In the state known as the Last Frontier, there is currently a severe shortage of registered nurses, putting pressure on the nursing schools in Alaska to turn out more graduates. According to the bureau of labor statistics, by 2026 the need for registered nurses in Alaska will grow by at least 15%. This is twice the national average for estimates of job growth potential in any field. This is mainly due to the retiring baby boomer population and the increasing numbers of patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, obesity, heart disease, and hypertension.
Because of this shortage of registered nurses in Alaska, there are many available RN positions. The average hourly wage for a registered nurse in Alaska is $42 per hour. This is well above the national average hourly salary for RNs at $36 per hour. On a yearly basis, the average median salary for an RN in Alaska is $86,000 compared to a national median average of $70,000 a year.
Within Alaska, registered nurses in the southeastern part of the state tend to earn a higher salary than those working in larger cities like Anchorage or Fairbanks with the most common sites for employment as an RN in Alaska being VA clinics, rural clinics, and community health systems throughout the state.
In addition, there are many different career advancement options available to those in the field of nursing in the state of Alaska. Some of the nursing specialty options include becoming: a Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, a Nursing Educator, a Nursing Administrator, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, a Community Health Nurse, a Perinatal Nurse, a Flight Nurse, a Nurse Midwife, a Family Nurse Practitioner, a Trauma Nurse, a Travel Nurse, and a Nurse Manager. RNs interested in teaching or in research can also obtain a master’s degree or Ph.D. in nursing.
In order to become an RN in Alaska, applicants must have obtained either an associate or bachelor’s degree from a program approved by the State Board of Nursing.
After obtaining either one of these degrees, applicants must then successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam before applying for licensure.
In order to renew a nursing license in Alaska, RNs must provide proof of their fitness to continue in the practice of nursing along with documentation of completion of the prescribed number of continuing nursing education courses that have been completed.
Fees for LPN licensure include application fees of $375 with an additional $100 required for a temporary nursing permit.
Alaska is not a member of the Nurse Licensure compact which lets a nurse become licensed in one state and work in another without additional education. Nurses who hold licenses from other states and desire to continue their nursing careers in Alaska must undergo additional training before being accepted for nursing licensure.
However, if you hold a nursing license in Alaska that is in good standing, you can apply for a nursing license in another state through reciprocity from that state’s Nursing Licensing Board.
Licensing fees for a nursing license in Alaska include the following:
Total Fees – $675
Looking for traditional or online nursing schools in Alaska? There are 2 main RN nursing school options available to students in Alaska. These are the University of Alaska System Nursing Programs and the Charter College Nursing Program in Anchorage, Alaska.
When choosing which nursing school in Alaska is the best one for you, you should carefully consider the following when evaluating each school:
The NCLEX-RN Exam is a national nursing licensure computer exam that is based on a pass-fail system.
It consists of 4 major categories and 8 sub-categories of questions. The questions are mainly multiple choice with 4 possible choices. There are also other types of questions such as fill in the blanks. The NCLEX–RN exam lasts for a maximum of 6 hours.
There is 1 national nursing school accrediting body that accredits nursing schools in Alaska which is the ACEN:
ACEN – The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) provides accreditation to schools that offer diploma programs in nursing as well as Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Post-Bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
The University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing is one of the best accredited nursing schools in Alaska. It is located at 3211 Providence Drive Anchorage, Alaska 95508. This main campus location accepts 40 nursing students each semester. As one of the best nursing schools in Alaska, Anchorage, the University of Alaska Anchorage offers the following nursing programs: associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral level programs.
Two other University of Alaska campuses that provide a prerequisites certificate for the University of Alaska Anchorage nursing program include the University of Alaska Fairbanks (16 students) and the University of Alaska Kodiak (8 students which started on March 1, 2019).
In addition to the programs in Fairbanks and Kodiak, students can also attend nursing programs in the following locations in Alaska but must complete at least one clinical rotation in either Anchorage or Fairbanks:
Charter College is another one of the best nursing schools in Anchorage, Alaska. It is located at 2221 E Northern Lights Blvd. #120, Anchorage, AK 99508. Charter College has been open for more than 30 years and has campuses in 15 cities. Charter College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (ASN) degree.
In ranking the best nursing schools in Alaska, we took into consideration the schools with the top NCLEX-RN passage rates, the length of each program, the amount of tuition, the graduation rate, student ratings, student to faculty ratios, and if the school was accredited.
Edits, Additions, and Comments
We do understand that other factors can also affect the ranking of nursing schools and welcome any suggestions, recommendations or additions to the list. Please send any comments or questions via our contact form.