How to Become an RN in Arkansas (A Complete 2023 Guide)

How to Become an RN in Arkansas

So you’re planning on becoming an RN in Arkansas?

AWESOME!

They certainly need the extra hand. 

However, you first need to go through all the steps and requirements to get your RN license. 

This is where we come in. 

In this article, we’re going to give you a complete guide on how to become an RN in Arkansas. We won’t skip anything, so you know EXACTLY what to do. 

Are you ready?

Let’s begin!

How to Become an RN in Arkansas – The 3 Major Steps

You only need to complete 3 major steps to become an RN in Arkansas. These are:

  1. Complete an approved program 
  2. Apply for an RN license 
  3. Take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam

Of course, each major step will have its own steps to complete. Don’t worry – we’ll look into that right now. 

Step #1: Complete an Approved Program

As with any nursing career, you need to start with training. 

For aspiring RNs in Arkansas, this means enrolling in one of two programs:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

ADN vs. BSN: Which Should You Get? 

The ADN program only takes 2 years to complete. And, it also has fewer requirements to apply. Some program providers even only ask for a high school diploma or a GPA/GED with a minimum 2.0 score. 

On the other hand, BSN programs take 4 years to complete. Plus, you need a high school diploma (with a high GPA), an SAT exam, and a letter of recommendation. 

Not to mention, BSN programs are significantly more expensive than ADN ones. 

So why choose BSN, right?

The simple answer is that BSN trains you for medical practice, public health management, performing basic health procedures, and maintaining records. ADN only trains you in performing the basic health procedures and record maintenance. 

This means that, with a BSN degree, you will have better and more job opportunities with higher salaries.

So which one should you get?

That will depend on the career path you want as an RN. 

Step #2: Apply for an RN License

2 months before you graduate from your program, you should already apply for your RN license.

Here are the steps to accomplish that:

  1. Go to the Arkansas Nurse Portal:
    • Create an account (if you don’t have one)
    • Provide proof of Arkansas residency and Social Security Number
    • Pay the $100 license fee
    • Choose if you want a temporary permit for an additional fee (this will allow you to practice while waiting to take your NCLEX-RN exam)
    • Submit your application
  1. Register with Pearson Vue (the official NCLEX-RN provider in Arkansas):
    • Provide all the necessary information
    • Pay the exam fee of $200
  1. Submit an application for a state and federal background check through the Criminal Background Check System. 
  1. Follow the Criminal Background Check Instructions to complete the process. 
  1. Once you finish your program, the program director will submit your Affidavit of Graduation.

Once all of these are approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT).

Step #3: Take and Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

With your ATT, you can now schedule your NCLEX-RN exam with Pearson Vue.

On your scheduled date, do the following:

  • Arrive 30 minutes early. Your appointment will be canceled if you are late. 
  • Provide proof of identity and your biometrics – signature, palm vein scan, photo
  • Receive your exam materials – since the exam is conducted on a computer, you will only receive an on-screen calculator and a note board.
  • Take the NCLEX-RN exam – you have up to 5 hours to complete everything. You are also allowed to take 2 breaks. 
  • Finish the NCLEX-RN exam by completing the short survey
  • Raise your hand to announce that you are finished

From there, you have to wait at least 6 weeks for your NCLEX-RN results to be sent to you by the Arkansas Board. 

If you pass, your RN license will be issued. You can verify t