Arkansas RN to BSN Programs

There is plenty of confusion about the need for a BSN if you are a RN. To best explain the differences and then get to the reasons that you would want to consider a BSN, it is important to understand the two distinctions. First a RN is a registered nurse. Their level of education can vary from a diploma to a master’s degree. The important thing to remember is a RN passed the NCLEX-RN exam that allows them to practice as a nurse in their state. A BSN is simply an education. Earning a BSN does not give you the registration to work as a nurse, but it does give you a significant amount of education that will make you more desirable once you pass the NCLEX-RN. You don’t need a BSN to become a RN, but it will only be seen in a positive light as you look for an employer.

Arkansas is an interesting place to work as a RN. With a total of 140 graduates from medical schools in 2011, a portion of those moved into nursing and a smaller portion had a BSN. Even with fairly low numbers of medical school graduates, the state sees close to the national average of RN working per 100,000 population. With 802 RNs per in the state, they fall just short of the national average of 874 per. Those numbers do not take into account the level of education RNs have, so earning your BSN should make it even easier than it already is to enter the work force.

The curious part about Arkansas is the lower than average annual wage. At just over $55,000 a year, RNs in Arkansas seem as if they get the short end when compared to other states. What you will find though is that Arkansas is ranked as the fourth lowest state on the cost of living index. So even if someone earns $80,000 in New York, which is ranked 47, the significantly lower cost of living can offset much of the difference. This number is also an average which will not take into account the higher wages you should expect once you hold a BSN.

Hot Springs and Little Rock have the highest percentage of RNs relative to the population with Fayetteville and Jonesboro bringing up the opposite end of the spectrum. The highest average income is in Hot Springs and Little Rock, so keep this information in mind as you start to look at places that you could start working upon graduation, or even during school.

The Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, Eugene J. Towbin VA Hospital in North Little Rock, McClellan VA Medical Center in Little Rock and Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville rank in the top 25 employers in the state across all industries. It may be worth looking at the possibility of earning an entry level position at these employers as you move through school as they may offer financial assistance towards your education.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will hold a number of scholarships, loan repayment options and grants that can help you pay for your education. In general, a loan repayment or forgiveness option will reward graduates with discounts or forgiveness of their loans if they work for a specified amount of time in underrepresented and high need areas. In additional, individual schools throughout the state will offer unique grants and scholarships to their students, so make sure to bring those questions up as you travel to different schools.


University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

UAMS was established in 1953 in response to the community and professional desire throughout the state for a professional training facility. Since then it has grown to one of the most well respected and specialized colleges in the state. With a BSN offered that can lead to Master of Nursing Science and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing, you can go as far as you like with your education at this college.

Arkansas State University

ASU is a well-known college due to a number of factors. Their athletic department has a rabid fan base and the school oozes spirit from all of the students. In addition, more than 300 clubs and organizations are available from student government, Greek Life, academic honor societies, religious organizations, community service groups and even a ROTC program. All of this simply means that your education will be all encompassing. Earning a BSN from ASU is something that any employer will be happy to see on a resume, and your education will be one that will change your life.