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Becoming a Nurse in Alaska

Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.

American Nurses Association

To learn more about succeeding in this competitive field of study, review the information and links below.

  • Discover Nursing

    Learn all you can about Nursing

    Nursing degrees are highly competitive. Students interested in nursing need to balance science and interpersonal skills. There are many great resources that provide information on what nursing is, what is required, and what you can do when you graduate. It is strongly recommended that students spend time examining a variety of resources before starting the program.
    UAA's Alaska Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) provides a pathway for students to prepare for and enter into health care careers. AHEC's programs expose Alaskans of all ages to the wide range of health careers available within the state.
    Search the web:

    Students should also consider interviewing Registered Nurses or participating in job shadowing opportunities in their area to learn more about the profession.

  • High School Students

    Start Preparing in High School

    There are a lot of choices high school students make that will ease the transition into college and potentially save you money. Developing good math and writing skills in high school can improve grades throughout college. Students who do not take college preparatory writing and math classes may add up to a year to their expected college graduation date.

    High School Classes

    • Two years of Algebra (usually called Algebra II)
    • One year of general Biology
    • Anatomy & Physiology (if offered)
    • One year of “College Prep” Chemistry
    • Complete a Certified Nurse Assistant class (if available)

    Advanced Placement (AP) Classes

    College credit may be awarded for successful completion of the AP examination. The score required for credit varies per class but usually falls between a 3 - 5. The courses below have the greatest impact on Nursing students.

    • English Language and Composition = WRTG A111 *Introduction to Composition
        • NOTE: English Literature and Composition does not award WRTG A111 credit at UAA
    • Psychology = PSY A111 *General Psychology
    • Statistics = STAT A200 *Elementary Statistics (Previously STAT A252)
    • Language and Culture tests = 100-level Humanities GER (i.e. Chinese, Spanish, etc.)

    High school students serious about pursuing Nursing are encouraged to make advising appointments with both their Guidance Counselor and a UAA Nursing Advisor prior to their junior or senior year.

  • Pathways & Careers

    Choose your path to becoming a Registered Nurse (RN)

    Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree

    An associate degree in nursing is the minimum degree allowed to take the NCLEX-RN and become a registered nurse in the State of Alaska. The UAA program requires general education courses and two years of part-time clinical nursing coursework.
    • AAS Nursing graduates are eligible for a variety of hospital and public health nursing positions. Some locations accept AAS trained traveling nurses as well.
    • Starting wages for AAS-prepared nurses are generally between $45,000 - $65,000, depending on location and specialization.
    • Students who graduate with an AAS in Nursing have the opportunity to pursue a RN to BSN degree at a later date.

    Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree

    As hospitals move towards Magnet status, many are requiring nurse managers have a BSN or graduate degree. UAA's BSN requires at least 18 months of general education courses and at least two years of clinical nursing contact.
    • BSN students are eligible for the widest range of entry-level nursing jobs in both hospital and community locations.
    • Starting wages for BS-prepared nurses are generally between $50,000 - $75,000, depending on location and specialization.
    • Students who graduate with a BS in Nursing Science have the opportunity to pursue a MS or DNP degree at a later date.

    Not sure what path will work best for you? Reach out to the College of Health Advisors

  • Applying to UAA

    Apply to UAA and get accepted to the Nursing pre-major

    1. Apply to UAA
    2. Apply for Financial Aid
    3. Take placement tests:
    4. Review Course Placement Scores
  • Meet with a Nursing Advisor

    Meet with an Nursing Advisor

    Academic Advisors are dedicated to helping you get the most out of your educational experience. They are able to help with anything from selecting classes to Financial Aid appeals. They are also familiar with resources across campus that are available to students. Best of all, they are free to talk to! Consider meeting with an advisor to:
    • Discuss personal goals and time frames
    • Determine how to balance other responsibilities (family, job, social obligations) when developing your course plan 
    • Choose classes that best fit your goals
    • Develop a timeline for completing the competitive ranking process and starting Nursing course
  • Alaska Native and American Indian Students


    Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN) began in 1998 with federal grant funds to recruit and mentor Alaska Native/American Indian students interested in pursuing nursing degrees. 

    RRANN assists nursing majors and pre-majors on University of Alaska campuses statewide by offering tutoring services, material lending, and group meetings to help connect you with peers. RRANN's Student Success Facilitators offer career and personal advice to aid nursing and pre-nursing students in successfully completing the UAA's nursing program.

    To learn more, visit RRANN.

  • Pre-major Students

    Make the most of your time in the pre-major

    Classes are a commodity you pay for. Students who invest the most time and effort in classes receive the most benefit. To ensure you enjoy this benefit:
    • Attend all classes regularly and read the required materials before class so you are fully prepared to participate.
    • Learn how to study effectively; there are reading, writing, and science tutors on campus if you need additional help.
    • Develop critical thinking skills.
    • Master the art of getting good grades; aim for a GPA of 3.50 or higher.
  • Clinical Nursing Sequence

    Clinical Nursing Sequence

    Only students who successfully complete the competitive nursing application are offered seats in the clinical nursing sequence. Clinical nursing courses are lecture- and lab-based intensives with rotations in hospitals, nursing homes, mental health institutions, and other clinical locations. To succeed in your clinical courses:
    • Be prepared to synthesize prior learning and utilize critical thinking skills.
    • Attend all classes, clinical experiences, and specialized study sessions.
    • Be serious and lay the proper academic foundation for a successful nursing practice.
    • Look for nursing mentors and think about nursing specialties.
    Visit the Student Portal for more information.

 Graduate ♦ Pass the Licensing Exam ♦ Become a Registered Nurse ♦  Start a Great Career Helping Others