What is arnec?


The Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium is a co-operative effort of eight two-year colleges:

  • Arkansas State University - Newport
  • Black River Technical College, Pocahontas
  • Ozarka College, Melbourne
  • South Arkansas Community College, El Dorado
  • University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton
  • University of Arkansas Cossatot, Nashville
  • University of Arkansas Hope Texarkana, Hope
  • University of Arkansas Rich Mountain, Mena

      Visit the Contact page for each school's ARNEC contact information.

    what does ARNEC do?

    ARNEC offers an LPN/LVN-to-RN transition program. Graduates receive an Associates of Applied Sciences (AAS) in Nursing, which prepares them to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. ARNEC’s program provides a high-quality, comprehensive, accessible, and affordable Registered Nursing program to students in rural Arkansas.

    why was ARNEC created?

    Many Practical Nurses want to advance their career by becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). There is a shortage of RNs in the state’s rural areas. But most LPNs can not stop working to travel to colleges with an RN program. ARNEC helps rural LPNs who want to become RNs meet this need, close to home. Becoming a Registered Nurse allows you to:

    • Work in a wide variety of settings
    • Increase opportunities for higher pay
    • Allow you more leadership and responsibility
    • Improve your opportunities for promotion

    ARNEC is approved through the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. Below is the link to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing website.

     The ARNEC Program NCLEX Education Code is US39406000 , Nashville, AR

    Arkansas State Board of Nursing Website

    How is ARNEC accredited?

    General ARNEC Program Information

    Classes begin in January and students graduate in December. ARNEC combines classroom instruction with clinical experiences to educate students on the roles, knowledge base, and responsibilities of Registered Nurses. Nursing lectures are delivered by real-time interactive television (ITV) two afternoons/evenings per week, tests are computerized taken at class time, there are required online assignments, and most clinical experiences are scheduled for weekends. 

    This program meets the requirements of the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. Due to the strenuous nature of the nursing curriculum, the admitting institution reserves the right to determine eligibility of any student to enroll or continue in the nursing program. Eligibility is determined by the faculty’s evaluation of the student’s required general education curriculum GPA, and the score on the pre-entrance exam. 

    Applicants: All general education courses, except for one, must be completed by the application deadline (August 31st). The one remaining course must be completed by December. Students must have all general education requirements completed by the time classes begin. 

    If an applicant failed in a generic RN program, then later successfully completed an LPN/LVN/LPTN program, the applicant will be eligible to apply to the ARNEC program.

    Frequently Asked Questions


    Students can complete the ARNEC application here.

    How do I apply to the ARNEC program?

    When are applications accepted?

    Deadline for applications is August 31st of every year for the following class that will begin in January.

    The school you select to attend will notify you with instruction on how to sign up and take the pre-entrance exam through your email once you have been deemed eligible.  If you have not been contacted regarding the pre-entrance exam by August 31, you need to contact the school you wish to attend.

    How do I schedule to take the pre-entrance exam?


    All applicants will receive a letter in the mail letting them know if they were or were not accepted. Students should receive a letter of admission status by early November.

    How will I know if I was accepted into the program?

    Some of our students maintain full-time status while others have chosen to drop to part-time status. The decision regarding employment status is up to the student. Students must allow ample weekly study time to be successful in the program.

    Will I be able to work full-time or part-time while in the ARNEC program?

    Depending on the institution where you are a student, clinical rotations will take place either one Saturday or Sunday per week or a Saturday-Sunday combination every other weekend. Clinical sites are planned to take place as close to your community as possible, while still providing you with opportunities to learn and practice the roles and responsibilities of RN's.

    How are clinicals planned?

    ARNEC accepts applications from students completing a PN/VN program. If granted admission, the student must show proof of their LPN/LVN license by the first day of class in January. If the student cannot do so, they must withdraw from the program.

    Can I apply if I haven’t completed my PN/VN program yet?

    Applicants who were enrolled in, but did not complete, another registered nursing program may apply to ARNEC, if you have successfully completed an LPN/LVN/LPTN program and have a valid unencumbered license. Official transcripts from all colleges attended must be provided.

    Can I apply to ARNEC if I was unsuccessful in another RN program?

    ARNEC strongly encourages applicants to prepare for the pre-entrance exam by studying an NCLEX-PN review book.

    How can I prepare/study for the pre-entrance exam?