Alaska RN Requirements and Training Programs

In the midst of a nationwide nursing shortage, employers in Alaska are going to great lengths to recruit new nurses. The University of Alaska Anchorage has increased its resources to produce professional nurses capable of filling vacant positions in the state. The University has more than doubled the number of graduates, which has helped to ease the nursing shortage in rural areas. The increase in the number of schools offering the associate’s degree in nursing program and the baccalaureate degree in nursing not only produces a selection of local talent but also makes it possible for prospective nurses to earn a degree within the state, which is easier and more affordable.

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Nursing is a profession that promises rich rewards and opportunities for growth and to make a difference in the lives of others. But the profession calls for proper training and a commitment to lifelong learning. The associate degree in nursing is the simplest, fastest, and most convenient route to entering the profession. Graduates of the program have the assurance of securing employment at the conclusion of the program due to the huge demand for the technical and analytical abilities of registered nurses. The vacancy rate for nurses in Alaska is about 8 percent, which is smaller than some states, but dire enough to warrant anxiety from the medical community. The ADN program helps to expand the nursing workforce by producing a steady stream of nurses from which employers can draw.

Education Requirements

The Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program prepares adults to practice as a registered nurse. The largest program is Alaska, offered by the University of Alaska Anchorage is based in Anchorage but admits students in eleven other communities from across the state. This initiative supports distance education that lets adults in rural communities participate in the program through internet-based programs. Graduates will be eligible to take the national licensure exam for state licensure.

The comprehensive program includes a mix of theory and clinical practice and gives students the opportunity to practice in hospitals, community agencies, community agencies, and clinics. Interested persons may need to complete co-requisite courses prior to admission. Required courses include nursing fundamentals, adult nursing, basic nursing pharmacology, perinatal nursing, advanced parenteral therapy, pediatric nursing, psychiatric nursing, and legal, ethical, and organizational issues. Students will be required to complete a clinical externship in Anchorage or Fairbanks. Students completing the associate’s degree through distance learning will also have to make arrangements to complete the clinical requirements. They are responsible for the cost of travel and housing and other expenses related to intensive externship.

At the conclusion of the program, students will be able to use critical thinking to diagnose, plan and implement care for patients and their families, communicate effectively in verbal and written forms, use research to deliver safe and culturally sensitive care within the legal, ethical, and professional framework, coordinate care for small groups of patients, and develop a plan for lifelong learning and professional development.

Although the associate’s degree paves the way for employment in healthcare, graduates should be encouraged to continue their education to the baccalaureate degree or higher to meet future demands in care and to deliver the highest quality of care to improve patient outcomes.

Eligibility Criteria

Interested persons must comply with the minimum requirements for admission to the associate degree in nursing program.

The list below outlines general admission requirements.

  • Attend an information session.
  • Obtain a passing score on the TEAS exam.
  • Submit a completed application and fee.
  • Provide official transcripts of both high school and college courses.
  • Complete the co-requisite courses with a grade C or above.
  • Schedule and attend an interview with a member of the admission committee.
  • Submit three letters of reference.
  • Pass a 10-panel drug screen as determined by the clinical facility.
  • Pass a background check – the applicant must have no criminal conviction as defined by the Board of Nursing.
  • Provide two forms of ID including a social security card.
  • Provide documents to demonstrate completion of the health requirements, including a TB test, MMR, hepatitis B, and varicella immunization.
  • Proof of HIPAA and CPR training may be required by the clinical facility.

Duration and Cost

The total estimated cost of completing the associate degree program at the University of Alaska Anchorage is $21,947 without living expense. The estimate includes tuition, fees, books, and supplies. Contact the school of your choice to determine the fees specific to the program.

There are a wide range scholarship and funding opportunities for nursing students. Alaskan natives can benefit from funding offered by the Recruiting and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN) Program.

Alaska RN Licensure Requirements

A temporary permit or permanent license issued by the Alaska Board of Nursing is mandatory for practice as a registered nurse.

As part of the licensure process, applicants must submit a completed fingerprint card for the Board of Nursing to conduct a state and FBI criminal records check. Request fingerprint cards from the Board’s website.

Licensure By Examination

Before filling out and submitting an application for licensure by examination, make sure that you have an official and up-to-date version of the form.

Follow the application directions and provide answers to all the requested information. Please write N/A if the question does not apply.

Submit the following to the Board of Nursing:

  • A completed, signed, and notarized application. The application must have an original, signed, and dated passport type photo. The photo should be approximately 2 x 2 includes and display your face and shoulders and not older than 6 months preceding the date of the application.
  • A check or money order made payable to the State of Alaska. The total fee is $275 or $325 if you need a temporary permit. The cost includes the non-refundable application fee of $50, licensure fee of $165, the fingerprint processing fee of $60, and the temporary permit fee of $50.
  • A completed fingerprint card. Use a card supplied by the Alaska Board of Nursing or form FD-258. The Board will perform a search for the history records of the State of Alaska and the FBI for employment and licensure purposes.
  • A completed Nursing Program Verification form. The school of nursing should send the form directly to the Board of Nursing to confirm that you completed an approved nursing program.
  • An official transcript indicating your graduation date and the type of degree conferred. The school of nursing must send the transcript directly to the Board of Nursing. Transcripts may be sent electronically to [email protected].
  • Certified English translation of any document that is not in English.
  • Check the box for a temporary permit on the application and enclose the appropriate fee.
  • Register with Pearson Vue Testing Service to the take the licensure exam.

Temporary Permit

To be eligible for a temporary permit you must submit a completed application for licensure by exam, payment of $325, completed fingerprint cards, and verification of completing the nursing program. The permit is non-renewable and valid for 6 months or until the NCLEX results are made available. If you fail the NCLEX exam, your temporary permit will become invalid and must be returned to the Board of Nursing.

Applicants are processed in the order received and generally take 10 business days. There will be delays in processing an incomplete application – one where the required documents are not submitted. Apply well in advance if you need your license or permit in a timely manner. The Board will send a letter of notification when your application has been reviewed –generally within two weeks of receipt.

NCLEX-RN Registration: At any time during the application process, you may register with Pearson Vue. After the Board has approved your application and you have registered with Pearson Vue, the Board will confirm your eligibility to take the exam. Pearson Vue will issue your Authorization to Test approximately 48 hours after the Board confirms your eligibility. Your permanent license will be issued if you pass the NCLEX. If you fail the exam, you will receive notification in writing via email or USPS.

Licensure By Endorsement

If you’re licensed as a registered nurse in another US state or territory, you may apply for licensure by endorsement to practice in Alaska.

To apply for registration, complete the following:

  • A completed, signed, and notarized application. The application must have an original, signed, and dated passport type photo. The photo should be approximately 2 x 2 includes and display your face and shoulders and not older than 6 months preceding the date of the application.
  • A check or money order made payable to the State of Alaska. The total fee is $275 or $325 if you need a temporary permit. The cost includes the non-refundable application fee of $50, licensure fee of $165, the fingerprint processing fee of $60, and the temporary permit fee of $50.
  • A completed fingerprint card. Use a card supplied by the Alaska Board of Nursing or form FD-258. The Board will perform a search for the history records of the State of Alaska and the FBI for employment and licensure purposes.
  • Verification of licensure sent directly from the state or Canada where you received initial licensure and from the state or Canada where you hold a current license. You may use the License Verification Form if your state does not use the NCSBN online verification system nursys.com. Your license must be current to be eligible for licensure by endorsement in Alaska.
  • Verification of employment on a Department-provided form. You must provide verification of completing at least 320 hours of employment as a registered nurse within two years preceding the application date. If you did not lot 320 hours of employment, you must complete the requirements for continuing competency as outlined by the Board or complete a Board-approved refresher course.
  • Verification of English proficiency if you graduated from a registered nurse program offered by a school of nursing outside of the United States where English is not the primary language. You must demonstrate minimum scores of:
    • 0 on all modules and overall score of 6.5 on the IELTS academic examination.
    • 50 on the TSE and overall score of 560 on the TOEFL-PBT.
    • 50 on the TSE and overall score of 220 on the TOEFL-CBT.
    • 26 on the speaking score and overall score of 84 on the TOEFL-IBT.

To qualify for a temporary permit, you must pay an additional $50 for the permit, provide a certified true copy of your current license from another state, and a completed employment verification form. To obtain a certified true copy of your license, you must have a notary compare the original to a photocopy and certify that it is a true copy of the original document.

Foreign Nurse Graduates

Internationally educated nurses must meet complete the following additional requirements to take the licensure exam:

  • Take the NLCEX examination.
  • Provide certified English translations if the original documents are not in English.
  • Provide proof of passing one of the following:
    • The TOEFL-PBT and TSE
    • The TOEFL-CBT and TSE
    • The TOEFL-iBT and spoken score, or
    • IELTS examination.

If you meet the above requirements, you should follow the guidelines for licensure for examination.

Renewal Requirements

Registered nursing licenses expire on November 30 of even-numbered years. If your initial license was issued within 90 days of the expiration date, it would be effective through the next biennium. You may initiate renewal online or via paper forms from September through November. If you do not renew your license by November 30, it will lapse on December 1. There is no grace period for renewals.

Do not use the online renewal system of you answer “yes” to any of the professional fitness questions. Complete the paper renewal application and submit it with supporting documents for review. Provide an explanation of the dates and circumstances on a separate sheet of paper and enclose any applicable documents, such as court records, judgments, etc.

The Board will mail a renewal reminder to your last known address within 60 days of the license expiration. It is your responsibility to keep an up-to-date address at the Board.

Continuing Education Requirements for Alaska RNs

To be eligible for the renewal of your licensure, you must demonstrate continuing competency using one of the following:

  1. 30 contact hours of continuing education
  2. 30 hours of participation in professional activities
  3. 320 hours of employment

Alternative methods of continuing competency may be available. Check the Board of Nursing for details.

Licensees are subject to random audits. If you’re selected, you will receive notification in writing and must provide proof of continuing competency with 30 days.

Alaska Salary and Job Outlook

The severity of the nursing shortage in Alaska is evident from the efforts put forth by the Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN) a division of the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing. The group recruits high school upperclassmen into nursing camps to garner interest in the profession. On the frontlines of card, in hospital wards and critical care units, new nurse graduates are paired with experienced nurses in residency programs. These graduates won’t normally tend to acutely ill patients, but the residency programs help to bridge the gap between the classroom and the hospital and accelerate learning. The hope is that the nurses will stay to replace retiring nurses on at the end of the residency.

Employers, even hospital employers, are more than eager to hire new graduates. The volume of help-wanted ads is an indication of the state of the workforce. Many of them reveal vacancies at the State’s largest hospitals, which are looking to reduce costs by hiring locals and avoiding the expense of hiring temporary fill-ins, which can be costly.

The retiring baby boomer nurses will affect the workforce balance. Hospitals try to stay ahead of this challenge by implementing residency programs. New nurse graduates attend lectures and seminars, receive mentoring from experienced nurses, and undergo frequent evaluations to develop the competence and confidence to replace experienced nurses. This type of commitment to training and retaining staff should be heartening to anyone considering a career in nursing.

Registered nurses in Alaska earn are among the highest paid with an annual mean wage of $86,450.

RN Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates Alaska:

Anchorage, AK ADN programs:
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508
(907) 786-1800
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87.9%

Charter College-Anchorage
2221 East Northern Lights Blvd., Suite 120, Anchorage, AK 99508
(877) 205-1974
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%

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