Top Nursing Schools in Arkansas

Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 University of Arkansas Community Hope – Texarkana 96.50 $$$$$ 15:1 1 31%
2 Phillips Community College 96.25 $$$$$ 12:1 1 27%
3 Arkansas Northeastern College 95.75 $$$$$ 14:1 1 23%
4 Arkansas State University – Newport 95.25 $$$$$ 16:1 1 32%
5 North Arkansas College 94.75 $$$$$ 16:1 1 23%
6 Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas 94.75 $$$$$ 16:1 1 24%
7 Baptist Health Schools-Little Rock 94.25 $$$$$ 13:1 1 39%
8 University of Arkansas Community College – Batesville 94.00 $$$$$ 17:1 1 24%
9 Ozarka College 93.25 $$$$$ 16:1 1 24%
10 South Arkansas Community College 93.25 $$$$$ 14:1 1 13%
11 Rich Mountain Community College 93.00 $$$$$ 17:1 1 24%
12 Southeast Arkansas College 91.50 $$$$$ 14:1 1 19%
13 Arkansas State University – Mountain Home 91.25 $$$$$ 20:1 1 24%
14 University of Arkansas Community College – Morrilton 91.00 $$$$$ 20:1 1 27%
15 College of the Ouachitas 91.00 $$$$$ 15:1 1 23%
16 East Arkansas Community College 90.75 $$$$$ 16:1 1 13%
17 Black River Technical College 90.75 $$$$$ 16:1 1 18%
18 NorthWest Arkansas Community College 87.75 $$$$$ 18:1 1 16%
19 National Park College 87.00 $$$$$ 26:1 1 18%
Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 Arkansas State University-Main Campus 95.75 $$$$$ 17:1 1 39%
2 Arkansas Tech University 95.50 $$$$$ 20:1 2 45%
3 University of Central Arkansas 95.25 $$$$$ 17:1 2 45%
4 University of Arkansas at Little Rock 95.00 $$$$$ 13:1 5 27%
5 University of Arkansas at Monticello 94.75 $$$$$ 17:1 5 28%
6 Southern Arkansas University Main Campus 94.50 $$$$$ 16:1 5 31%
7 Henderson State University 94.00 $$$$$ 17:1 5 36%
8 University of Arkansas 94.00 $$$$$ 19:1 2 62%
9 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 93.75 $$$$$ 15:1 10 27%
10 Harding University 93.75 $$$$$ 16:1 10 63%
11 University of Arkansas-Fort Smith 93.50 $$$$$ 18:1 5 26%

Explore Arkansas Nursing Schools

For those interested in becoming a nurse, there are several different nursing schools in Arkansas, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, to help individuals achieve their goals. The search tool below can help aspiring nurses vet academic options and find the right Arkansas nursing school.

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Understanding Nursing Licensure in Arkansas

Arkansas requires all nurses to be licensed before practicing, including registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, licensed practical nurses and psychiatric technician nurses. Just as with other states, Arkansas has its own unique requirements for nurse licensure. According to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN), the following are the eligibility requirements for becoming a nurse, renewing a nursing license and/or becoming a licensed APRN.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduate from an approved nursing program with a minimum of an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Complete an initial licensure application (usually done online)
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Register and pay for the appropriate National Council Licensure Exam for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN)
  • Successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam
  • Complete a fingerprint card and INA Search ID for criminal background check
  • Make payment of applicable licensure application fees
  • Possess a valid social security number
  • Possess a physical mailing address and valid e-mail address
  • Obtain verification of completion of an approved nursing program
  • Have an official transcript sent directly from one’s nursing school to the ASBN
  • If licensed in another state, nurses can become licensed in Arkansas through the licensure endorsement process

Renewing an RN License in AR

Licenses may be renewed up to 60 days before expiration

Make payment of appropriate renewal and late fees, if applicable

Complete requisite continuing education requirements, which includes: either 15 hours of accredited practice-oriented activities, nationally recognized certification or recertification, or completion of at least one college credit hour in nursing with a C grade or better

Licenses must be renewed every other year

Renewal cannot be done online if:

  • The license has been expired for more than five years
  • The applicant has been a convicted of a crime
  • The primary state of residence is Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, or any “compact” state other than Arkansas

Licensure Requirements for Arkansas APRNs

Even though most nurses in Arkansas are RNs or LPNs, there are many advanced practice nurses who work in specialized areas. These APRNs are subject to additional licensing standards, such as:

  • Hold a current Arkansas RN license or an RN license from a compact state
  • Completion of an accredited advanced nursing practice master’s or doctorate level program
  • Verification of nursing certification sent directly to the ASBN
  • Prescriptive authority must be applied for separately, following issuance of APRN license

Additional information concerning licensure for APRNs in Arkansas can be found on the ASBN website.

Nursing by the Numbers in Arkansas

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the registered nursing profession is expected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is more than twice as fast as the national average for all occupations. The following tables illustrate wages for those working in the state of Arkansas.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Arkansas

Area Hourly Median Wage Annual Median Wage
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway $28.73 $59,760
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers AR-MO $26.71 $55,550
South Arkansas nonmetropolitan area $26.05 $54,170
Fort Smith AR-OK $25.95 $53,970
Jonesboro $25.60 $53,240
Hot Springs $25.47 $52,970
West Arkansas nonmetropolitan area $25.16 $52,320
East Arkansas nonmetropolitan area $24.19 $50,320
Pine Bluff $24.08 $50,100
Central Arkansas nonmetropolitan area $23.72 $49,330

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Arkansas vs. National Numbers

  • Arkansas
  • National
  • Annual Salary (25th percentile)
  • Annual Salary (median)
  • Annual Salary (75th percentile)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Total Employment (2014)
2022 occupational outlook
Avg. annual openings (2012 – 2022)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Resources & Associations for Arkansas Nurses

American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Arkansas Chapter

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) is the premier professional organization for psychiatric and mental health nurses in the United States. Their Arkansas branch has the goals of promoting the psychiatric and mental health nursing profession within Arkansas, including dissemination of nursing research and facilitating the networking of mental health and psychiatric nurses.

Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association

The interests of nurse practitioners in Arkansas are promoted and protected by the Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association (ANPA). The ANPA promotes high standards for nurse practitioners in Arkansas and lobbies on behalf of nurse practitioners at all levels of Arkansas government.

Arkansas Nurses Association

The Arkansas Nurses Association (ARNA) is the sole professional organization in Arkansas that represents all registered nurses. The ARNA helps registered nurses by looking out for and promoting the professional and physical well-being of all nurses who practice in Arkansas.

Arkansas School Nurses Association

The Arkansas School Nurses Association (ASNA) advocates on behalf of those in the nurse education profession. The ASNA aims to ensure quality nursing education is delivered to students, as well as improve the status of nursing education in Arkansas.

Arkansas State Board of Nursing

The Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN) is responsible for setting the standards for all licensed nurses in the state of Arkansas. The ASBN also handles nursing discipline for violations of nursing guidelines and rules.

Little Rock Black Nurses Association of Arkansas

The Little Rock Black Nurses Association (LRBNAA) is a non-profit organization with the goal of promoting and helping meet the health care needs of blacks and other minorities in Arkansas. The LRBNAA also works to reduce racial disparities in both health care and the Arkansas nursing profession.