License to Practice Nursing

nursing_license

Congratulations! You have a brand new nursing degree and it was hard-earned. Your accredited nursing school has graduated you and you are ready to start your career. This is a great time to become a nurse. Next step: find a job, right?

Not exactly. You have the education for your nursing practice, but before you take a single patient’s blood pressure, you need to pass your licensure test (NCLEX exam). What, exactly, are the requirements to begin working as a nurse?

What, exactly, are the requirements to begin working as a nurse?

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, you need both education and a license to work as a nurse as well as reporting all criminal convictions, chemical dependencies and deficits in functional ability.

What is the National Council of State Boards of Nursing?

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a not for profit organization composed of all the state nursing boards and the nursing boards of all U.S. territories. This is an organization for open communication, standardization and development of nursing practices.

How does my state Nursing Board fit into this Puzzle?

Your state nursing board is your nursing supervisor in the field.
They validate your test (NCLEX exam, also known as the National Council Licensure Examination) application ensuring, for example, that the school from which you graduated is accredited.
Administer the NCLEX.
And seek to ensure you adhere to the practices established by the board in your professional capacity.
They also administer and track your license renewal on the schedule approved by your local state nursing board.

So, I need to Contact my State Nursing Board to Schedule my Licensure Test? How do I do that?

To initiate the process, contact your state nursing board here.

How Much Does the Test Cost?

At this point, the test costs $200.

What’s on the Test?

The test is designed to validate your education, so it is composed of questions the answers to which you should know such as how to manage care, healthy lifestyles, psychosocial issues in nursing, physiological topics, etc.

Is my Nursing Degree Sufficient Preparation for the Licensure Exam?

Your degree should provide you with the information you need to pass the test. However,
the tone, manner of posing questions, and character of the exam are unique; many nurses find that they are more comfortable preparing by taking practice tests, studying with test preparation books specifically designed for this test, or even taking targeted preparation classes. You are not required to do any special preparation, but many do.

Once I have my License, can I Practice Nursing Anywhere in the US?

Until very recently, practicing outside of the state that issued your license was complicated. However, since the advent of the Nursing Licensure Compact, a license issued from any of the compact states is accepted in all of the other compact member states.

Can you explain this Nursing Licensure Compact?

Sure! To streamline the process of obtaining work in states different from the one that issued your license, state nursing boards agreed to recognize and accept each other’s licenses in the Nursing Licensure Compact.

 

nursing compact states map

 

Does this mean I can apply for a Nursing Job anywhere and they will accept My License?

There are requirements for you to take advantage of the Nursing Licensure Compact:

  • Your legal residence must be in one of the compact states, which are called “party” states.
  • You must have a RN or LPN license in good standing.
  • Declare a NLC party state to be your official residence.
  • Meet the licensure requirements in your home state.

I Meet All the Requirements Listed: How Do I Get my Compact License?

There is no compact license; by conforming to the requirements of the compact, your license automatically becomes a multi-state license.

How does this Nursing Licensure Compact Affect my Ability to Practice Nursing if I Relocate?

The Nursing Licensure Compact is a provision to enable nurses to work within the compact group; there is no clause for excluding nurses with valid licenses from working as it relates to the compact.

Moving from non-compact to compact or vice versa

Example: A licensed nurse relocates from a compact state to a non-compact or vice versa. What are the steps to obtaining legal nursing employment?

In this case, you apply for endorsement of your license in your new state. If you have a compact license and relocate to a non-compact state, your license automatically becomes non-compact; you retain the requirements of your licensing state.

Moving from one Compact State to Another Compact State

You have a grace period for practicing in your former home state for up to 30 or 90 days.

After the grace period is done:
Apply for licensure by endorsement.
Pay any applicable fees.
Declare the new state as your official primary residence.

But How Do I Get My New License?

You are issued a new multistate license; your former multistate license is inactivated.
Notify the Board of Nursing in your former state that you have moved.

Nursing Board By State

Alabama State Board of Nursing

Address:
770 Washington Avenue
RSA Plaza, Suite 250
Montgomery, AL 36130-3900
Phone: (334) 293-5200

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $85
License renewal (every two years), RN: $75

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 24 contact hours for every renewal period

Alaska State Board of Nursing

Address:
Dept. of Comm. & Econ. Development
Div. of Occupational Licensing
550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1500
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 269-8161

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $334
License renewal (every two years), RN: $175

Continuing Education Requirements:
Two of the following:
30 contact hours
30 hours of professional nursing activities
320 hours of nursing employment

Arizona State Board of Nursing

Address:
4747 N. 7th St.
Suite 200
Phoenix, AZ 85014
Phone: (602) 771-7800

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $300
License renewal (every four years), RN: $160

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Arkansas State Board of Nursing

Address:
University Tower Building
1123 S. University, Suite 800
Little Rock, AR 72204-1619
Phone: (501) 686-2700

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $100
License renewal (every two years), RN: $75

Continuing Education Requirements:
The requirements include completing 15 practice-focused continuing education contact hours or hold a current, nationally recognized certification or complete a minimum of one college credit course in nursing with a grade of C or better during a licensure period

California State Board of Registered Nursing

Address:
1747 N. Market Blvd., Suite 150
PO Box 944210
Sacramento, CA 95834
Phone: (916) 322-3350

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $150
License renewal (every two years), RN: $140

Continuing Education Requirements:
30 contact hours per renewal period

Colorado State Board of Nursing

Address:
1560 Broadway, Suite 1350
Denver, Colorado 80202
Phone: (303) 894-2430

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $88
License renewal (every two years), RN: $123

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Nursing

Address:
Dept. of Public Health
410 Capitol Avenue
PO Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134
Phone: (860) 509-8000

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $180
License renewal (annual), RN: $100

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Delaware State Board of Nursing

Address:
Cannon Building
861 Silver Lake Blvd.
Cannon Building, Suite 203
Dover, DE 19904
Phone: (302) 744-4500

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $124
License renewal (every two years), RN: Not listed on web site

Continuing Education Requirements:

30 contact hours every renewal period

District of Columbia State Board of Nursing

Address:
Department of Health
899 N. Capitol Street, N.E., 1st Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 442-5955

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $187
License renewal (every two years), RN: $145

Continuing Education Requirements:

24 contact hours for RNs and 18 contact hours for LPNs every renewal period

Florida State Board of Nursing

Address:
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin #C01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3251
Phone: (850) 488-0595

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $175
License renewal (every two years), RN: $80

Continuing Education Requirements:
1 hour HIV/AIDS for initial licensure
2 hours relating to prevention of medical errors
24 hours of continuing education related to nursing
2 hours of domestic violence education every third renewal

Georgia State Board of Nursing

Address:
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217-3858
Phone: (478) 207-2440

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $40
License renewal (every two years), RN: $65

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Hawaii State Board of Nursing

Address:
King Kalakaua Building
335 Merchant Street, Room 301
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 586-3000

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $40
License renewal (every two years), RN: $160

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Idaho State Board of Nursing

Address:
280 N. 8th Street, Suite 210
PO Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720
Phone: (208) 577-2476

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $90
License renewal (every two years), RN: $90

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Illinois Department of Professional Regulation

Address:
James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph, 9th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 814-4500

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $91
License renewal (every two years), RN: $50

Continuing Education Requirements:
LPN: 20 hours of approved continuing education
RN: 20 hours of approved continuing education
APN: 50 hours of approved continuing education

Indiana State Board of Nursing

Address:
Indiana Professional Licensing Agency
402 W. Washington Street, Room W072
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 232-2960

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $50
License renewal (every two years), RN: $50

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Iowa State Board of Nursing

Address:
River Point Business Park
400 S.W. 8th Street
Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309-4685
Phone: (515) 281-3255

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $143
License renewal (every three years), RN: $99

Continuing Education Requirements:
For renewal of a three year license, 36 contact hours.
For renewal of a license that has been issued for less than three years, 24 contact hours.

Kansas State Board of Nursing

Address:
Landon State Office Bldg.
900 SW Jackson, Suite 1051
Topeka, KS 66612-1230
Phone: (785)296-4929

Fees:

Initial licensing fee, RN: $75
License renewal (every two years), RN: $60

Continuing Education Requirements:
30 contact hours each renewal period for nurses at all levels of practice

Kentucky State Board of Nursing

Address:
312 Whittington Parkway, Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40222
Phone: (502) 329-7000

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $110
License renewal (every two years), RN: $50

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 14 contact hours every two years. See web site for additional options; two of the 30 hours must be AIDS CE three hours of domestic violence CE within 3 years of Kentucky licensure

Louisiana State Board of Nursing

Address:
17373 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Phone: (225) 755-7500

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $142.50
License renewal, RN: $80-$105 depending on date or renewal

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs: Five, 10, or 15 contact hours every year, based on employment

Maine State Board of Nursing

Address:
161 Capitol Street
158 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: (207) 287-1133

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $75
License renewal, RN (every two years): $75

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Maryland State Board of Nursing

Address:
4140 Patterson Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215
Phone: (410) 585-1900

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $100
License renewal (annual), RN: $73

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Massachusetts State Board of Nursing

Address:
Board of Registration in Nursing
239 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 973-0900

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $230
License renewal (every two years), RN: $120

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 15 contact hours every renewal period

Michigan Board of Nursing

Address:
Ottawa Towers North
611 W. Ottawa, 4th Floor
Lansing, MI 48933
Phone: (517) 373-9280

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $54
License renewal (every two years), RN: $60

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 25 contact hours every renewal period

Minnesota State Board of Nursing

Address:
2829 University Avenue SE
Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: (612) 617-2270

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $115.50
License renewal (every two years), RN: $93.50

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs: 24 contact hours every renewal period LPNs: 12 contact hours every renewal period

Mississippi State Board of Nursing

Address:
713 Pear Orchard Road, Suite 300
Ridgeland, MS 39157
Phone: (601) 957-6300

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $100
License renewal (every two years), RN: $100

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Missouri State Board of Nursing

Address:
3605 Missouri Blvd
P.O. Box 656
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0656
Phone: (573) 751-0293

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $45
License renewal (every two years), RN: $60

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Montana State Board of Nursing

Address:
301 South Park
PO Box 200513
Helena, MT 59620-0513
Phone: (406) 841-2345

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $200
License renewal (every two years), RN: $100

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs: 24 contact hours every renewal period

Nebraska Health and Human Services System

Address:
Dept. of Regulation & Licensure, Nursing Section
301 Centennial Mall South
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-3121

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $123
License renewal (every two years), RN: $123

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs: 20 contact hours every renewal period

Nevada State Board of Nursing

Address:
License Certification and Education
4220 S. Maryland Parkway
Suite B300
Las Vegas, NV 89119

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $100
License renewal (every two years), RN: $100

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 30 contact hours every renewal period

New Hampshire State Board of Nursing

Address:
21 South Fruit Street, Suite 16
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 271-2323

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $120
License renewal (every two years), RN: $80

Continuing Education Requirements:
All nurses: 30 contact hours every renewal period

New Jersey State Board of Nursing

Address:
P.O. Box 45010
Newark, NJ 07101
Phone: (973) 504-6430

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $200
License renewal (every two years), RN: $120

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 30 contact hours every renewal period

New Mexico State Board of Nursing

Address:
6301 Indian School Road NE
Suite 710
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Phone: (505) 841-8340

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $110
License renewal (every two years), RN: $93

Continuing Education Requirements:
All nurses: 30 contact hours every renewal period

New York State Board of Nursing

Address:
State Education Building
89 Washington Avenue
2nd Floor West Wing
Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 474-3817 Ext. 120

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $143
License renewal (every three years), RN: $50

Continuing Education Requirements:
2-hour course on child-abuse (one time requirement for registration)
4-hour course on infection control every four years

North Carolina State Board of Nursing

Address:
4516 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 782-3211

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $75
License renewal (every two years), RN: $92

Continuing Education Requirements:
All nurses: 30 contact hours every renewal period

North Dakota State Board of Nursing

Address:
919 South 7th Street, Suite 504
Bismark, ND 58504
Phone: (701) 328-9777

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $110
License renewal (every two years), RN: $90

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 12 contact hours every renewal period

Ohio State Board of Nursing

Address:
17 South High Street, Suite 400
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 466-6940

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $75
License renewal: Not listed on web site

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 24 contact hours per renewal period

Oklahoma State Board of Nursing

Address:
2915 N. Classen Boulevard, Suite 524
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Phone: (405) 962-1800

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $85
License renewal (every two years), RN: $75

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Oregon State Board of Nursing

Address:
17938 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road
Portland, OR 97224-7012
Phone: (971) 673-0685

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $160
License renewal (every two years), RN: $145

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: Complete the one-time Pain Management Continuing Education requirement

Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing

Address:
PO Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
Phone: (717) 783-7142

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $35
License renewal (every two years), RN: $65; LPN: $60

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs: 30 contact hours every renewal period; LPNs: None

Rhode Island State Board of Nursing

Department of Health
Three Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: (401) 222-5960

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $135; LPN: $90
License renewal (every two years), RN: $135

Continuing Education Requirements:
All nurses: 10 contact hours every renewal period

South Carolina State Board of Nursing

Address:
Synergy Business Park
Kingstree Building
110 Centerview Drive
Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: (803) 896-4300

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $90
License renewal (every two years), RN: $50

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs: 30 contact hours every renewal period

South Dakota State Board of Nursing

Address:
4305 South Louise Ave., Suite 201
Sioux Falls, SD 57106-3115
Phone: (605) 362-2760

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $100
License renewal, RN: $90

Continuing education requirements:

None

Tennessee State Board of Nursing

Address:
227 French Landing, Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-3111

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $115
License renewal (every two years): RN: $210

Continuing Education Requirements:
No continuing education hours required, though license renewal requires proof of continued competence.

Texas Board of Nurse Examiners

Address:
333 Guadalupe, Suite 3-460
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 305-7400

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $186
License renewal (every two years), RN: $70

Continuing Education Requirements:
20 contact hours per renewal period

Utah State Board of Nursing

Address:
Heber M. Wells Building
160 East 300 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Phone: (801) 530-6701

Fees:

Initial licensing fee, RN: $100
License renewal (every two years), RN: $58

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs: Have practiced not less than 400 hours during two years preceding application for renewal, or have completed 30 contact hours, or have practiced not less than 200 hours and completed 15 contact hours during two years preceding application for renewal.

Vermont State Board of Nursing

Address:
89 Main Street
3rd Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-3402
Phone: (802) 828-2396

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $90
License renewal (every two years), RN: $95

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Virginia State Board of Nursing

Address:
Perimeter Center
9960 Maryland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233-1463
Phone: (804) 367-4400

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $190
License renewal: Not listed on web site

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission

Address:
Department of Health
PO Box 47890
Olympia, WA 98504-7864
Phone: (360) 236-4030

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $92
License renewal (annual), RN: $101

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: Seven contact hours in HIV-AIDS education

West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses

Address:
101 Dee Drive, Suite 102
Charleston, WV 25311
Phone: (304) 558-3596

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $51.50
License renewal (annual), RN: $65

Continuing Education Requirements:
12 contact hours per renewal period

Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing

Address:
1400 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708
Phone: (608) 266-2112

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $90
License renewal (every two years), RN: $86

Continuing Education Requirements:
None

Wyoming State Board of Nursing

Address:
130 Hobbs Avenue, Suite B
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Phone: (307) 777-7601

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $135
License renewal (every two years), RN: $110

Continuing Education Requirements:
20 contact hours, or 500 practice hours every two years, or 1600 practice hours every five years, or a refresher program.