Having a genuine concern for other people and a desire to create changes in the health of the public are two good reasons to become a nurse. However, just like any job, you also have to consider a lot of factors before pursuing it.
If you are currently looking for the best state to pursue your chosen career, Arizona is one of your best options. With a high demand for nurses and an excellent salary, you have a lot of opportunities to grow as a nurse in this state.
To help you on your journey, below is a quick guide in picking the best nursing program in Arizona.
Requirements: How To Become An RN In Arizona
Complete A Nursing Program
This is your first step to becoming a registered nurse so you need to chose the best program for you and your future career.
The process of getting into a nursing program isn’t easy. In fact, it may be a competitive process.
For your application, you’ll need to meet the programs’ minimum educational requirements. Not all programs have the same requirements so you need to check with your chosen institution first.
Pass The NCLEX-RN Examination
After getting your degree, you’ll be qualified to take the NCLEX-RN. You need to pass this exam in order for you to be qualified to apply for a nursing license in Arizona.
Get Your Nursing License
There are a few things you need to prepare for your licensure. The list includes your official transcripts, certificate of completion, and proof of citizenship. You also need to prepare your fingerprint documentation and immigration status if applicable.
Now, if you are from a different state, you need to present your current license as well as the NURSYS documentation that will verify your former state license. You also need to present the result of your NCLEX-RN, your fingerprint documentation, and proof of your citizenship.
When it comes to license renewal, you need to have 960+ hours of practice in the last 5 years. You can find out more about the requirements here.
ADN Programs In Arizona
ADN programs are considered as one of the most popular training paths for nursing students in the state. They can help you get the training you need in two to three years.
Schools have different admission requirements. If you are planning on taking this route, here’s a quick list of the most common requirements for the program:
- Official transcripts
- Complete application documents
- Fulfilled residency and citizenship requirements
- Evidence of negative drug tests
- Complete documents to prove an ACT composite of 16 (minimum)
The total costs of ADN programs vary. Apart from the tuition costs, you also have to be prepared to pay for the books, laboratory costs, parking fees, and more.
If you worry about the fees, financial aid is available. You can reach out to the school to see if they offer financial assistance
LPN To RN Programs In Arizona
Current Licensed Practical Nurses may be allowed to take the NCLEX-RN after they’ve completed an LPN to RN program.
There are actually two choices: an LPN to ADN or LPN to BSN pathway. If you want the quickest way, take an LPN to ADN program.
For the LPN to RN program, you’ll need to prepare the following:
- Active and current LPN license
- Proof of completing an accredited LPN program
- Fulfillment of prerequisite courses
- Proof of immunizations
BSN Programs In Arizona
Getting a BSN degree opens up a nursing student to a lot of experiences and opportunities which he can use to succeed in the field. For example, BSN degree holders have the option to be a Nurse Practitioner or earn a degree in Advance Practice Register Nursing.
There are 11 nursing programs in the state and their admission requirements vary. In general, if you plan on enrolling in any of those programs, you’ll need to submit the following:
- GPA score that goes above minimum program standard
- Transcripts from former schools and institutions
- Proof of “good standing” or absence of academic dishonesty.
MSN Programs In Arizona
For nurses who want to further their education, they can take an MSN program. If you are one of those nurses, your options are limited since there are just a few schools offering them.
Compared with BSN programs, MSN programs cost more. With this, students are often encouraged to reach out to their school’s staff to talk about payment options. It’s not ideal to work while you’re enrolled in an MSN program since the sessions are considered harder.
Accelerated Nursing Programs In Arizona
Getting an accelerated degree is quite accessible in Arizona considering that there’s a couple of colleges that offer Accelerated Nursing Programs. Compared with other programs, completing an accelerated degree is harder since most of them require a full-year, full-time commitment.
Best RN Programs In Arizona
A Closer Look At The Best Nursing Programs In Arizona
Picking the best nursing program in Arizona is critical in your path towards becoming a successful nurse. To help you pick the right one for you, here’s a quick breakdown of your best options in the state:
1. Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University’s BSN program is a nine-semester program. This means that it can take around 4 and a half years for you to complete it.
Located in Flagstaff, Arizona, this public institution has an impressive NCLEX pass rate. That’s not surprising considering that its program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and Commission on Collegiate Nursing.
One of the best things about NAU is that it offers traditional, online, and accelerated programs. This enables them to meet students’ needs and preferences when meeting their career goals.
NAU allows its students to find their programs by location. You can see the full list here.
2. Arizona College
The BSN program Arizona College offers is accelerated. You should be able to finish it in 3 years.
During the first year, you’ll work on general education courses. They might include human development, fundamentals of biology, introduction to psychology, and cultural diversity and global health.
In your second year, you’ll be exposed to your first clinical experience. You may also deal with ethical and legal standards in the Nursing practice, human nutrition, and mental health theory and application.
In the third year, you’ll be dealing with courses that include maternal health theory and application, community health nursing, leadership for quality and patient safety, and pediatric health theory and application. To see its sample curriculum, you can click here.
Because the program is shorter than others, it’s considered to be cheaper. Right after completing it, you’ll be eligible to take the NCLEX.
3. Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s BSN program focuses on evidence-based practice, innovation, and clinical reasoning to prepare its students for their chosen career. It offers several pathways for you to earn your degree.
Its traditional nursing program is offered three times a year- spring, summer, and fall. You can complete it following a 24-month academic schedule or a 16-month year-round schedule. Right after graduation, you’ll be eligible to take the NCLEX and become a registered nurse.
There’s also the accelerated BSN program. It’s designed for those who possess a bachelor’s degree in another field.
For students who have an associate degree in nursing and possess an active and current nursing license, they can enroll in ASU’s online RN to BSN program which can be completed in 14 to 24 months.
4. Grand Canyon University
GCU has two popular nursing programs- the traditional BSN and its online RN to BSN program. Its fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to ensure quality education for its nursing students.
GCU’s online RN to BSN program can be completed within 12 months. Since it’s online, you can continue working as a nurse while earning your BSN degree.
5. University Of Phoenix
The RN to BSN program the University of Phoenix offers is both affordable and legitimate. Each credit costs around $350.
Following an online and campus format, students are required to physically attend class once a week. Typically, the schedule is between 6 to 10 pm and it’ll be determined by the academic advisor.
University of Phoenix offers an RN to BSN Competency-Based program which you can finish in under a year. You can see the full details here.
6. Pima Medical Institute
Pima Medical Institute is an excellent choice for nursing students who are looking for affordable options. They offer a flat rate for the BSN program courses which makes them easy on the students’ budget.
PMI’s program is specifically designed for registered nurses. The program can take about 16 months to complete.
During your classes, you’ll learn more about transcultural nursing practice, community-oriented nursing practice, and nursing leadership and healthcare management.
Take note that the classes are offered online. This enables you to balance your life around your career, school, and other personal commitments.
7. The University Of Arizona
The University of Arizona has a high NCLEX pass rate and affordable in-state tuition. These are solid reasons why nursing students should have this on their list of the best nursing programs in Arizona.
Take note that it’s not easy to get into its program. It’s more competitive if you compare it with other Arizona BSN programs. Additionally, admission requirements are also stricter.
8. Glendale Community College
Glendale Community College is a part of the Maricopa Community College. It offers Nursing Associate in Applied Science or AAS which is enough to qualify and prepare you for the NCLEX.
All students who wish to enroll in its program are required to meet its health and safety requirements. They’ll need to provide a signed and completed Health and Safety Documentation Checklist. Apart from that, they also need to show their CPR card.
A background check and DPS level 1 fingerprint clearance card are also required.
9. Carrington College – Phoenix
Carrington College has four campuses in the state- Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, and Glendale. Only three of the campuses offer an RN program.
Carrington’s program has courses covering anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, microbiology, and more. The courses are a mix of clinical exercises, classroom lectures, and practical training to help you build a strong foundation for your practice.
10. Cochise College
Cochise College is an excellent option for its low in-state tuition. Its AAS program can be completed in just 2 years, letting you achieve your goal of becoming a registered nurse fast.
The program combines labs, lectures, and clinical assignments to teach nursing students everything they need to excel in the field. Its lectures are generally held in the Sierra Vista Campus while the labs are conducted in the Benson, Douglas, and Sierra Vista campuses.
Cochise College’s program is ACEN accredited. If you wish to apply to this program, make sure to submit your application before April 30. Submit your nursing program application and waiver of licensure together with your official transcripts, fingerprint clearance card, and HESI A-2 exam results.
To see the complete list of program fees, you can click here.