Nursing Degrees in Arizona

The dry desert of the state of Arizona is lacking in more than water – the state is short of several thousand nurses for its many hospitals, end-of-life care centers, and clinics. Not only is the population of the state growing, and therefore requiring more health professionals, but the demand for nurses has far exceeded the supply for a number of years.

The shortage of nurses is troubling, and coupled with the recent major recession it has created a kind of healthcare crisis in the state of Arizona. Now is the time for qualified individuals from all over the country to step in and boost the medical community before the state slips further into a nursing desert.

Outlook for Future Arizona Nurses

The conglomeration of 75,000 active nurses that are currently employed in Arizona must increase by nearly a third over the next decade just to accommodate the rise in level of need, especially in rural areas where the closest care facility is an hour or more away. With a mass of new hospitals under construction and many young clinics just getting on their legs, there is a big opportunity for nurses who are just starting their careers or those coming in from another state who wish to get re-licensed in Arizona. Fortunately, new nurses will be pleased to find an average salary in the top quarter percentile in the nation with LPNs/LVNs earning around $50,000 yearly and RNs earning about $71,000.

Jobs and Licensing for Arizona Nurses

Those who are ready to apply their skills to remedy the communities of urban and rural Arizona will be met with grateful citizens and a state government that is eager and ready to support its next generation of healthcare experts. These incentives occur mainly through plentiful scholarships for nursing education offered by schools like the University of Arizona in bustling Tucson or Central Arizona College in Coolidge.

Even fully online schools like the University of Phoenix offer accredited degree programs that give working students the chance to receive their LPN/LVN, RN, BSN, or MSN. This school even offers several unique dual-degree programs, such as the MSN/Master of Health Administration qualification, perfect for students who are interested in administrative nursing careers. While the major state universities all offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in nursing, many more smaller community colleges in Arizona have opportunities for LPN/LVN diplomas and Associates degrees.

Once a potential nurse has graduated from one of the 36 colleges offering nursing programs, they may be lured in by major employers who have locations all over the state, such as Banner Medical, St. Joseph’s Medical Center, and Catholic Healthcare, according to the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. The representative group in place to support all Arizona nursing professionals, the Arizona Nurses Association, is also a great resource for job openings, governmental news updates, and solidarity for nurses faced with a state in dire need.

Licensure occurs through the Arizona State Board of Nursing, who doles out RN, LPN, and CNA certificates for those who qualify and meet the minimum requirements of the examination. License applications can be downloaded from their website. The Board also maintains nursing standards that apply to both urban and rural in-state hospitals, as well as monitoring discipline, complaints, and occasional nursing fraud.

Average Salaries for Nurses in Arizona

Data from BLS 2012 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Registered Nurses $51,980.00 $71,210.00 $92,760.00
Licensed Practical Nurses $39,360.00 $50,120.00 $61,210.00

References:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Employment Projections http://www.bls.gov/
The American Health Care Association http://www.ahcancal.org/research_data/
Kaiser Family Foundation http://statehealthfacts.org/
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation http://rwjf.org/
Arizona State Board of Nursing http://www.azbn.gov/