Best Nursing Schools And Programs In Arkansas


Arkansas is an excellent state to work in as a nurse. Apart from the high demand for healthcare professionals, the hourly salary rate for nurses is quite good, too.

Take note that like most states, Arkansas has its own set of requirements for nurse licensure. If you’re planning on pursuing your career in this state or you’re looking for the best nursing program in Arkansas, this guide has all the information you need to know.

Requirements: How To Become An RN In Arkansas

Complete A Nursing Program

Before pursuing nursing, one of the most important things you have to consider is the nursing program you’ll take. It needs to be a state-approved nursing program.

In addition to that, your nursing program of choice should also be approved by the Department of Higher Education. It’s also critical to choose a program that’s been accredited by the recognized body.

Pass The NCLEX

Before you can take the exam, you need to apply for licensure. You can get this through the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. You’ll also need to secure permission before you can take the exam.

Get Your License

To secure your license, you’ll need to complete an application form, pay the associated feed, and present a valid social security number.

In case you’re licensed in a different state, you’ll need to verify it. If the state you came from participates in Nursys, you can complete the Nursys verification process, pay the required fees and send the receipt to the Arkansas Board of Nursing for verification.

If the state you came from isn’t a part of the Nursys, you’ll be required to contact your state’s Board of Nursing and have them submit an official Verification of Licensure form to the Board of Nursing (Arkansas) on your behalf.

For first-time applicants, going through a complete background check (state and federal levels) might be required. After this has been completed, you’ll be asked to submit a fingerprint which will be forwarded to the Arkansas State Police for verification.

To get the full details on getting your license in Arkansas, click here.

ADN Programs in Arkansas

An ADN program will take you around two to three years to finish. After completing it, you’ll need to meet a few more requirements before you can start looking for work. The list includes completing a background check, passing the NCLEX and securing your nursing license.

In picking the best ADN program for you, consider looking at accreditation first. This ensures that the program you’ll choose meet not just the state but the world standards in nursing education.

Apart from that, you should also look at its program outcomes. To measure how great a program is, you need to check the school’s graduation statistics, NCLEX data, employment statistics, and the satisfaction of both students and graduates.

LPN To RN Programs In Arkansas

Nursing students in Arkansas who are planning on taking this pathway need to be a high school graduate.

Additionally, they must also submit their official transcripts from all the schools and universities they’ve attended. Certification of CPR for health care providers is a requirement, too.

The costs of LPN programs in Arkansas vary. In general, however, you should expect to cover the costs of your course materials, tuition, and boarding fees if applicable. Most institutions have financial aid programs that can help you with these expenses.

BSN Programs In Arkansas

best nursing schools and programs in arkansas

BSN programs in Arkansas can take about 4 years to complete. The duration of the programs can be shortened or changed depending on what the institution offers. For example, institutions that offer bridge programs can cut that time by half so that students can graduate in just two years.

The admission requirements for BSN programs in Arkansas vary. In general, applicants need to meet the institution’s admission standards, particularly its nursing program’s admission standards. Some institutions require a minimum 2.75 cumulative high school GPA. Take note of these requirements when hunting for the best nursing program in Arkansas.

MSN Programs In Arkansas

For nurses who want to advance their careers or secure a higher position, enrolling in the best MSN program is a must. It’ll help them develop the skillsets they need to meet the demands of the profession.

You can get your MSN degree after about 3 years. This will depend on your qualifications as well as your school. If you are currently working, there are part-time and online MSN programs you can check out.

Now, for the admission requirements, most universities and institutions require applicants to submit all of their official transcripts. They also need to have an active and current license to practice as a registered nurse in Arkansas and professional endorsements that need to be addressed to the institution’s admission department.

Accelerated Nursing Programs In Arkansas

Accelerated nursing programs allow applicants to secure their degree quicker than other programs. In fact, most courses can be completed in 13 months for students who are willing to commit full-time.

Like other nursing programs, institutions have different requirements that you need to meet before they can accept you as a student. The cost of these programs will depend on the prerequisite courses you have to take and other factors.

Best RN Programs In Arkansas

Henderson State UniversityView School Profile
University of Central ArkansasView School Profile
University of ArkansasView School Profile
University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesView School Profile
University of Arkansas - Fort SmithView School Profile
Harding UniversityView School Profile
John Brown UniversityView School Profile
Arkansas State UniversityView School Profile
Arkansas Tech UniversityView School Profile
Southern Arkansas UniversityView School Profile

A Closer Look At The Best RN Programs In Arkansas

Finding the best nursing programs in Arkansas isn’t easy. Apart from the courses and the program outcomes, you need to consider the school’s reputation, its NCLEX pass rate, tuition fees, accreditation, and acceptance rate. These are the factors we considered when creating this list.

1. Henderson State University

henderson state university

Located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Henderson State University is a great choice for students looking for a BSN program that can provide them with the education and experience they need to be successful in the field. It has a low student-to-instructor ratio which helps make sure their students are able to learn well.

The university has a high first-time pass rate. In fact, their Arkansas State Board of Nursing NCLEX first-time rate was 95%. They are also quite proud to share that their graduates are able to achieve 100% employment within 3 months after graduating.

Henderson State University offers an on-campus BSN program. For applicants who are currently working, they can take advantage of its online RN-BSN and online MSN programs.

2. University Of Central Arkansas

university central arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas is based in Conway. This institution has small class sizes that allow its faculty to focus on their students’ optimum learning.

Its program is considered one of the largest in Arkansas. It has one admission per year.

For you to be accepted, you need to have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher. For all nursing prerequisite credit hours, a grade of C or higher is required.

If you aren’t born in the United States or in a country where the official language isn’t English, you’ll be required to submit a document proving your English proficiency. This includes an iBT TOEFL exam score of 83 or higher.

To know all the admission requirements for the University of Central Arkansas, click here.

3. University Of Arkansas

university of arkansas

Located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the University of Arkansas is considered as a first-class institution offering premier nursing education. In fact, it’s one of the top public schools in the country.

The University of Arkansas prepares its students to work not just in a hospital setting but in community and school settings, too. They are taught how to manage acute and chronic patients, promote health and wellness, and show excellent social and communication skills with their patients.

Applications for the program should be submitted electronically. As of now, the university isn’t accepting paper applications.

You can find the complete list of requirements here.

4. University Of Arkansas For Medical Sciences

university of arkansas for medical sciences

Compared with other institutions, the cost of studying nursing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is higher. However, with the quality of education it has to offer, you’ll find the price worth it.

Its traditional BSN program is particularly created for students who were able to complete 58 semester hours of general education courses. Applicants need to have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 or higher.

If you have attended a nursing school before, you’ll need to present a letter to the university. This letter should show your standing at your previous school. If that’s not possible, you can present an official transcript showing successful completion.

To submit your application online, click here.

5. University Of Arkansas – Fort Smith

university of arkansas fort smith

For regional students, the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith is an affordable option. A lot of nursing students find its low tuition cost quite attractive, causing its nursing students to double in size in the last couple of years.

The nursing program University of Arkansas – Fort Smith offers has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

In 2019, its employment rate reached 87.5%. This number reflects employment after successful completion of the NCLEX.

6. Harding University

harding university

Harding University is located in Searcy. Although it’s in a small town, the university’s program is considered as one of the best in Arkansas.

Its BSN program is a full-time, four-year traditional track. An individualized track is offered to students who possess unencumbered nursing license without a bachelor’s degree. There’s also an accelerated program which you can check out here.

Harding University offers several scholarship opportunities. There’s the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association scholarship and the F.A Davis Scholarships.

7. John Brown University

john brown university

John Brown University is a small private school. Because of its status, students don’t get entitled to in-state tuition. However, because of financial aids, its students end up paying less.

The university’s BSN program is relatively new. Despite that, it’s showing positive results. In fact, its pass rates have never gone below 90% since its graduates started taking the NCLEX in 2018.

To know more about its program details, click here.

8. Arkansas State University

arkansas state university

Arkansas State University is considered the second-largest university in the state. With its campus’ size of 1,376 acres, it has a lot of space to accommodate thousands of students.

Apart from its traditional, accelerated and online RN-BSN programs, the university also offers LPN-BSN, AASN, and MSN degrees.

To qualify for its traditional BSN program, you’ll need at least 30 semester hours with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. For international students, a TOEFL score of 570 on the paper-based test and 83 on the internet-based test is required. You can also show a Pearson Test of English Academic or PTE score of 56 or a 6.5 score for the IELTS as alternatives.

To find out how you can apply, click here.

9. Arkansas Tech University

arkansas tech university

Arkansas Tech University’s nursing program has improved dramatically over the years and its impressive NCLEX pass rates can serve as proof.

Apart from that, a lot of students find it as an excellent but affordable option, particularly students from states bordering Arkansas. They are given the opportunity to waive out-of-state tuition so that they can get access to in-state tuition.

10. Southern Arkansas University

southern arkansas university

Located in a quiet town, Southern Arkansas University offers a unique atmosphere to its students. Being quiet and tranquil, you can focus as much as you want in your nursing program.

Apart from the academic requirements, applicants are required to show a CPR certification and liability insurance. Those who are enrolled in its clinical nursing course need to get the Hepatitis B vaccine prior to clinical exposure. It’s required to have the series completed within that first year.