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.

Consider a sponsored online nursing program currently accepting applicants:

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 http://www.ncsbn.org.

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, Pennsylvania
  • Full-Time RN Diploma
Baptist Health Schools Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Registered Nursing (Traditional Track)
Beebe Medical Center
Lewes, Delaware
  • Nursing
Chamberlain College of Nursing
St. Louis, Missouri
  • LPN to RN Bridge Program
Chemeketa Community College
Salem, Oregon
  • LPN to RN Entry Process
Chesapeake College
Wye Mills, Maryland
  • LPN to RN Transition
  • Paramedic to RN Transition
Cincinnati State Technical Community College
Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Nursing
Clark College
Vancouver, Washington
  • Associate Degree in Nursing
Cleveland State Community College
Cleveland, Tennessee
  • Online Nursing Program
College of Central Florida
Ocala, Florida
  • Associate Degree Nursing
Covenant Health System
Lubbock, Texas
  • Advanced Credit program
  • Hospital-based Diploma program
Firelands Regional Health System
Sandusky, Ohio
  • 3-year Nursing Diploma
Frankford Hospital
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Diploma in Nursing
Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development
Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Registered Nursing
Harrison College - Indianapolis East
Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Associate of Science Degree
Helene Fuld School of Nursing in Camden County
Blackwood, New Jersey
  • Nursing Diploma
Henderson Community College
Henderson, Kentucky
  • Online Nursing Assistant
Hillsborough Community College
Tampa, Florida
  • Online AS Nursing Basic
Holy Name Hospital
Teaneck, New Jersey
  • Registered Nursing
Indian River State College
Fort Pierce, Florida
  • Online Associate Degree Nursing
Lake Michigan College
Benton Harbor, Michigan
  • One-Year RN Certificate
Northeastern Hospital School of Nursing
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Diploma in Nursing
Northland Pioneer College
Holbrook, Arizona
  • AAS in Nursing
  • LPN to RN
Ohio Valley General Hospital
McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania
  • RN Diploma program
Reading Hospital and Medical Center
West Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Diploma Program in Nursing
Riverside Health System
Newport News, Virginia
  • Professional Nursing Program
Roxborough Memorial Hospital
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Diploma Nursing Program
Saint Joseph's Health Services of Rhode Island
North Providence, Rhode Island
  • Diploma in Nursing
Savannah Technical College
Savannah, Georgia
  • Practical Nursing Diploma
Sharon Regional Health System
Sharon, Pennsylvania
  • Nursing
St. Luke's School of Nursing
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • Diploma Nursing Program
Trinity Health System
Steubenville, Ohio
  • Nursing Diploma
UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • RN diploma program
Washington Hospital
Washington, Pennsylvania
  • Nursing Diploma
Western Pennsylvania Hospital
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 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.