In the early days, nurses in Oklahoma were trained in hospital programs and not required to undergo registration or licensure. Since 1913, however, all Oklahoma nurses have been required hold registration or licensure and complete a set amount of education before they were allowed to practice.

The year after Oklahoma’s first nursing exams were administered, there were about 278 nurses registered statewide. Today, more than 54,000 registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are actively working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, patient homes and other public and private facilities in the state.

If you’re looking for information on how to become a nurse in Oklahoma, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a rundown of the Sooner State’s best nursing colleges, facts about regional hospitals and details of state requirements for nursing certification and licensing.

Best Nursing Schools in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Badge ImageAs of October 2018, a total of 42 Oklahoma schools offer nursing degree programs at various levels. To help aspiring nurses in the state select the right nursing school for them, we created two separate lists of top schools: one that covers the best undergraduate nursing programs in Oklahoma and one that ranks graduate nursing schools for advanced students.

To calculate the scores we used to rank each school, we collected data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and analyzed it with our specially weighted ranking methodology. Check out the bottom of this page for more details about the statistical side of our rankings, and keep reading for our lists of the best nursing programs in Oklahoma.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Undergraduate tuition
$23,720
Undergraduate graduation rate
44%
Undergraduate retention rate
60%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
99%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,177
Undergraduate graduation rate
54%
Undergraduate retention rate
64%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
88%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$20,770
Undergraduate graduation rate
49%
Undergraduate retention rate
77%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$2,327
Undergraduate graduation rate
15%
Undergraduate retention rate
60%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
86%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$4,943
Undergraduate graduation rate
63%
Undergraduate retention rate
81%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
88%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$2,565
Undergraduate graduation rate
23%
Undergraduate retention rate
45%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
94%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,295
Undergraduate graduation rate
28%
Undergraduate retention rate
68%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
93%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,715
Undergraduate graduation rate
35%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
94%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,085
Undergraduate graduation rate
27%
Undergraduate retention rate
65%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
93%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,362
Undergraduate graduation rate
24%
Undergraduate retention rate
59%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
93%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$8,100
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
3
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$3,899
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$4,172
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$6,043
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$9,270
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$13,734
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$22,230
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$20,772
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0

Nursing Accreditation in Oklahoma

In order to earn nursing accreditation in Oklahoma, a school or program must undergo a comprehensive review by one or several organizations and either meet or exceed established educational standards. Make sure the nursing college you choose bears a stamp of approval from one or more of the following agencies:

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

Oklahoma Nursing Licensure

To become a licensed practical nurse (LPNs) in Oklahoma, students must complete an approved LPN program and then apply for licensure with the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, sending in their official transcripts, a criminal background check and a fee. They must also pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Registered nurses (RNs) must complete a similar process: earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, complete a criminal background check, apply for licensure with the Board, and pass the NCLEX-RN.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) in the state must acquire an RN license, hold a Master’s in Nursing, obtain national certification as an NP, and complete a criminal background check. Not only must they apply for licensure with the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, but they must also submit the application for prescriptive authority, the agreement for physician supervising advanced practice prescriptive authority, and complete prescriptive registration with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Control and Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

It is important to note that the Oklahoma Board of Nursing no longer accepts paper applications for initial licensure unless an exception has been granted. Applicants are required to use the online Oklahoma Board of Nursing Registration System.

Oklahoma Nursing organizations

Joining a professional nursing organization can bring benefits to nursing students and working nurses alike. Membership benefits often include access to professional development resources, networking opportunities and more. Here are some details on a few professional organizations available to Oklahoma nurses:

  • Oklahoma Nurses Association (ONA):

    ONA’s vision is to use advocacy, education and collaboration to create opportunities for nurses in Oklahoma. This organization assists nursing students and working nurses with continuing education and job placement and hosts conferences that explore action-based solutions to empower nurses in their areas of practice.

  • Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners (AONP):

    AONP offers networking opportunities and professional career assistance to nurse practitioners in Oklahoma. It also offers its members deep discounts on registration for its annual conference, where nurses can earn continuing education credit in legal, clinical, professional and pharmacologic subjects.

  • Oklahoma Nursing Student Association (ONSA):

    ONSA members may be eligible for scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, a free magazine subscription to Imprint, a nursing student magazine and discounts on NCLEX review books. Students must first become members of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) before joining.

Oklahoma-Specific Continuing Education

Every two-year licensing period, LPNs and RNs in Oklahoma must complete at least one of the following requirements:

  • Spend at least 520 hours working in a position that requires an RN or LPN license
  • Complete 24 contact hours of continuing education (CE)
  • Hold current certification in a nursing specialty area
  • Undergo a board approved refresher course
  • Take six or more semester credit hours of coursework at or above their current level of licensure

NPs who can prescribe medicine must complete 15 hours of CE every two licensing periods in pharmacotherapeutics, clinical application and use of pharmacological agents in the prevention of illness and in the restoration and maintenance of health. Check to make sure you know the most up-to-date CE requirements for your nursing career level here.

Hospitals in Oklahoma

Hospitals in Oklahoma can give entry-level nurses the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with a variety of patients. Having an idea of what to expect from individual medical centers in the state can help you target your job search according to your personal goals. Here’s some detail on three of the state’s largest hospitals:

  • Saint Francis Hospital (Tulsa) When Saint Francis Hospital made its debut in 1955, it was a six-story building with 275 acute-care beds and 40 newborn beds. Today, it stands as a 1,112-bed tertiary care center and includes a Level IV neonatal intensive care unit and the region’s only children’s hospital.
  • Oklahoma University Medical Center (Oklahoma City) Oklahoma University Medical Center is equipped with 350 beds and the only Level I trauma center in the state. This hospital also performs advanced “keyhole” and “awake” brain surgeries and offers a cardiovascular institute as well as an experienced organ transplant team.
  • INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center (Oklahoma City) The list of services provided at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, a 511-bed facility in Oklahoma City, includes respiratory therapy, rehabilitative services, ECG and EEG services, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and a pulmonary laboratory. The facility also hosts a number of classes and community events to promote health and wellness in Oklahoma.
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- and bachelor’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate- and bachelor’s-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- and doctoral-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s- and doctoral-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 October 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  3. Oklahoma Historical Society, Nursing Education, Accessed October 2018, http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=NU004
  4. License Renewal, Oklahoma Board of Nursing, Accessed October 2018, https://nursing.ok.gov/cqlicenserenewal.pdf
  5. Oklahoma Nurses Association, Accessed October 2018, https://ona.nursingnetwork.com/
  6. Welcome to Oklahoma Board of Nursing License/Certificate/Recognition Applications, Oklahoma.gov, Accessed October 2018, https://pay.apps.ok.gov/nursing/licensing/app/index.php
  7. The Board of Nursing FAQ, https://pay.apps.ok.gov/nursing/renewal/faq.php#nurseinok
  8. Section 485: 10-16-6. Renewal, eLaws, Accessed October 2018, http://okrules.elaws.us/oac/485:10-16-6
  9. Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners, Accessed October 2018, https://npofoklahoma.site-ym.com/
  10. Oklahoma Nursing Student Association, Accessed October 2018, http://oknsa.net/
  11. Saint Francis Health System, Accessed October 2018, https://www.saintfrancis.com/Pages/home.aspx
  12. Oklahoma University Medical Center, Accessed October 2018, https://www.oumedicine.com/
  13. Integris Baptist Medical Center, Integris, Accessed October 2018, https://baptist.integrisok.com/

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