Online Nursing Programs
in Oklahoma

Nursing is one of the most in-demand careers in Oklahoma. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare and social assistance make up Oklahoma's largest industry. Despite boasting a variety of healthcare facilities throughout the state, including many hospitals concentrated around Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma still 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 by 15% between 2016 and 2026, with employment expected to rise by 438,100 positions. Not only are nurses in demand, but wages are high as well. According to PayScale, the median salary for registered nurses (RNs) 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

In Oklahoma, the minimum degree to become an RN is an associate degree in nursing (ADN), although many RNs start with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). 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 (LPNs) require less schooling but also receive lower salaries. If you want to become an advanced nurse or nurse educator, you must pursue a graduate degree and further certification. Students interested in advanced education can earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) from one of the nursing schools in Oklahoma. Graduate and doctoral students may choose from many specializations, including that of a certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse practitioner, and certified nurse midwife.



1. Choosing the Right Path for You

In Oklahoma, the minimum degree to become an RN is an associate degree in nursing (ADN), although many RNs start with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). 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 (LPNs) require less schooling but also receive lower salaries. If you want to become an advanced nurse or nurse educator, you must pursue a graduate degree and further certification. Students interested in advanced education can earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) from one of the nursing schools in Oklahoma. Graduate and doctoral students may choose from many specializations, including that of a certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse practitioner, and certified nurse midwife.

2. 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, and students in nursing schools in Oklahoma must complete internships, practicums, and clinical hours. Learners 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, a student's number of credits, and the level of degree. Students who want to graduate quickly can enroll in one of the accelerated nursing programs in Oklahoma.

3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

Students who want to become a nurse must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam for RNs, which costs $200 and requires six hours to complete. 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 mandatory for RN jobs, but passing the test does not necessarily guarantee a job outright.

Nursing Licensure in Oklahoma

To become a licensed nurse in Oklahoma, students must pass the 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 RNs. NCLEX-RN test-takers should hold an ADN or BSN.

Students must complete a degree program, pass the NCLEX, and apply to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing to obtain their license. Learners who have already earned credentials in another state and need licensure by endorsement must also apply through the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, as practicing in Oklahoma without a new license from the board would break the law. Oklahoma nurses must renew their licenses each year but do not require additional education for renewal.

Nursing Licensing Costs in Oklahoma

NCLEX-RN $200

Board Fee $85

Processing Fee $3.50

Total $288.50

State Requirements By Nursing Type

RN

In Oklahoma, candidates for the RN examination need at least an ADN from a school approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, or an equivalent out-of-state body. The Oklahoma Board of Nursing administers the state's NCLEX-RN examinations, and as part of the application process, you must:

  • Submit official academic transcripts to the board; you must include detailed descriptions of each course listed on your transcripts if you attended school in another state
  • Demonstrate an acceptable professional background
  • Answer a series of professional fitness questions, available in the board's official application packet
  • Provide fingerprints; if you live in Oklahoma, you must have your fingerprints taken by the board's approved vendor

In Oklahoma, the NCLEX-RN exam costs $85 for single-state licensure or $150 for a license applying to multiple states. Candidates must also pay a $200 registration fee. The test itself uses an adaptive method that automatically adjusts the exam's difficulty level based on your perceived level of competence. It asks a maximum of 265 questions over a six-hour period, with optional breaks at the 2.5-hour and 3.5-hour marks. You must answer at least 75 questions, which the test draws from four main subject categories:

  • Environmental and site safety
  • Medical integrity
  • Psychosocial integrity
  • Patient-centered health and safety practices

Oklahoma's NCLEX-RN exam grades learners on a pass/fail basis. The board will send your official results within 2-4 weeks, but for an optional fee, you can view unofficial results 48 hours after completing the exam. Licenses remain valid for two years, and the renewal process includes continuing professional development requirements. Within two years of your license's expiry date, you must do one or more of the following:

  • Accrue at least 520 hours of professional experience on your current RN license
  • Take at least 24 hours of board-approved continuing education courses, or six credit hours of college-level nursing courses at your current licensing level (or higher)
  • Enroll in a board-endorsed nursing refresher course
  • Obtain an additional nursing license in a specialized area

Remember: unless more than five years have passed since you completed the terms of your sentencing, you will not qualify for Oklahoma's NCLEX-RN examination with a felony conviction on your legal record.

CNA

Oklahoma's certified nursing assistant (CNA) requirements differ from those used in most other states. In Oklahoma, CNAs hold one (or more) of six profession-specific licenses that cover highly specialized types of work. Each specialization features different preparatory requirements, which primarily revolve around formal training programs endorsed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The six specializations include:

  • Developmentally disabled direct care aide
  • Home health aide (or home care aide)
  • Long-term care aide
  • Adult day care aide
  • Residential care aide
  • Medication aide

Approved training programs for developmentally disabled direct care aides, home health aides, and long-term care aides cover at least 75 hours of combined in-class and practical training. Aspiring adult day care aides and residential care aides must complete a minimum of 45 hours of in-class and practical training, while the medication aide certification covers 40 hours of additional training, including at least 16 hours of field training. Medication aides must also hold a valid license as a long-term care aide, home health aide, or developmentally disabled direct care aide. However, if you have already completed an RN or LPN program at an accredited school, you can apply to waive the license-specific training requirements.

If you live out of state and already hold a comparable long-term care aide license, you can obtain Oklahoma licensure by submitting a reciprocity application. If you do not currently hold a license but have completed a commensurate training program in another state or country, you can also apply to have your educational credentials formally recognized to take part in the CNA examination of your choice. The Oklahoma State Board of Health handles all such requests.v

In Oklahoma, three different bodies administer board-approved CNA examinations: Headmaster, Health Certification Project, and Prometric. Examination formats vary slightly among vendors, but all tests feature written questions for your specialization-specific skills and knowledge. None of the vendors offer oral examinations.

To renew your Oklahoma CNA license, you must prove that you worked at least eight hours as a CNA in the state of Oklahoma during the two year period immediately preceding the expiration of your current license.

LPN

In Oklahoma, LPNs earn licensure by passing the NCLEX-PN examination. Before you take the exam, you must complete a practical nursing program endorsed by the Oklahoma State Board of Health. These programs typically lead to an associate LPN degree or a diploma.

To qualify for the NCLEX-PN examination, you must apply to the Oklahoma State Board of Health with transcripts from an approved academic program, along with proof of eligibility to work in the United States. Currently, the exam costs $85, and candidates must also pay a $200 registration fee.

The exam features a computerized adaptive testing method, so difficulty level of the questions automatically adjusts upward or downward based on your performance. It features a maximum of 205 questions, of which you must answer at least 85 within a five hour period. Questions cover topics including care environment safety (21% to 33% of the exam), health promotion and maintenance (12%), psychosocial integrity (12%), and physiological integrity (43% to 67%). Candidates either pass or fail the exam.

Students holding an out-of-state LPN license can obtain their Oklahoma license through a reciprocity application. If you completed your LPN education outside of Oklahoma, have not yet obtained your license, and wish to take the NCLEX-PN exam in Oklahoma, you must include course descriptions with your academic transcripts when you apply to take the exam. If you have questions about the transferability of your existing credentials, submit them to the Oklahoma State Board of Health. However, you should not encounter any issues if you earned your credentials at an accredited American institution or an international equivalent.

Your Oklahoma LPN license remains valid for two years. To qualify for renewal, you must do one or more of the following within that two year period:

  • Work at least 520 hours as a practical nurse in Oklahoma
  • Complete six credit hours of college-level nursing training, 24 hours of board-approved continuing education, or take a board-endorsed refresher program
  • Earn Oklahoma certification in another nursing specialization

NP

In Oklahoma, nurse practitioners (NPs) certify as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Of all the types of nursing, APRNs must meet the highest standards. You must have an MSN as well as a valid RN license to sit for any of the state's APRN examinations. Furthermore, as of January 1, 2016, your master's education must also include a specialization in family practice, neonatal care, pediatric care, gerontology, women's health, or psychiatric health.

The Oklahoma Board of Nursing recognizes 18 different examinations for APRN licensure. Each exam leads to a specific certification, such as family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, pediatric primary nurse practitioner, and midwifery. You can access a complete list of the approved examinations here.

Students can take any APRN examination covered by their master's degree specialization. For example, if you want to become a licensed pediatric primary nurse practitioner, your master's education should include a pediatric care concentration. As of November 2018, APRN examinations cost $70 each, plus registration fees.

Applicants must submit their academic transcripts to the Oklahoma State Board of Health for review. If you completed your degree out of state, the board may ask for additional information, such as course descriptions and programmatic accreditations.

Examination content varies, depending on which APRN license you seek to obtain. However, most exams focus primarily on multiple-choice question formats, which test your knowledge of key patient care areas, including assessment, diagnostics, treatment planning, and patient evaluation. Most of the APRN exams also include a set number of practice questions, usually 15, which do not get scored. Test-takers do not know which questions receive scores and which count toward practice question totals.

Under current guidelines, APRNs must renew their licenses each even-numbered year. For license renewal, you must complete a board-endorsed refresher course, hold a valid national certification, undertake at least six credit hours of supplemental graduate-level nursing coursework, or demonstrate that you worked at least 520 hours as an APRN on your current license.

Career Outlook for Nurses in Oklahoma

An online nursing degree in Oklahoma can lead to a variety 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 RNs in Oklahoma is above $60,000. However, students can pursue advanced degrees at one of the nursing schools in Oklahoma to find higher paying career options. For example, the average salary of a nurse practitioner in the state is about $86,000, while 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.

Employment Data For RNs in Oklahoma

According to the BLS, RNs enjoy median annual earnings of $70,000. Average annual salaries range from $48,690-$104,100. Most RNs work in hospitals and physician's offices, but other major employers include long-term care facilities, home healthcare providers, outpatient clinics, schools and universities, and the military. RNs who work in hospitals and outpatient care facilities tend to command the highest salaries.

On a national level, the BLS projects that demand for RNs will grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026. This rate far outpaces the national average for all professions, due in large part to the aging American population.

Oklahoma's major cities, led by Oklahoma City and Tulsa, host most of the state's nursing jobs. Oklahoma City remains one of the fastest-growing major metropolitan areas in the United States. Forbes Magazine recently rated it as the nation's most recession-proof city, as well as boasting the most affordable housing. The Tulsa metropolitan statistical area includes slightly more than 25% of Oklahoma's total population.

Employment Data For CNAs in Oklahoma

BLS statistics indicate that nursing assistants have average annual earnings of $27,250, ranging from $20,680-$38,630 per year. Experience has the strongest influence on earnings, with mid-career and late-career professionals commanding salaries at the higher end of this range, while entry-level professionals tend to secure jobs that pay closer to the low end.

Major employers of nursing assistants include:

  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Hospitals (medical and surgical)
  • Retirement communities
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Home healthcare providers
  • Contract-based employment services

BLS data indicates that nursing assistants who work in hospitals typically enjoy the highest annual salaries, while those employed through contract-based employment providers also command relatively high pay. Lower-paying employers include retirement community and assisted living facilities for the elderly and special-needs adults.

Oklahoma's two largest metropolitan areas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, house about 56% of the state's total population. As such, they also offer the highest number of nursing assistant jobs, since their larger populations require a denser concentration of hospitals and healthcare services.

Employment Data For NPs in Oklahoma

Of all the types of nursing, APRN nurse practitioners post the highest average annual incomes. Nationally, nurse practitioners earn an average of $103,880 per year, with a salary range of $74,840 to $145,630. The higher pay rates reflect the advanced educational and professional credentials you need to become an LPN in Oklahoma.

Many nurse practitioners work in doctor's offices, where they assist physicians by performing patient assessments, diagnostics, and treatment prescription services as permitted by their APRN licenses. Hospitals, outpatient care clinics, and specialized health practitioner offices also employ large numbers of nurse practitioners. You can follow a career path into teaching, though this tends to lead to lower annual average pay rates. Hospitals and outpatient care centers tend to offer LPNs the highest annual earnings.

Job-seekers will find the greatest number of opportunities in Oklahoma's largest cities, which include Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Together, these cities house more than half of the state's total population. Other major cities include Norman, Broken Arrow, Lawton, and Edmond, which all boast populations in the 100,000-200,000 range.

Biggest Hospitals in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has several large hospitals in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas, which may prove important for students future locations for internships, mentorships, and career opportunities. These two metropolitan areas are home to several large public and private hospitals, in addition to many nursing job openings.

  • 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 more at its other hospitals. It possesses an affiliation with the University of Oklahoma, so students at nursing schools in Oklahoma can gain practical experience and complete research here.
  • 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 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 RNs in the United States. Although ANA membership is only available to licensed RNs, students can access many of the organization's resources by signing up on the ANA's website.

  • Sigma Theta Tau: STTI boasts more than 135,000 members as the second largest nursing organization and possesses 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

The following database includes all accredited ADN , BSN, RN-to-BSN , MSN , and 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.

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