In 2003, David Hathcock was a homeless veteran who was working as a bed washer. He was encouraged to consider nursing school when he began cleaning rooms as a housekeeper, and he used online tutorials for three months to learn the math skills he needed to enter the LPN program at Pulaski Tech. Through hard work and perseverance, Hathcock has become not just a nurse, but a winner of awards, a life-saving volunteer and a caregiver to many of his fellow Vets.

Nurses in Arkansas can follow Hathcock’s noble example no matter their gender, caring for patients in a number of different settings such as hospitals, patient homes, doctor’s offices, schools and outpatient clinics. The path to a nursing career can be a long and difficult one, but we at NursingDegrees are here to help.

Best Nursing Schools in Arkansas

As of August 2018, there are 32 nursing schools in Arkansas. In order to help prospective nurses in the Natural State find a nursing school that is suited to their needs, NursingDegrees.com has ranked these schools using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

We have created two separate rankings of the best nursing schools in Arkansas: one for undergraduates and one for graduate students. Alongside our rankings, we display data showing schools’ available nursing programs, tuition and fees, retention rates and more. These factors were used to help determine our ranking, and can also help nursing students to better understand the differences between different Arkansas nursing schools.

For more details on our ranking methodology, check the bottom of this page.

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. In order for a school to be accredited, it has to exceed certain educational quality standards. You can think of accreditation like a seal of approval, stating that a school meets the standards for nursing education in the U.S.

Students attending an accredited nursing school in Arkansas have multiple advantages over students attending an unaccredited nursing school. Certain types of financial aid may only be available to accredited schools, and it is much easier to transfer credits from one accredited school to another. The benefits continue after graduation, too; accredited degrees can be preferred by some 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 (LPN) in Arkansas.

Registered nurses, or RNs, are required to complete an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). They must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

RNs who wish to take their careers to the next level and become nurse practitioners (NPs) need to complete a master’s degree in nursing and pass the national NP certification exam.

Arkansas Nursing Organizations

There are a number of nursing organizations in Arkansas that can be helpful to both nursing students and working nurses. Here’s a brief overview of a few of these nursing organizations.

  • Arkansas Nurses Association (ARNA):

    ARNA is committed to improving standards for nursing and promoting professional development for nurses. Members have access to the ARNA Career Center’s job listings, local networking opportunities, discounts on continuing education courses and more.

  • Arkansas School Nurses Association (ASNA):

    By unifying school nurses across Arkansas school districts, ASNA works to promote and advance the profession of school nursing. This nonprofit organization works as a leader for Arkansas school nurses, helping them to deliver quality care to their schools and communities.

  • Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association (ANPA):

    ANPA works to further the interests of NPs in Arkansas through education. The association strives to educate consumers, healthcare providers, third party reimbursement agencies and NPs themselves in order to promote standards in healthcare and professional growth for NPs.

ARKANSAS-SPECIFIC CONTINUING EDUCATION

Whether you are an LPN, an RN or an NP in Arkansas, you have a few options for fulfilling continuing education requirements in order to renew your Arkansas nursing license. Every two years, you may:

  1. Complete 15 contact hours of accredited nursing activities
  2. Earn a nationally-recognized certification or recertification
  3. Complete at least one college credit hour course in nursing with a grade of C or better

NPs with prescriptive authority must also complete an additional five contact hours of pharmacotherapeutics related to their specialty certification.

There are many factors that can change the requirements to renew your license. For example, if you are renewing your license after fewer than five years of inactive status, you must complete 20 contact hours instead of 15. In order to make sure you understand the most up-to-date requirements for your particular situation, review the standards listed at the Arkansas State Board of Nursing.

Hospitals in Arkansas

Earning experience in the field of nursing is crucial for nurses all over America. Nurses in Arkansas who are looking for entry-level positions or permanent careers may be able to find what they’re looking for at the various hospitals in the state. The three largest hospitals in Arkansas include:

  1. Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock (Little Rock): The Baptist Medical Center-Little Rock is a Christian hospital featuring points of access across Arkansas. In addition to its many medical services — including a bariatric center, a heart institute and a women’s center — this hospital is working to encourage healthy eating habits by hosting Baptist Health Farmers Markets.
  2. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 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 is a faith-based, nonprofit hospital that has achieved the Magnet designation, which is the highest recognition for nursing. It takes particular pride in its centers for heart care, neurosciences, orthopedics and maternity.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we ranked 6,758 United States institutions with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list and our graduate list. Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. (Schools that did not provide data for all 11 criteria were disqualified from the 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. 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. “Heroes Caring for Heroes,” Arkansas Money & Politics, Accessed October 2018, http://amppob.com/heroes-caring-heroes/
  4. Continuing Education, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Accessed August 2018, https://www.arsbn.org/continuing-education
  5. Arkansas Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, http://www.arna.org
  6. Arkansas School Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, https://asna.nursingnetwork.com/
  7. Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association, Accessed August 2018, https://anpassociation.enpnetwork.com/
  8. Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock, Baptist Health, Accessed August 2018, https://www.baptist-health.com/location/baptist-health-medical-centerlittle-rock-little-rock
  9. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Accessed August 2018, https://uamshealth.com/
  10. CHI St. Vincent Infirmary, CHI St. Vincent, Accessed August 2018, https://www.chistvincent.com/hospitals-locations/chi-st-vincent-infirmary

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