10 Best Nursing Schools in Arkansas – 2024 Rankings

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

Why is this a great time to pursue an education at one of the nursing schools in Arkansas? Because the Natural State has one of the most serious RN shortages in the nation, and demand for nurse services is projected to grow by nearly 9.08 percent over the next decade. Registered nurses in Arkansas average $66,530 a year in earnings. Nursing schools in Arkansas offer a number of full-time, part-time and online options so that you can enroll in a nursing program without disrupting your life. The information below will tell you all you need to know about the 10 best nursing schools in Arkansas for 2024.



(After closely assessing all nursing schools approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the best accredited nursing schools in Arkansas offering ADN programs.)

1. University of Arkansas - Little Rock

The University of Arkansas - Little Rock’s AAS program starts once a year during the summer. The curriculum includes 27 credits in liberal arts and sciences and 33 credits in nursing centric courses. You will get a perfect opportunity to put your classroom knowledge and skills into practice at the college’s state-of-the-art simulation hospital. Furthermore, clinical training sessions at various renowned health care facilities in the Central Arkansas area will ensure you are ready to face real-world challenges as a nurse. Post completion of this program, you can take the NCLEX-RN and start working as an entry-level nurse, or you can transfer all your credits and continue with your education and earn a BSN at UA-Little Rock.

2. Arkansas Tech University – Ozark

If you are an LPN in Arkansas having a minimum of 1000 hours of work experience and are looking to further your career, then the Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AAS-RN) at Arkansas Tech University – Ozark can be given a thought. As all students in this program are LPN’s and most might want to continue working while being enrolled, the college offers students the flexibility of taking half of the nursing courses online. Post-graduation, you can either start working or pursue a BSN by seamlessly transferring all your credits to Arkansas Tech University's main campus in Russellville. Starting in 2019, ATU-Ozark has also started offering a Paramedic to RN bridge program.

3. University of Arkansas Community College-Batesville – Batesville

University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville offers nursing education that is aimed at turning students into competent and compassionate nurses, serving patients across the lifespan. This RN program in Arkansas currently offers two pathways, the traditional Generic Entry option for first time nursing students and the LPN to RN bridge option for licensed practical nurses. The Generic Entry option is a campus-based program while the LPN to RN bridge program can be pursued either on-campus or online. The generic option requires you to complete 67 credit hours, whereas the LPN to RN students complete only 57 credits as nine credits are awarded for their LPN education. In 2019 the college replaced its content-heavy traditional nursing curriculum with a new CONCEPTS based model, which ensures students are not just bombarded with piles of information but also learn how the content connects to patient care and various conditions. The faculty expects this model to promote clinical reasoning, improve retention rates, and help maintain the exceptional performance on the NCLEX-RN.

4. Arkansas State University – Mountain Home

Arkansas State University – Mountain Home’s 60-credit LPN/Paramedic to Associate Degree program offers an opportunity for LPN’s and Paramedics to enter the highly in-demand and lucrative field of registered nursing. This flexible four-semester program is a blend of on-campus and online didactic learning, perfectly complemented with rigorous clinical training sessions. The curriculum is designed to ensure you develop important skills such as critical thinking, clinical reasoning, basic Informatics, and patient-centered care. You are required to attend classes twice a week in the evenings and participate in clinical sessions for nine hours every week. Graduates will also have the option to transfer their credits and pursue a BSN degree at prominent institutions, which include AState, UA Fayetteville, and UAMS.

5. East Arkansas Community College - Forrest City

The Associate of Applied Science Nursing program at East Arkansas Community College has been an offering since 1976. Graduates of this program are spread across the state of Arkansas, dedicatedly serving patients and their families in various capacities. To graduate from this two-year degree, you need to attend classroom and clinical sessions for five semesters and earn a total of 62 credits in general education and nursing courses. EACC also offers an LPN/LPTN Accelerated Track, designed for practical nurses with an active license in Arkansas. The college has an agreement in place with the University of Central Arkansas, where the associate degree graduates can seamlessly transfer credits and earn their BSN.

6. Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas – Helena

If you are looking at entering the healthcare field as a registered nurse, then you must know that Arkansas offers a promising employment outlook to entry-level nurses. Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas’s RN program comes with a traditional track as well as a career advancement bridge track for LPN graduates. LPNs are preferred with past work experience, more so if graduation was done beyond one year. Regardless of the track, you enter, you must complete all the courses with a minimum grade “C” to earn your degree. Upon graduation, you will be well versed in nursing care for patients with chronic, acute, and stable health conditions. Practical learning is enhanced by bedside hands-on experiences at the college’s many affiliated prominent clinical sites in the vicinity.

7. NorthWest Arkansas Community College – Bentonville

NorthWest Arkansas Community College caters to the rising demand for professional nurses with three RN program options. If you come from a non-nursing background, you can choose to complete either the traditional or accelerated RN track, whereas if you are an LPN graduate, you are eligible to enter the LPN to RN bridge track. Along with the rigorous didactic courses, the college provides for clinical training at varied healthcare facilities in the region. With placement rates consistently being at 100% over the recent years, program graduates are known to successfully be offering nursing care at hospitals, schools, specialty hospitals, outpatient care centers, and home healthcare services.

8. Arkansas Northeastern College – Blytheville

If you are interested in the field of direct patient care, then completing a two-year nursing program in AR can be a good idea as, just in a short duration, you will be ready to join the nursing workforce. Arkansas Northeastern College offers a traditional and an LPN to RN bridge program that admits students on a selective basis. The coursework combines general education courses with the nursing coursework, training you in communication, nutrition, pharmacology, direct patient care, and legal and ethical responsibilities of a nurse. Every nursing course is complemented by clinical experience to help you apply theoretical knowledge in a clinical setting.

9. North Arkansas College – Harrison

The Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree at North Arkansas College is designed to ensure that each graduate is well-trained to serve the community as an entry-level nurse. The coursework is intensive, and the college strongly discourages employment during the course of this program. This full-time curriculum mainly aims at educating you on patient communication, critical reasoning, collaborating as a member of a healthcare team, using technology and evidence to deliver effective patient care, and the professional attitude and behavior required of you as a registered nurse. You can enter this program as a non-nursing student or as an LPN graduate who holds an active PN license.

10. National Park College - Hot Springs

To become an RN in Arkansas, National Park College offers an Associate of Science nursing program that spans across two years of full-time study. For those with personal and professional commitments, the duration can be stretched to suit individual needs. The 66-credit coursework is a fine balance of liberal arts, social & biological sciences, humanities and nursing courses. It is highly recommended that you complete the non-nursing courses before beginning the 38 credits in nursing courses. Alternatively, LPN graduates with an active license require completing 31 credits in nursing courses, allowing them to complete the program sooner. To hone patient care skills right from the beginning of the nursing coursework, you will be provided with clinical experiences at diverse healthcare settings in the Hot Springs and neighboring areas.


Nursing Schools in Nearby States
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

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