Nursing Programs in Arkansas

As of August 20th, 2017 we have programs across 29 nursing schools in Arkansas. You’ll be able to find different courses that cover an extensive range of topics that include but not limited to Accelerated BSN, RN-MSN and PhD. You can take these and a range of other course/degree options from schools that include Frontier Nursing University, Kaplan University - Online, The University of Texas at Arlington. If you’re looking for other states to start or further your studies we cover programs across the U.S. such as Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

State Nursing Board: Arkansas State Board of Nursing

State Nurses Association: Arkansas Nurses Association

State Hospital Association: Arkansas Hospital Association

Find Nursing Programs in Arkansas:

You want to make a difference in healthcare, and you likely understand that nursing is one of the most effective ways to make your mark in this industry. Whether you currently work as a nursing professional or you’re completely new to healthcare, there are options that you may explore. To find the best nursing program in Arkansas for you, you can explore undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Contacting nursing colleges in Arkansas is a great way to learn more about their learning goals and how they help students prepare for the workforce.

New technology and education standards are making nursing education more efficient than ever. You may even be able to complete some of your schooling via online nursing programs in Arkansas. A local simulation center also allows Arkansas nursing students to gain experience in rural health care, possibly providing them with the skills needed to work in various parts of the state. This is invaluable experience, since the Albany Herald reports that Arkansas hospitals have turned to rural health plans to minimize emergency room use.

Of course, you may enjoy a great job outlook as an LPN or registered nurse. KAIT8 reports that Arkansas has a severe nursing shortage that is expected to continue for several years yet. If you attend one of the nursing schools in Arkansas now, you may be in a great position to take up a position left open by a retiring nurse. If you're ready to take the next step in your education by earning an RN or LPN degree, learn more about nursing programs in Arkansas by requesting program materials. Once you've had a chance to review your options for nursing colleges in Arkansas, you should be able to choose the program that will best fit your needs.

Nursing Education in Arkansas

The amount of time you spend in school depends on which nursing degree you decide to earn. The shortest option is an LPN degree. This diploma program generally takes one year or less of full-time study. It may allow you to work underneath RNs and advanced practice nurses. There are two main options for registered nursing degrees. The first is an associate's degree in nursing, which requires two years of study. A bachelor's degree may give you more training in different nursing specialties, so it generally takes about four years of work.

Learning outcomes in Arkansas are designed to help you develop a comprehensive set of nursing skills and become a contributing member of the health care community. As you proceed through your degree, you may need to develop a sense of nursing leadership, deliver evidence-based care to patients of different needs, properly use nursing technologies, and use communication techniques with other health care professionals and patients.

2017 Career Outlook for Nursing Professions

Across the nation, the demand for nursing professionals is growing rapidly. This trend continues in Arkansas, where many facilities struggle to retain the nursing staff they need. This problem tends to be worse in rural counties, since it is difficult to attract new nurses to these areas and keep them on board. If you take out student loans to cover the cost of your nursing education, you may look into loan forgiveness programs that require you to work in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Many rural parts of Arkansas hold nursing job fairs to try to keep new nursing graduates in the state (Arkansas Matters, 2017).

Looking at job growth statistics shows you how desperately Arkansas needs nurses. Licensed practical nursing degree programs may help you pass the NCLEX-PN and get your license. Statewide demand for LPNs may grow 12% by the year 2024 (O*Net, 2017). Currently, Arkansas LPNs report an average salary of $36,800 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017).

If you take your education one step further by completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree, look into statewide need for registered nurses. Job growth may swell 15% by the year 2024 (O*Net, 2017). The average annual salary for an Arkansas registered nurse is $57,630 per year (BLS, 2017).

Since graduates of Arkansas nurse practitioner degree programs may provide independent care, they are in high demand. Job openings for nurse practitioners may increase a staggering 36% through 2024 (O*Net, 2017). Those who work in this role bring in an average salary of $89,440 per year (BLS, 2017).

The school you attend may play a big role in shaping the future of your career. The type of clinical experience you get and the amount of experience you get are often key factors in your job options. You may also make connections at your institution that may serve you well throughout your career.

Keep this in mind as you explore different schooling options.

Nursing Degree Programs in Arkansas

Transition programs for nurses:

Graduate programs for nurses:

Entry level nursing programs:

The courses you may take as a nursing student are designed around the learning goals of your program. Core courses may include Introduction to Professional Nursing Concepts, Human Physiology, and Nursing Informatics. Later parts of your course include Nursing Concepts in Adult Health, Professional Role Implementation in Nursing, and Nursing Concepts in Critical Care. As you proceed through your course of study, you may complete over 600 hours of clinical work.

Arkansas LPN Programs

  • Entrance requirements: A high school diploma, clear health screens, and a clear background check
  • Credit hour range: 30 to 40 credits
  • Online training options: Not offered at this level, since clinical experience is mandatory
  • Licensure exams: NCLEX-PN

As a new aspiring nursing student, you may be interested in getting your feet wet and finding out if this is really the field for you. A licensed practical nursing degree could be the perfect fit. Most LPN programs only last one year, so you can build relevant skills and start working quickly. You should earn at least 30 credits by graduation. Depending on which school you attend in the future, you may be able to transfer some or all of your credits to an ADN or BSN program.

BSN Programs in Arkansas

  • Entrance requirements: A high school diploma, an approved criminal background check, and approved health screens
  • Credit hour range: 120 to 140 credits
  • Online training options: Unavailable, since clinical experience is a significant part of your education
  • Licensure exams: NCLEX-RN

BSN programs have gained a lot of attention in Arkansas lately. This is one of the most common options at Arkansas nursing programs. Baccalaureate nurses may work in many specialties, from OB/GYN and surgery to gerontology and oncology. Clinical rotations may take you into various healthcare settings and environments.

Arkansas MSN Schools

  • Entrance requirements: A Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a nursing license from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing
  • Credit hour range: 30 to 65 credits
  • Online training options: Available in some advanced nursing specialties
  • Licensure exams: Certification requirements vary between specialties

Once you finish your Bachelor’s degree, you may choose to continue your education with a Master’s degree at one of the top nursing schools in Arkansas. Some administrative specialties at the graduate level include nursing informatics, nursing leadership, and nurse education. If you’d prefer to work in a clinical role, you may choose to become a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist.

DNP and PhD Nursing Programs in Arkansas

  • Entrance requirements: A Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor’s degree in another field plus a Master of Science in Nursing, in addition to a nursing license
  • Credit hour range: Up to 100 credits
  • Online training options: Available in blended degree programs that combine online study and practical work
  • Licensure exams: Certification requirements vary between specialties

Doctoral programs offer top-tier training for extremely dedicated nurses. At this level of study, you may build your leadership skills and learn how to affect industrywide change in nursing.

Nursing Colleges in Arkansas with Nursing Bridge Programs

You may already have a degree, in which case the programs listed above may not be a perfect fit for you. Remember, the best nursing school in Arkansas is one that fits your specific needs and helps you get closer to your career goals. If you have a nursing degree or a non-nursing degree, a bridge program may be the ideal solution for you.

Some programs are intended for those who have a nursing degree, diploma, or certificate. LPN to RN and LPN to BSN programs make nursing education more accessible for LPNs with several years of experience. You may need to complete clinical rotations to broaden your scope of practice. RN to BSN programs, however, can often be done mostly online if you have several years of full-time nursing experience. Some nursing schools in Arkansas have RN to MSN programs that combine BSN and MSN coursework. This limits the amount of time you spend waiting to get accepted to a program and streamlines your transition to an advanced nursing role.

Other programs help Bachelor’s graduates move from other industries into nursing. Consider the accelerated BSN, which helps people earn their second Bachelor’s degree in 12 to 18 months of fast-paced nursing education.

Tips for Choosing the Top Nursing Schools in Arkansas

A lot goes into your selection of a nursing school, so don’t rush your choice. Programs often accept students for fall and spring start dates, so carefully evaluate each school to figure out if it’s a good fit for you. You may spend up to four years in a nursing program, so you want to feel comfortable there as you grow from a nursing student into a nursing professional.

What to Consider as You Contact Nursing Schools

  • Is the school accredited by the CCNE, the ACEN, or another national accreditation agency?
  • Is the school approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing?
  • How many students are accepted to the nursing program each year?
  • What resources are available for graduating students in terms of NCLEX preparation and job hunting?
  • What is the NCLEX pass rate for the program you’re considering?
  • Where do students complete clinical rotations and how many hours do they complete by graduation?

These are just a few things to think about as you compare schools. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a handful of programs, you should set aside time to tour each school on your list. Nothing compares to the information you get from a school visit. You may be able to see lab courses in progress, observe lecture courses, and see study facilities.

The financial aid system in Arkansas may provide you with a variety of scholarship, loan, and grant opportunities. CHI St. Vincent awards scholarships twice per year that are worth $1,000 to $2,000 each. Some scholarships are available on a school-specific basis, so you may wish to look into the opportunities offered by your nursing program. The Arkansas State Board of Nursing is also a good source for financial aid, including scholarships and loan repayment programs.

MSN Programs from Arkansas Schools

Listed below are all of the nationally accredited MSN programs with campus locations in Arkansas.

Online programs may not be available in all areas

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University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist - Adult Medical-Surgical (online), Nurse Educator (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock, AR)
Program Name: Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (online), Family Nurse Practitioner (online), Family Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (online), Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (online), Nursing Administration (online), Nursing Educator (online), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (online), Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Central Arkansas (Conway, AR)
Program Name: Adult Medical-Surgical Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Community/Family Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Phoenix (Multiple Locations)
Program Name: Nurse Practitioner (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited