Nursing
Savannah Technical College
Savannah GA
  • Practical Nursing Diploma
Sharon Regional Health System
Sharon PA
  • Nursing
St. Luke's School of Nursing
Bethlehem PA
  • Diploma Nursing Program
Trinity Health System
Steubenville OH
  • Nursing Diploma
UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside
Pittsburgh PA
  • RN diploma program
Washington Hospital
Washington PA
  • Nursing Diploma
Western Pennsylvania Hospital
Pittsburgh PA
  • RN Diploma program

Still Looking for a Nursing Program?

Here are some of the most popular nursing programs. On each page you will find a detailed writeup of the program, specific courses, and even schools that offer that program that are currently accepting applicants.