8 Best ADN Programs in Arkansas – (2-Year RN Programs)

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Most ADN programs in Arkansas take only two years or less to complete, which means you can start working and earning a salary much sooner than you could have had you enrolled in a four-year nursing program. RNs with associate degrees in nursing in the Natural State make $66,530 a year, and experts predict their employment opportunities will increase within the next decade by 9 percent. An ADN degree will also give you a solid foundation to build on should you decide to earn additional nursing degrees. Could an ADN be the right degree for you? Find out by reading the descriptions below of the 8 best ADN programs in Arkansas.


Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 8 best nursing schools for ADN programs in Arkansas. You can complete most of these programs in 2 years.

1. Arkansas Northeastern College - Blytheville

Program Details: Arkansas Northeastern College’s ADN program in Arkansas integrates theoretical knowledge about nursing process, pharmacology, and interdisciplinary collaboration with patient care in medical settings such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. The 67-credit program, taught at the college’s main campus in Blytheville, accepts new students each December.

You’ll complete 30 credits of general education courses and 37 credits of core nursing classes, including “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Advanced Medical Surgical Nursing I & II,” and “Pediatric Nursing.” The curriculum concludes with a course that focuses upon nursing leadership and NCLEX-RM review. You’ll learn essential nursing skills in simulation labs located in the state-of-the-art Angela Wren Nursing & Allied Health Center and participate in supervised clinical experiences in healthcare facilities throughout Blytheville and other communities in Mississippi County.

Why Choose This Program

• The three-year average NCLEX-RN pass rate for Arkansas Northeastern College’s ADN program students exceeds 93 percent.
• Are you an Arkansas-based LPN looking to upgrade your professional nursing status? Arkansas Northeastern College offers an “LPN to RN Transitions in Nursing” class and will award you up to eight advanced placement credits for participation in this course.
• Arkansas Northeastern College provides free daycare for its students' children, making it one of the best ADN programs in Arkansas for parents who want to become registered nurses.

2. National Park College - Hot Springs

Program Details: National Park College offers a hybrid 2-year nursing program in Arkansas. You can access nursing theory courses online, but you must engage in skills labs and clinical practicums in person. While you don’t have to be a licensed practical nurse to enter this program, priority admission is given to students who already have 16 credits or more of nursing coursework. You must complete all prerequisites before you apply to the program.

The ADN curriculum consists of “Critical Thinking Applications I & II” and “Nursing Process I – V.” Clinical learning activities at hospitals and long-term care facilities throughout Hot Springs and adjacent communities can be scheduled during mornings, afternoons, evenings, or weekends. You’ll begin participating in clinical experiences near the very start of your studies. NPC’s nursing simulation lab is a collaborative endeavor with CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs Hospital.

Why Choose This Program

• National Park College partners with CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs on a Pathway Program that pays tuition and fees for students who agree to work at the hospital for two years following their RN licensure.
• If you can’t afford to leave your job when you go back to school, this National Park College program may be for you because it offers a part-time enrollment option.
• 100 percent of the graduates from this ADN program in Arkansas land jobs in the nursing field within one year of graduating.

3. Northwest Arkansas Community College - Bentonville

Program Details: Northwest Arkansas Community College’s ADN program in Arkansas has five tracks. Traditional four-semester programs with no summer classes are offered at the college’s campuses in Benton and Washington Counties. The Benton and Washington campuses also offer accelerated four-semester programs that include summer coursework. Finally, there is a three-semester advanced placement track for LPNs and paramedics that accepts 40 students a year and offers online lecture courses as well as evening, overnight, and weekend clinicals. The traditional Washington County track also offers night and weekend clinicals.

The traditional tracks begin in the fall, while the accelerated tracks begin in the summer. The advanced placement track starts in the spring. Core nursing coursework for this 68-credit degree includes classes like “Nursing Care of Adults I, II, & III,” “Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing,” and “Nursing Care of Childbearing Families.” All lecture courses are paired with a clinical counterpart; thus, you’ll take “Family Centered Pediatric Nursing” and “Family Centered Pediatric Nursing Clinical” in the same semester.

Northwest Arkansas Community College's Washington Regional Nursing Simulation Lab is set up with hospital equipment and high-tech manikins so students can learn the basics of patient care in a safe environment. You’ll participate in clinical experiences at Washington Regional Medical System and other healthcare institutions throughout Bentonville and other parts of Benton and Washington Counties.

Why Choose This Program

• Northwest Arkansas Community College has articulation agreements with the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, John Brown University, Central Methodist University, Missouri Southern State University, Missouri State University, and Pittsburgh State University that will allow its ADN graduates to continue their nursing education with minimal fuss.
• 100% of NACC’s ADN program graduates have found work as a registered nurse within 12 months of attaining their RN license.

4. North Arkansas College - Harrison

Program Details: North Arkansas College’s 2-year RN program in Arkansas is specifically designed to help you apply for registered nursing licensure in Arkansas and Missouri. When you apply to this ADN program, you must submit two applications—one for the nursing program and one for the college itself. This is one of the ADN programs in Arkansas that admits new students in the fall semester.

The ADN program comprises 13 general education credits and 53 prerequisite and core nursing credits. You’ll take courses like Medical Surgical Nursing I, II, & III,” “Pharmacology I, II, and III,” and “Maternal-Neonatal Nursing.” Skills labs and clinical experiences are folded into lecture courses and reflect course content whenever possible. The Blue & You Foundation Health Education Simulation Center offers a replicated hospital setting, including virtual ER and ICU units, where students can learn and refine their hands-on skills. Clinicals are scheduled at hospitals and other healthcare facilities throughout Harrison and nearby Boone and Newton Counties and may take place during the day or evening.

Why Choose This Program

• North Arkansas College also offers an LPN-to-RN Bridge program that begins each January.
• Graduates of Northark’s ADN program have a leg up if they apply to the RN-to-BSN program at the University of Central Arkansas.

5. Arkansas Tech University - Ozark

Program Details: Arkansas Tech University’s ADN program in Arkansas is only open to licensed practical nurses and paramedics. The university understands that many students in this program will be working while they pursue their educational goals, so half the required nursing theory classes are offered online. Both LPNs and paramedics must have at least 1,000 hours of professional experience in the year prior to applying for admission to qualify for this program.

LPNs begin this 60-credit program in the fall, while paramedics begin it in the spring. Paramedics must complete a course called “Paramedic Transition-Nursing” before they proceed to the core nursing curriculum. The core nursing curriculum includes classes like “Introduction to Professional Nursing” and “Theories and Concepts for Professional Nursing,” and practicums are offered as separate classes. The college has a sophisticated simulation facility stocked with hospital beds and equipment and human patient simulators where you’ll be introduced to hands-on techniques. Once you’ve become proficient in nursing skills, you’ll be given the opportunity to participate in supervised patient care at healthcare facilities throughout the Arkansas River Valley area.

Why Choose This Program

• Graduates of this ADN nursing program can seamlessly transition into Arkansas Tech’s online RN-to-BSN program, which accepts new students three times a year.
• Arkansas Tech College is located in the rural Ozarks, so its nursing curriculum emphasizes the challenges of rural healthcare. This makes its ADN program one of the better ADN programs in Arkansas for aspiring RNs interested in rural nursing.

6. Phillips Community College - Helena

Program Details: Phillips Community College offers its ADN program in Arkansas at its Helena-West Helena and Stuttgart campuses. You must complete all prerequisites before you apply for admission. The program focuses on patient-centered care, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary collaboration. It comprises 40 credits, including such classes as “Concepts of Nursing Care for Patients with Chronic, Stable Conditions,” “Concepts of Nursing Care for Patients with Acute, Stable Conditions,” and “Concepts of Nursing Care for Patients with Complex Conditions.”

Why Choose This Program

• Except during the COVID-19 pandemic, Phillips Community College’s ADN program graduates had an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 90 percent or higher.
• Phillips Community College is affiliated with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, which offers an RN-to-BSN program and an RN-to-MSN program. Once you graduate and attain your RN license, you can fast-track into either one of these programs.
• This 2-year RN program in Arkansas offers an advanced placement track for licensed practical nurses and licensed psychiatric technical nurses.

7. University of Arkansas at Little Rock - Little Rock

Program Details: The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has offered an associate nursing degree since the early 1960s in response to the Natural State’s severe RN shortage. This ADN program in Arkansas consists of 60 credits, including core nursing courses like “Introduction to Nursing: Concepts I & II,” “Adult Nursing I: Acute Care,” and “Adult Nursing I: Chronic Care.” Classes meet twice a week for two and a half hours at a time. The university accepts students into this program each summer, and you’ll have to submit separate applications to the University of Arkansas and its School of Nursing.

UA Little Rock’s Center for Simulation Innovation is a 9,500-square-foot facility featuring a 20-bed state-of-the-art simulation hospital where foundational patient skills are taught. Clinicals typically comprise one 12-hour shift a week and are scheduled at some of the finest medical facilities in Little Rock and other communities throughout Central Arkansas.

Why Choose This Program

• Students accepted into this program can apply for Arkansas’s Career Pathways Initiative, which assists UA students with tuition, fees, books, transportation, and childcare.
• UA Little Rock’s Center for Simulation Innovation is widely regarded as one of the best simulation labs in the southern part of the U.S.
• Once you graduate from this 2-year nursing program in Arkansas and attain your Arkansas RN license, you can enroll in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s BSN program.

8. Baptist Health College Little Rock - Little Rock

Program Details: Baptist Health College Little Rock has a long history of investing in nursing education; it was founded as a nurse training school before 1920. It’s another one of the 2-year RN programs in Arkansas that offers two tracks: a traditional track for students with no medical background and an advanced placement track for LPNs and certified paramedics who’ve completed four of the nine required core nursing courses or their equivalent.

The traditional track accepts new cohorts twice a year. The 40-credit core nursing curriculum includes courses like “Adult Nursing I, II, && III,” “Children’s Health,” and “Synthesis of Nursing Concepts.” Skills labs and clinical practicums are offered as components of lecture classes. BHCLR has invested in a state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab that includes replicas of acute and specialty hospital units where you can hone essential clinical competencies. You’ll also be able to participate in supervised patient care at healthcare institutions throughout Greater Metropolitan Little Rock.

Why Choose This Program

• Baptist Health College Little Rock has agreements in place with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Ouachita Baptist University, Capella University, the University of Central Arkansas, and Arkansas Tech University that let its ADN graduates transfer seamlessly into these schools’ BSN programs.
• Baptist Health College Little Rock’s ADN graduates have an NCLEX-RN pass rate of more than 90 percent, higher than any other ASN program in the Little Rock Metropolitan Area.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

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