Becoming an RN in Arizona

Arizona is in need of professional nurses who have clinical expertise, academic aptitude, and cultural sensitivity. The basic process of becoming a RN in Arizona is similar to that in other states. You will need to graduate from an approved degree program and take the NCLEX at the RN level. You may select either an associate’s or bachelor’s program, but do be aware that the BSN is the preferred education level according to the Arizona Board of Nursing. An information sheet, dated December 2009, cites evidence that higher training is associated with lower mortality rates. Only 27% of newly graduated RNs held BSN status in 2008, but the Board is working to increase this. ASU notes that the BSN is favored by many magnet hospitals.

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Both ADN and BSN nurses receive the same state licensing. Your application package, which can be downloaded from the site of the Arizona Board, will ask you to provide evidence of US citizenship and of good legal standing. If you took your coursework in another state or country, you will need to send additional documentation, including transcripts. If English is not the primary language of the nation, documentation of English proficiency is required. (Puerto Rican candidates are not held to this requirement.)

Education and Career Pathways to Nursing

Many Arizona institutions have articulation agreements that allow nurses to easily move up the career ladder. Indeed, some of the partner institutions are out of state. Practical nurses can expect to receive some credit when they enroll in RN programs. Not all of these programs are termed LPN to RN. Some institutions enroll students in the standard RN track, but give them advanced placement credit. There may also be a test to demonstrate competency.

Students who have bachelor’s degrees in other fields may select either a direct entry masters or an accelerated second bachelor’s degree program.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in Arizona

When choosing a profession, it’s important to consider the long term prospects. The economy has experienced a downturn, and many people are experiencing difficulty getting work.

What is the situation like for nurses? The Arizona State Board of Nursing published a 2010 report addressing this situation. They concluded that while most experts believed that the nursing shortage was not in fact over, they had recruited more workers than were needed in the short term. The report was based partly on a survey nurses who graduated during the previous year. 79.1% did indicate that they were employed within the industry. Of those who were not, however, the most frequent response was a lack of positions in the area. Length of licensure was a big factor; nurses who had graduated more than six months earlier were significantly more likely to be employed in their field. This indicates that for many, it was taking persistent effort to land that first job. Still, it was happening.

Some respondents indicated that they had gotten jobs due to connections; one of the published responses was from a new RN who had previously been employed as a CNA at the same hospital.

The Application Process

Some Arizona schools have a competitive process; others do not. If you want to enroll at any of the Maricopa Community Colleges, for example, you just need to meet the stated requirements. The downside is that there is a placement waiting list (often, three to four semesters) at these institutions. If your timeframe is shorter than this, you will want to look into other options. Some are competitive. Accelerated BSN programs are known to be especially selective.

And when you apply for that first job? Given a choice, employers will often choose to hire experienced candidates. They are, however, more willing to take a chance on those they already know. If you are employed in the healthcare industry in some capacity, you may well be at an advantage. If you’re just starting out, you will want to look at each clinical experience as a potential job interview. It also pays to define your skills in a broad, as opposed to a narrow, context. Arizona does want to ensure that nurses have skills in English; however, they are also very interested in attracting candidates who are fluent in other languages, including Spanish and various native languages. A representative of AzNA notes that the organization holds forums to educate new graduates about shifts in healthcare policy and demographics that affect hiring patterns.

Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) RN Education Programs approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing

Brown Mackie College – Phoenix

The Brown Mackie College Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) program is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

Pima Medical Institute

PMI offers an Arizona State Board Approved Associate’s Degree in Nursing for those interested in becoming an RN.

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 Carrington College
2701 West Bethany Home Road
Phoenix, AZ 85017
Central Arizona College
8470 North Overfield Road
Coolidge, AZ 85228
Arizona Western College
PO Box 929
Yuma, AZ 85364
Cochise College
4190 W. Highway 80
Douglas, AZ 85607-6190
Coconino Community College
3000 N. 4th Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86001-2701
Eastern Arizona College
615 N. Stadium Avenue
Thatcher, AZ 85552
International Institute of the Americas –
Ethel Bauer School of Nursing
6049 N. 43rd Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85019
Maricopa Community College District Nursing Program
Eight community colleges and multiple sites
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
2626 East Pecos Road
Chandler, AZ 85225
Estrella Mountain Community College
3000 N. Dysart Road
Avondale AZ 85023
Gateway Community College 108 N. 40th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Glendale Community College Denise
6000 W. Olive Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85302
Mesa Community College
1833 W. Southern Avenue Chair,
Mesa, AZ 85202
MCC/Boswell Center
10484 W. Thunderbird Rd.
Sun City, AZ 85351
Paradise Valley
18401 N 32nd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85032
Phoenix College
1202 W. Thomas Road Phoenix, AZ 85013
Rio Salado College
2323 W. 14th St.
Tempe AZ 85281
Scottsdale Community College
9000 E. Chaparral Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85256-2699
Mohave Community College
1977 W. Acoma
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
Sites: Kingman, Bullhead City & Colorado City
Northland Pioneer College
PO Box 610
Holbrook, AZ 86025-0610
Campus Sites: Show Low and Winslow
Pima Community College
2202 W. Anklam Road
Tucson, AZ 85709-0150
Pima Medical Institute Mesa Campus
941 S. Dobson Road Mesa, Arizona 85202
Yavapai College
1100 E. Sheldon Street
Prescott, AZ 86301
Campus sites: Prescott, Verde Campus – Clarkdale
Phoenix College
1202 W. Thomas Road Phoenix, AZ 85013
Rio Salado College
2323 W. 14th St.
Tempe AZ 85281
Scottsdale Community College
9000 E. Chaparral Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85256-2699
Mohave Community College
1977 W. Acoma
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
Sites: Kingman, Bullhead City & Colorado City

Baccalaureate (BSN) Program in Arizona

Chamberlain College of Nursing – Phoenix, AZ Campus

Chamberlain College of Nursing is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The BSN program is accredited by both the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Programs Approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing

Arizona State University
College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation
Post Office Box 3020
500 N. 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0698
Campus sites: Tempe, ASU West-Glendale, ASU East-Mesa
Northern Arizona University
202 E. Pine Knoll, Building 72
Post Office Box 15035
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
University of Arizona
1305 N. Martin Avenue
Post Office Box 210203
Tucson, AZ 85721-0203

Grand Canyon University
PO Box 11097, 3300 W. Camelback Road Dean, College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Phoenix, AZ 85061

University of Phoenix
College of Health and Human Services
4615 E. Elwood Street
Phoenix, AZ 85040

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