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Healthcare is a rapidly growing area of employment in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in this sector. The Fort Smith metropolitan area is home to 30 nurse practitioners (NPs), 2,200 registered nurses (RNs), 1,000 licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and almost 1,800 certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Though plentiful, nursing jobs in the Fort Smith area are competitive. Earning a degree, diploma, or certificate from a top local nursing school will help you stand out from the crowd.

Some of the city’s best nursing schools are University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Carl Albert State College, and Arkansas Tech University’s Ozark campus. Collectively, these schools offer programs across the nursing spectrum. The type of program required will depend on your chosen nursing role.

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Nurse practitioners fill the most senior nursing role and require specialized graduate education. After passing the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN), NPs will earn a master of science in nursing (MSN), doctor of nursing practice (DNP), or doctor of philosophy (PhD) while specializing in a certain area of nursing. Common NP focal areas include cardiology, pediatric care, neonatal care, family practice, psychiatric-mental healthcare, and gerontology.

To become an RN, you must earn an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from a state-approved prelicensure program. Some nurses also hold an MSN degree, particularly those in leadership and administrative roles. All RNs must score a passing grade on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam before practicing in the state of Arkansas.

LPNs must complete a prelicensure certificate or associate’s degree program in practical nursing. They must also pass the NCLEX-PN national licensure examination before practicing. CNAs must complete a brief accredited training program and pass a state certification test. Nursing assistant courses are approximately 100 hours in length, including both classroom time and hands-on practice.

Graduates of Fort Smith nursing programs are prepared to seek positions at major area hospitals and healthcare centers. The city’s largest healthcare employers are Sparks Regional Medical Center, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith, and Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks. Salaries at these and other area hospitals are noteworthy. NPs frequently earn over $100,000 annually. The average local salary is $52,360 for RNs, $35,370 for LPNs, and $20,510 for CNAs.

We’ve profiled below each of the accredited nursing schools in Fort Smith, Arkansas. This list will help the city’s aspiring nurses find a top local school to launch a rewarding nursing career.

Featured Schools

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Fort Smith nursing schools by NCLEX score

Kiamichi Technology Center - Poteau
1509 South McKenna Street | Poteau, Oklahoma 74953
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing: 99.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
5210 Grand Avenue | Fort Smith, Arkansas 72913
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing: 95.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Carl Albert State College - Poteau
1507 South McKenna Street | Poteau, Oklahoma 74953
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Indian Capital Technology Center - Sallisaw
401 Houser Industrial Boulevard | Sallisaw, Oklahoma 74955
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing: 93.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Carl Albert State College - Sallisaw
1601 South Opdyke Street | Sallisaw, Oklahoma 74955
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Arkansas Tech University - Ozark
1700 Helberg Lane | Ozark, Arkansas 72949
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing: 78.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Kiamichi Technology Center - Poteau Certificate in Practical Nursing 99.0% 2008 to 2012
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Certificate in Practical Nursing 95.5% 2008 to 2012
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.1% 2011 to 2012
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.4% 2008 to 2012
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Carl Albert State College - Poteau Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.4% 2008 to 2012
Indian Capital Technology Center - Sallisaw Certificate in Practical Nursing 93.6% 2008 to 2012
Carl Albert State College - Sallisaw Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.3% 2008 to 2012
Arkansas Tech University - Ozark Certificate in Practical Nursing 78.6% 2008 to 2012
Associate's Degree in Nursing
Nursing Assistant Certificate