Registered Nursing Requirements by State
RN license requirements vary by state. Use this guide to find out how to earn an RN license in each state and the significance of the Nursing Licensure Compact.
Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?
Registered nurse (RN) requirements for licensure vary among states. Most jurisdictions require each candidate to earn at least an associate or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited university.
While both degrees meet RN requirements for education, each offers distinct advantages. For example, while an associate degree in nursing (ADN) takes only two years to complete, many employers prefer hiring candidates with bachelor's degrees.
Once candidates satisfy the education portion of their RN requirements, they must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in order to become an RN. Find the registered nurse license requirements and guidelines for each state below. You may also want to read our RN career overview.
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The Alabama Board of Nursing makes up the largest group of professionals in the state and oversees LPN and RN licensure, endorsements, renewals, and reinstatements in Alabama. RN requirements include legal citizenship and a nursing degree from an accredited institution. To earn licensure by examination, each candidate must pay $100 for the exam application, $50 for a temporary license, and a $3.50 transaction fee.
RNs must renew their licenses on even-numbered years unless they earned their licenses between Aug. 31 and Dec. 31. Renewal costs $103.50. Candidates must clear any outstanding debt and complete 24 hours of continuing education credits.Learn More About Nursing in Alabama
Each RN candidate for initial licensure through examination must submit a notarized application, a completed fingerprint card, official transcripts, and nursing program verification forms when applying to take the NCLEX through the Alaska Board of Nursing. Each candidate sends checks for the applicable fees, including $375 for the application, licensing, and fingerprinting. Temporary license applicants pay an additional $100.
The board requires RNs to renew their licenses on Nov. 30 of even-numbered years. Each renewal candidate must submit proof of two of the following: 30 contact hours of continuing education, 60 hours of uncompensated professional activity, or 320 working hours in the previous two years.Learn More About Nursing in Alaska
The Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN) requires each candidate seeking initial licensure by examination to submit a diploma from an approved nursing program, fingerprints for a background check, and a passing NCLEX score.
Candidates without licenses who have completed programs in other states must also submit transcripts from their nursing programs. The application costs $350, including fingerprinting.
Arizona licenses expire on different dates depending on several factors but can last up to four years. For renewal, each RN must demonstrate that they have worked 960 hours, graduated from a nursing program, or took AZBN refresher courses in the past five years.Learn More About Nursing in Arizona
A candidate qualifies to take the NCLEX in Arkansas if they pass a comprehensive background check, provide a valid United States Social Security number, and complete an approved nursing program. The Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN) charges $100 for most licenses and renewals, but some additional fees may apply. Candidates must also submit full transcripts and graduation verification to the ASBN.
RN licenses in Arkansas expire every two years on the last day of each nurse's birth month. RNs born in even-numbered years must renew their licenses each even-numbered year, and nurses born in odd-numbered years renew in odd-numbered years. An RN must present proof of 15 contact hours of continuing education within the previous two years for renewal.Learn More About Nursing in Arkansas
RN candidates can send their applications to the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) about 6-8 weeks before graduating from accredited nursing programs. Before they can take the NCLEX, each candidate must submit transcripts and fingerprints for a background check. Prospective nurses can apply online or through printed booklets.
The BRN requires nurses to renew their licenses every two years after their initial certification by the last day of their birth month. To qualify for renewal, a California RN must complete 30 hours of continuing education.Learn More About Nursing in California
An aspiring RN in Colorado must pay $88 for an examination application or $43 for licensure by endorsement. Each candidate must submit an affidavit of eligibility, fingerprints, consent for a background check, and transcripts that demonstrate graduation from an accredited program.
Colorado participates in the NLC, which allows nurses from other participating states to work in the state without applying for additional licensure.
RN licenses from the Colorado Board of Nursing expire on Sept. 30 every two years.Learn More About Nursing in Colorado
The Connecticut Department of Public Health oversees nurse licensure. Candidates do not need to complete programs within the state but must earn degrees from accredited schools that meet Connecticut's guidelines. Each candidate must apply online, pay a $180 application fee, and submit transcripts and degree validation.
RN licenses expire each year on the first day of the nurse's birth month, and each nurse receives notifications of their renewal date 60 and 30 days before expiration. RNs from other states can apply for endorsement by providing their nursing school transcripts and proof of existing licensure.Learn More About Nursing in Connecticut
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Delaware's Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) manages all professional licenses in the state, including nursing. DPR requires each RN candidate to complete an accredited nursing degree and at least 400 clinical hours. Each qualifying petitioner submits a notarized application, along with a $124 payment and a copy of their ID.
Because Delaware participates in the NLC, nurses from other states can practice in the state without reapplying for licensure. DPR requires nurses to renew their licenses on either Feb. 28, May 31, or Sept. 30 of odd-numbered years, depending on when they earned their original credentials.Learn More About Nursing in Delaware
RN candidates in Florida must complete approved nursing programs and apply for the NCLEX through Pearson Vue. Next, they send their fingerprints through Livescan and apply for licensure by examination through the Florida Board of Nursing. Upon approval, candidates take the NCLEX and can earn licenses within 10 days of passing the exam.
Every two years, Florida RNs must renew their license and complete 27 continuing education hours. These hours must include 16 general education hours, one hour in HIV/AIDS education, and two hours each in the following: medical error prevention, Florida laws, impairment in the workplace, human trafficking, and domestic violence.Learn More About Nursing in Florida
RN candidates in Georgia can apply to take the NCLEX online or through the mail after obtaining permission from Pearson Vue. Each candidate must submit a $40 application fee and grant permission for a background check.
Graduates from approved schools do not need to send transcripts. Georgia entered the NLC in 2017, allowing RNs to work in participating states.
RN licenses in Georgia expire on Jan. 31 of either odd-numbered or even-numbered years, depending on when they earned their credentials. Each renewal candidate must submit a $65 payment and proof of continuing education credits.Learn More About Nursing in Georgia
The Hawaii Board of Nursing gives candidates three chances to pass the NCLEX in any state. An individual who does not earn a passing score in three attempts must take remedial courses before trying again. When graduates apply to take the NCLEX in Hawaii, they must also send copies of their state IDs and Social Security cards. As of July 2017, the state also requires a criminal background check for all new nursing candidates.
RN licenses in Hawaii expire on June 30 of odd-numbered years. To apply for renewal, each nurse must complete one continuing competency requirement every two years, including 30 hours of continuing education.Learn More About Nursing in Hawaii
The Idaho Board of Nursing (IBN) participates in the NLC, allowing RNs from other NLC states to work in Idaho without having to apply for additional licensure. A first-time nurse in Idaho must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check and complete the rest of their application online through the Idaho Nurse Portal.
RN licenses from the IBN expire on Aug. 31 of odd-numbered years. Up to three months before the expiration date, a qualifying renewal candidate can log in to the nurse portal, upload continuing education verification, and pay the $90 application fee.Learn More About Nursing in Idaho
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) oversees licensing for RNs and provides a list of approved schools. Each candidate must provide transcripts, payment for the $91 fee, and fingerprints.Learn More About Nursing in Illinois
The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) manages all nursing licenses in the state. Each initial RN licensure by examination candidate must submit transcripts, a passport-style photograph, a $50 application fee, and an explanation for any criminal history. Prospective nurses must also request that their nursing schools send degree verification to the PLA.
RN licenses in Indiana expire on Oct. 31 of odd-numbered years. Renewals can be made online or by mail.Learn More About Nursing in Indiana
The Iowa Board of Nursing (IBON) requires each RN candidate to earn a degree from an approved program or a similar program in another state. Students who attend schools in other states must gain preapproval from that state's board of nursing or similar governing body. Each candidate must provide their Social Security number and proof of either high school graduation or a GED certificate.
The IBON issues each RN a wallet card that includes the expiration date of their license. Nurses must begin the renewal process through the IBON's online portal at least 30 days before their expiration date.Learn More About Nursing in Iowa
The Kansas Board of Nursing recommends that candidates first apply for examination through Pearson Vue. Next, each candidate can submit a completed application and a $75 payment to the board.
Students nearing graduation from approved schools can apply for the test before earning their diplomas. The board issues licenses to each prospective RN who graduates, passes the NCLEX, and completes a background check.
For renewal, Kansas RNs must submit proof of 30 board-approved continuing credit hours. RNs can renew by mail or online.Learn More About Nursing in Kansas
The Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) charges candidates $125 each time they apply to take the NCLEX. Candidates must also submit fingerprints for background checks. Students who attended approved nursing programs and meet the state's qualifications can take the NCLEX, while those who attended out-of-state programs must submit transcripts to KBN before taking the exam.
Nurses must renew their license yearly by completing either of the following: 14 hours of continuing education, earning a national nursing-related certification, conducting nursing research, publishing a nursing paper in a recognized journal, delivering a continuing education presentation, or acting as a preceptor to student nurses.Learn More About Nursing in Kentucky
The Louisiana State Board of Nursing welcomes first-time RN candidates to take the NCLEX if they complete an approved nursing program, provide their Social Security number, and submit their initial application within 60 days of graduation.
Background checks must indicate the absence of investigations or holds from other medical regulatory boards, pending criminal or civil charges, and allegations of abuse. Candidates must earn licensure within four years of graduation from nursing programs and have four attempts to pass the NCLEX.
Nurses in Louisiana renew their licenses between Oct. 31 and Jan. 31 each year and must complete continuing education requirements.Learn More About Nursing in Louisiana
A first-time RN candidate in Maine must submit an online application to its State Board of Nursing, along with payment of $75, a passport-style photo, and transcripts demonstrating completion of an approved nursing program.
These candidates also submit explanations of any problems that arise on Section II of the applications, provide proof of primary residence in Maine, and complete a $52 criminal background check.
RN licenses in Maine expire every other year on the nurse's birthday. Renewal candidates must submit proof of 75 continuing education credits and $75 for the renewal fee.Learn More About Nursing in Maine
Candidates for RN licensure through the Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) must submit their federal tax identification or Social Security numbers. The board also verifies that candidates do not owe back payments for child support or have any unfavorable marks on their records that could affect their work.
MBON accepts candidates who graduate from approved local universities or out-of-state colleges that meet the same standards. Candidates who graduate from other schools can complete additional clinical rotation hours to qualify for licensure.
As a founding member of the NLC, Maryland continues to offer this flexibility to nurses in the state.Learn More About Nursing in Maryland
Massachusetts' Board of Registration in Nursing accepts candidates who graduate from board-approved schools and demonstrate strong moral character. Several laws determine what constitutes good moral character. For example, candidates with certain criminal histories can never gain board approval, while those with other types can prove that they have changed.
Each candidate must pay $230 for the application. RN licenses expire on nurses' birthdays during even-numbered years. Each nurse must earn at least 15 continuing education hours, pay a $120 fee, and maintain good moral character as defined by law for renewal.Learn More About Nursing in Massachusetts
Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) administers nurse licenses and accepts successful nursing graduates from accredited schools in the United States, along with individuals who have received certification from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools.
Due to the state's proximity to the Canadian border, LARA allows some Canadian graduates to register the same way as their American peers. All first-time candidates must provide fingerprints and submit to background checks.
Each licensed nurse in Michigan must renew their credentials every two years, requiring them to complete at least 25 hours of approved continuing education and keep the renewal records for at least four years after each renewal.Learn More About Nursing in Michigan
Initial RN candidates can apply to take the NCLEX either online or through mail at the Minnesota Board of Nursing. Between the criminal background check and other fees, each candidate submits a $138.25 payment with their application.
Prospective nurses must also complete the fingerprinting process and send proof of graduation before registering with Pearson Vue. Candidates who graduated from nursing school five years or more before the date of their submission must take refresher courses.
Minnesota nurses renew their licenses every two years and complete 24 hours of continuing education credits.Learn More About Nursing in Michigan
The Mississippi Board of Nursing requires each first-time RN candidate to submit their Social Security number and a $100 fee. Candidates cannot apply before graduation, and the board must receive official transcripts directly from schools. Mississippi participates in the NLC and accepts licensed nurses from many other states, but all new candidates must complete criminal background checks through the Mississippi system.
Each RN must renew their licenses between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 of every even-numbered year and complete at least 20 contact hours of continuing education every two years.Learn More About Nursing in Mississippi
The Missouri Board of Nursing accepts candidates near graduation and individuals who have recently completed board-approved degrees. Each candidate can begin the process as early as three months before commencement by submitting a passport-style photograph, consenting to a background check, and completing fingerprinting through an approved facility.
The background check costs just under $45, and the application costs $45. Missouri does not require RNs to earn continuing education credits for renewal, and nurses who earn licensure in Missouri can practice in any other NLC member state.Learn More About Nursing in Missouri
RN candidates in Montana must submit transcripts that verify their date of graduation to the Montana Board of Nursing, along with completed applications to Pearson Vue and the board. Candidates must verify all professional licenses they hold in any state, send fingerprints, consent to background checks, explain any negative activity on their records, and pay a $100 application fee.
Montana RNs should renew their licenses before Dec. 31 during even-numbered years. For renewal, each candidate needs 24 contact hours of continuing education per cycle, even if they earned licensure in the past two years.Learn More About Nursing in Montana
When an RN candidate submits an application to Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), they should include evidence of either citizenship or legal presence, a passport-style photograph, appropriate name change documents, and any applicable criminal case documents.
Candidates should also have the proper organizations send transcripts, background check results, and verifications of previous licenses to DHHS. As an eNLC state, Nebraska allows graduates from approved programs to apply for single-state or multistate licenses.
RN licenses in Nebraska need renewal by Oct. 31 of even-numbered years. Each nurse must earn 20 hours of continuing education contact hours every two years to remain eligible for renewal. DHHS also sets employment requirements.Learn More About Nursing in Nebraska
RN candidates must graduate with board-approved degrees, but they do not have to attend school in the state to earn licensure from the Nevada State Board of Nursing. Online nursing students can enroll in out-of-state programs if they meet or exceed Nebraska's standards. Candidates also submit their Social Security number and fingerprints.
The RN application fee for initial licensure costs $100, and the background check includes additional charges. When graduates meet these standards, they can earn temporary permits that allow them to practice while they await NCLEX results.
Nurses must renew their licenses every two years. Each renewal candidate must complete 30 hours of board-approved continuing education hours and pay a $100 application fee.Learn More About Nursing in Nevada
The New Hampshire Board of Nursing allows only New Hampshire residents to apply for initial licensure but does accept RN candidates with licensure in other NLC states.
Each in-state candidate must complete a proof of residency form, a criminal background check with fingerprinting, and preregistration with Pearson Vue. In addition, prospective nurses must send copies of official transcripts and their driver's licenses.
Nurses must renew their licenses every two years. Renewal candidates must have worked 400 hours as an RN within the past four years, taken one refresher program within the past two years, or passed the NCLEX within the previous two years.Learn More About Nursing in New Hampshire
The New Jersey Board of Nursing, a department within the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, approves nursing programs in the state and awards licenses to nurses at all levels. The board approves only schools that achieve NCLEX passing rates of 75% or above.
The application for initial RN licensure in New Jersey includes many standard components, including a criminal background check and education verification. The state also ensures that candidates do not owe back child support or have any medical conditions that would restrict them from delivering satisfactory care. Each nurse must earn 30 continuing education credits every two years to keep their licenses active.Learn More About Nursing in New Jersey
An RN candidate in New Mexico receives only three chances to pass the NCLEX before the New Mexico Board of Nursing rejects their application. Candidates must pass the exam within the first three years following graduation.
The board accepts in-state and out-of-state residents. Each prospective nurse must complete fingerprinting cards for $44 and pay a $110 application fee. Candidates should upload graduation verification to the board's nursing portal and request official transcripts from their accredited institutions.
RNs in New Mexico renew their licenses every two years. Each candidate must complete 30 continuing education units in each renewal period and pay a $93 fee.Learn More About Nursing in New Mexico
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) oversees nursing licensure in the state. Each RN candidate must demonstrate good moral character, graduate from an approved program, and submit a passing NCLEX score. Some recent nursing graduates may qualify for temporary licenses while waiting to take the exam and receive official scores. Candidates pay $143 for the application and $35 for the temporary permit.
Nurses in New York can pursue two types of credentials: licenses and registrations. Licenses remain active unless NYSED revokes them. RNs must renew their licenses every three years. While New York is not an NLC state, professionals from other regions can apply for licensure by endorsement.Learn More About Nursing in New York
The North Carolina Board of Nursing requires candidates to submit their information online. Each prospective nurse can submit the $75 fee and their initial application about 4-6 weeks before they graduate and then submit transcripts and education verification closer to graduation. Students in North Carolina can send transcripts 30 days before graduation, but out-of-state candidates must submit finalized documents.
Each North Carolina nurse must pay a $100 fee and meet continuing education requirements every two years to remain licensed. The state outlines various ways to achieve those goals, including accruing 640 work hours and 15 contact continuing education hours during the renewal period.Learn More About Nursing in North Carolina
A nursing school graduate in North Dakota can apply for RN licensure by providing their Social Security number, sending official copies of their final transcripts, and paying a $130 processing fee. Out-of-state students must complete approved nursing programs that include a similar number of clinical hours at North Dakota-approved institutions.
RNs in North Dakota must renew their licenses every two years, and renewal candidates must demonstrate at least 400 hours of work in the preceding four years and 12 contact hours in the past two years. The North Dakota Board of Nursing notes that continuing education credits do not roll over between renewal periods.Learn More About Nursing in North Dakota
RN candidates in Ohio must graduate from schools approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing or the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. After graduation, school officials must send letters to the state board verifying each candidate's degree. Each candidate must also pass a criminal background check with fingerprinting through the state's vendor. Finally, all prospective RNs must send a $75 payment with their application.
In Ohio, RNs must renew their licenses every two years. During the first two years after licensure, nurses do not need to earn continuing education credits. However, a nurse must earn 24 continuing education credits for each subsequent renewal period.Learn More About Nursing in Ohio
The Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN) participates in the NLC, which helps nurses bring their talents to different states. When graduates apply for initial licensure, they should send official and final transcripts. Candidates who attended nursing school outside the state must also send course descriptions. All first-time RN candidates must submit an $85 application fee, answers to questions about their fitness to serve, and fingerprints for background checks.
Nurses in Oklahoma must renew their license every two years. OBN offers several ways to remain eligible for renewal, including earning 24 continuing education credits within the previous two years.Learn More About Nursing in Oklahoma
Recent nursing school graduates who seek licensure in Oregon must affix a passport-style photograph to the state's LIC-103A form and present the form to representatives from their nursing schools. Each candidate sends this document to the Oregon State Board of Nursing with their application, along with consent for a background check and a $160 payment to the state.
A nurse looking to retain active licensure in Oregon must complete 960 hours of nursing employment every five years, along with seven hours of continuing education in pain management, before their first renewal.Learn More About Nursing in Oregon
RN candidates use the Pennsylvania Licensing System, managed by the Pennsylvania Department of State, to apply for initial licensure and renewal. Each prospective RN must submit proof of graduation from a board-approved school, a $35 application processing fee, an additional $35 payment for a temporary license, and answers to questions about their criminal and personal history.
Individuals who opt for temporary permits can practice under the supervision of licensed nurses while they await official NCLEX results. Nurses must renew their license every two years by accruing 30 hours of continuing education, including two hours in child abuse prevention.Learn More About Nursing in Pennsylvania
The Rhode Island Department of Health oversees nursing licensure in the state. A first-time RN candidate must fill out an online application and submit a $135 processing fee. They should also contact their nursing schools to request official transcripts and degree verification to the state health department. Nurses can also pay $30 for a frame-worthy copy of their licenses.
RNs in Rhode Island must renew their licenses every two years. Each nurse must earn 10 hours of continuing education credits in this period, including two hours in substance abuse prevention. A nurse who experiences hardships during any given renewal cycle can apply for a six-month extension on these requirements.Learn More About Nursing in Rhode Island
The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) manages nurse licensing. A new RN candidate must submit a passport-style photograph with their application, along with a notarized affidavit declaring sound moral character and proof of either citizenship or legal immigration.
LLR offers nurses in South Carolina several paths to keep their licenses active. For example, an RN can earn 30 contact hours of continuing education every two years, provide proof of certification from a nationally recognized nursing organization, or complete an additional nursing degree.Learn More About Nursing in South Carolina
The South Dakota Board of Nursing requires each first-time RN candidate to submit a completed application, a $100 processing fee, and the results of a criminal background check. Graduates of South Dakota nursing programs should send certification of nursing education documents to the board.
Candidates who attended out-of-state programs must submit official transcripts. Prospective nurses who meet all of these requirements, register for the NCLEX, and pay an additional $25 can receive a temporary permit.
RNs in South Dakota must renew their licenses every two years. Each renewal candidate must submit a $115 processing fee and proof of adequate employment: 140 hours in one year or 480 hours in six years.Learn More About Nursing in South Dakota
Each RN candidate must declare Tennessee as their primary state of residency, submit to a criminal background check, attach a passport-style photograph, and confirm their United States citizenship. Additionally, if a candidate has ever held a professional license of any kind, the Tennessee Board of Nursing needs a record of the credential.
The board recommends that nursing students begin the criminal background check process about six weeks before graduation. All Tennessee candidates should register with Pearson Vue before submitting their applications to the board. Each nurse must renew their license every two years on the final day of their birth month.Learn More About Nursing in Tennessee
The Texas Board of Nursing approves only nursing programs within the state. Unlike many states, Texas does not make exceptions for this rule. However, students from other NLC states can apply for licensure in their home regions and then work in Texas. Each prospective nurse in Texas must submit to fingerprinting and an FBI-run background check.
Texas nurses must renew their license every two years, which requires them to complete 20 contact hours of continuing education. Professionals may not renew their licenses if they default on their Texas Guaranteed Student Loans or fail to complete required background check updates.Learn More About Nursing in Texas
Within the Utah Department of Commerce, the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) manages RN credentials. DOPL accepts graduates from any program approved by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or the Council on Accreditation. Candidates must submit official transcripts, along with fingerprints for background checks.
RNs from other NLC states can practice in Utah for up to 90 days before applying for licensure by endorsement. Nurses must renew their licenses every two years, completing 400 working hours or 200 hours and 15 continuing education credits to qualify.Learn More About Nursing in Utah
The Vermont Secretary of State oversees the state's Board of Nursing and RN licenses. A first-time candidate pays an application fee of $60, submits their Social Security number, and ensures that their school sends official and final transcripts to the state. Some candidates must send education verification forms too.
Nurses in Vermont must renew their licenses every two years. Renewal candidates can apply online and verify the number of hours they worked since their last applications.Learn More About Nursing in Vermont
The Virginia Department of Health Professions welcomes first-time candidates who graduate from state-approved nursing programs. Candidates from other states may also apply if their nursing education includes at least 500 hours of supervised clinical care.
Licensure candidates who do not meet these requirements and individuals who earned degrees in other countries must contact the department before applying. Individuals who apply for RN licensure in Virginia, including those who apply through endorsement, must complete criminal background checks.
Nurses in Virginia renew their licenses every two years and qualify for renewal if they complete one of several continuing education requirements.Learn More About Nursing in Virginia
RN candidates in Washington must graduate from approved in-state schools or out-of-state nursing programs with comparable clinical hour RN requirements. The Washington Nursing Commission charges candidates $88 for processing their paperwork, and each prospective nurse must register with Pearson Vue and send education verification to the nursing commission to gain approval.
When candidates earn approval, they receive their licenses and begin a Transition to Practice program where they work under preceptors. Nurses in Washington must renew their license every three years. For renewal, each nurse must attest to completing 531 hours of nursing practice and 45 continuing education hours over the preceding three years.Learn More About Nursing in Washington
Nursing students in West Virginia typically begin the exam application process nearly two months before graduating. At that time, each candidate should submit their completed application and a $70 processing fee. Candidates can also request temporary permits, but the West Virginia RN Board accepts only some of these requests.
Nurses who earn temporary credentials can practice for 90 days under such permits. Upon graduation, candidates must submit official transcripts to the board and register with Pearson Vue to take the NCLEX.
RN licenses in West Virginia expire on Oct. 31 of each year. A candidate qualifies for renewal by completing 12 hours of continuing education credit annually.Learn More About Nursing in West Virginia
Wisconsin's Department of Safety and Professional Services awards multistate RN licenses to qualifying candidates who either prove Wisconsin as their home state or indicate intentions of moving to the state.
Candidates who graduate from state-approved programs can apply using an online system. Wisconsin approves in-state schools and also provides a list of acceptable out-of-state programs.
Nurses in Wisconsin must renew their licenses by the last day of February during even-numbered years. The state does not require continuing education for renewal, but candidates must reaffirm their residency status.Learn More About Nursing in Wisconsin
The Wyoming State Board of Nursing allows RN candidates to graduate from in-state programs on its approved list or similar institutions in other states. Each prospective RN must pay the board $130 for processing the paperwork and an additional $60 for the required background check.
Candidates can then request their nursing school to send official transcripts to the board for review. Once the board approves the application, a candidate may send fingerprint cards and register with Pearson Vue.
RN licenses in Wyoming expire every two years, and nurses can qualify for renewal through several paths, including completing 500 work hours in two years.Learn More About Nursing in Wyoming
Nursing Compact States
The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) agreement, introduced in 2000, allows RNs and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who hold licenses in NLC states to practice in other NLC states.
In 2018, the eNLC replaced the original NLC agreement. The eNLC expands membership to more states by addressing concerns about licensing standards not covered in the original agreement, such as mandatory criminal background checks.
The eNLC aims to increase access to healthcare coverage. Member states benefit from more efficient healthcare delivery by establishing uniform licensing standards. Nurses can more easily meet licensing requirements in multiple states and pursue increased employment opportunities.
Currently, 35 states and U.S. territories have joined the compact, with five states awaiting pending legislation to join. Despite the eNLC changes, some states have refused membership due to concerns about public safety, state jurisdiction, and regulation requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions About RN Liscensing Requirements By State
What state is the easiest to become a nurse?
Prospective nurses should always check with the state nursing board where they intend to practice to research education, clinical hours, and other requirements. Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) states and territories that grant temporary licenses offer expedited pathways to licensure. Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, and South Carolina provide same-day, walk-through temporary licenses to nurses who meet all requirements.
Do nurses have to be licensed in each state?
In Washington, D.C. and all 50 states, prospective RNs must apply through their state licensing boards and pass the NCLEX exam. While some states may grant temporary licenses to nurses waiting for NCLEX results, others do not permit RNs to practice until they pass the exam.
What are the requirements to become a nurse?
An RN must hold at least an ADN, although certain states like New York require RNs to complete BSN degrees. Before graduating, nurses should apply to the state nursing boards where they intend to practice and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
Which states need nurses the most?
According to the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, seven states anticipated continued shortages of RNs from 2014-2030. Among the states with projected unmet demand, California will face the biggest deficit of 44,500, followed by Texas, New Jersey, South Carolina, Alaska, Georgia, and South Dakota.
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