Nursing FAQs

If you’re considering a career in nursing, Northwestern is for you. We’ll prepare you to not only excel as a healthcare professional, but also as a compassionate provider who will care for the whole person. Below we’ve answered frequently asked questions regarding the nursing program at Northwestern:

 Applying to the program

Q: How do I apply to the nursing program?

A: Students interested in nursing begin taking pre-nursing courses during their freshman year. Students apply and are admitted to the BSN program during the spring semester of their freshman year. Note that a CNA certificate is required at the time of application.

Q: How many students are accepted into the program each year?

A: 30

Q: What is early acceptance, and how do I apply for it?

A: Depending on your high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores, you may qualify for early acceptance. That means you can claim one of 30 seats available in the program now! Start by applying to Northwestern. When you've been accepted to NWC, we’ll contact you with more information if you're a candidate for early acceptance into our BSN program.

Q: Do you have any nursing scholarships available?

A: Northwestern College offers a number of scholarships for students accepted into the nursing program, some of which are awarded automatically to those who meet the scholarship's criteria and have financial need, and others that require an application. Learn more about nursing scholarships >>

About the program

Q: What nursing programs do you offer?

A: Northwestern College offers a traditional, on-campus 4-year BSN program as well as an 18-month online RN to BSN degree completion program.

Q: Why should I get a BSN degree?

A: In today's healthcare environment, the BSN is the most desired nursing credential, with a median salary of $70,000. A bachelor's degree in nursing will enable you to work as a nurse in any healthcare setting, and it is the recommended initial degree if your goal is to be a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, nurse researcher or nurse educator.

 Q: Is the nursing program accredited?

A: The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at Northwestern College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( and approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing (IBON).

Q: What clinical experiences will I get? Will it only be in rural hospitals?

A: You will receive 700+ hours of diverse clinical experience in both rural and urban hospitals, medical centers and community-based health settings. You’ll also participate in a pediatric seminar and a required cross-cultural health experience in an off-campus U.S. or international location that you choose.

Q: Do I need to provide my own transportation to clinicals? What about driving in the winter?

A: Group transportation is provided for the majority of clinical experiences. We’ll always consider your safety first regarding winter driving.

Q: What types of hands-on experiences and internships are available?

A: Along with required clinical hours, we recommend students pursue a paid summer nursing internship as a way to gain valuable clinical experience. You'll be eligible to apply for the highly competitive internships after your junior year, and the opportunity may even lead to a job offer after graduation.

Q: What are the classrooms and labs like?

A: Northwestern’s nursing classrooms and labs are located in the new DeWitt Family Science Center. State-of-the-art facilities for student-nurses include:

  • Patient rooms with hospital beds
  • Multiple advanced human patient simulators—including an adult, child and pregnant mother (with newborn)
  • IV practice arms and other training equipment
  • A hospital-based computerized medication system
  • An electronic health record simulation program

Northwestern nursing students also have the opportunity to improve their knowledge in the college’s human cadaver lab.

Q: Can I pursue another major or minor in addition to a nursing major?

A: While the nursing program plan of study is full, a minor is possible, especially if you transfer credits to Northwestern. Many of the required courses for nursing are also a part of a minor. Even if your schedule doesn’t allow for a minor, you can highlight your learning on your resume.

Q: Can I play sports at Northwestern and major in nursing?

A: Yes! Northwestern's BSN program can be completed in 4 years, even by students who participate in co-curriculars like Raider athletics, music and theatre.

Q: Can I study abroad?

A: Yes! Northwestern nursing students are required to participate in a healthcare-related mission experience in a cross-cultural setting in the U.S. or overseas in a developing country. Learn more about off-campus study opportunities for nursing students >>

Career outlook

Q: What are job opportunities like?

A: The employment outlook for nurses is excellent. According to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation will need nearly 440,000 new nurses by 2024. That makes nursing the second-hottest career choice in the country.

Q: Where have Northwestern's graduates landed jobs?

A: Recent nursing graduates have been hired by:

  • Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
  • Sanford USD Medical Center and Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Unity Point Health-St. Luke’s in Sioux City, Iowa
  • UNC REX Healthcare in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • CHI Health St. Elizabeth in Lincoln, Nebraska

NWC alumni are working in medical, ER, cardiology, oncology, neurology, and burn and wound units.

Q: What type of post-graduate degree can I get with a BSN?

A: After earning your BSN, you can pursue a variety of higher degrees, including clinical, education or leadership roles at the master’s degree level. You can also pursue Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner (DNP) or Ph.D. degrees.