Top 5 Arkansas RN to MSN Programs

Choosing to study towards an MSN degree program is a really good career choice for those who already are registered nurses (RNs). It is known that holding an MSN degree opens up better career options and it leads to a significant increase in salary as well. When choosing an MSN degree in Arkansas, it is very important that you choose a specialization that interests you and that you find a good school.

Let’s take a look first at salaries and job outlook for MSN degree holders in Arkansas.

Salaries and Job Outlook for MSN Degree Holders in Arkansas

Within Arkansas, the variation between the salaries for RNs with an MSN is very large. This is due to a range of different factors, including population, employer and market competitiveness. Nevertheless, the job outlook and salaries are good throughout the state.

Only 1% of all the RNs in the country work in Arkansas, which equates to around 23,730 nurses. The average annual salary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $56,500 per year, or $27.16 per hour, in 2010. This is well below the national average, but it is important to note that the cost of living in Arkansas is much lower than the national average as well.

The top 10% of RNs in Arkansas earn $74,600 or more while the bottom 10% earn less than $37,910. Generally, this is linked to their experience and, as the most important factor, their education. Indeed, the top 10% all hold at least an MSN degree, whereas the bottom 10% tend to hold an associate’s degree.

In terms of where the highest salaries are paid, Hot Springs is the best place to work in. The median annual wage is $72,360, which is higher than the national average. However, it should also be observed that the cost of living is slightly higher in Hot Springs than elsewhere in the state although it is still far below the national average. It is a fantastic place to work as a nurse, but competition is fierce and only very few positions are available.

Other areas where the salaries for RNs are high include those near to the Texas border. Generally speaking, the highest salaries are earned at surgical and medical hospitals, where demand for nurses is also the highest. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this demand for nurses will continue to grow above the national average in the state of Arkansas.

Top Arkansas MSN Degree Programs

It is very important to choose a degree program that fits your personal interests and your career objectives. There are many programs to choose from in Arkansas, so you should spend your time doing some research.

Let’s take a look at what we think are the top Arkansas MSN degree programs.

1. Arkansas State University

The School of Nursing at Arkansas State University focuses on the continuous professional education of nursing. This will enable them to meet the health care needs of the people in the communities they serve. Furthermore, they ensure all licensed nurses are able to upgrade their current licenses, whether that is from BSN to MSN or from MSN to doctorate. All programs are also fully accessible.

• Campus: Jonesboro, Arkansas
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: ACEN
• Tuition: $3,719 for 12 hours for in-state students and $6,647 for out-of-state students
• Degree requirements: One year RN work experience, BSN, CPR, medical, immunizations, GPA
• Minimum time commitment: Varies depending on the course chosen and whether you study full time or part time.
• Programs: MSN – Nurse Anesthesia; MSN – Adult Health Nursing /Clinical Specialist, Adult Health Nursing /Educator option (AH), Adult Health Nursing /Administration, Family Nurse Practitioner
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

2. University of Arkansas

The Master of Science nurse educator degree program at the University of Arkansas is offered fully online. It is organized by the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. The program takes 4 semesters and one summer to complete if followed full time. If students choose to go for the part time option, they can take longer so long as the full degree is completed within 6 consecutive calendar years.

• Campus: Fayetteville, Arkansas
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: CCNE
• Tuition: Varies depending on chosen program and personal circumstances
• Degree requirements: GRE, BSN, RN, health assessment, statistics course
• Minimum time commitment: Four semesters
• Programs: Online nurse educator
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

3. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

At the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, students can follow various MSN specialties to become advanced practice nurses, be that as a practitioner or as an administrator. Additionally, students are encouraged to go on to achieve their doctorate degrees. The university understands that all nurses have an accountability to society at large, which is one of the reasons why such a wide variety of degrees are being offered.

• Campus: Little Rock, Arkansas
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: CCNE
• Tuition: Varies depending on chosen pathway
• Degree requirements: Transcripts, BSN, RN, health assessment course, GPA, TOEFL if required
• Minimum time commitment: Varies depending on chosen pathway
• Programs: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner
• Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration
• Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Educator
• Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

4. University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas offers an MSN program specific for those who already are RNs through a BSN degree. All of the courses are available online, although some visits to campus will be required. The university offers various tracks in order to meet the interests of all students.

• Campus: Conway, Arkansas
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: CCNE
• Tuition: Varies depending on location of student and whether the degree is completed online or on campus
• Degree requirements: BSN, RN, GPA, statistics course, GRE, TOEFL if required
• Minimum time commitment: Varies depending on chosen track
• Programs: RN to MSN, MSN – Primary Care Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator with a Clinical Specialty, Clinical Nurse Leader,
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

5. Arkansas Tech University

The MSN program at Arkansas Tech University focuses specifically on administration and emergency management. The knowledge that students obtain can be used in a variety of settings across the health care sector. It focuses on multidisciplinary partnerships and the various important principles of nursing. This includes such things as planning, evaluating and directing. At the same time, it incorporates the principles of emergencies, which includes response, preparedness, recovery and mitigation.

• Campus: Russellville, Arkansas
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: NLN
• Tuition: $261 per credit hour for residents or $522 for non-residents
• Degree requirements: BSN, GPA, RN, GRE, statistics course
• Minimum time commitment: 30 semester hours
• Programs: MSN in administration and emergency management
• School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid