BSN to MSN Programs in Arkansas

Arkansas is known for its high quality of life, low housing costs, and fantastic climate. Known as the Natural State, it is one of the best places to live in America, with its abundant greenery and amazing hiking trails that contrast wonderfully with its numerous exciting metropolitan centers.

It is considered one of the most viable places to do business as well, having excellent state laws that encourage visionary entrepreneurship. Arkansas is one of the most ideal locations for young families to raise children due to its emphasis on education, arts, and sports.

Given that education is prioritized in Arkansas, it has some of the best schools and colleges that feature quality learning and training. No wonder it has numerous universities that offer the most competitive Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs.

Schools Offering BSN to MSN Degree Programs

Nursing is still one of the most in-demand services in America. Nurses are the ones who work tirelessly to facilitate the entire patient experience while providing appropriate identification of care and protection for patients.

For nurses looking to specialize in various areas of their industry, taking up the right MSN program can further develop their knowledge and skills. An MSN degree is also required for individuals who aspire to take and complete advanced doctorate studies.

Based on these needs, several Arkansas universities encourage BSN degree holders to take up MSN programs to better care for their patients. Let’s look into the top universities in Arkansas that offer MSN programs.

Arkansas State University

Located in Jonesboro, the School of Nursing at this university emphasizes the continuous development of professional nursing education. This includes encouraging licensed nurses to upgrade their licenses, which could mean going from BSN to MSN or from MSN to an advanced doctorate degree.

The School of Nursing at Arkansas State University is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Depending on the course, students may be required to present one or more of the following information:

  • At least one year of Registered Nurse (RN) work experience
  • BSN degree
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training certification
  • Medical documentation
  • Proof of immunizations
  • Grade Point Average (GPA)

MSN programs can vary depending on the chosen course. The time frame also depends on how you choose to study, whether as a full-time student or as a part-time student. It can run as short as 24 months, with credit hours ranging from 32 to 41.

The offered MSN programs are:

  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Administration
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas is located in Conway, where it enjoys a wonderful atmosphere ideal for higher learning. The university offers online MSN programs targeted at RNs who have attained their degrees through BSN programs.

While the courses are online, several visits to the campus are required. As it understands the various needs of its students, the University of Central Arkansas provides multiple program tracks.

The MSN programs of the University of Central Arkansas are accredited by the CCNE.

Students are requested to prepare the following documentation for application:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Transcripts of record
  • BSN documentation
  • Proof of minimum grade of C in basic statistics
  • Proof of unencumbered state RN license in good standing
  • A health assessment course
  • Proof of immunizations
  • A 2.70 GPA or above or 3.00 on the last 60 hours of earned credit hours
  • Graduate students must provide proof of 2,000 work hours as an RN
  • Proof of CPR certification

The program lengths can vary, depending on the chosen track of the student. Full-time students can finish the program in as early as four semesters and a summer period. Part-time students will take longer to complete the program, so it is best to check with the administrators for any completion requirements.

The offered MSN programs include:

  • Primary Care Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator with a Clinical Specialty
  • Clinical Nurse Leader

Arkansas Tech University

Located in Russellville, Arkansas Tech University has a specific focus on MSN in administration and emergency management. The university believes that students can use these skills across the various settings found in many healthcare sectors.

Their program emphasizes multidisciplinary partnerships along with multiple principles found in nursing that are as equally important. Additionally, their program incorporates emergency preparedness, response, and mitigation.

This MSN program is accredited by the National League for Nursing (NLN), which is the first nursing organization in the United States.

Applicants may be required to present proof of the following:

  • Transcript of records
  • BSN documentation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or CCNE-accredited program
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Proof of current, valid, and unencumbered RN license
  • A passing grade of C or above for basic statistics

The program takes 30 semester hours to complete full-time. Part-time students may need to confirm with the university administration to determine any limitations or requirements that may occur.

University of Arkansas

Found in Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas offers RN the opportunity to take the MSN nurse educator degree program online. This online program is organized and handled by the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing.

It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Students will be required to prepare the following documents:

  • Proof of admission to the University of Arkansas Graduate School
  • Proof of admission to the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing MSN program
  • Proof of completion of a nationally accredited baccalaureate or a Master’s degree program in nursing
  • A cumulative 3.0 GPA on the last 60 credit hours from a previous BSN program.
  • Current encumbered RN licensure
  • Two letters of recommendation, each from professional references

Applicants with GPAs below the required grade will be evaluated on an individual basis. Qualified applicants will also be accepted depending on the spots available.

This program requires four semesters and a summer class to complete on a full-time basis. Part-time students need to complete the program within six consecutive calendar years.

Job Opportunities and Salaries in Arkansas For MSN Degree Holders

The pay range for RNs with an MSN degree can vary widely in Arkansas. The difference is mostly due to the state population, the hiring employer, and the competitive demand of the market.

Even so, nurses with MSN degrees have great employment opportunities throughout the state. On average, Arkansas RNs earn around $63,000 to $66,000 in 2022. The lowest salary range is around $47,000 while the highest runs around $80,000.

It should be noted that these figures largely depend on the RN’s experience, expertise, and education. The top 10% of the RNs who earn $75,000 or more hold at least one MSN degree. The bottom 10% usually complete an associate’s degree.

Some of the best cities for RNs to find high-paying jobs are:

  • Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Conway with an average salary of $69,660
  • Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers with an average salary of $67,370
  • Pine Bluff with an average salary of $65,190
  • Fort Smith with an average salary of $63,770
  • Jonesboro with an average salary of $63,450

RNs should also note that nursing employment opportunities can get quite competitive in areas with high-paying jobs.

On the other hand, they should not be discouraged because according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurses will continue to grow in Arkansas. The demand is expected to grow higher than the national average, which is a good sign for RNs living in Arkansas.

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