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Navigating the Nursing Profession in Arkansas

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Let us help you land on your dream job here in Arkansas! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in Arkansas, and more!


Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Arkansas

  • Popular hospitals in Arkansas

  • Nursing associations in Arkansas

  • Contact details


Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. For more details, visit the Arkansas licensing page.

As a nursing compact state, Arkansas lets nurses hold multi-state licenses.

*Fees may change without any notice.


Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the Arkansas Board of Nursing website. Arkansas has a Verification page for you to verify your license.

  2. Complete all your continuing education requirements BEFORE your license expires.

  3. Apply for your renewal process by going to the Arkansas Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information. Be reminded that Arkansas is a nursing compact state which means you can only apply for licensure in Arkansas if you declare this as your Primary State of Residence.


Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in Arkansas:

For RN/LPN/APRN, you must complete 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

If you have prescriptive authority, you must complete 5 additional contact hours in pharmacotherapeutics related to your speciality.

The Arkansas Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.


Licensing and Certification

Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.

Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance; (2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.

Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.


Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Arkansas

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is currently $65,810.

Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if Arkansas is the right place for you.


Popular Hospitals in Arkansas

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in Arkansas or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in Arkansas. Here are some of them:

  • Washington Regional Medical Center – (Fayetteville, AR):

    • Ranked #1 in Arkansas

    • Rated high performing in 7 adult procedures and conditions

    • A general medical and surgical facility

    • Some of the specialties include Cardiology & heart surgery, Stroke, hip replacement, knee replacement, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • Baptist Health Medical Center – (Little Rock, AR):

    • Ranked #2 in Arkansas, and #1 in Little Rock

    • Rated high performing in 6 adult procedures and conditions

    • A general medical and surgical facility

    • Some specialties include Heart failure, Heart attack, Stroke, Kidney failure, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • UAMS Medical Center – (Little Rock, AR):

    • Regionally ranked #2 in Arkansas, and #1 in Little Rock

    • Ranked in 1 adult specialty specialty

    • Rated high performing in 5 adult procedures and conditions

    • A general medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

    • Some of the specialties include Colon cancer, Diabetes, Stroke, and Hip & knee replacement

  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital - (Little Rock, AR):

    • Regionally ranked #1 in Arkansas and #12 in Southeast

    • Nationally ranked in 4 pediatric specialties

    • A children’s general medical and surgical facility

    • Specialities include Pediatric Cardiology and Heart Surgery, Pediatric Pulmonology and Lung Surgery

  • Arkansas Heart Hospital - (Little Rock, AR):

    • Rated high performing in 2 adult procedures and conditions

    • A heart facility

    • Primarily specializes in Cardiology and Heart Surgery


Nursing Associations in Arkansas

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in Arkansas.

Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association: “This institution works hand-in-hand with Nurse Practitioners to guide them in providing excellence in service.”

Arkansas Nursing Association: “This group involves its members in promoting high standards of nursing practice, professional growth and they are also advocates for the Profession of Nursing.”

Arkansas School Nurses Association: “This organization gives emphasis on school nurses elevating the profession.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Contact Details

Arkansas Board of Nursing

Phone: (800) 462-0599


4815 W Markham

Little Rock, AR 72205-3867

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