Nursing Degrees & Schools / Best Schools Arkansas
In evaluating all the Arkansas nursing schools, 5 rose to the top. Ranked in our survey according to 7 criteria—such as tuition rates, NCLEX scores, and available nursing programs—we have created a list of diverse options for the aspiring Arkansan nurse.
In order to find the town or city where these schools are located, you can reference this map. Now, let’s dive into our top nursing schools in Arkansas!
Arkansas’s top nursing program:
- Arkansas State University
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
- Harding University
- University of Arkansas
- University of Arkansas at Little Rock
1. Arkansas State University (Jonesboro, Ark.) – score 72
- Graduation rate 49%
- NCLEX Pass Rate: 91.2%
- Tuition: $6,540 (in state), $13,500 (out of state)
Coming in at the top of our list of nursing schools in Arkansas, A-State has a number of criteria working in its favor.
As an in-state student, your annual tuition and fees will be approximately $6,540. However, if you are an out-of-state student you will pay approximately $13,500 to attend per year. Another feature is their NCLEX passing rate which is very good at 91.2%.
A-State is only one of 2 schools on our list that offers an Associate degree in nursing. You have the option of completing the program in-person or online.
Traditional programs include:
- AASN Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (2 options)
- BSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing (3 options)
- MSN Master of Science in Nursing (multiple concentration areas are available)
Online programs include:
- AASN Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
- BSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- DNP Doctor of Nursing Practice
A-State has more than 14,000 students which is one of the larger schools on our list. If you prefer a larger campus or are searching for an Associate nursing degree program, A-State may be right for you.
2. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock, Ark.) – score 65
- Graduation rate 80%
- NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.6%
- Tuition: $9,270 (in state), $18,960 (out of state)
The College of Nursing at UAMS enjoys a large number of partnerships in its community since it’s located in Arkansas’ only academic health science center.
Students attending UAMS can participate in many community projects including health fairs, food pantries, vaccine clinics, career days, and vision screenings.
As a public university, the annual tuition rates at UAMS are a little below average for the nursing schools surveyed in our list. In-state annual tuition will cost you approximately $9,270 while out-of-state tuition is approximately $18,960.
The College of Nursing provides multiple degrees to over 600 students. The levels of degrees include:
- Post-Master’s Certificate
- Nurse Anesthesia
- Ph.D. UAMS is the only program in Arkansas offering the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.)
The NCLEX pass rate is 89.6% for their undergraduate programs. Of their 6 graduate Nurse Practitioner Certification programs, nearly all achieved a 100% pass rate (one was at 92%).
If a variety of clinical settings in which to do your hands-on learning is important to you, you may want to consider the College of Nursing at UAMS.
3. Harding University (Searcy, Ark.) – score 57
- Graduation rate 64%
- NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.8%
- Tuition: $21,690.00
The Carr College of Nursing is part of Harding University and is one of the larger options in private schools in the state. The university is known for its emphasis on Christianity.
As a private university, the in-state and out-of-state annual tuition are the same at $21,690.00. Their NCLEX passing rate is the highest of all the schools on our list at 97.8%.
This nursing school offers several full and part-time options for nursing degrees:
4. University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Ark.) – score 55
- Graduation rate 63%
- NCLEX Pass Rate: 88.1%
- Tuition: $7,666 (in state), $24,482 (out of state)
The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing is one of 10 colleges at the University of Arkansas. They offer several programs if you want to become a nurse or advance your education and degree.
- LPN to BSN online and can be completed in 2-3 years
- RN to BSN online and can be completed in 1 year
- MSN (Nurse Educator concentration): online program
- DNP online with some minimal campus visits
Although the University is quite large—29,068 enrolled at last count—they boast a small student-faculty ratio at 19:1.
Additionally, their NCLEX pass rate is 88.1%.
Their annual in-state tuition is $7,666; their out-of-state tuition rate is the highest of the public universities on our list at $24,482.
If you are interested in a smaller student-faculty ratio but a larger campus, consider becoming a Razorback!
5. University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Little Rock, Ark.) – score 52
- Graduation rate 38%
- NCLEX Pass Rate: 83%
- Tuition: $6,495 (in state), $18,750 (out of state)
The UA Little Rock School of Nursing offers a few paths to becoming an RN which are different from most programs. The school has options available for pursuing an online BSN degree while working.
The Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AASN) is similar to other Associate Degree programs. Once completed you would be eligible to sit for the NCLEX or move on to their online RN to BSN program.
If you are already an LPN or a paramedic, they have an accelerated BSN program designed to be completed in 1 year (3 terms).
UALR has multiple program options:
- LPN/Paramedic to RN (AASN degree) hands-on-learning, but can be completed in 1 year
- RN to BSN online
In general, it is on the lower side of our list for in-state tuition at $6,495. The average out-of-state tuition is $18,750.
While their NCLEX pass rate is the lowest of the schools on our list at 83%, their BSN program was ranked as one of the World Report’s Best Nursing Programs by U.S News.
How to choose the right nursing program
Each of the criteria we discuss is important, but there will be a few that stand out to you given your unique set of circumstances.
Some of the factors you should definitely consider are the programs being offered, tuition costs, and their NCLEX pass rate.
Here’s an easy tool to compare the programs being offered at these nationally-accredited nursing schools:
Finding the correct program for your situation is very important. There are so many options at each of these schools, you must make sure you choose a program that meets your unique needs.
Ultimately, tuition will vary depending on several factors such as being in-state or out of state, receiving grants or scholarships, and so on. So, it’s always best to be thorough and do your research.
All of the schools on our list have good NCLEX pass rates. When visiting with the faculty at your schools of choice, be sure to ask them about their pass rates and their graduation rates.
Hopefully, all the information we’ve provided for you will help you narrow your choices. With a focused list of possible nursing schools, it will be easier to review their pros and cons online.
It’s a good idea to write down all your questions and reach out to the schools you’re interested in to help you make the most informed decision possible. Once you do that, you’re well on your way to one of the best career opportunities available!
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In order to determine the best nursing schools in a state, Incredible Health compared the top schools among five categories: graduation rate, tuition, NCLEX pass rate, accreditation, and the number of nursing programs offered.
Each metric was scored on a 100-point scale with 100 representing the highest total for that category. Then we compiled the individual scores to get an overall score.
The following sources were used to create the nursing school profiles:
- University websites
- U.S. Department of Education College Scorecards
- Arkansas State Board of Nursing
- U.S. News Best Colleges
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Arkansas State University School of Nursing. astate.edu. Accessed March 30, 2022.
UAMS College of Nursing. nursing.uams.edu. Accessed March 30, 2022.
Carr College of Nursing. harding.edu. Accessed March 30, 2022.
Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. nursing.uark.edu. Accessed March 30, 2022.
School of Nursing | University of Arkansas at Little Rock. ualr.edu. Accessed March 30. 2022.