Nursing Programs in Arkansas

As of October 22nd, 2017 we have programs across 31 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 RN-BSN, MSN and Certified Nursing Assistant. You can take these and a range of other course/degree options from schools that include South College, Sacred Heart University Online, Grand Canyon University - Online. 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:

Have a nursing specialty or different state in mind? Use the shortcut links on the far left to speed up your search.

You can take these and a range of other course/degree options from schools that include Wilkes University, Walden University, and The University of Texas at Arlington. If you’re looking to further your studies, our programs are found across the U.S. in states such as Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

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 are completely new to healthcare, there are undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral program options to explore. 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.

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, you should be able to choose the program that will best fit your needs. 

Nursing Education in Arkansas

As you decide which nursing degree you decide to earn, be aware that 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 Arkansas online nursing programs.

Nursing Degree Programs in Arkansas

School Programs Location
UCA School of Nursing Bachelor's and master's programs and a practice-focused Doctor of Nursing Practice Conway
University of Arkansas Eleanor Mann School of Nursing BSN, RN to BSN, online Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice Fayetteville
Baptist Health Schools Practical and Registered Nursing Little Rock
Southern Arkansas University BSN and RN-BSN online Magnolia

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 healthcare 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.

Arkansas Nursing College Bridge Programs

You may already have a degree, in which case the programs listed above may not be a perfect fit for you. If you have a nursing degree or a non-nursing degree, an Arkansas nursing degree bridge program may be the ideal solution for you.

Some programs are intended for those who have a nursing degree, diploma, or certificate. Such programs make nursing education more accessible to LPNs with several years of experience. Depending on your school, 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. The new (UALR) program mentioned above is a form of this bridge program, with its accelerated associate’s degree, RN license availability and hospital placement.

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’s program Arkansas State Board of Nursing approved?
  • 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?


Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a handful of programs, you should set aside time to tour each school on your list. A personal visit gives you invaluable opportunities to see lab courses in progress, observe lecture courses, and see study facilities first hand.


Arkansas Nursing School Financial Aid

The state’s scholarship, loan, and grant opportunities include:


2017 Career Outlook for Arkansas Nursing Professions

If you’re interested in nursing in Arkansas, you may already know the state is experiencing a nursing shortage. The good news is the state, its hospitals and schools are taking a multi-pronged approach to addressing with the problem. One arm of that strategy is to focus on retention. The new, mandatory nursing residency program at Mercy Northwest in Northwest Arkansas aims to reduce turnover rates among new RNs.

The nursing shortage has forced some departments in the hospital that typically wouldn’t hire new graduates to do so; the residency program gives these new nurses an opportunity to get used to the various work environments — critical care and trauma for example. Nursing residents give the program positive reviews, saying it helps prevent them from being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of responsibilities they face almost immediately on the job.

Addressing the supply of new nurses is another arm of the state’s approach to boosting its nursing pool that’s already under way. The new Arkansas Colleges of Health Education facility in Fort Smith will welcome students in 2020.

The third component of statewide efforts to address dangerous nursing shortages is  partnerships between schools and hospitals. As of May 2017, the University of Arkansas - Little Rock(UALR) has created a fast-tracking nursing degree bridge program with CHI St. Vincent. In the program, 40 new students annually will embark on an accelerated 18-month associate’s degree. Students are then eligible to earn their RN license and work at the hospital.

Because demand for nurses is high and projected to grow nationally, rural areas have more difficulty attracting nurses. In fact many rural parts of Arkansas hold nursing job fairs to try to keep new nursing graduates in the state (Arkansas Matters, 2017). If you will fund your education with loans, you may look into loan forgiveness programs that require you to work in a Health Professional Shortage Area.


Demand and Salary Projections for Arkansas Nursing Graduates

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 has among the country’s highest numbers of LPN jobs, which have 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 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 will likely shape your career. Keep in mind both the type and quantity of clinical experience you get are often key factors in your job options. You may also make connections at your institution that serve you well throughout your career.

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