How To Become A Nurse In Arkansas

The requirements for being a nurse in Arkansas have basically been the same for the past century when the Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN) was created. This state licensing board, which started out as the State Board of Nurse Examiners, is celebrating its Centennial in 2013.

There are more than 48,000 licensed nurses in Arkansas and the demand is growing. Arkansas requires degrees from state-approved nursing education programs for both registered and practical nurses seeking licensure and also accepts graduates from the distance-learning Excelsior College School of Nursing.

Scholarship Programs Available

Arkansas offers many opportunities for prospective nursing students and several educational programs. Last year the ASBN distributed over $71,00 in scholarships to nursing students.

A biennial license is required for practicing nurses in Arkansas. The state’s Nurse Practice Act requires any person practicing as a registered nurse, advanced practice nurse, registered nurse practitioner, practical nurse, or psychiatric technician nurse in this state to be licensed by the ASBN.

When the state nursing board was established in 1913 its regulations covered only RNs, but in 1947 LPN licensure standards were developed. Back in those days all Arkansas nursing students were required to wear a standard grey White Swan uniform.

The state also grants temporary permits to Arkansas nurses who are graduates of a nursing program. This permit allows nurses to practice between graduation and receiving the results of the first examination for which they are eligible. Temporary permits also may be issued to qualified RN and LPN endorsement applicants holding current licenses in other states.

Multi-State Licensing Compacts a Boon to Arkansas Nurses

Since 2000 the state board also has allowed multi-state practice under compacts with neighboring states of Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri. A licensed nurse can live in Arkansas and work in any of the compact states without paying licensing fees in those states.

RNs and LPNS holding a license from a compact state which is their primary state of residence also may practice nursing in Arkansas; however they still must be licensed by the state nursing board.

Major universities as well as many community and technical colleges offer programs for RNs as well as LPNs. Nurses in rural areas of Arkansas can get help pursuing their RN degree through the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium. The group includes eight community and technical colleges that enable LPNs to become RNs without leaving the communities where they live and work.

Many organizations and educational institutions also offer scholarships for Arkansas nursing students. Arkansas has more than a dozen nursing schools that offer LPN to RN programs and one state college reports that by the time its nursing students graduate, many have received three or four job offers.

Nursing Schools in Arkansas

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Nursing School Locations

Arkansas State University
College of Nursing and Health Professions
PO Box 910
Arkansas State University
Jonesboro, AR 72467-0910
(870) 972-3074

Arkansas Northeastern College
2501 South Division Street
Blytheville, AR 72315
(870) 824-6256

Arkansas Tech University
Department of Nursing
402 West O Street, Dean 224
Russellville, AR 72801-2222
(479) 968-0383

Baptist Health School of Nursing
11900 Colonel Glenn Road, Suite 1000
Little, Rock AR 72210-2820
(501) 202-6200

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