Arizona RN Requirements and Training Programs

Demand for health care services is expected to climb in response to the growing needs of retiring baby boomers and health care reform that make healthcare accessible to more people. With more than 900,000 nurses expected to retire in the next decade, the industry will need new nurses to replace them. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the industry will need more than half a million new nurses by 2018. Other experts agree that employment opportunities for nurses remain strong in spite of the unpredictable economy. In spite of the widely publicized “nursing shortage,” a lot of new nurse graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs. The apparent disparity could be due to the type of education. As healthcare moves into a new direction by expanding the roles and responsibilities of nurses and even placing them outside of the traditional setting, the value of BSN-prepared nurses will become increasingly obvious to employers. The Institute of Medicine is also guiding the shift towards BSN-prepared nurses. In the Future of Nursing report, the IOM emphasizes the importance of the additional training a BSN offers and recommends that 80 percent of nurses hold a baccalaureate degree by 2020. The recommendation makes it more difficult for ADN graduates to secure jobs. However, all is not lost as graduates can enroll in RN-BSN degree programs and increase their salaries, responsibilities, and job opportunities.

Education Requirements

ADN programs are designed with the entry-level student in mind. The curriculum emphasizes the role and function of nurses through the introduction of nursing-specific courses which begin during the first year of classes. In addition to nursing courses, students must complete the liberal arts and science courses to meet the degree requirements. Students who successfully complete the general education and nursing requirements will be prepared for licensure as a registered nurse after passing the NCLEX-RN. The Arizona State Board of Nursing has the exclusive responsibility of determining eligible candidates and issuing a license in accordance with state laws. Newly licensed nurses can provide health care services to the ill, disabled, and healthy in community, mental health, home health care, ambulatory care, surgical care, palliative care, and hospice facilities.

With full-time attendance, students will complete the associate’s degree in nursing in just two years. Highly qualified faculty will prepare students to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the community. Through a guided curriculum, graduates will be able to synthesize the theory and principles governing the nursing process and manage all aspects of nursing to achieve positive patient outcomes. Topics covered include an introduction to nursing, mental health, trends in nursing, maternal newborn nursing, pediatric nursing, health deviations, introduction to psychology, introduction to sociology, crisis and multiple patient care. All courses must be completed with a grade “C” or better to qualify for graduation. Each nursing course may have a practice component that requires students to spend time in a simulation laboratory. Scheduled lab times may or may not be outside of scheduled class hours.

Mandatory clinical experiences will take place in in-patient and out-patient care facilities. Students work directly with doctors, nurses, faculty, and other students to care for patients. The hands-on experience is a practical emphasis on the theoretical principles learned in the classroom and prepares students to provide competent care in multiple clinical settings. Prerequisite courses may include human anatomy, general microbiology, human physiology, and reading and composition.

Eligibility Criteria

Admission criteria for entry into an ADN program will depend on the school and nursing department’s policies. General admission policies will require prospective students to possess a high school diploma and a passing grade in college preparatory courses. An admission exam, such as the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam are some other standard requirements. With just a few accredited programs in Arizona, selection of students will be a highly competitive process. Make sure to review the school’s requirements and submit all your documents on time.

Applicants must:

  • Attend a mandatory information session. Check the school’s website for scheduled dates.
  • Consult with a school’s counselor to develop an educational plan and for an evaluation of courses completed.
  • Take the reading proficiency test.
  • Complete prerequisite courses in English composition, science, and math.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.5 or above.
  • Submit a completed application and official transcripts.

Upon notification of conditional acceptance, students will need to:

  • Obtain a clear background check. Felony convictions may prevent the student from participating in the clinical experience.
  • Demonstrate physical and emotional fitness.
  • Have a strong command of English.
  • Submit proof of citizenship or residency and social security number.
  • Provide documentation of immunization and TB clearance.
  • Possess current CPR certification and insurance.

Duration and Cost

Financial requirements of the two-year full-time ADN program are approximately $11,700 for tuition only. Additional fees include, but are not limited to a background check, physical exam, CPR certification, books, uniforms, health insurance, drug screen, nurse kit, identification badges, fingerprinting, supplementary material, and transport to and from the clinical sites. The total cost of tuition will be determined by the number of courses the student enrolls in each semester. Non-resident students will pay more for tuition. Financial aid, grants, and scholarship may be available to reduce the final costs. Upon completion of the program, students will have to pay for the NCLEX-PN and state licensure.

Arizona RN Licensure Requirements

As a compact state, Arizona assigns a multistate license to qualified registered nurses making them eligible to practice in other compact states without applying for a license. Only candidates who declare Arizona as their primary state of residence will qualify for the multistate license. All other applicants will receive a single state license that allows them to practice in Arizona. Registered nurses with a license from another compact state may work in Arizona – with no time restrictions – as long as their license from the compact state remains in good standing. However, when permanently relocating to Arizona, the candidate should apply for licensure by endorsement and complete the Declaration of Primary State of Residence to receive a multistate license from the Arizona Board of Nursing. Once declaring Arizona as the new state, the RN can practice on the former license for a period of 90 days only.

Licensure By Examination

New graduates with an Associate Degree or Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from an accredited program may submit an application to the Board of Nursing to take the NCLEX-RN. Arizona residents must also complete a Certificate of Completion from an approved program. Graduates from another state will need to submit transcripts to the Board of Nursing.

Submit the following documents for the Board of Nursing to determine your eligibility to take the exam:

  • A completed paper application for licensure by exam, available for download online. Complete the application in black ink, sign, and mail to the State Board of Nursing.
  • The non-refundable application fee of $300. Make personal checks or money order payable to the Arizona State Board of Nursing. For credit/debit card payment, complete the authorization form and submit with the application.
  • The registration to Pearson Vue for the NCLEX-RN. Register online or by phone 866-496-2539.
  • The Certificate of Completion. The program director must complete the certificate and mail directly to the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
  • Official transcripts if you graduated from an out-of-state program. The program director should send it directly to the Board’s office.
  • Documentation of citizenship/nationality/alien status. Submit a copy of the document on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of plain white paper.
  • A full set of fingerprints for a State and Federal criminal records check. The Board will mail a fingerprint card after receiving your application. Use the Board-provided card only to complete your fingerprints. The fingerprint fee is $50. Fingerprints can take up to 5 weeks to process – the Board will not issue a license until receiving confirmation of the results of the background check.
  • Documents or letters explaining any “yes” responses to the criminal convictions disciplinary action questions.

International Graduates:

Nurses educated in a foreign country who have not passed the NCLEX must apply for licensure by examination. Submit the following to the Board:

  • Validation of educational requirements from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). Request a CES Professional Report, a VisaScreen Certificate, or Verification of CGFNS Certification.
  • Validation of English language skills, unless you graduated from a nursing program in a country where English is the primary language.
  • Validation of practice. Documentation of practice as a nurse for at least 960 hours in the past 5 years or graduation from a nursing program in the same period.

Nurse graduates can apply for a temporary permit. However, since the Board must process applications within specified time periods, a temporary permit is usually not necessary. An exception is available to persons whose fingerprints have been rejected after passage of the NCLEX or those who graduated more than two years before the application and must take a refresher course.

NCLEX-RN Registration: First-time nurses must apply for the NCLEX-RN after graduating from an approved associate’s or baccalaureate program. After submitting an application to the Board, the candidate must register with Pearson Vue online or by calling 866-496-2539. The Board will authorize the request to take the exam after receiving your completed application, fingerprint cards, and Certificate of Completion or official transcripts. Testing is available year-round, so you can schedule your test within 90 days of receiving the ATT, at a time and place that is most convenient for you. There’s a registration fee of $200 to take the NCLEX each time you take the exam.

Licensure By Endorsement

A registered nurse who is licensed to practice in another state can apply for licensure by endorsement to work in Arizona. The nurse’s license should be unencumbered and active.

Submit the following to the Board’s office:

  • A completed paper application for licensure by endorsement, available for download online. Complete the application in black ink, sign, and mail to the State Board of Nursing.
  • The non-refundable application fee of $150. Make personal checks or money order payable to the Arizona State Board of Nursing. For credit/debit card payment, complete the authorization form and submit with the application.
  • A non-refundable fee of $50 for the optional temporary permit.
  • Verification of original state of licensure online at nursys.com or using a License Verification form if your state does not participate.
  • Documentation of earning a passing score of the NCLEX or SBTPE.
  • Documentation of citizenship/nationality/alien status. Submit a copy of the document on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of plain white paper.
  • Documentation of the practice requirements, which include 960 hours or more in the past 5 years, graduation from a nursing program within the past 5 years, completion of an Arizona refresher course in the past 5 years, or acquisition of an advanced nursing degree in the past 5 years.
  • A full set of fingerprints for a State and Federal criminal records check. The Board will mail a fingerprint card after receiving your application. Use the Board-provided card only to complete your fingerprints. The fingerprint fee is $50. Fingerprints can take up to 5 weeks to process – the Board will not issue a license until receiving confirmation of the results of the background check.
  • Documents or letters explaining any “yes” responses to the criminal convictions disciplinary action questions.

After submitting a completed application, applicable fees, fingerprint cards, a request for a temporary license, and documentation of enrollment in an approved refresher course (if applicable), the Board will issue the temporary license. Requests are processed in the order in which they’re received. The processing time is approximately two weeks. The temporary license will be sent to the address provided on the application or may be held in the Board’s office for pick-up upon request.

Applicants with a multistate license from another compact state can use their multistate privilege to work in Arizona for a period of 90 days.

Renewal Requirements

The Board encourages registered nurses to renew their licenses online, using My Services. Online renewal is instant and a cost-saving mechanism used by the state to keep license costs low. Paper renewal is still available, but it takes approximate 30 days to process.

To qualify for renewal, you must:

  • Practice as a nurse for at least 960 hours in the past 5 years.
  • Have graduated from an approved program and obtained a degree within the past 5 years.
  • Complete an approved refresher course.
  • Obtain an advanced nursing degree in the past 5 years.
  • Submit a completed application with the non-refundable fee of $160 plus a $3.00 fee for online renewal. The fee covers a 4-year renewal period.

A late fee of $50 per month up to a total of $200 applies to all late submissions. Fees are payable online using a credit or debit card. Personal checks or money orders may be mailed to the Board’s office.

Licensees must notify the Board in writing within 30 days of a legal name change. Submit a copy of an official document to validate the name change.

Continuing Education Requirements for Arizona RNs

There are current no continuing education requirements for Arizona’s registered nurses.

Arizona Salary and Job Outlook

Arizona’s health care sector will be a boon for employees as demand for health care services is expected to increase. However, employment opportunities for new nurses won’t be as expected due to growing supply pool that exceeds demand. The Arizona Board of Nursing took note of the plight of newly licensed RNs back in 2010 and initiated a survey to track their employment trends. According to the results, nurses were unable to find a job even after 18 months. The figures didn’t fit with the current “nursing shortage” in the state. Out of the 2,435 newly licensed RNs (641 respondents) surveyed between October 1, 2013, to Sept 30, 2014, 88 percent indicated they were practicing. The other 12 percent couldn’t find employment.

The survey indicated employer’s preference for nurses with two years’ experience at a minimum. Other employers preferred graduates with a BSN degree. The preference for BSN graduates is now a nationwide trend as nurse leaders make the call for increasing the educational preparation of nurses to the BSN degree.

Contact the Board of Nursing
Arizona State Board of Nursing

4747 N. 47th Street, Suite 200
Phoenix, AZ 85014-3655

Phone: (602) 771-7800
Fax: (602) 771-7888

Arizona Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

Chandler, AZ ADN Programs:
MaricopaNursing at Chandler-Gilbert Community College
2626 E. Pecos Road, Chandler, AZ 85225
480-732-7000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.19%

Coolidge, AZ ADN Programs:
Central Arizona College
8470 North Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128
800-237-9814
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.78%

Douglas, AZ ADN Programs:
Cochise College
4190 West Highway 80 Douglas, AZ 85607-6190
520-364-7943
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.89%

Flagstaff, AZ ADN Programs:
Coconino Community College
3000 N 4th Street, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
928-526-7665
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.00%

Glendale, AZ ADN Programs:
Glendale Community College
6000 W. Olive Avenue, Glendale AZ 85302
623-845-3000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.98%

Holbrook, AZ ADN Programs:
Northland Pioneer College
2251 East Navajo Boulevard, Holbrook, AZ 86025
928-524-7311
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 76.92%

Kingman, AZ ADN Programs:
Mohave Community College
1801 Detroit Avenue, Kingman AZ 86401
928-505-3378
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.30%

Mesa, AZ ADN Programs:
Pima Medical Institute
957 South Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ 85202
800-477-PIMA
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.67%

Mesa Community College
1833 W. Southern Avenue Mesa, AZ 85202
480-461-7262
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.19%

Phoenix, AZ ADN Programs:
Carrington College
8503 North 27th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85051
602-427-0722
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.12%

Everest College
10400 North 25th Avenue, Suite 190, Phoenix, AZ 85021
602-942-4141
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.71%

GateWay Community College
108 North 40th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034
602-286-8000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.64%

ITT Technical Institute – Breckinridge School of Nursing
10220 North 25th Avenue, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85201
602-749-7900
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.00%

Paradise Valley Community College
18401 North 32nd Street, Phoenix AZ 85032
602-787-6500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.56%

Phoenix College
3700 North 3 rd Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85013
602-532-8602
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.09%

Prescott, AZ ADN Programs:
Yavapai College
1100 East Sheldon Street, Prescott, AZ 86301
928-445-7300
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87.64%

Scottsdale, AZ ADN Programs:
Scottsdale Community College
9000 East Chaparral Road, Scottsdale AZ 85256
480-423-6000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.67%

Tempe, AZ ADN Programs:
Maricopa Community College
2411 West 14th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281
480-731-8000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Thatcher, AZ ADN Programs:
Eastern Arizona College
615 North Stadium Avenue, Thatcher, AZ 85552
928-428-8472
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.96%

Tucson, AZ ADN Programs:
Pima Community College
4905 East Broadway Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85709-1010
520-206-4500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.46%

Brown Mackie College – Tucson
4585 East Speedway Boulevard, Suite 204, Tucson, AZ 85712
520-319-3300
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 62.50%

Yuma, AZ ADN Programs:
Arizona Western College
P.O. Box 929, Yuma, AZ 85366-0929
888-293-0392, 928-317-6000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87.27%

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