With its year-round beautiful weather, it is no wonder that Arizona’s tourist industry has grown exponentially in the past 100 years. There is plenty to do in the major cities such as Phoenix and Tucson or one can visit the natural attractions, such as the world-renowned Grand Canyon, located in Northern Arizona. If the fantastic climate and numerous fun things to do weren’t enough to attract aspiring nurses to move to Arizona, there is also an extremely high demand for nurses to fill the thousands of job vacancies. This demand is generally due to the presence of several large hospitals and an aging state population in need of healthcare. Because of this high demand for nursing jobs, there is also a large number of nursing schools in Arizona.
Nursing Education in Arizona
Nursing schools in Arizona have increased their class sizes in order to meet the state’s demand for more nurses. There are upwards of 30 accredited nursing programs in the state of Arizona. The largest nursing school is Grand Canyon University. Hospitals are contributing large amounts of money to these Arizona nursing schools to help students pay for their education. There are many other financial aid opportunities including scholarships, tuition reimbursement from employers and the Arizona Loan Repayment Program. On average, tuition is around $8,900 a year, with an additional $1,200 for books and supplies.
There are a variety of tracks including Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees plus post-Baccalaureate and post-Masters certificates. Depending on the type of degree, it could take anywhere from 1-4 years to graduate. In order to become a nurse in this state, one must graduate from one of the accredited Arizona nursing schools approved by the Arizona Board of Nursing, pass the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN certification exam and pay a licensure fee. After graduating from nursing school, the pass rate for the NCLEX exam is around 94%.
Career Outlook for Nursing in Arizona
Nursing jobs are in high demand in Arizona. Approximately 49,000 RNs will be needed by 2017 – a growth rate of approximately 26%. This factors in the number of retiring nurses as well as keeping pace with the growing population in Arizona. Salaries vary throughout the state. Nurses in the bigger cities earn more than those in smaller cities. Salaries can range from $47,000 to the high $70,000s with the median salary around $64,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010 edition..
Potential employers for nurses in Arizona include: St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Arizona Cancer Center, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, Arizona State Hospital or the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
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