How to Become an RN in Arizona – A Simple Guide

How to Become an RN in Arizona - A Simple Guide

Do you want to pursue a career as a registered nurse in Arizona?

We can’t blame you, a nursing career sounds promising.

Good thing you found our guide!

It includes 5 simple steps on how to become an RN in Arizona. 

We will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to it. 

Becoming an RN may be complicated, but luckily, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

How to Become an RN in Arizona: 5 Simple Steps 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become an RN in Arizona:

  1. Determine the common RN roles in Arizona.
  2. Complete an approved nursing program.
  3. Apply for state licensure.
  4. Register for and pass the NCLEX.
  5. Get professional experience

Without further ado, let’s discuss each one in detail. 

How to Become an RN in Arizona Step #1: Determine the Common RN Roles in Arizona

Before you pursue a career as a registered nurse, you need to determine what specific role you want to carry out. 

Once you’re a licensed RN, there will be lots of career opportunities for you. But first, you need to envision what you want to do as an RN. 

Do you want to work in a hospital or in other community settings? 

What form of specialization would you like to pursue? Do you want to practice as a public health nurse?

To give you an idea, here are some common roles that RNs carry out in a hospital:

  • RN – Mother/Baby
  • Acute Care or Telemetry
  • Nursing-Oncology
  • RN – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • RN first assistants 

As you can see, being an RN gives you endless job opportunities and roles. Some roles, though, require graduate education such as a clinical nurse leader.

Determining the role you want to pursue will help you in choosing a nursing program and school that will satisfy your needs. 

How to Become an RN in Arizona Step #2: Complete an Approved Nursing Program

Once you’re decided on which route to take, it’s time to choose an accredited nursing school!

You can check out the Arizona State of Nursing website for the list of approved RN programs to prevent you from running into problems later on.

Usually, nursing students spend 2-4 years to complete a nursing degree in a full-time nursing program where students are enrolled in 12 credit hours or more per semester. 

In Arizona, there are three routes to becoming a registered nurse. 

  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) – this program lasts for 2-3 years and prepares candidates for numerous nursing care settings
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – this nursing program takes 4 years to complete. This degree allows you to move to leadership or administrative positions 
  • Entry Level Masters Program in Nursing (ELM) – if you have a baccalaureate degree in a different field and wish to pursue a career as an RN, this program is for you. It takes 1-2 years to complete depending on the nursing prerequisites you already completed.

Have you found a good nursing school that you’re interested in? 

The process for applying and enrolling in your chosen school includes completing prerequisites. Some nursing programs have minimum educational requirements that need to be fulfilled before enrolling in the program.

Nursing programs focus on essential skills such as administering medications, maintaining patient health records, human anatomy, physiology, and using health systems, technology, and equipment.

How to Become an RN in Arizona Step #3: Apply for Licensure

If you just finished your nursing program, you need to apply for state licensure to be eligible to take the exam. 

There are two ways to obtain a license, by examination and by endorsement. 

Let’s discuss the requirements for each.

How to Obtain Your License by Examination

If you just graduated from a nursing program and have not taken the NCLEX-RN exam yet, this is the path for you to be able to obtain your license. 

Here are the requirements for applying for licensure by examination:

  • Official transcript from your nursing school
  • Citizen/alien status/citizen documentation. Check out the accepted documents here.
  • Full set of fingerprint cards for the criminal record check.
    • If you already submitted a fingerprint card within the previous two years, you are exempted from this step. The fingerprint fee is about $50.

How to Obtain Your License by Endorsement

If you’re already a licensed RN in another state and wish to apply for licensure in Arizona, you need to complete the RN endorsement application. 

Here are the steps in completing the endorsement process:

  • Submit an online application and pay the fees.
  • Request for verification of your original state of licensure on this website.
  • All candidates must submit a citizen/alien status/citizen documentation. Check out the accepted documents here.
  • Submit a fingerprint card to the State Board of Nursing if you haven’t submitted one within the past two years. 

How to Become an RN in Arizona Step #4: Register for and Pass the NCLEX

Whether you have completed an ADN or BSN program, all nursing graduates need to take the NCLEX exam to become an RN in Arizona. 

Aside from preparing the requirements for licensure by examination, you should register on the Pearson Vue website and pay the examination fee of $200. You may also call Pearson VUE at 1-866-496-2539.

Once you qualify to take the NCLEX, you can schedule an exam within 90 days.

If you’re an out-of-state candidate or failed to take the NCLEX within two years after completing the nursing program and haven’t worked 960 hours nor completed an advanced educational program, you need to take a refresher program before you can qualify to take the exam. 

How to Become an RN in Arizona Step #5: Begin Your Nursing Career

Congratulations on getting your RN license!

Your chosen nursing program and specialty will be a factor in what your role and duties will be. Generally, your primary focus as an RN is to provide excellent patient care. 

You can also pursue additional training to improve your skills and have more job opportunities. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an RN in Arizona

How much is the average salary of RNs in Arizona?

Many factors affect your salary as an RN in Arizona. These factors include your education, experience, and role.

On average, RNs in Arizona earn about $80,380 per year or roughly $38.64 per hour. 

According to the statistics, about 80% of registered nurses in Arizona earn between $57,000 to $104,000 per year.

Is it possible to work as a nurse without a license in Arizona?

One of the most important parts of your nursing journey is your license. Just like doctors, dentists, and other professionals, you need to obtain a license before practicing your profession. 

Working as a nurse without a license is a crime and you will need to face the consequences of it.

How do I renew my nursing license in Arizona?

In Arizona, you need to renew your nursing license every 4 years. You must meet at least one of the requirements to be eligible for renewal:

  • Obtained 960 hours of nursing practice in the past 5 years; OR
  • Graduated and obtained a degree from a nursing program within the 5 years; OR
  • Completed an approved refresher course in the past 5 years; OR
  • Obtained an advanced nursing degree in the past 5 years.

Helpful Resources for Arizona RNs

List of Associate Degree Programs (ADNs) in Arizona

Here’s a list of ADN programs approved by the Arizona BON:

Carrington College-Mesa
1001 W. Southern Ave., Ste. 130
Mesa, AZ 85210

Carrington College – Phoenix
2149 W. Dunlap Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 8521

Carrington College – Tucson
201 N. Bonita Ave., Ste. 10
Tucson, AZ 85711

Pima Medical Institute – Mesa Campus
941 S. Dobson Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85202

Pima Medical Institute – Tucson Campus
2121 N. Craycroft Rd. Bldg. 1
Tucson, AZ 85712

Arizona Western College
2020 S. Avenue 8E
Yuma, AZ 85365

Central Arizona College
8470 N. Overfield Rd.
Coolidge, AZ 85128

Chandler-Gilbert Community College –
Maricopa Nursing
7360 E. Tahoe Ave.
Mesa, AZ 85212

Cochise College
2600 E. Wilcox
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635-2317

Coconino Community College
3000 N. 4th St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86004-1825

Eastern Arizona College
615 N. Stadium Ave.
Thatcher, AZ 85552

Estrella Mountain Community College
Maricopa Nursing
3000 N. Dysart Rd.
Avondale, AZ 85203

Gateway Community College
*Also Offers Veteran’s LPN Bridge
108 N. 40th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Glendale Community College – Maricopa
6000 W. Olive Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85302

Jersey College – Tucson Campus
546 US-46
Teterboro, NJ 07608

Mesa Community College – Maricopa Nursing
1833 W. Southern Ave.
Mesa, AZ 85202

Mohave Community College
1801 Detroit Ave.
Kingman, AZ 86401

Northland Pioneer College
1001 W. Deuce of Clubs
Show Low, AZ 85901

Paradise Valley Community College – Maricopa
18401 N. 32nd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85032

Phoenix College – Maricopa Nursing
3700 N. 3rd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85013

Pima Community College – West Campus
2202 W. Anklam Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85709-0150

Scottsdale Community College – Maricopa
9000 E. Chaparral Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85256

Yavapai College
1100 E. Sheldon St.
Prescott, AZ 86301

Visit the Arizona BON website for updates.

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Arizona

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the Arizona BON:

Arizona College – Phoenix
16404 N. Black Canyon Highway, Ste. 200
Phoenix, AZ 85053

Arizona College – Tempe
1620 W. Fountainhead Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85282

Arizona College – Tucson
5285 E. Williams Cir., Ste. 1000
Tucson, AZ 85711

Arizona State University – (Phoenix)
550 N. 3rd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0698

Arizona State University (Polytechnic Campus)
7001 E. Williams Field Road
Mesa, AZ 85004-0698

Arizona State University (West Campus)
550 N. 3rd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0698

Aspen University – Elwood
4615 E. Elwood St., Ste. 10
Phoenix, AZ 85040

Aspen University – Honor Health
19612 N. 23rd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85027

Brookline College
2445 W. Dunlap Ave., Ste. 100
Phoenix, AZ 85021

Chamberlain University
2149 W. Dunlap Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85021-2995

Creighton University, Phoenix Campus
3100 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85012

Grand Canyon University – Phoenix
3300 W. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85017

Northern Arizona University
202 E. Pine Knoll Dr., Bldg. 7
Flagstaff, AZ 86011

University of Arizona
1305 N. Martin Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85721

University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh (Bachelor to
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901-8660

Arizona State University (Phoenix)
550 N. 3rd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0698

Grand Canyon University – Boswell
BSN Accelerated
10484 W Thunderbird Blvd #102
Sun City, AZ 85351

Grand Canyon University – Tucson
BSN Accelerated
3500 N. Campbell Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85719

Brigham Young University – Idaho
525 S. Center St.
Rexburg, ID 83460-3625

Joyce University
12257 Business Park Dr.
Draper, UT 84020

Roseman University of Health Sciences
11 Sunset Way
Henderson, NV 89014

Visit the Arizona BON website for updates.


And that’s everything you need to know about becoming an RN in Arizona!

Hopefully, our comprehensive guide will help you choose the best nursing program, whether you plan to pursue an ADN or BSN degree.

If you have additional questions, comment down below.

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