Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2024

AKA: NP License, APRN Licensure

by Staff

Updated: February 13th, 2024

Arkansas has plenty of fulfilling job opportunities for nurses. The state has four Magnet hospitals and one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country. Magnet-designated hospitals are given this high honor by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC) for their exemplary innovation in the nursing field.

These hospitals are places nurses are empowered to take the lead when it comes to caring for patients and drive institutional health care change. Fortunately, NPs now have the ability to operate independently in Arkansas which recently became a “full practice” state. But before attaining a NP license, you must hold an RN license.  

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Arkansas

Follow below to learn how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Arkansas.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?  Skip to the next section

This is a fundamental licensure requirement for all advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).  

Single state RN licenses are given to graduate nurses who satisfy requirements set up by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN). Holders of multi-state licenses from other Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) member states do not need to apply for an RN license in Arkansas unless they want to change their primary state of residence to Arkansas. There are two available routes for applying for an RN license in Arkansas: RN by Examination and RN by Endorsement. 

RN by Examination

This licensure route is specifically for new graduates who have never been licensed in Arkansas or any other state. It’s recommended that you apply for the RN license at least 60 days before your graduation date. The application process is to be completed online after opening an account here. Instructions for creating an account are available on ASBN’s website.

You can apply for a temporary permit to begin practicing, and once you pass the exam and the scores are made available to ASBN, you’ll be issued your initial license at no charge. The charge for the temporary permit is $30.

You can verify licensure status by visiting the Nursys website as no paper license is mailed.

RN by Examination requires that you take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). You must register for this examination at Pearson VUE and pay the examination fee of $150 for the first trial.

An additional fee of $100 will be charged if you have to retake the test. Note that you must wait 45 days after receiving the results to take the exam again. Also, failing the NCLEX test leads to automatic revocation of a temporary license and there are no temporary licenses for candidates who take the examination more than once.

You are required to ask your program director to complete an affidavit of graduation to show that you completed the program. You can download a sample here. In addition to this, the awarding institution must mail a copy of your transcript to the ASBN. The transcript must contain the type of degree obtained and your date of graduation.

You are expected to provide a declaration of your primary state of residence which will include a submission of a valid driver’s license, a voter’s card, military form no. 2058, or a W2 form from the U.S. government or any agency or bureau. You must also have a valid social security number (SSN).

Each applicant is subject to a state and federal criminal background check (CBC). An email is automatically sent once the CBC is requested. Follow the instructions from the ASBN to ensure you complete all the steps.

Information can be emailed to, or mailed to the Arkansas nursing board:

Arkansas Board of Nursing
1123 S University Ave, Ste 800
Little Rock, AR 72204

Call (501) 686-2700 with any questions regarding your application status. You can also view instructions here on how to check the status through the Arkansas Nurse Portal.

RN by Endorsement

This is the licensure route for nurses who have been licensed to practice in another state. The application process is also completed online after creating a profile. The basic requirements are also the same as you’ll need a valid SSN and driver’s license to apply.

You are required to provide a declaration of your primary state of residence as is described above for RN by Examination. The ASBN will also need to verify your license with your original state of licensure. If your original state of verification is listed on, you can obtain this document by simply submitting a verification request via the platform.

The board must also verify your recent employment history to see if you are fit for practice or in need of a refresher course. If you have not practiced actively in the past five years, you are required to submit proof of completion of a Board-approved refresher course within one year before your application date, proof of graduation from an approved nursing program within one year before the application date, and any other evidence requested by the board.

Note that if you hold a multistate license from an NLC member state, you do not need to apply for an RN license in Arkansas, unless you want to change your primary state of residence. The application process costs $125.

You will have to submit to a CBC, but if you have applied over the last 12 months, you are exempted from this requirement since your information is still in the system. Your fingerprints are captured for this process by the Arkansas Live Scan which is the only Board-approved provider of this service. Find locations and contact information for capturing here. The background check is done for a fee of $36.25 in addition to a processing fee of $15.

All payments concerning the licensure application are to be done online using a credit/debit card and these fees are non-refundable. All fees must be paid and all required documents sent in before your application is processed. Completed applications are valid for one year from the date of submission. New graduates can apply for a temporary license while they prepare for their NCLEX. The temporary permit costs $30.

Advanced Education Requirements

Prospective NPs must complete a graduate-level preparatory program for nurse practitioners to qualify for licensure.

Such a program should be approved by the ASBN following the Arkansas State Board of Nursing Rules. The program should equip you to take the certification examination for your chosen population focus and prepare you for practice.

These programs must award a minimum of a masters to successful participants and must include both clinical and classroom aspects. Core areas that must be covered in the coursework include advanced pathophysiology/physiology, advanced pharmacology, and advanced health assessment. Your program must match national standards as well as those set by the ASBN. This will affect your performance in certification examinations and ultimately the success of your application and practice.

National Certification

Following the completion of your nurse practitioner preparation program, you will need to apply for national certification through the national certifying body that certifies nurse practitioners in your field.

The process usually involves registration for a certification examination after which successful candidates are presented with licenses. This highlights the importance of a nurse practitioner preparatory program that aligns with national standards and covers what the test will be based on. You can identify the certifying agency that applies to you here.

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner Within Arkansas

The ASBN is also responsible for granting practice licenses to NPs in Arkansas after they fulfill all the stated requirements. The application for this license is also to be completed online after creating an account (if you do not already have one). The process is similar to that for obtaining an RN license.

All applicants must have a copy of their national certification on hand, with the date of the original certification, the issue date, and expiry date. You are expected to provide a notarized statement, with the company letterhead of your employer, showing that you have worked as an RN for a minimum of 2000 hours over the last two years.

You also need to download your licensing history from via the “quick confirm tab”. Finally, you need to access your educational history, especially the institutions attended, year of graduation, and the kind of degree obtained.

A criminal background check must be done on all applicants, hence, you will be required to submit a completed fingerprint card obtained through ASBN or undergo fingerprint scanning through the Arkansas Live Scan. You also must contact the institutions where you completed nursing programs and request a copy of your transcript be sent to the Board.

A licensed NP is not authorized to prescribe medications unless they have applied for prescriptive authority and their application has been approved. The application can be sent in with the application for your APRN license or at a later date. In addition to a $160 fee for the application, you would be required to submit a Collaborative Practice Agreement (CPA) and a Quality Assurance (QA) Plan. This application only permits you to prescribe and dispense legal drugs. To prescribe and dispense controlled drugs, a DEA number must be applied for at the Drug Enforcement Agency.

All licenses must be renewed every two years on the final day of the nurse’s birth month. Renewals can be completed online by following the instructions.