How To Become A Nurse In Arizona

With the economy still somewhat questionable, having a solid career is a good way to make sure that your financial situation is consistent. Working in the medical field, especially nursing, is not only a solid career but a rewarding one as well. Becoming a nurse also gives you a variety of choices from providing basic care to working as a supervisor or nurse manager, all depending on how much time you want to spend in school. If you have never worked in the medical field previously, it is probably a good idea to start with a basic nursing education to make sure that it is a career and lifestyle you are happy with. Nursing is not your typical eight-hour-a-day job and sometimes your hours interfere with things in your life, and you need to be able to choose work over some friend or family obligations at times. If you have already worked or are currently working in the medical field and are familiar with what being a nurse entails, it is your option to choose which level of education you want to complete. To become an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) usually requires between 12 and 18 months of training based attending full or part time. For those wanting to become an RN (Registered Nurse), you can spend approximately two years in school to attain your associate’s degree or four years or more getting your bachelor’s degree. If you choose to just get your LPN, most employers will offer some type of tuition assistance after a set length of employment if you want to further your education and become an RN.

No matter what level of education you want to obtain, you want to make sure that whichever school you choose is accredited by the Arizona Board of Nursing. If you plan to become an LPN, most community colleges, vocational schools and technical schools offer an LPN program, you just want to make sure the program is accredited. Becoming an RN requires enrollment into a four-year college or university, and again you want to make sure that their nursing program is accredited. In some cases, larger hospitals may have a School of Nursing as well. If you function better in a smaller class environment and have a high enough grade point average, you may be eligible to attend a hospital school of nursing as well. These will be the only nursing schools you will not need to check accreditation on if they are a part of a hospital system. Accreditation means that the training provided in their nursing programs is of a high enough caliber to ensure that upon completing you can successfully pass the national exam to obtain a license to practice nursing.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

As mentioned above, for those that have never worked in a medical field, becoming an LPN is the easiest and least expensive way to get your foot in the door for a nursing career. You will spend 12 to 18 months in school learning anatomy and physiology, scientific math as well as practical training in a real world environment during your actual nursing classes. Be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited with the Arizona Board of Nursing to ensure you are getting the correct education to attain to pass the national exam and attain your LPN license. Keep in mind you may have to be put on a waiting list to take your actual nursing classes due to the high demand to get into the medical field, but do your best to take all of your other classes while you are waiting to take your nursing courses. Once you successfully complete your education, you are able to take the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nursing) and attain your nursing license if you pass it successfully.

While an LPN has a very limited scope of practice, or care that you are legally able to provide, you are still in a learning environment and can learn what it is like to be an RN as well. It gives you the opportunity to provide basic care and learn to work with patients to the best of your ability. As an LPN you are not legally able to dispense medications or start and complete IV (intravenous therapy), but if it is something you would be interested in doing, you can attend additional classes to become certified to perform these tasks. You also will want to check with your place of employment as an LPN to see if they require tuition assistance in the event you want to further your nursing education.

RN (Registered Nurse)

If you have experience in the medical field, you can more than likely skip the LPN training and enroll in RN training instead. When becoming and RN you have the option of becoming and RN with an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s of Science degree. While with both degrees you will be considered an RN, they of course attain different levels of nursing education. Attaining your associate’s degree will take a minimum of two years, but once you graduate and successfully pass your licensure exam, (referred to as the NCLEX-RN with RN referring to a registered nursing license), you can offer a more advanced level of care to patients. It will also provide you the chance to contribute to the decision making process when it comes to their care. You will use you nursing judgment to help other nurses, doctors and additional staff help create care plans for patients. If you attend to attain your Bachelor’s degree, upon graduation and successful completion of the licensing exam, you will be able to work at an even more advanced level of nursing and will be able to work in specialty areas of nursing such as oncology or emergency medicine, as well as work in nursing management.

Being an RN gives you a much larger scope of practice and more opportunities to use your nursing judgment than as an LPN where you complete tasks as told to with no variance. You are also responsible for supervising LPNs depending on where you gain employment. You are able to provide advanced care as well as use your nursing judgment to help make decisions regarding a patient’s care and treatments. You will also work in unison with doctors to keep them up to date on a patient as well.

Becoming an RN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

While deciding what level of nursing you wish to attain is mostly a personal and financial decision, it can also be affected by your career goal. If you plan on working as a general nurse in all areas of a hospital or the medical field, attaining your associate’s degree will allow you to do this with no difficulty. If you want to become a nurse that has more of a supervisory and management role or works in a specific field of medicine, you will want to attain your bachelor’s degree to allow you to do this. You need to think about what type of medical environment you want to work in, and then gauge your education goal around that.

No matter what degree you attain, once you have your nursing license you are required to take CE (Continuing Education) credits to maintain your license in good standing. These are usually given in short monthly meetings or web-based seminars that provide you the latest or updated information on policies, procedures, medications or any other aspect of the nursing field. If you work in a large facility they will often offer these classes to their employees on-site, or you can take them online at your convenience.

Nursing Schools in Arizona

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  • Nursing- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
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Locations: Mesa

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  • RN to BSN (licensed RNs only)
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  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
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  • B.S. in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to B.S.N)
  • BSN completion program for Registered Nurses is available entirely online.
  • The RN to BSN program is designed to help students advance their career, or prepare for post-graduate opportunities.
  • Courses teach modern health assessment and treatment methods, how to evaluate potential disease or injury, and more.
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  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • Flexible, online and on-campus program available.
  • Capstone projects and clinical practicums that can help prepare students for more career opportunities.
  • Students learn from instructors with experience in the health care field.
  • Programs include Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration, Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness, Master of Health Care Administration, and more.


  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
  • Medical Assisting

Get hands-on training with Brookline College. We offer diploma and degree programs in the areas of health care, business, nursing, criminal justice, paralegal, and computer security. We understand that today's student is busy with many responsibilities, so we offer day, evening, and online classes, giving you options to fit school into your schedule.


  • Diploma - Medical Assistant
Locations: Tucson

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  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
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While the LPN program is offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in Arizona, the following schools are based on those attending for an RN degree of any level.


Nursing School Locations

Arizona State University
College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation
500 N. 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0698

Brookline College School of Nursing
2445 W. Dunlap Avenue, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85021

Grand Canyon University
PO Box 11097
3300 W. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85061

University of Arizona
1305 N. Martin Avenue
Post Office Box 210203
Tucson, AZ 85721-0203

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