The nursing field in Alaska is thriving, with many professionals working in the state’s hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes. In fact, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there are 10,478 licensed registered nurses and 1,040 advanced practice registered nurses working around the state.
These numbers are only going to increase in the years to come. The nursing field is undergoing a nationwide shortage of working professionals, and Alaska is no exception. Data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that Alaska is among the 14 states that will experience at least 20 percent growth in nursing jobs annually through 2022 and the US Health Resources and Services Administration projects that there will be a shortfall of 2,700 nurses in the state by 2025. Those in Alaska who are interested in combating this healthcare shortage can read on to find more information on the field, explore nursing schools in Alaska, and learn what steps are required to earn a license.
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Alaska Nursing Schools
In order to address the state’s nurse shortage, nursing schools in Alaska are working to attract more students to their programs. For example, the University of Alaska Anchorage has updated its admission process to shorten the waitlist time for its competitive bachelor’s degree in nursing program. In addition, the school has added a doctoral degree program to help train those interested in advanced practice nursing. Review the Alaska schools listed below to find a nursing program that matches your career goals.
Nurse Licensure in Alaska
After completing nursing school, the next hurdle is the licensing process. Although all states mandate that nurses obtain a license in order to work, every state has its own unique requirements. In Alaska, the Alaska Board of Nursing is charged with issuing nursing licenses and ensuring that these professionals – and the field, in general – adhere to state regulations. In addition, this agency is responsible for reviewing patient complaints against nurses and managing disciplinary action if needed.
Below is helpful information on initial licensure requirements and the renewal process for nurses in the state of Alaska:
- Successfully complete a Board-approved accredited nursing degree program
- Send a completed application, which has been signed and notarized, along with a passport-sized photograph to the Board
- Submit a check for $275 payable to the State of Alaska
- Complete the Nursing Program Verification form and arrange to have official nursing school transcripts sent directly to the Board
- Obtain a fingerprint card in order to undergo a criminal background check
- Register for and successfully pass the NCLEX examination
- Those who hold a license from another state can apply for an Alaska license by endorsement
Renewing an RN License in Alaska
Nurses in Alaska are required to renew their license every even numbered year, and deadline is November 30 for registered nurses. However, those who received their license within 90 days of the renewal date are exempt for that cycle.
The renewal fee for nursing licenses is $175. However, professionals who received their license within one year of the renewal period pay half that amount.
In addition, nurses must complete the state’s continued competency requirements, which include taking continuing education courses, participating in professional activities approved by the Board, and working at least 320 hours.
Licensing Requirements for Alaska Advanced Practice Nurses
Like registered nurses, advanced practice nurses in Alaska are required to hold a state license in order to practice. In addition to meeting the requirements for registered nurses, advanced practice nurses must provide proof of their advanced education, particularly coursework in pharmacology, drug therapy, and clinical management. Those who want to work as nurse anesthetists are required to provide proof of certification in that area.
Alaska Nursing Stats: RNs and APRNs
Partly due to retiring nurses and an increase in patients with health coverage, job opportunities for nurses around the country are expected to increase 16 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like other states, Alaska is going to see a rise in opportunities for registered nurses, as well as specialized advanced practice nurses.
Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Alaska
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|Southeast Alaska nonmetropolitan area||$38.75||$80,590|
|Railbelt / Southwest Alaska nonmetropolitan area||$38.19||$79,440|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Alaska vs. National Numbers
Resources for Alaska Nurses
Alaska’s nurses receive their licenses through the Alaska Board of Nursing. The Board is also tasked with investigating complaints against nurses and administering disciplinary actions.
The Alaska Emergency Nurses Association works to identify, and find solutions for, issues in the emergency nursing field in the state. Members of the association can take advantage of continuing education courses, professional events, and newsletters.
The Alaska Nurses Association supports nurses around the state by offering continuing education, community events, and research grants. In addition, the association keeps members abreast of what’s going on in the field, including information on state legislation that affects nursing practice.
Nurse practitioners and those who are studying to become nurse practitioners can join the Alaska Nurse Practitioner Association, which is designed to address the unique needs of this nursing area. The organization provides job listings, networking events, and education for these professionals.
The Alaska Professional Nurses Organization promotes quality health care by supporting nurses from different backgrounds around the state, whether they work in cities or rural areas. The organization provides learning and networking opportunities, as well as a quarterly newsletter.
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