Best Colleges & Universities in Nevada 2023

If you’re looking for a college experience unlike any other, look no further than Nevada. From the bright lights of Las Vegas to the majestic mountains of Reno, there’s something for everyone in this great state. And with so many colleges and universities to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your academic and personal needs.

The University of Nevada-Reno started in 1874, making it the oldest college in Nevada. It started in the small city of Elko, Nevada and later moved to Vegas and became the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Now, the original University of Nevada has become two large campuses in Reno and Las Vegas.

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One of the best things about the colleges or universities in Nevada is that the state has partnered with other surrounding states to offer a great program called the Western Undergraduate Exchange. Nevada has joined 16 other US states and territories to offer this program. Students from thos other states who get into the program will pay less than 150% of the resident student tuition rate.

Nevada may have just what you are looking for, especially if you want a place where fun indoor and outdoor recreation is always nearby. Here’s a closer look at what Nevada has to offer students seeking higher education.


EDsmart assesses colleges in Nevada based on data that covers four main areas:

  • Cost (average net price)
  • Academic quality (graduation rate)
  • Student satisfaction (retention rate)
  • Salary After Attending (the median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after entering the school)

All data was gathered from the U.S. Dept of Education websites College Scorecard and College Navigator.

This ranking aims to help students assess the affordability and value of top colleges in Nevada so they can make informed decisions about which college to attend.

Best Colleges in Nevada for 2023

1. Carrington College-Reno

best colleges & universities in Nevada_Carrington_College_Reno

Score: 100.0

Average Net Price: $39,932
Retention Rate: 72%
Graduation Rate: 84%
Salary After Attending: $32,456

Carrington College is a commuter college that specializes in nursing and healthcare. With campuses in both Las Vegas and Reno, Carrington College caters to a wide range of students, particularly commuters from the general area. Both schools work hard to help students find a career in their chosen profession upon graduation. The Reno and Las Vegas campuses both provide students with the networking necessary to find employment in whatever area of study they ultimately pursue.

Although the Reno branch of Carrington College focuses primarily on its nursing program, it also offers several other programs in dental, veterinary, and criminal justice studies. Along with traditional in-person lectures, Carrington also offers several online programs that make education attainable for any student with an internet connection-an education made all the more attainable by Carrington's reasonable pricing.

Carrington College prides itself on providing affordable education for the Reno area, and its student finance department offers educational counseling both online and in person. The Carrington College website allows students to seek financial advice before they have enrolled in courses, and there are financial advisors available on campus to help students who are already attending classes.

2. Carrington College-Las Vegas

best colleges & universities in Nevada_Carrington_college_Las_Vegas

Score: 99.8

Average Net Price: $26,758
Retention Rate: 63%
Graduation Rate: 66%
Salary After Attending: $32,585

Founded in 1976, close to McCarran International Airport, the Las Vegas campus of Carrington College is centrally located to allow for easy access by students from around the world. Carrington College may focus primarily on medical degrees and programs, but it also offers courses in Criminal Justice, Billing, and Coding, so that students can find a degree plan that appeals to them no matter their interests or the careers that they hope to pursue upon graduation.

The Criminal Justice education track prepares students for a career as loss prevention officers, security guards, transit and railroad police officers, correction officers, and jailers. The average time to complete the programs is just a few months, and students who have graduated from Carrington will be equipped to handle the intense reality of the justice system.

While the above education track is merely an example of Carrington's dedication to finding employment and a promising career for all of its students, prospective students can find a similar breakdown of their desired career path on Carrington's website before they even apply. Also included on the page for each program is a projection of that industry's growth in the next six years, so that students can choose their profession with an informed idea of what they can expect upon graduation.

3. Nevada Career Institute

best colleges & universities in Nevada_Nevada_Career_Institute

Score: 99.8

Average Net Price: $29,086
Retention Rate: 74%
Graduation Rate: 70%
Salary After Attending: $34,021

Nevada Career Institute is another technical college that is particularly renowned for its programs in healthcare and medical studies. Founded in 1993, Nevada Career Institute is fully accredited and conveniently located to allow students from the Las Vegas area to access its central campus easily.

What sets Nevada Career Institute apart from the crowd is the speed with which its students can complete most of the programs and graduate. While most of the programs do include a technical internship, which may make scheduling more complicated, the majority of the programs that NCI offers can be completed in as little as nine months. Upon graduation, students are equipped with the tools they need to succeed in their chosen careers and have often made valuable networking connections that will serve them well in their new jobs!

While NCI does focus on medical studies and programs, it also offers courses in other technical areas. Alongside traditional programs like Medical Assistant, Medical Insurance Biller & Coder, Surgical Technologist, and Dental Assistant, NCI offers programs in Business Office Administration and an Associate of Science certification in Healthcare Administration. This breadth of available courses helps students find the perfect career path!

4. Career College of Northern Nevada

best colleges & universities in Nevada_Career_College_of_Northern_Nevada

Score: 98.8

Average Net Price: $20,720
Retention Rate: 74%
Graduation Rate: 59%
Salary After Attending: $31,690

The Career College of Northern Nevada, or CCNN, as it's more commonly known, is a private college nestled in the Sierra Mountains by Lake Tahoe that offers both diploma and Associate of Occupational Studies programs. With classroom and laboratory environments for students to learn and sharpen their skills, CCNN provides plenty of opportunities in a wide variety of technical careers.

Established in 1984 as the Apollo Business and Technical School, CCNN has changed its name multiple times throughout its history, but the university's commitment to providing a quality education for an affordable price has never wavered. Affordable education is a staple of CCNN's business model, and both current and future students are given many tools available to help them figure out the best way to get the financial assistance that they need to start pursuing their chosen careers. The CCNN website has a financial aid calculator for prospective students, and financial advisers are on hand to help the students who are already on campus.

Unlike some other technical colleges, CCNN focuses on a wide variety of programs and courses, rather than specializing in one particular career. With Medical Assistant training alongside courses in Welding and Fabrication, CCNN has an area of study for each interested student.

5. Pima Medical Institute-Las Vegas

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Score: 98.6

Average Net Price: $19,022
Retention Rate: 70%
Graduation Rate: 61%
Salary After Attending: $33,043

Pima Medical Institute is another for-profit college that was founded in Arizona but quickly grew to have campuses throughout the western United States. As the name implies, PMI focuses on students who are looking for certification in a medical program, or who are looking to delve into the medical field before pursuing further education at a different campus. It is the largest independently owned, private allied health school in the United States, which means that it can provide quality education for a much lower price than some of its state-supported counterparts.

The Las Vegas campus of Pima Medical Institute is located off Flamingo Road and Pecos Road. It is centrally located to provide access to a wide variety of career venues and employment opportunities. The school offers Associate Degrees in training as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, or Veterinary Technician, as well as Associate Degrees courses in Radiography and Respiratory Therapy.

For students who want to start leaving their mark on the industry as quickly as possible, Pima Medical Institute also offers certification courses and training as a Dental Assistant, Medical Administrative Assistant, Medical Assistant Pharmacy Technician, or Veterinary Assistant. Whether students are interested in pursuing a full degree or just getting out into the work environment, PMI can help them reach their goals quickly and effectively.

6. Northwest Career College

best colleges & universities in Nevada_Northwest_Career_College

Score: 98.4

Average Net Price: $15,546
Retention Rate: 67%
Graduation Rate: 75%
Salary After Attending: $27,405

Certainly, one of the youngest colleges on this list, Northwest Career College, was founded in 1997 as Northwest Massage School. Since then, NCC has grown to offer programs in Dental Assisting, Medical Assisting, Phlebotomy, Pharmacy Technician, Medical Administrative Assisting, Medical Billing, and Coding. Additionally, the university offers degree-granting programs in Criminal Justice and Paralegal Studies.

NCC is a fully accredited, Title IV approved, Veteran's Administration GI Benefits approved college. NCC remains very proud of its reputation as a family-oriented university that works with multiple generations of students to develop their skills and careers. The university provides professional training and education that will provide students with work experience, interpersonal skills, and industry-specific skill sets that will enable them to succeed in whichever career they choose!

Aside from standard federal aid, NCC also awards multiple grants and scholarships to better assist students in receiving the skills and training that they need to make their mark on the professional world. Additionally, they work closely with several third-party organizations to make sure that students can still qualify for and receive multiple levels of financial aid in the pursuit of their education.

7. University of Nevada-Reno

best colleges & universities in Nevada_University_of_Nevada_Reno

Score: 98.0

Average Net Price: $14,930
Retention Rate: 81%
Graduation Rate: 58%
Salary After Attending: $55,360

The University of Nevada's original campus in Reno opened as a research university nearly a hundred and fifty years ago. UNR is now a full four-year university with a strong medical school and research facilities.

UNR is a national leader in research in civil engineering and seismology and offers a wide range of degree plans in sixteen clinical departments and five departments in basic sciences. It boasts one of the largest earthquake simulation labs anywhere in the United States. The university also excels in journalism and has produced six Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists. The school provides over 200 online courses and one of the most extensive study abroad programs in the nation.

8. Great Basin College

best colleges & universities in Nevada_Great_Basin_College

Score: 97.8

Average Net Price: $8,467
Retention Rate: 62%
Graduation Rate: 23%
Salary After Attending: $36,240

Originally named Elko Community College when it opened in 1967, Great Basin College is a community college that caters to the greater northeastern region of Nevada. Originally just a single building made possible by a donation from the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, the Great Basin College has grown to be one of the best colleges in Nevada for affordable education in the northeastern quarter of the state.

Great Basin College offers four-year Bachelor's Degrees in English, elementary and secondary education, applied science, land surveying, nursing, and integrated studies, as well as Associate of Applied Sciences in business, computer office technology, criminal justice, early childhood education, industrial technology, land surveying, and nursing.

For anyone not interested in higher degrees, the university also offers career and technical education. Between its wide range of available topics and its history of catering to a previously difficult-to-reach region of Nevada, Great Basin College is one of the best colleges in NV for students looking to receive a quality education in either academic or technical pursuits. No matter what career they hope to pursue, Great Basin College can provide the tools they need to reach it.

9. Nevada State College

Score: 97.4

Average Net Price: $12,478
Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 28%
Salary After Attending: $54,006

Nevada State College opened its doors in September of 2022 as one of Nevada's first state colleges. Enrollment sits at just around 7,200 students and is ranked #13 in top public schools and #413 for nursing according to US News. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) accredites Nevada State College.

Nevada State College makes our list as one of the best colleges in Nevada by offering more than 60 majors and minors. Located in Henderson Nevada their campus boasts 511-acre and is growing exponentially to support their growing student population and various programs. With an emphasis on energy efficiency, their buildings are energy efficient, offer 40-student or smaller classrooms, and their campus offers solar panels, xeriscaping, and an organic teaching garden that supplies their campus cafe.

10. University of Nevada-Las Vegas

best colleges & universities in Nevada_University_of_Nevada_Las_Vegas

Score: 97.2

Average Net Price: $10,993
Retention Rate: 80%
Graduation Rate: 52%
Salary After Attending: $52,464

The University of Nevada campus in Las Vegas is undoubtedly one of the best research schools in Nevada, but UNLV is also the only school in Nevada that offers law and dental degrees. UNLV features more than 350 degrees in other professional fields.

UNLV has continued to expand and grow in its push to become one of the best universities in the United States. The university recently became home of the first and only accredited School of Public Health in the entire state of Nevada. More plans are being made to continue growing and expanding throughout the next few years.

According to The Military Times, UNLV is ranked 62nd out of more than six hundred colleges for veterans or active service members. US News & World Report ranks the university as the most diverse campus in the nation, and its programs and degree plans have received similar acclaim. UNLV Law School is ranked 59th in the entire country. The School of Nursing was ranked as the best in Nevada and one of the best in the nation.

11. Las Vegas College

best colleges & universities in Nevada_Everest_College

Score: 96.6

Average Net Price: $29,011
Retention Rate: 95%
Graduation Rate: 48%
Salary After Attending: $28,577

With a focus on business, administrative, health care, computer and legal fields, Las Vegas College has been providing quality education to students since 1979. It recently changed its name to Everest College, but the university's dedication to providing students with the skills necessary to succeed has not changed. It continues to work with residents and commuters alike to make sure that they are prepared for success.

As Everest College, Las Vegas College is part of a network of campuses across the nation, which allows students to have access to multiple fields and areas of practice. This mobility and independence play a large part in the prominence of graduates since LVC's founding.

Honorable Mention

Truckee Meadows Community College

best colleges & universities in Nevada_Truckee_Meadows_Community_College

Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada provides both technical trainings and community college courses. Most of TMCC's attending students are commuters, and the two-year college boasts five individual campus sections to allow for easy commute times around the Reno area.

Truckee Meadows has five hundred faculty members and serves around thirteen thousand students per semester. The school also has several programs in place to help graduates find employment soon upon graduation. TMCC works with growing and established businesses in the Reno area to ensure that students who graduate from their technical schools have job opportunities waiting for them once they graduate.

TMCC specializes in computer science and programming degrees and technical education, but the range of courses offered goes far beyond that specialization. Truckee Meadows offers courses in Healthcare, Nursing, Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Radiologic Tech, Food Processing, Culinary Arts, Veterinary Technician, Aerospace, and Defense in Unmanned Aircraft Systems, among others.

Thanks to its low student to teacher ratio, TMCC provides personalized education for students pursuing a variety of education plans and continues to help them after graduation in their chosen career field.

University of Phoenix-Nevada

best colleges & universities in Nevada_University_of_Phoenix_Nevada

University of Phoenix (UOPX) is a private for-profit university that was founded in 1976. UOPX offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. UOPX is known for its flexible learning options which make it a good choice for students who are working adults or have other commitments.

One of the things that sets UOPX apart from other universities is its commitment to helping nontraditional students achieve their educational goals. UOPX offers a variety of flexible learning options including online courses, night classes, and weekend classes. This makes it possible for students to work and learn at the same time. UOPX also offers a variety of support services, such as tutoring, academic advising, and career counseling. These services help students succeed in their studies and achieve their career goals.

UOPX is a good choice for students who are looking for a quality education at an affordable price. UOPX offers a variety of financial aid options including scholarships, grants, and loans. This makes it possible for students to afford a UOPX education even if they have limited financial resources.

UOPX has a strong alumni network that can help students with their job search and career development. UOPX alumni are often willing to provide advice and support to current students. They can also help students network with potential employers.

2023 Rankings for Best Colleges in Nevada:

School Name Average Net Price Retention Rate Graduation Rate (4-year) Salary after graduating
Carrington College-Reno $39,932 72% 84% $32,456
Carrington College-Las Vegas $26,758 63% 66% $32,585
Nevada Career Institute $29,086 74% 70% $34,021
Career College of Northern Nevada $20,720 74% 59% $31,690
Pima Medical Institute-Las Vegas $19,022 70% 61% $33,043
Northwest Career College $15,546 67% 75% $27,405
University of Nevada-Reno $14,930 81% 58% $55,360
Great Basin College $8,467 62% 23% $36,240
nevada state college $12,478 78% 28% $54,006
University of Nevada-Las Vegas $10,993 80% 52% $52,464
Las Vegas College $29,011 95% 48% $28,577

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