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9th Annual Arkansas RN Program Rankings by RNCareers.org

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Arkansas and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 16 ADN degree programs and 12 BSN degree programs in Arkansas. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Arkansas to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

RN Programs in Arkansas

Best ADN Programs in Arkansas

#1 Associate Degree in Nursing

Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas - Helena

94.26% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1000 Campus Drive, Helena, AR - 72342-0785
  • (870) 338-6474
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 94.26%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 54
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $3,020
  • Book and Supplies: $4,910
  • Percent Received Aid: 94%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $4,487
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas provides high-quality, accessible and affordable educational opportunities and skill development to students. The nursing program at the college prepares students to work as professional nurses providing safe, quality, evidence-based nursing care in the global healthcare scenario. 

By the time that they complete their courses, students are able to conduct a comprehensive and focused physical, behavioral, psychological, and spiritual assessment of health and illness parameters in patients. They are also taught to develop plans of care based on evidence-based practices considering the individual patient's current needs.

Nurses graduating from this college are well-versed in patient-centred care, clinical judgement, quality improvement, collaboration and teamwork, information management, leadership, management, legalities, and ethics. Thus, it is not surprising how the graduates have gone on to work on some of the biggest healthcare facilities in the state and the nation.

Undergraduate Programs: Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas offers an ADN degree which ranks among the best in the state. The program prepares students to sit for a successful career as a Registered Nurse, as well as for their future education.

#2 Associate Degree in Nursing

Arkansas Northeastern College - Blytheville

93.48% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 2501 S Division, Blytheville, AR - 72316-1109
  • (870) 762-1020
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 93.48%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 45
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $2,458
  • Book and Supplies: $4,138
  • Percent Received Aid: 96%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $3,132
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 27%

Arkansas Northeastern College is a two-year college that provides flexible schedules and courses so that students can get a quality education while also attending to their other responsibilities. The college boasts its small and highly interactive classrooms equipped with the latest multimedia internet technology. This college also has one of the lowest tuition rates in the entire state, so you can be sure that affordable, quality education is their main priority.

The nursing program at Arkansas Northeastern College is ranked as one of the state's best. The courses are designed to provide students with all the opportunities they need to acquire the knowledge and skills to pass their NCLEX-RN and become successful RNs who can work in a variety of settings. 

In addition to being diverse, the college also has a strict non-discriminatory policy in regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, and national origin. All the students who seek quality education are welcomed at Arkansas Northeastern College. 

Undergraduate Programs: Arkansas Northeastern College offers a traditional ADN degree for students seeking to become licensed RNs. In addition to that, the college also has an ADN LPN to RN degree for practicing LPNs who want to advance their education and career as RNs.

#3 Associate Degree in Nursing

National Park College – Hot Springs (National Park Community College)

91.89% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 101 College Dr, Hot Springs, AR - 71913
  • (501) 760-4222
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 91.89%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 89
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $4,550
  • Book and Supplies: $6,230
  • Percent Received Aid: 94%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $4,887
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 20%

National Park College is located in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.  They offer multiple nursing programs - an LPN program, an RN program, and an LPN to RN program.  Unique to National Park College is the High School to ASN track.  The high school student applies in their senior year of high school and can elect either a two year or three year option; the three year option is often selected if the student suspects that they will eventually continue for a BSN degree.

#4 Associate Degree in Nursing

Northwest Arkansas Community College-Bentonville

91.15% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • One College Drive, Bentonville, AR - 72712-5091
  • (479) 986-4000
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 91.15%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 153
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $2,656
  • Book and Supplies: $4,456
  • Percent Received Aid: 76%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $2,958
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 27%

Northwest Arkansas Community College is located in Bentonville. Their nursing program is ideal for a variety of student types, as some of their classes are available online. In addition, classes are also offered at their other campuses in Springdale or Farmington.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College offers more than 300 scholarships annually and has a student to teacher ratio of 18:1; thus, it is clear to see why this college ranks as some of the state's best in terms of nursing education.

The nursing department at NorthWest Arkansas Community College aims to fulfil the gap in healthcare professionals in Arkansas with competent, highly-skilled, professional Registered Nurses. The college fosters student success through tutoring programs, campus lab activities, and professional student organizations. Being the largest community college in Arkansas, the college provides quality education at an affordable cost. You can also choose to transfer to a four-year university if you are taking a core course at this two-year college. 

In addition to being instructed by highly trained and experienced faculty, the nursing students get to practice their skills in high-fidelity simulation labs and different healthcare settings in the community.

Undergraduate Programs: Both the traditional and accelerated Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing (ADN) are designed to equip students with the basic nursing knowledge that they require to prepare for their NCLEX-RN, as well as to work as RNs.

The college also offers an LPN/Paramedic to RN bridge program designed for working professionals to complete their associate degrees and work as RNs.

#5 Associate Degree in Nursing

University of Arkansas at Monticello

90.78% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • Highway 425 South, Monticello, AR - 71656
  • (870) 367-6811
Nurse Admin: ,
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 90.78%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 153
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $8,029
  • Book and Supplies: $1,200
  • Percent Received Aid: 98%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $8,738
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 36%

#6 Associate Degree in Nursing

North Arkansas College - Harrison

89.96% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1515 Pioneer Drive, Harrison, AR - 72601-5508
  • (870) 743-3000
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 89.96%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 65
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $3,090
  • Book and Supplies: $5,940
  • Percent Received Aid: 93%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $5,249
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 27%

North Arkansas College is located in Harrison, Arkansas. They offer both an LPN to RN program and an RN program.  Their LPN to RN program is offered yearly, beginning in January. In addition to meeting the prerequisite requirements that all RN students must meet, the LPN to RN program requires its students to have practiced as an LPN for at least 3 months or 120 hours, and have this verified by their employer.

Various health organizations have consistently ranked the nursing program at North Arkansas College as one of the best in both the state and the nation. The college prides itself in providing a great academic experience to the students at an affordable price. 

The highly competitive and demanding nursing degree at North Arkansas College takes two years (four semesters) to complete, and students are required to attend the classes full-time because of the challenging nature of the course. However, the college does offer substantial financial aid to students who feel that their financial condition can act as a barrier to education. 

What's more, is that most of the graduates are able to seamlessly transfer their credits to a four-year college so that they can earn their bachelor's or master's degree or more on top of the associate degree from North Arkansas College. The college is known for its innovative assignments, teaching styles, and courses, in addition to the small classroom sizes where each student receives the personal attention that they need.

Undergraduate Programs: The Associate Nursing Degree (ADN) at North Arkansas College helps students excel in quality patient care, nursing judgment, leadership, and spirit of inquiry. This rigorous course prepares students for a successful career as Registered Nurses.

Best BSN Programs in Arkansas

#1 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Southern Arkansas University Main Campus - Magnolia

Southern Arkansas University

98.11% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 100 E. University, Magnolia, AR - 71753
  • (870) 235-4000
Nurse Admin: Karen Landry, PhD, RN
Title: Department of Nursing Chair
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 98.11%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 168
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $9,410
  • Book and Supplies: $1,600
  • Percent Received Aid: 99%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $9,706
  • Percent Admitted: 69%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 33%
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

#2 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Harding University - Searcy

Carr College of Nursing

96.52% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 915 E. Market Ave., Searcy, AR - 72149-5615
  • (501) 279-4000
Nurse Admin: Susan Kehl, PhD, RN, CNE
Title: Dean
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 96.52%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, RN to MSN

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 303
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $1,200
  • Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Percent Received Aid: 99%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $10,684
  • Percent Admitted: 55%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 62%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%

#3 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Arkansas State University - Jonesboro

Arkansas State University

92.93% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 2105 E. Aggie Road, Jonesboro, AR - 72401
  • (870) 972-2100
Nurse Admin: Sarah Davidson, DNR MSN, RN, CNE
Title: Associate Dean, College of Nursing and Health Professions
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 92.93%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthetist, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 536
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $7,130
  • Book and Supplies: $1,250
  • Percent Received Aid: 98%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $9,325
  • Percent Admitted: 67%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 33%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%

#4 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

88.67% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 2801 S University Ave, Little Rock, AR - 72204
  • (501) 569-3000
Nurse Admin: Elizabeth Sloan Davidson, PhD, RN, CNE
Title: Chairperson
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 88.67%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 372
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $8,366
  • Book and Supplies: $1,250
  • Percent Received Aid: 96%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $7,773
  • Percent Admitted: 56%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 21%
  • Graduation Rate: 42%

#4 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences-Little Rock

College of Nursing

88.67% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 4301 W Markham, Little Rock, AR - 72205-7199
  • (501) 296-1275
Nurse Admin: Patricia Cowan, PhD, RNI FAAN
Title: Dean and Chief Nurse Administrator
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 88.67%
  • Programs: Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to PhD, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 518
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: N/A
  • Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Percent Received Aid: N/A
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $2,204,374
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: N/A

#5 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

Eleanor Mann School of Nursing

88.32% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • Administration Bldg 425, Fayetteville, AR - 72701
  • (479) 575-2000
Nurse Admin: Jessie M. Casida, PhD, RNI APN-C, FAAN
Title: Professor and Executive Director
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 88.32%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 1358
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $9,574
  • Book and Supplies: $1,100
  • Percent Received Aid: 87%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $6,725
  • Percent Admitted: 78%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 31%
  • Graduation Rate: 68%

#6 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Arkansas Tech University - Russellville

Arkansas Tech University

87.41% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • Administration Bldg 200, 1509 N Boulder Ave, Russellville, AR - 72801-2222
  • (844) 804-2628
Nurse Admin: Shelly Daily, DNR APRN, CNE
Title: Department Head
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 87.41%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 358
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $7,900
  • Book and Supplies: $1,240
  • Percent Received Aid: 96%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $7,375
  • Percent Admitted: 98%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 25%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%

#7 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Henderson State University - Arkadelphia

Department of Nursing

86.52% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1100 Henderson Street, Arkadelphia, AR - 71999-0001
  • (870) 230-5000
Nurse Admin: Kristina Shelton, DNP RN
Title: Academic Nursing Officer (Department Chair)
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 86.52%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Nursing Administration, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor, MSN

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 178
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $7,560
  • Book and Supplies: $2,598
  • Percent Received Aid: 98%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $9,430
  • Percent Admitted: 75%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 20%
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

#8 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

University of Central Arkansas - Conway

School of Nursing

86.19% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 201 Donaghey Ave, Conway, AR - 72035-0001
  • (501) 450-5000
Nurse Admin: Susan Gatto, PhD, RN
Title: Director
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 86.19%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 525
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $9,563
  • Book and Supplies: $1,200
  • Percent Received Aid: 97%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $8,294
  • Percent Admitted: 94%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 32%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%

About RN Programs in Arkansas

  • There are 31 nursing schools in Arkansas. The CCNE accredits 9 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 14 schools in Arkansas.
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for ADN students in Arkansas is between 65.78% and 94.26%.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for BSN students in Arkansas is between 51.89% and 98.11%.
  • The average annual salary for registered nurses is between $52,080 to $111,220 a year.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) throughout the country and in Arkansas can expect a favorable job growth of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026 which much faster than the average for all occupations.

Like most other states, the state of Arkansas is also not a stranger to the healthcare personnel shortage, especially in recent times. There are currently 25,300 RNs and 2,370 Nurse Practitioners working in the state, and these numbers are expected to rise by 13.5% and 31.5%, respectively, from the year 2018 to 2028. However, the state has recognized this need and has created an average annual opening of 1,850 RNs and 200 NPs.

One of the reasons why Arkansas is one of the ideal states for nurses is because it has implemented the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). It means that nurses from other states can practice in Arkansas without having to obtain a nursing license in Arkansas. The eNLC, however, is only for RNs and LPNs/LVNs, so Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APNS) should hold an individual state license in each state they wish to practice.

In addition to being an eNLC state, Arkansas also offers a lucrative salary for nurses that is based on their education and work experience. An RN with more than 20 years of experience can earn more than $82,000 annually, and an NP with the same experience earns more than $135,000 annually. 

When it comes to practice authority, NPs are authorized for Reduced Practice, which means that the state laws require NPs to have a career-long regulated collaborative agreement with other health providers in order for them to provide patient care. In other words, the law limits the setting of one or more elements of NP practice. 

Having said that, Arkansas is a great state for individuals seeking quality nursing education and career. Multiple nursing colleges provide degrees ranging from LPNs to Ph.Ds via affordable and accessible education. Here are some of the best nursing schools in Arkansas that are devoted to educating competent nurses who can uplift the nursing profession while providing quality patient care.

RN Programs Offered by Arkansas Schools

  • Registered Nursing: 29
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: 5
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Nurse Educator: 2
  • Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • CNL: 1
  • Nurse Anesthetist: 1
  • Nursing Administration: 1
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner: 1

Arkansas Nursing Schools with the Most Degree Types

Arkansas RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 24 12
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 82.71% 85.90%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 65.78% to 94.26% 51.89% to 98.11%

Become a Nurse Practitioner in Arkansas

Research the best Arkansas NP programs, and find comprehensive guides to the following NP careers:

APRN Programs in Arkansas

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue. Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Arkansas.

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

RN Licensing Requirements in Arkansas

Comprehensive guide to Arkansas Nursing License Requirements Renewals RN and APRN.

Arkansas State Board of Nursing

Arkansas Nurses Association
University Tower Building
1123 S. University, Suite 800
Little Rock, AR 72204-1619
Phone: (501) 686-2700
Fax: (501) 686-2714

More of the Best RN Programs in Arkansas

Nursing Salaries in Arkansas

How much do nurses earn in Arkansas?

RN Programs Near Me


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