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A Guide to Nursing in Arkansas

Welcome to Arkansas! There is so much to do, from visiting Bathhouse Row where you can take a dip in the natural hot springs, to enjoying the Little Rock nightlife. Or, take a stroll through one of the many national parks where you can experience the beauty of this state.

If you are a registered nurse (or are thinking of becoming one) read on to find the information you need, from licensing info, continuing education requirements, job & salary outlook, top hospitals, and nursing associations. Let us help you find your dream job!

In this article, we will cover:

Licensing information

Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Arkansas whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Alabama from another state. For more information visit the Arkansas licensing page.

Licensing fee by examination (first-time nurses):

  • NCLEX fee: $200

  • Application fee: $100 (RN/LPN)

  • Fingerprint processing fee: $15

Licensing fee by endorsement (already have RN licensure):

  • Application fee: $125 (RN/LPN); $125 (initial APRN license)

  • Temporary license: $30

  • License verification: $30

  • Fingerprint processing fee: $15

License renewal fees:

  • Application fee: $90 (LPN); $100 (RN); $65 (APRN)

Arkansas is a nursing compact state, which allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses.

*Fees are subject to change.


Steps for renewing an Arkansas nursing license

  1. Verify the status of your license Visit the Verification page in order to confirm your license.

  2. Complete your Arkansas nursing continuing education requirements before your license expires You can complete your nursing CEUs online, on your schedule, and 100% free with Incredible Health.

  3. Go to the Arkansas Board of Nursing to enter your renewal application Visit the Arkansas Board of Nursing’s Renewal Information page. Arkansas is a compact state. If your Primary State of Residency is in another compact state do not apply for licensure in Arkansas unless you are declaring Arkansas as your Primary State of Residency.


Continuing education requirements

RN/LPN/APRN: One of the following every 2 years:

(1) 15 contact hours of appropriately accredited practice-focused activities, OR

(2) Hold a current nationally recognized certification/recertification, OR

(3) Completed a minimum of one college credit hour course in nursing with a grade of C or better

Licensees with prescriptive authority are required to complete an additional 5 contact hours in pharmacotherapeutics related to their specialty.

Incredible Health offers ANCC-accredited continuing education courses for nurses in all 50 states, 100% free and online. The Arkansas Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.

Job & salary outlook for nurses in Arkansas

Due to the shortage of nurses, these healthcare professionals are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the profession will grow by about 9% between 2020-2030. The annual mean salary is $63,640.

We can also help you check out salary estimates to help determine if Arkansas is the right state for you.

[ MORE: Average nurse salary in Arkansas ]


Top hospitals in Arkansas

If you’re not already picking up the phone to call movers, maybe this list of the best hospitals in Arkansas will sway you in the right direction. Here are the top hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report:

  • Washington Regional Medical Center – Fayetteville, AR: U.S. News and World Report rates this facility the #1 hospital in Arkansas. Some of the specialties include:

    • Cardiology & heart surgery

    • Stroke

    • Hip replacement

    • Knee replacement

    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • Baptist Health Medical Center – Little Rock, AR: This facility offers many state of the art procedures. They have won numerous awards that recognize their commitment to safety and best practices in the workplace. Some specialties include:

    • Heart failure

    • Heart attack

    • Stroke

    • Kidney failure

    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • UAMS Medical Center – Little Rock, AR: This teaching hospital is a general medical and surgical facility. They work with patients before, during, and after their time in hospital. Some of the specialties include:

    • Colon cancer

    • Diabetes

    • Stroke

    • Hip & knee replacement


Nursing associations & organizations in Arkansas

Once you become a registered nurse (or even if you’re in the process), joining a nursing organization or association will give you access to networking, job opportunities, and a wealth of information shared between fellow nurses. Here are a few of the organizations and associations for nurses in Arkansas:

Arkansas Nursing Association: This association promotes high standards of nursing practice, professional development, and advocates for the profession of nursing.

Arkansas School Nurses Association: This association focuses on school nurses and improving, promoting, and advancing the profession.

Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association: This association works with Nurse Practitioners to help them achieve excellence in service. They offer support, education, and networking to ensure NPs have the resources to thrive in their profession.

Check out the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Basic steps for licensing and certification

Step 1: Education

Attend an accredited nursing school to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN will take between 18 and 24 months to complete, while you can expect to spend roughly four years to earn a BSN. If you already have an ADN, there is an ADN to BSN bridge program that allows you to earn a BSN in 12-18 months. There is also an RN to BSN bridge which takes three semesters of nursing courses to be completed in one year. These programs will save you time and money. The more education you have, the better your chances of landing your dream job.

Step 2: Licensing

When you are six weeks away from graduation, you can apply to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. There are 75 to 265 questions on the NCLEX-RN with a five-hour time limit for completion. If you do not pass the NCLEX-RN on your first attempt, you must wait 45 days before you can try again.

The NCLEX includes questions on the following topics to test nursing candidates’ knowledge:

1. Safe and effective care environment

2. Health promotion and maintenance

3. Psychosocial integrity

4. Physiological integrity

Step 3: Experience

This step in the process is to gain hands-on experience. This will provide you with invaluable opportunities to work with patients making you attractive to future employers.

Step 4: Certification

The final step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. Requirements for earning a certification vary so it is important to check with the governing body for information. Incredible Health offers free courses in order to obtain or renew certification requirements. Create a free account to access professional development mandates and get instant certificates.

Contact information

Arkansas Board of Nursing

Phone: (800) 462-0599



4815 W Markham

Little Rock, AR 72205-3867

Your Instructor

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