The Top Nursing Schools in Alaska

Updated April 27, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Review some of Alaska's top nursing programs and how to earn a degree, become licensed to practice, and find jobs in the state.

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The Top Nursing Schools in Alaska
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With its one-of-a-kind setting, increasing demand, and substantial annual salary figures, Alaska makes for an appealing location for prospective nurses.

This guide provides an overview of how to become a nurse in Alaska, the salary and job outlook, and the best nursing programs in the state.

The Best Nursing Schools in Alaska

Learn more about the top nursing schools in Alaska and uncover the programs in the state that provide the best options for prospective nurses.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Alaska, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

#1

University of Alaska Fairbanks

School Information
Location Fairbanks, Alaska
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 35%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Community & Technical College offers a prenursing certificate that builds foundational nursing skills. Ranked among the top nursing programs in Alaska, the curriculum prepares candidates to enter UAF's bachelor of science in nursing program. Candidates must complete one clinical course, with options including nurse aide training or personal care attendant training.

Details:

  • Program(s): Prenursing Certificate
  • Campus: Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Alaska Board of Nursing
  • Tuition: $234/credit
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 37-42 credits required
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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#2

University of Alaska Anchorage

School Information
Location Anchorage, Alaska
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 29%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

Home to one of the top nursing schools in Alaska, the University of Alaska Anchorage serves students from across the state. Candidates study theory and clinical practice, gaining the skills to assess and implement healthcare for individuals and families. Common courses include nursing informatics, nursing research, and nursing leadership/management.

Details:

  • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Anchorage, Alaska
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $234-$282/credit
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma with minimum 3.0 GPA; Kira assessment; TEAS exam
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $72,101 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#3

University of Alaska Southeast

School Information
Location Juneau, Alaska
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 26%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

Based in Juneau, the University of Alaska Southeast offers a prenursing certificate. The program includes topics in lifespan development, nutrition, and anatomy. As one of the top nursing schools in Alaska, UAS also offers candidates the option to continue their studies in the bachelor of science in nursing program.

Details:

  • Program(s): Prenursing certificate
  • Campus: Juneau, Alaska
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Not indicated
  • Tuition: $234/credit resident; $800/credit nonresident
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma with minimum 2.0 GPA or GED certificate
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 38 credits required
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Alaska

When choosing the right nursing program, applicants should consider various factors in connection to their academic and professional goals. Determine tuition costs, program length, and financial aid options to establish if the program suits your needs.

It is crucial that the nursing institution is accredited. In addition, review the average National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) scores and graduation rates, which can indicate how well the program prepares its students for success.

Why Become a Nurse in Alaska

As one of the country's highest-paying states for registered nurses (RNs), choosing to earn a degree and work in Alaska can be a smart choice. Coupling the above-average pay with the projected demand for RNs and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) makes the state even more advantageous for healthcare professionals.

For prospective nurses who live in the western portion of the country, Alaska provides lower tuition when compared to neighboring states, such as California and Washington. Despite Alaska's higher cost of living, it still costs more to live in Oregon and California.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Alaska

Alaska is one of the highest-paying states for nurses, which stems from its isolated location. Therefore, the higher salary can draw more nurses to the state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs earn an average of $97,230, licensed practical nurses earn $63,650, and certified nursing assistants earn $43,080. APRNs earn the most at $113,820.

While most nurses earn above the national average, the cost of living in Alaska ranks as the seventh most expensive region in the country. So, the higher salary helps to offset the high cost of living.

Like most other states, Alaska anticipates an increase in the demand for nurses. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expects the state to experience a shortage of over 5,000 nurses.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Alaska

The highest-paying jobs for RNs can be found in Anchorage, the most populated area in the state. Anchorage is in the south central portion of the state, just north of the Gulf of Alaska. The population in regions north of Anchorage is too low. Therefore, the demand in those areas is minimal.

Top-Paying Cities
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Anchorage $96,160
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Alaska

Becoming an RN or APRN in Alaska is similar to the process required in most other states. First, prospective nurses need to complete a nursing program approved by theAlaska Board of Nursing.

After fulfilling their academic requirements, undergraduate students must pass the NCLEX-RN to gain licensure through a nationally recognized certification organization.

Both RNs and APRNs must satisfy continuing education requirements for nurses to maintain their license.

RN Requirements

To become an RN in Alaska, prospective nurses must graduate from an accredited nursing program recognized by the state board of nursing with either anassociate degree in nursing (ADN) or abachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Upon completion, prospective nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN and submit a licensure application to the state, which includes a $100 application fee, a $200 licensing fee, and a $75 fingerprint processing fee.

RNs must renew their license by November 30 of every even-numbered year. To be eligible for renewal, RNs must complete 30 continuing education hours, 60 hours in professional activities, and 320 hours of employment in an official capacity.

APRN Requirements

To become an APRN, nurses need an unencumbered RN license that allows them to practice in the state. They must also earn amaster of science in nursing or adoctor of nursing practice. Nurses must complete 60 hours of continuing education between each renewal period.

The application includes a $100 APRN licensure fee, $100 prescriptive authority fee (if applicable), $100 controlled substance application fee (if applicable), and $100 temporary permit fee.

APRNs must renew their license by November 30 of every even-numbered year. To be eligible for renewal, they must complete 60 continuing education hours, which includes 15 hours of education in advanced pharmacology and clinical management of drug therapy for prescriptive authority.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Alaska


How much do nurses make in Alaska?

Licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants in Alaska benefit from having the highest average pay in the country, earning $63,650 and $43,080, respectively. RNs enjoy the fifth highest salary in the nation at $97,230 annually.

However, APRNs do not fare as well as their nursing counterparts, earning $113,820 per year, which places the position at 31st when compared to the rest of the country.

Are nurses in demand in Alaska?

Yes, nurses are in demand in Alaska. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Alaska is projected to have a significant shortage of nurses from 2014-2030. Overall, the state is expected to be short over 5,000 nurses in that time.

How long does it take to become an RN in Alaska?

Like most other states, the length of time it takes to become an RN in Alaska depends on the nurse's education. Students in an ADN program who attend class on a full-time basis can earn their degree within two years; those who complete a BSN program full time can finish in four.

How do I get a nursing license in Alaska?

After earning an ADN or a BSN in the state, prospective nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN before applying for licensure. Applicants must then pay application, licensing, and fingerprinting fees to the state before receiving an RN license.

Find Nursing Programs in Other States

NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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