Arizona prides itself on having some of the most renowned hospitals with high quality nursing staff. The state research shows that by having a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) there is a parallel to increased salaries, career advancement opportunities and a greater drive for furthering education. The trend for furthering education is on the rise, which in turn has a predicted employment rate increase of approximately 25% by 2022 in the state of Arizona. Arizona is committed to providing the best quality nursing care and encourages maximizing your potential for career advancement by furthering your education.

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ADN Programs in Arizona

Students beginning their career as a nurse with an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) diploma will learn core nursing skills that are expanded upon by clinical placement throughout the duration of the program. Usually lasting 2 years or so, successful nursing graduates will be eligible to test for the NCLEX exam upon graduation. Throughout the state, more than 20 community colleges and private colleges offer an ADN program with the intent to help students qualify as a registered nurse.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Arizona

ADN programs - also called AAS programs throughout the state - adhere to rigorous standards to keep their accreditation in good standing. Students should carefully consider some of the look-fors in a great program to ensure that they can achieve their job aspirations once they graduate. The following factors are important for consideration:


The Arizona State Board of Nursing makes evidence-based regulatory decisions about nursing programs that operate throughout the state, as well as about individuals' fitness to practice registered nursing, both as service to the public. Unlike some other states, all colleges and universities that offer nursing programs throughout the state are accredited - no 'nursing program' is allowed to operate without accreditation. Accreditation takes place under board review.


The state's Board of Nursing provides an online verification of nursing licensure that is free of charge to the public. Patients are able to check nurse licensure or privately file a complaint about an individual or nursing program. The licensure database is also accessible to healthcare employers and works closely with post-secondary institutions to ensure the integrity of the nursing profession.

Program Outcomes

ADN program outcomes are an important measurement tool for student choice, and excellence in the profession. The higher and more rigorous the programs are, the better the quality of applicants and graduates. Consider the following data:

Graduation and employment rates

  • NCLEX pass-rates
  • Parent, student, and campus satisfaction metrics
  • Loan repayment data (where not in conflict with student confidentiality)

Mohave Community College is but one example of an accredited program. With campuses in Bullhead City, Kingman Lake, Havasu City, and North Mohave, Arizona's medical policy-makers seek to ensure that AAS programs are accessible to students throughout the state.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Arizona

Throughout the state, each school has slightly different admission requirements that students must provide in order to be admitted and be in 'good standing'. While each one is unique, some common admission elements are:

  • Complete all application documents in line with college timelines
  • Ensure residency and citizenship requirements are met with appropriate supporting documentation
  • Complete new student orientation package
  • Complete nursing statement of intent, pre-training/orientation, and health screening
  • Submit evidence of negative drug testing and negative at-risk health screening factors
  • Submit official transcripts
  • Submit documentation supporting a minimum ACT composite of 16, or a total SAT score greater than 790

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Arizona

There are a variety of factors that determine tuition costs for nursing students. Some schools offer a yearly cost, some offer tuition information per credit hour. In specialized programs like the ADN, costs may or may not be included along with tuition. To complicate matters even more, there is often a different pricing structure for in-state students; financial aid is also available. For an example, Glendale Community College gives in-county students a tuition-credit-hour cost of under $100 plus applicable fees for the college and the nursing program, as well as supplies, equipment and uniforms.

Advantages of ADN Programs

Offered in a variety of disciplines, students that graduate with an diploma may go on to explore further education options at the bachelor's degree level (BSN for nurses) or take advantage of immediate career options. With lower tuition costs, it is often the case that AAS diploma graduates often have a lower debt-load when they are done school and enter the workforce. Often ideally suited for students who enjoy more hands-on workforce activities with only the minimum of theoretical 'book learning', the ADN nursing degree offers lots of flexibility on a short timeframe.

BSN Programs in Arizona

Nursing is an exciting and rewarding profession and the professional designation carries acclaim and respect throughout the world. With the increasing knowledge and labor challenges in the healthcare industry, job openings and career advancement for RNs with a BSN degree are expanding steadily. BSN graduates who pass the NCLEX for licensure can then choose from a variety of practice areas and related disciplines (like policy and informatics) and begin to shape healthcare over the course of their lifetime. In many ways, a BSN degree is the foundation of your nursing career.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Arizona

BSN students should be prepared to engage in a scientifically rigorous and culturally diverse learning environment. With experienced teachers and instructors who themselves have professional accreditation and acclaim, nursing students can take advantage of rich learning opportunities both in the classroom and in clinical rotation. Students should ensure that their teachers are members in good standing in the nursing profession and that the program itself is in good standing from an accreditation and licensure perspective.

Northern Arizona University is home to a renowned BSN program. The school offers a traditional program on a four-year timeline, as well as an RN-to-BSN option and an accelerated option for those who already have an undergraduate degree in another field. Demand is high, with as many as 600 applicants for 150 spaces every year.

BSN Program Length in Arizona

The typical length of a BSN program in Arizona is 4 years; however, each institution has the capability to offer programs that capitalize on a student's former experiences. Two methods that are often employed in this regard are the RN-to-BSN track and the Accelerated BSN track. While criteria vary by the individual and the program chair's discretion, either option usually takes about 2 years, or half the time of a full BSN undertaken by a freshman student.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Arizona

Throughout the state's 10 or so BSN programs, requirements for admission do vary. However, most requirements can be generally summed up as below. Students should ensure they contact the Admissions department during enrollment

  • Students have a GPA that exceeds the minimum program standard (could be as high as 3.4 given program demand)
  • Students have no record of academic dishonesty and otherwise meet university admission criteria
  • All transcripts from former institutions have been submitted
  • The student is 'in good standing' in all respects

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Arizona

Tuition costs vary between states and between each institution. While a portion is paid by the taxpayer and from other government subsidies, tuition costs are definitely on the rise. While financial aid is available to most, it is important to consider the cost of tuition for the BSN programs that you're considering applying to. Phoenix's Arizona State University BSN program has tuition costs that average about $510 per credit hour, depending on the program track in question.

Advantages of BSN Programs

The choice to pursue a BSN degree concerns more than the institution you attend. Some nurses find that university provides the knowledge, network and confidence to improve your world, in addition to the skill sets that an AAS degree provides. For freshmen or those returning to school after time in the workforce, a BSN provides a bevy of experiences and opportunities for nurses.

MSN Programs in Arizona

MSN - or Master's of Science in Nursing - programs for nurses are increasingly common as what we learn about the human body, health and disease is expanding at a rapid rate. Those nurses that choose to complete their BSN and NCLEX may choose to continue their education by undertaking an MSN degree at their alma mater or other school. At the present time, a few school offerings in Arizona have the MSN course track. Those that do are nationally accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The state's MSN programs are licensed by the Arizona State Board of Nursing; students and their programs are connected to both the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Western Institute of Nursing.

MSN Admission Requirements in Arizona

With rigorous training at the undergraduate level, nurses may wish to carry on their studies and pursue a master's degree - known as an MSN. Admission to the University of Arizona's two MSN tracks is highly competitive. Candidates who wish to apply are advised to use the following information as a minimum entry requirement as criteria can change with demand.

  • Graduate with a BSN
  • NCLEX in good standing and without disqualifying incidents
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA at the undergraduate level
  • Record of all official transcripts
  • Prerequisite course load consisting of Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Statistics, Human Lifespan Development, and Human Nutrition
  • 3 professional letters of reference, mailed directly to Admissions

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Arizona

Tuition for MSN students is definitely higher than for the AAS and BSN credentials but the job mobility and advancement are attainable. For the MSN programs at the University of Arizona, which range from 1.5 to 3 years of full-time study, tuition is about $10,000 per term. Applicants are encouraged to contact the school's Bursar to discuss payment options, and whether financial aid may be available. Students are strongly advised against working while school is in session due to the rigors of the course material.

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Getting a Arizona Nursing License

Arizona requirements for nursing licensure are as follows for candidates by application and those from another state by endorsement:

Along with a completed application, the applicant must have ready:

  • Possess a diploma, associate degree, or Baccalaureate degree in nursing from a state approved institution
  • NCLEX exam with a passing score
  • Certificate of completion - sent directly to Arizona State Board of Nursing
  • Official transcripts - sent directly to the Board of Nursing
  • Proof of citizenship or immigration status
  • Fingerprint documentation

Nurses from other states may apply for endorsement to practice in Arizona. They should be prepared to submit the following information:

  • Current license from the former state of practice
  • NURSYS documentation for verification of former state license
  • Passing score on either the NCLEX-RN or State Board Test Pool Exam (SBTPE)
  • Fingerprint documentation
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or equivalent documentation

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Arizona

Accelerating your career from RN to BSN, BSN to MSN or bridging programs from RN to MSN can have great advantages. Arizona offers these types of programs at four different colleges within the state making the option of attaining an accelerated degree more accessible. These programs can be quite an intense commitment as some of them are a full 12-month full-time commitment, whereas some of the bridging or part-time options can run for 30 months. The cost and admission requirements for these programs vary from one program option to another, depending on full-time course loads or individual online course options.

Best RN Programs in Arizona


Selecting the best nursing school in Arizona can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 10 nursing schools in Arizona by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 28 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (

Note: At the time our analysis was conducted, 2014 was the most recent NCLEX-RN pass rates published by the state.


Mesa Community College

1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202 (480) 461-7000

Whether earning a degree or preparing to transfer, Mesa Community College's Nursing Department is both rigorous and flexible in accommodating nursing students. Located in beautiful Mesa, Arizona, MCC's students are in demand across the nation. Learn more by visiting the .

Score: 98.15

Paradise Valley Community College

18401 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85032 (602) 787-6500

Paradise Valley Community College is located in the sprawling urban environment of Phoenix, Arizona and thus is home to many professional and academic opportunities for nursing students. Widely renowned as a high-quality nursing program, PVCC graduates are ready for practice in the healthcare field. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 96.45

Gateway Community College

108 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034 (602) 286-8530

Located in busy Phoenix, Arizona, GateWay Community College is proud to provide students with an efficient path to an RN career. Highly regarded faculty and facilities means that GateWay graduates emerge ready to practice patient-based care. Follow the link to learn more about the .

Score: 95.71

Scottsdale Community College

9000 E Chaparral Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85256 (480) 423-6000

Scottsdale Community College's Nursing program is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing, assuring first-rate evidence-based teaching to eager nursing students. The city of Scottsdale welcomes SCC's nursing graduates with a variety of job and network opportunities. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 95.43

University of Arizona - College of Nursing

1305 N. Martin, Tucson, AZ 85721 (520) 626-6154

The College of Nursing in the University of Arizona is home to ethical and committed faculty members who work in the College's prestigious BSN and MSN programs. An integrative approach to teaching and care offers students a first-rate nursing education. Check out the official .

Score: 93.97| Programs: BSN, MSN

Yavapai College

1100 E Sheldon St, Prescott, AZ 86301 (928) 445-7300

Known as 'Everybody's Hometown', Prescott, Arizona is also home to Yavapai College and its renowned Nursing Program. Requiring special application for admittance and offering advanced placement, students experience rigorous schooling that prepares them for the demands of the field. Learn more by visiting the .

Score: 93.81

Phoenix College

1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013 (602) 285-7800

Phoenix College in urban Phoenix, Arizona is part of highly regarded Maricopa Nursing network. Students accepted to the program work hard to earn their credentials in a fast-paced environment that prepares them for professional challenges. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 93.29

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

2411 W 14th St, Tempe, AZ 85281 (480) 731-8000

Located in Tempe, Arizona, Chandler-Gilbert Community College has a prestigious Division of Nursing and Health Sciences. With varied clinical experiences, nursing students use their practice and theoretical knowledge with great success in pursuing state licensing. Follow the link to learn more about the .

Score: 93.06

Grand Canyon University

3300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85017 (602) 639-7500

With rapid expansion to meet the needs of students local to Phoenix and afar, Grand Canyon University is home to a notable Nursing Program with a Christian ideology. Students learn to promote health and wellness in their patients through BSN and MSN programs. Check out the official .

Score: 92.55

Brookline College

2141 E. Highland Avenue, Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Located in Phoenix and drawing from the student population near and far, Brookline College has award-winning BSN and MSN programs, as well as flexible options for transfer and returning students. BC's Graduate Guarantee helps employers choose the right fit for their industry. Follow the link to learn more about the .

Score: 92.26

Continued List of All RN Programs in Arizona

#11 Northland Pioneer College
1001 W Deuce of Clubs, Show Low, AZ 85901
(928) 532-6111
#12 Northern Arizona University
202 E Pine Knoll Dr, PO Box: 15035, Flagstaff, AZ 86011
(928) 523-2671
#13 Pima Medical Institute (MESA)
957 S Dobson Rd, Mesa, AZ 85202
(800) 477-7462
#14 Mohave Community College
480 Central St, Colorado City, AZ 86021
(866) 664-2832
#15 Arizona State University
, Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 965-2100
#16 Chamberlain College of Nursing
11830 Westline Industrial Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85021
(602) 331-2720
#17 Pima Community College - West Campus
2202 West Anklam, Tucson, AZ 85709
(520) 206-4500
#18 Cochise College
4190 West Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607
(520) 364-7943
#19 Glendale Community College
6000 West Olive Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85302
(623) 845-3000
#20 Arizona Western College
2020 S Ave 8 E, Yuma, AZ 85365
(928) 317-6000
#21 Pima Medical Institute (TUCSON)
3350 E Grant Rd #200, Tucson, AZ 85716
(800) 477-7462
#22 Central Arizona College
8470 N Overfield Rd, Coolidge, AZ 85128
(800) 237-9814
#23 Estrella Mountain Community College
3000 N Dysart Rd, Avondale, AZ 85392
(623) 935-8000
#24 Eastern Arizona College
615 N Stadium Ave, Thatcher, AZ 85552
(928) 428-8472
#25 Brown Mackie College - Phoenix
13430 N Black Canyon Hwy #190, Phoenix, AZ 85029
(602) 337-3044
#26 Coconino Community College
2800 S Lone Tree Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86005
(928) 527-1222
#27 Carrington College
2701 W. Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, AZ 85017
(602) 427-0660
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#28 University of Phoenix
1625 W Fountainhead Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85282
(602) 557-2000

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