There are few careers in Oklahoma more in-demand than nursing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare and social assistance is the largest industry in Oklahoma. There are a number of healthcare facilities throughout the state, most of them concentrated around Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Despite its high number of hospitals, Oklahoma consistently ranks among the least healthy states in the U.S., making the need for nurses even higher.
The BLS projects that job opportunities for nurses will increase 15% by 2026, with employment expected to rise by 437,000 positions. Not only are nurses in demand, but wages are high as well. According to Payscale, the median salary for registered nurses is more than $61,000 with a 90th percentile income of $87,000 per year. There are dozens of roles for nurses, including nurse practitioner, emergency room nurse, travel nurse, and neonatal intensive care nurse. In light of these opportunities, now is an excellent time for potential students to enroll in an online RN program in Oklahoma.
How to Become a Nurse in Oklahoma
All nurses have to go through relatively the same process to gain licensure, but the exact requirements vary slightly from state to state. Online nursing degree students will want to make sure they follow the requirements in their state to gain the proper degrees, certifications, and licenses necessary. Below are some of the steps those with online nursing degrees must follow in order to gain licensure in Oklahoma.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
In Oklahoma, the minimum degree to become a registered nurse is an associate degree, although many RNs start with a bachelor’s degree. Students who become RNs through an associate program can enroll in one of the online RN to BSN programs in Oklahoma to increase their job prospects. Nurse aides and licensed practical nurses require less schooling, but also receive lower salaries. If you want to become an advanced nurse or a nurse educator, you must pursue a graduate degree and further certification. Students interested in advanced education can earn a master’s in nursing or a doctorate degree from one of the nursing schools in Oklahoma. Graduate and doctoral students may choose from many specializations, including CRNA, CNP, and CNM.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
Nursing students or nurses interested in pursuing an advanced degree must decide whether they want to study online, on-campus, or in a hybrid program. Online nursing programs are popular because they allow working students to earn credits on their own time. Many nursing programs require science and math prerequisites before enrollment. Students in nursing schools in Oklahoma must complete internships, practicums, and/or clinical hours. Students pursuing an online nursing degree can usually complete these requirements at a healthcare facility near their place of residence. Completion time for a degree varies based on whether a program is part-time or full-time, how many credits a student has already earned, and the educational level of the degree. Students who want to graduate quickly can enroll in one of the accelerated nursing programs in Oklahoma.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
Students who want to become a nurse must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The test costs $200 and can be completed in six hours in one day. Nursing coursework and clinical experience can help prepare students for the exam, although additional studying may be necessary. The exam is a prerequisite for the licensing process and is necessary for RN jobs, but does not necessarily guarantee a job outright.
Nursing Licensure in Oklahoma
To become a licensed nurse in Oklahoma, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). There are two forms of the NCLEX depending on the licensure that students wish to achieve. The NCLEX-PN is a five-hour exam for practical nurses while the NCLEX-RN is a six-hour exam for registered nurses. NCLEX-RN test-takers should hold an ADN or BSN.
Students must complete their degree program, pass their NCLEX test, and then apply to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing to obtain their license. Students who have already earned credentials in another state and need a licensure by endorsement must also apply through the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. It is illegal for nurses from other states to practise in Oklahoma without a new license from the board. Oklahoma nurses must renew their licenses each year, but do not require additional education for renewal.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Oklahoma
Board Fee $85
Processing Fee $3.50
Career Outlook for Nurses in Oklahoma
An online nursing degree in Oklahoma can lead to a number of careers. There are more than 27,000 nurses currently working in the state, which the BLS projects to grow at a faster than average rate. The average salary of registered nurses in Oklahoma is above $60,000. However, students can pursue advanced degrees at one of the nursing schools in Oklahoma to find even better career options. For example, the average salary of a nurse practitioner in the state is about $86,000 and nurse anesthetists earn a mean salary above $160,000. These advanced degrees allow for greater earning potential and let nurses embark on specialized career paths. Nurse practitioners can practice in a hospital or work as a researcher, educator, or manager.
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Biggest Hospitals in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has several large hospitals in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas. These locations are important for Oklahoma nursing school students to learn about because they could be future locations for internships, mentorships, and career opportunities. Because these two metropolitan areas are home to several public and private large hospitals, they’re also home to many nursing job openings. Students who live in Oklahoma may find the best job prospects around Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
- OU Medical Center: OU Medical Center hosts the only Level 1 Trauma center in the state. It hosts 350 beds at the main facility and hundreds of more beds at its other hospitals. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Oklahoma, so students at one of the nursing schools in Oklahoma can gain practical experience and complete research.
- INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center: INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City offers a wide variety of services, including rehabilitation, labor and delivery, radiology, emergency care, and children’s medicine. U.S. News and World Report has named INTEGRIS #1 hospital multiple times.
Additional Nursing Resources in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Nursing Association
Founded in 1908, the Oklahoma Nursing Association is a professional organization devoted to empowering and organizing nurses in the Sooner State. The ONA operates as a political lobbying group for the advancement of nurses. The organization also offers continuing education opportunities and protects nurses from professional abuse.
Oklahoma Nursing Student Association
ONSA is part of the National NSA. Members are eligible for scholarships, professional resources, discounted study materials, and participation in the ONSA convention.
The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Oklahoma Chapter
NAPNAP is a professional organization for pediatric advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The organization has more than 8,500 members nationwide and hosts an annual conference on pediatric primary care. Online MSN program students interested in pediatric nursing should consider NAPNAP membership.
The American Nurses Association
The ANA is the nation’s premier organization for registered nurses in the U.S. Although ANA membership is only available to licensed registered nurses, students can access many of the organization’s resources by signing up on the ANA’s website.
Sigma Theta Tau
STTI is an educational society for nurses and nursing students. With more than 135,000 active members, it is the second largest nursing organization in the U.S. and has a strong international following. Members gain access to continuing education opportunities and learning resources. They can also network with international nurses and experts in the field.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Oklahoma
Before you can start your online nursing degree, it’s important to look at the best nursing schools in Oklahoma. This database lists all of the accredited ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, or DNP online programs offered by nursing schools in Oklahoma. Potential students should compare programs based on curricula, faculty, cost, time commitment, instructional methods, and program requirements.