David Hathcock was a homeless veteran with a drug addiction who turned his life around and became a nurse. He can now be found providing nursing care to his fellow vets at Little Rock’s Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. Hathcock was honored for his work on the Great 100 Nurses Celebration of Arkansas 2018 honoree list.

There are many other nurses, like Hathcock, who enjoy rewarding careers in a number of different settings around Arkansas such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools, outpatient clinics, and patient homes.

Best Nursing Schools in Arkansas

As of August 2018, there are X nursing schools in Arkansas. NursingDegrees.com used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System or IPEDS to create two separate rankings of the best nursing schools in Arkansas. While one ranking is designed for undergraduates, the other one is for graduate students. For more details on our ranking methodology, check out the bottom of this page.

With our rankings, prospective nurses can learn about the tuition and fees, acceptance rates, number of online programs offered, and other factors of the nursing schools in The Natural State. Here are our rankings for undergraduate and graduate nursing schools in Arkansas:

01
Arkansas Tech University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Undergraduate tuition
$5,256
Undergraduate graduation rate
35%
Undergraduate retention rate
69%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
02
Cossatot Community College of the Univer...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,445
Undergraduate graduation rate
43%
Undergraduate retention rate
80%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
89%
03
University of Arkansas Community College...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,130
Undergraduate graduation rate
24%
Undergraduate retention rate
64%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
93%
04
Arkansas State University-Main Campus
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$6,060
Undergraduate graduation rate
45%
Undergraduate retention rate
75%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
94%
05
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$3,840
Undergraduate graduation rate
26%
Undergraduate retention rate
65%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
06
Arkansas Northeastern College
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,156
Undergraduate graduation rate
26%
Undergraduate retention rate
65%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
07
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$6,495
Undergraduate graduation rate
30%
Undergraduate retention rate
68%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
08
University of Arkansas Community College...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,980
Undergraduate graduation rate
45%
Undergraduate retention rate
62%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
81%
09
Phillips Community College of the Univer...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,490
Undergraduate graduation rate
29%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
10
Black River Technical College
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,136
Undergraduate graduation rate
25%
Undergraduate retention rate
64%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
90%
01
Arkansas State University-Main Campus
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$4,626
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
02
University of Central Arkansas
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$4,594
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
03
University of Arkansas
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$7,379
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
04
Arkansas Tech University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$4,932
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0

Nursing Accreditation in Arkansas

Nursing school accreditation is important in Arkansas. When a school has been accredited by one or a few organizations, it has met or exceeded the minimum quality standards and earned a seal of approval.

By attending an accredited nursing school in Arkansas, prospective nurses may be eligible for financial aid and have an easier time transferring credits. They may also stand out in the eyes of employers. The major nursing school accreditation agencies in Arkansas include:

  • National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Arkansas Nursing Licensure

The completion of a certificate or degree program that’s approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing as well as the passage of the NCLEX-PN exam is required for a student to become a licensed practical nurse or LPN in Arkansas. Registered nurses or RNs are required to complete an associate’s degree in nursing or ADN or a bachelor of science in nursing or BSN. They must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam. RNs who wish to take their careers to the next level and become nurse practitioners or NPs need to complete a master’s degree in nursing and pass the national NP certification exam.

Both LPNs and RNs in Arkansas are required to participate in 15 continuing education hours every two years. NPs must also complete 15 continuing education hours every two year licensing period as well as an additional five hours in pharmacotherapeutics. This resource offers up-to-date continuing education requirements for all types of nurses in Arkansas.

Arkansas Nursing Organizations

There are a number of nursing organizations in Arkansas that both nursing students and working nurses may find valuable. Here’s a brief overview of a few of these nursing organizations.

  • Arkansas Nurses Association (ARNA):

    ARNA is committed to fostering the high standards of nursing practice, promoting professional development, and advocating for the nursing profession. This organization collaborates with healthcare providers to facilitate access to quality care for the people of Arkansas.

  • Arkansas School Nurses Association (ASNA):

    ASNA strives to improve, promote, and advance the school nursing profession through professional development and organizational unity.

  • Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association (ANPA):

    ANPA’s mission is to support, educate, and unite the professional identity of nurse practitioners in Arkansas.

Hospitals in Arkansas

Entry-level nurses in Arkansas who would like to gain valuable experience in the field of nursing should consider applying for positions at the various hospitals in the state. The three largest hospitals in Arkansas include:

  1. Baptist Health Medical Center – Little Rock (Little Rock): Baptist Medical Center- Little Rock offers a bariatric center, heart institute, orthopedic center, heart failure and transplant institute, and women’s center.
  2. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Medical Center (Little Rock): THE UAMS Medical Center is the only academic health sciences center in Arkansas. It is also home to the first and only comprehensive stroke center in the state.
  3.  CHI St. Vincent Infirmary (Little Rock): CHI St. Vincent Infirmary offers more than 600 licensed beds and has been ranked as one of the best hospitals in Arkansas by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, it has achieved the Magnet designation, which is the highest recognition for nursing.
Sources & Methodology
  1. American Hospital Directory, Accessed August 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  2. Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Accessed August 2018, https://www.littlerock.va.gov/features/19_VA_Nurses_among_top_100_in_Arkansas.asp
  3. Continuing Education, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Accessed August 2018, https://www.arsbn.org/continuing-education
  4. Arkansas Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, http://www.arna.org
  5. Arkansas School Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, https://asna.nursingnetwork.com/
  6. Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association, Accessed August 2018, https://anpassociation.enpnetwork.com/
  7. Baptist Health Medical Center- Little Rock, Baptist Health, Accessed August 2018, https://www.baptist-health.com/location/baptist-health-medical-centerlittle-rock-little-rock
  8. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Accessed August 2018, https://uamshealth.com/
  9. CHI St. Vincent Infirmary, CHI St. Vincent, Accessed August 2018, https://www.chistvincent.com/hospitals-locations/chi-st-vincent-infirmary

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