The right professional environment can make a lot of difference in your day to day satisfaction, and aspiring nurses in Arizona have a lot to look forward to. According to a survey by personal finance website WalletHub, Arizona ranks seventh on the list of best places for nurses to live and work.

Whether you’re planning to look for jobs in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools, patient homes or another occupational setting, the Grand Canyon state has a lot to offer. Read on to find out how to become a nurse in Arizona, learn about nursing colleges in the state and get a picture of what’s required in terms of nursing certification and licensure.

Best Nursing Schools in Arizona

A total of 31 Arizona schools offer nursing degree programs, and choosing the right one for you can be tough. We’ve put together two separate lists of the best nursing programs in Arizona, one for undergraduates and another for graduates, to help you make the most informed decision possible when choosing where to earn your own nursing degree.

The data we used to create these rankings was compiled by the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). If you’re interested in the specifics of the methodology we used to calculate the scores for each school, you’ll find an explanation at the bottom of this page.

For now, however, take a look at our lists of the best nursing schools in Arizona at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,064
Undergraduate graduation rate
13%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
69%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$1,920
Undergraduate graduation rate
17%
Undergraduate retention rate
68%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
86%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$1,884
Undergraduate graduation rate
13%
Undergraduate retention rate
64%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
65%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$3,060
Undergraduate graduation rate
16%
Undergraduate retention rate
58%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
62%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$2,400
Undergraduate graduation rate
30%
Undergraduate retention rate
54%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
53%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,896
Undergraduate graduation rate
23%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
76%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$9,684
Undergraduate graduation rate
67%
Undergraduate retention rate
84%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,064
Undergraduate graduation rate
18%
Undergraduate retention rate
70%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
75%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$18,900
Undergraduate graduation rate
100%
Undergraduate retention rate
67%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$8,698
Undergraduate graduation rate
53%
Undergraduate retention rate
76%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
92%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
7
Graduate Tuition
$9,783
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
7
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$8,956
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
3
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$10,810
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$11,372
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
3
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$16,581
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2

Nursing Accreditation in Arizona

Accredited nursing schools in Arizona have been thoroughly reviewed by one or several organizations and found to have met or exceeded minimum quality standards. Accreditation is an important part of a trustworthy education — employers and advanced degree programs may disregard credits earned at unaccredited nursing schools.

When deciding where to earn your own nursing degree, make sure it’s accredited by one or more of the following agencies:

  • National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC)
  • The Higher Learning Commission’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)

Arizona Nursing Licensure

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) as well as registered nurses (RNs) in all 50 states are required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exams. The NCLEX-PN is for LPNs, while the NCLEX-RN is for RNs. Meanwhile, nurse practitioners (NPs) must earn a current RN license, a graduate degree, at least 500 hours of clinical practice and an approved national certification before being licensed.

Arizona is part of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) along with 28 other states. Once a nurse is granted a multi-state license, they may practice nursing in any of the eNLC states without having to acquire additional licenses. To do so, nurses must have a valid SSN, no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing, no state or federal felony convictions, the passage of state and federal background checks, English proficiency, graduation from a board approved nursing program, and the passage of the NCLEX.

To learn more about how to earn your nursing license in Arizona, visit the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

Arizona Nursing organizations

There are several professional nursing organizations that are unique to the state of Arizona. Joining one of these organizations can help you advance your career by providing professional development opportunities, facilitating communication among nurses and Since they may be of value to nursing students and working students, we have provided Here’s a brief overview of a few of the major associations for Arizona nurses:

  • Arizona Nurses Association (AzNA):

    AzNA was founded in 1919 and known as the oldest and largest nursing association in Arizona. Its members share the common purpose of advancing excellence in nursing.

  • Arizona Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AzANA):

    AzANA ‘s mission is to assure patient safety, educate members and advance the clinical practice of nurse anesthetists. The association holds an annual conference and other events, as well as providing peer assistance for nurse anesthetists on the job.

  • Arizona Organization of Nurse Executives (AzONE):

    AzONE is committed to promoting safe, effective and affordable care through its leadership and the advancement of its members as nurse leaders. Members have access to an online career center and a variety of professional development resources and networking opportunities.

Arizona-Specific Continuing Education

There are no continuing education (CE) requirements for LPNs and RNs in Arizona. NPs, however, must maintain their national certifications. NPs who are authorized to prescribe or dispense controlled substances and have a valid DEA number do have some CE requirements, including a minimum of three hours related to opioids, substance abuse/use disorder or addiction per licensing period.

It is important to note that although Arizona does not have specific CE requirements for LPNS and RNs, individuals may need to take CE courses to meet their employer’s demands. CE courses can also help them stay up-to-date on trends and innovations in nursing. Check up-to-date continuing education requirements for Arizona nurses at this resource.

Hospitals in Arizona

There are several hospitals in Arizona that frequently hire entry-level nurses and provide them with a solid foundation on which to build their careers, and knowing a little about a few of the major medical centers in the area can help you better understand where you might want to seek employment after graduation. Here’s a quick introduction to three of the largest hospitals in the state.

  • Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix (Phoenix) Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix earned a spot in U.S. News & World Report’s list of the “Top 50 Hospitals in the Nation” for its specialty areas of geriatrics, nephrology and urology. More than 40 services can be delivered at Banner, including sleep medicine and integrative therapy.
  • Banner Desert Medical Center (Mesa) Banner Desert Medical Center offers state-of-the-art technologies such as da Vinci surgical robots and 3D cancer technology. It is also home to a hospital-based sanctuary, which is equipped with a team of licensed practitioners who help patients reduce stress, renew energy and restore their sense of well-being.
  • Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center (Phoenix) Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center was the first hospital in the Phoenix area. It includes the Barrow Neurological Institute®, the Norton Thoracic Institute, Center for Women’s Health, University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s and a Level I Trauma Center.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  2. American Hospital Directory, Accessed September 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  3. 2018’s Best & Worst States for Nurses, WalletHub, Accessed September 2018, https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-for-nurses/4041/#methodology
  4. RN / LPN Examination, Accessed September 2018, https://www.azbn.gov/licensure-certification/application-instructions/rn-lpn-examination/
  5. High Salaries Makes Arizona One of Top 10 Places in U.S. for Nurses, Ktar News, Accessed September 2018, http://ktar.com/story/2050233/high-salaries-make-arizona-one-of-top-10-places-in-us-for-nurses/
  6. RN/LPN/APRN Renewal, Arizona State Board of Nursing, Accessed September 2018, https://www.azbn.gov/licensure-certification/application-instructions/rn-lpn-aprn-renewal/
  7. Arizona Nurses Association, Accessed September 2018, https://aznurse.site-ym.com/
  8. Arizona Organization of Nurses Executives, Accessed September 2018, https://www.myazone.org
  9. Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix, Banner Health, Accessed September 2018, https://www.bannerhealth.com/locations/phoenix/banner-university-medical-center-phoenix
  10. Banner Desert Medical Center, Banner Health, Accessed September 2018, https://www.bannerhealth.com/locations/mesa/banner-desert-medical-center
  11. St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Dignity Health, Accessed September 2018, https://www.dignityhealth.org/arizona/locations/stjosephs

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