Practical Nursing Application | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Practical Nursing Application

Nursing Students

The Practical Nursing program begins in the spring and runs through three semesters – spring, summer and fall. Up to 16 qualified students are accepted into this program.
Important Information:
  • Once you've completed the prerequisite courses and are accepted into the practical nursing program, you'll complete 21 credit hours per semester. View required coursework
  • Applicants to any tracks in the practical nursing program must be 18 years of age by the first day of class, if accepted.

  • All application materials must be received on the designated deadline date and time. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, then it will be the following business day.

  • NOTE: Make sure you have applied to be an NWACC student before completing the practical nursing application. If you have not applied to be a student yet, apply now to NWACC.

Program Admission Process

Please read all of the information below before applying to the Practical Nursing program.

The program administrator and faculty, in cooperation with appropriate institutional personnel, establish admissions procedures which are non-discriminatory, contribute to the quality of the program, and allow a selection of students with the potential to successfully complete the program. 

There is an established admissions committee which includes the program administrator and an advisory selection committee.

Before applying to the practical nursing program, please review the following admission requirements and recommendations.

  1. You must have the ability to communicate safely, accurately, and effectively in both written and spoken English. If English is your second language, you are encouraged to enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) to enhance your success.
  2. Submission of an application does not guarantee acceptance.
  3. Overall GPA 2.75*
  4. Official transcripts from all other institutions attended must be submitted and on your student record by September 1st. If the transcript information is not displayed in My NWACC and official transcripts have been submitted to NWACC, contact the Health Professions advisor or Enrollment Support. 
  5. The minimum general education courses MUST be completed by the end of the fall semester in which the application is being submitted in order to be considered eligible for admission. ALL required general education courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Minimum general education courses:
  • BIOL 2214 Anatomy & Physiology I*
  • HIM 1403 Medical Terminology for Health Sciences
  • MATH 1003 Survey of Technical Math OR MATH 1203 College Algebra*

The nursing program will only look at the first two attempts of any general education course required for the nursing degree. The highest grade will be used of the two attempts. The student is not eligible for the nursing program if any of the general education courses needed for the nursing degree are not successfully completed with a grade C or better within two attempts.

*If less than 12 credit hours at NWACC, GPA will be calculated from previous college transcripts.

How to Apply

1. Apply for admission to NWACC. - If you are not currently enrolled at NWACC, you need to apply for admission to the college before applying to the nursing program.  Apply now to NWACC.

2. Apply to the Practical Nursing program - Be sure to have completed all the required prerequisites* and have a GPA of at least 2.75.

Grades – Points awarded based on your letter grades of your required prerequisite courses.

Interview - Once the application period ends and applicants have been screened for eligibility, point scores will be totaled for eligible applicants and up to 50 highest scorers will be invited to interview. After interviews are completed, scores will then be re-totaled and up to 40 top scorers will be offered a seat in the track. Applicants who are offered a seat will need to score a 70 percent or better in their interview.

The selection of students into the Practical Nursing program is based on a point system. Students with the highest total points are selected for admission. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all eligibility requirements are met.

Survey of Technical Math or College Algebra, A&P I and Medical Terminology

  • A = 4 pts
  • B = 3 pts
  • C = 2 pts

1 additional point if applicant is a veteran.

After the application period ends, the Selection Committee will invite the 25 eligible applicants with the highest points to interview, after which the interview scores will be added to the total scores and up to 16 students will be chosen. The Selection Committee will contact eligible applicants concerning their placement in the program via their NWACC email address. It is not necessary to contact the nursing department or other Health Professions divisions concerning the status of your application.

Upon acceptance to the program, you will receive an admission packet which includes specific directions, fees and deadlines. The documents listed below will be required and instructions on how to move forward will be provided. It is not necessary to begin this process until after you receive an admission packet.

  • Proof of current physical exam (within the last three months)
  • Proof of current TB skin test
  • Proof of MMR immunization
  • Proof of varicella (chicken pox) immunization OR documented proof that you've had the disease
  • Proof of current CPR certification - must be American Heart Association: Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers. Check EMT for information and availability regarding CPR courses offered at NWACC.
  • Urine drug screen (wait for instructions)
  • Criminal background check (wait for instructions)
  • Proof of flu vaccination (seasonal)
  • Proof of Tdap
  • Must have access to a computer, internet, scanner, printer, camera and microphone.
  • Reliable transportation to all classes, labs, and clinical sites
  • Please note: other requirements may be mandated by the clinical sites

If English is your second language and you are seeking admission into the Health Professions programs, you are required to complete an English as a Second Language (ESL) listening test.

Students can receive more information and/or schedule to take the ESL listening test through the NWACC testing center by calling 479-619-4354 or visiting the testing center page.

The ESL listening test is designed to assess a student’s ability to understand standard American English. A score of 90 on the Accuplacer ESL listening test is REQUIRED for students seeking entrance into Health Professions Programs. A minimum score of 90 indicates the ability to understand complex discussions, such as academic lectures and factual reports. Students scoring below the minimum will need to retest and successfully pass by October 1st.

Criminal Background Checks for Clinicals & NCLEX-RN

Review the Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ARSBN) website information regarding background checks on the websites listed below.

Nurse Practice Act of the State of Arkansas


Licensure by Examination publication, Frequently Asked questions about NCLEX section: Frequently Asked Questions

Be advised that if offenses are reported on your background check, you might be prevented from completing the clinical portion of nursing courses and/or ineligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam upon completion of the nursing program.  Failure to fulfill clinical objectives will result in failure of the course(s), and could result in dismissal from the program and/or ineligibility to take the NCLEX-PN.

According to the ASBN Nurse Practice Act (sub Chapter Section 3-17-87-312, no person shall be eligible to receive or hold a license issued by the board if that person has pleaded guilty, nolo contendere, or been found guilty of any of the offenses (as identified in Arkansas Code, ACA 17-87-312).

Criminal background checks
Licensing restrictions based on criminal records

The law applies to licensed nurses as well as those individuals seeking licensure. This includes new graduates, nurses applying for licensure from other countries or states and nurses applying for advance practice.


Application Period: Opens July 1 - July 31

Practical Nursing application and all required materials must be received in the division office by 12 a.m. midnight on the final day of the application period. 

Application Opens July 1

NOTE: If you are not a current NWACC student, you will need to apply for admission to the college first and then apply to the Practical Nursing program.

Note: Students who will be attending clinical rotations while enrolled in a professional program at the Center for Health Professions will be required to have a drug screen performed, either prior to admission, or prior to attending clinical rotations. Students who test positive for drugs (including medical marijuana) will be denied access to the clinical rotations and will consequently be either denied acceptance into the professional program or dismissed from the professional program.