In our Arkansas RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Arkansas RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Arkansas, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Arkansas RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs2412
Average NCLEX Passing Rate82.19%84.62%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range67.61% to 93.08%51.88% to 92.63%
Average Net Price$7,101.79$9,507.27
Average Net Price Range$3,143.00 to $12,117.00$6,351.00 to $16,578.00
Average Student Loan$8,422.95$13,464.00
Average Student Loan Range$2,600.00 to $15,263.00$8,038.00 to $23,058.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Arkansas StateBSN Rankings for Arkansas State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Arkansas

Best Ranked RN Programs in ArkansasTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at 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 11 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

AR Rank
US Rank
Offered As:
97.77 ADNArkansas Northeastern College - Blytheville144 BlythevillePublicCampusSee School Details
96.35 ADNNorthwest Arkansas Community College-Bentonville293 Bentonville

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.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
94.03 ADNPhillips Community College of the University of Arkansas - Helena3194 HelenaPublicCampusACENSee School Details
93.69 ADNNorth Arkansas College - Harrison4212 Harrison

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.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
88.48 ADNNational Park College – Hot Springs (National Park Community College)5414 Hot Springs

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.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
85.01 ADNArkansas State University - Jonesboro6528 JonesboroPublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
83.40 ADNArkansas Tech University - Russellville7567 RussellvillePublicCampus, OnlineSee School Details
82.64 ADNUniversity of Arkansas at Little Rock8586 Little Rock

University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) s located in Little Rock, Arkansas.  They offer multiple types of RN programs – an RN program, a BSN program, an online RN to BSN program, and an LPN or paramedic to to RN program.  The Department of Nursing is the largest department at UALR – at any given time, there are 600 students, twenty full-time faculty and six staff members.

PublicCampus, OnlineACENSee School Details
78.27 ADNArkansas State University Three Rivers9646 MalvernPublicCampusSee School Details
77.80 ADNUniversity of Arkansas at Monticello10653 MonticelloPublicCampusSee School Details
74.22 ADNUniversity of Arkansas Community College-Batesville11673 Batesville

University of Arkansas Community College – Batesville is located in Batesville, Arkansas.  They offer a general RN program, an on-campus LPN to RN program and an online LPN to RN program.  Their LPN to RN program runs for 11 months, and begins in the spring.

PublicCampus, OnlineACENSee School Details
72.86 ADNEast Arkansas Community College - Forrest City12686 Forrest CityPublicCampusSee School Details
98.60 BSNHarding University - Searcy121 Searcy

Harding University is located in Searcy, Arkansas.  Carr College of Nursing was founded in 1975; their graduates are now working throughout the world.  Carr College of Nursing produces nurses who are not only prepared for entry-level nursing positions, but are also Christian servants.  Their students have the opportunity to join a Health Care Missions Program, with local and international experiences.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
95.68 BSNHenderson State University - Arkadelphia2116 ArkadelphiaPublicCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
95.50 BSNUniversity of Arkansas-Fayetteville3123 Fayetteville

University of Arkansas is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing offers a BSN and an RN to BSN program.  It is their belief that professional nursing begins with a Bachelor of Science degree, so their curriculum “offers a research base for nursing practice that promotes the ability of the nurse to effect change needed to improve health.”

PublicCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
94.91 BSNArkansas State University - Jonesboro4148 JonesboroPublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
94.03 BSNUniversity of Arkansas for Medical Sciences-Little Rock5190 Little RockPublicCampus, HybridACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
93.40 BSNSouthern Arkansas University Main Campus - Magnolia6219 MagnoliaPublicCampusSee School Details
93.30 BSNUniversity of Central Arkansas - Conway7225 Conway

University of Central Arkansas is located in Conway, Arkansas.  Their BSN program was founded in 1967 in response to the closure of a neighboring school’s BSN program.  They currently offer a BSN program, an LPN to BSN program, an RN to BSN programa, and an RN to BSN/MSN program.  In addition, they have an MSN program that is subdivided into Nurse Practitioner (NP), Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), and Nurse Educator with a Clinical Specialty (NECS).  Their MSN program is ranked 8th in the nation by Top Master’s in Healthcare Administration.

PublicCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
89.24 BSNUniversity of Arkansas at Monticello8347 MonticelloPublicCampusSee School Details
88.93 BSNArkansas Tech University - Russellville9351 RussellvillePublicCampus, OnlineSee School Details
88.01 BSNUniversity of Arkansas-Fort Smith10380 Fort Smith

University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  They are proud to boast that their online RN to BSN program has been rated third out of 30 best affordable online programs by Great Value Colleges, which helps students get the best education for their money.

PublicCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
70.19 BSNUniversity of Arkansas at Pine Bluff11526 Pine BluffPublicCampusCCNESee School Details

Online RN Programs in Arkansas

Today, there are very few disadvantages to earning an online RN degree. With advances in online learning coupled the need to educate more nurses because of the nursing shortage, many nursing schools are offing online nursing programs. For nurses needing to complete clinicals, nursing programs usually help a nurse to find one. Be sure to choose an accredited program that meets quality standards set by either the ACEN or CCNE accrediting agencies. An accredited online RN Nursing program will help ensure that your units pass can transfer to another accredited college and help you in gain employment. Learn more about online RN programs.

Arkansas RN Licensing Requirements

The state of Arkansas has strict requirements candidates must meet in order obtain licensure as an RN. Those applying for licensure in Arkansas through an endorsement must have completed an approved nursing program in a different state. International students who completed a program similar to a program in Arkansas may also apply for licensure. However, they must have proof of eligibility for licensure in the country they graduated from. They must also prove that they can read, write, and speak English through the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. This does not include English-speaking countries such as Canada, Australia, and England.

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

RN License by Exam

The first and most direct path to obtaining licensure is through examination. Candidates need to register for the NCLEX-PN exam through Pearson VUE.  In addition to completing the exam, candidates  must also complete the following steps: Complete a State-approved nursing program: In order to become eligible for state licensure through the state of Arkansas, candidates must have completed high school as well as a preparation program approved by the state. Applicants who have completed a program in a different state have the possibility of being eligible for licensure if the Arkansas State Board of Nursing believes they are qualified. Nursing programs must have been approved by the Department of Higher education and hold accreditation from a recognized body. Complete online application for licensure: Every candidate must apply for licensure through the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. They must also gain permission to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before taking the exam. This should be completed about two months before graduation from a nursing program. Complete a criminal background check: First-time applicants must complete a background check at both the state and federal levels. When this has been completed, the applicant must also submit a fingerprint that will be forwarded to the Arkansas State Police. Licenses may be denied on the basis of disciplinary history or criminal background.

RN License by Endorsement

One can obtain licensure through endorsement if they already have a license in one of the other 50 states. Out of state candidates have the opportunity to work using a temporary permit while they are working on gaining their endorsement. Candidates who have had their license for less than five years will need to provide documentation stating they have practiced for 1,000 hours or completed a program in an approved accredited university.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Candidates who are educated abroad also have an opportunity to obtain licensure as long as they provide transcripts that reflect a similar education.

RN Salaries in Arkansas

According to a survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the prospects for BSN graduates were better in the southern parts of the country. This does not mean that by attending a school in the south automatically guarantees you a job. It also does not mean that you won’t be able to find a job by not attending school in the south. The participants in the survey were college deans who indicated that 82% of their graduates had job offers right after graduation. Healthcare is a necessity. However, like every other industry, it has been affected to some degree by the broken economy. There are some nurses who will refuse to relay retirement. There is a long-term need for professional nurses that will never cease.

Arkansas Registered Nursing Salaries

Below is a table of the hourly mean RN Salary and the annual median wage in all the metropolitan areas in the state of Arkansas. By looking at this table, you will notice that the annual median wage in Fayetteville metropolitan area has the highest annual median wage. However, Little Rock has the highest number of employed RNs.
Area nameEmploymentHourly median wageAnnual median wage
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO2,650$26.71$55,550
Fort Smith, AR-OK1,900$25.95$53,970
Hot Springs, AR990$25.47$52,970
Jonesboro, AR1,340$25.60$53,240
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR9,300$28.73$59,760
Pine Bluff, AR660$24.08$50,100
Central Arkansas nonmetropolitan area1,080$23.72$49,330
East Arkansas nonmetropolitan area1,670$24.19$50,320
South Arkansas nonmetropolitan area1,780$26.05$54,170
West Arkansas nonmetropolitan area1,390$25.16$52,320
Source:, 2014 Data