State-by-State Requirements for Registered Nurses


The qualifications for an RN license differ by state. Candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination after completing their nursing education. Below are the standards and procedures for obtaining registered nursing licensure in each state.


To become a registered nurse in Alabama, you must complete an accredited and board-approved school program. To earn licensure by examination, each candidate must pay $100 for the exam application. Likewise, a $50 fee for a temporary license, and a $3.50 transaction fee. Unless they obtained their licenses between August 31 and December 31, RNs must renew their licenses in even-numbered years. $103.50 is the cost of the renewal. Candidates must pay off any outstanding debts and complete 24 hours of CEUs.


The University of Alaska is Alaska's only board-approved professional nursing school. Distance learning is used in UA nursing schools to accommodate aspiring nurses from all around the state. 

Graduates of other countries' board-approved nursing programs are also eligible to apply. Foreign applicants, on the other hand, must go through a few extra stages. They must submit their credentials to CGFS for review, as well as pass an English proficiency exam.


Each candidate seeking initial licensure by examination must submit a diploma. Fingerprints for a background check and a passing NCLEX score are also required.

Candidates who have finished nursing programs in other states, but do not have a license must also present transcripts from those programs. The application, which includes fingerprinting, costs $350.

Licenses in Arizona might expire on a variety of dates. Depending on a variety of variables, although they can last up to four years. Each RN must show that they have worked 960 hours. Candidates must graduate from a nursing program, or take AZBN refresher courses in the last five years to renew their license.


The degree could be an associate's degree, a diploma, or even a master's degree. The NCLEX-RN, a standardized licensing examination, will be required of the graduate.

RN licenses in Arkansas expire on the final day of each nurse's birth month every two years. Nurses who were born in even-numbered years must renew their licenses every even-numbered year. While nurses who were born in odd-numbered years must renew their licenses every odd-numbered year.


About 6-8 weeks before graduation from authorized nursing institutions, RN candidates can submit their applications. They can pass them to the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Each candidate must submit transcripts. Fingerprints for a background check before taking the NCLEX should also be submitted. Nurses who are interested in working as a nurse can apply online or through printed pamphlets.

After their initial certification, nurses must renew their licenses every two years. Nurses should follow the renewal based on the final day of their birth. This is according to the BRN. A California registered nurse must complete 30 hours of continuing education to be eligible for renewal.


The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies licenses nurses in the state. The completion of an approved curriculum is required for RN licensing. Associate and bachelor level professional nursing programs are available in Colorado. There is no change in licensing. Both contain the necessary content to pass the NCLEX license examination. Likewise, on how to perform RN-level nursing activities. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers a broader and deeper education in several areas; many employers, at least for some roles, require it.

The Compact on Nurse Licensure includes Colorado. It permits nurses from other NLC states to work in Colorado without having to obtain additional licensure. Every two years, the Colorado Board of Nursing issues RN licenses that expire on September 30.


Nurse licensure is overseen by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Candidates do not need to finish programs in Connecticut, but they must acquire degrees from approved schools. Each applicant must complete an online application. Pay a $180 application fee. Candidates must provide transcripts and degree verification.

RN licenses expire on the first day of the nurse's birth month each year, and each nurse is notified 60 and 30 days before their license expires. RNs from other states can seek endorsement by submitting transcripts. They should send proof of current licensing.


All professional licenses in Delaware are managed by the Division of Professional Regulation (DPR). Each RN candidate must earn an accredited nursing degree and complete at least 400 hours of clinical experience, according to DPR. Each petitioner must submit a notarized application, a $124 fee, and a copy of their identification.

The licensing process usually takes a month or two. Although, fresh grads can operate under interim permissions while they wait. Permits are only valid for 90 days.


Candidates for the NCLEX in Florida must complete recognized nursing programs. Then they can apply through Pearson Vue. Next, they need to send their fingerprints to Livescan. After which, they can apply for licensure through the Florida Board of Nursing's examination process. Candidates who have been approved take the NCLEX and receive their licenses within 10 days of completing the exam.

Licensed nurses must renew their certifications every two years, according to the Florida Board of Nursing. Unless their license has lapsed and become inactive, eligible professionals can usually renew their licenses online.


After acquiring permission from Pearson Vue, RN candidates in Georgia can apply to take the NCLEX online or by mail. Each applicant must pay a $40 application fee and consent to a background check. Transcripts are not required for graduates from authorized schools. Georgia joined the NLC in 2017, allowing registered nurses to work in other NLC states.


Candidates have three opportunities to pass the NCLEX in any state, according to the Hawaii Board of Nursing. If a student does not pass the exam after three attempts, he or she must attend remedial courses before attempting the exam again. 

Graduates must also submit copies of their state IDs and Social Security cards when applying to take the NCLEX in Hawaii. All new nursing candidates must now undergo a criminal background check, as of July 2017. In Hawaii, RN licenses expire on the 30th of June in odd-numbered years. 


The NLC includes the Idaho Board of Nursing. It means that nurses from other compact states can practice in Idaho without obtaining a separate license. In Idaho, a new nurse must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check and fill out the rest of their application online through the Idaho Nurse Portal.

IBN RN licenses expire on the 31st of August in odd-numbered years. A qualifying renewal candidate can log in to the nurse portal up to three months before the expiration date, upload continuing education proof, and pay the $90 application fee.


The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is in charge of RN licensing and maintains a list of accredited institutions. Transcripts, payment of the $91 fee, and fingerprints are required of each candidate.

Nurses must renew their licensure every even-numbered year. They also need to complete continuing education hours. This is through the courses authorized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. 


All nursing licenses in Indiana are managed by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA). Transcripts, a passport-style photograph, a $50 application fee, and an explanation for any criminal background are required of all initial RN licensure by examination candidates. Prospective nurses must additionally request that the PLA receive degree verification from their nursing schools.

In Indiana, RN licenses expire on the 31st of October of odd-numbered years. Renewals can be done either online or through the mail.


Each RN candidate must acquire a degree from an accredited program. They can also receive accreditation from a similar program in another state. This is according to the Iowa Board of Nursing (IBON). Students who wish to attend schools in other states must first obtain approval from the state's board of nursing or other governing body. Each applicant must give their Social Security number. In addition, they need confirmation of their high school graduation or GED completion.

Each RN receives a wallet card from the IBON that includes their license expiration date. Nurses must start the renewal process at least 30 days before their license expires through the IBON's online portal.


Candidates should first apply for the examination through Pearson Vue, according to the Kansas Board of Nursing. Following that, each candidate can submit a completed application to the board along with a $75 payment.

Before receiving their diplomas, students nurses can apply for this prestigious test. To receive a license in this state nurses should graduate, pass the exam, and background check.

Renewing of license done on the last day of the month of your birth. You will receive a renewal notice in the mail, but you will not receive a printed license card; however, you can find information about your license online. You must also complete 30 hours of continuing education (CE) in your area of specialization, according to the Board. Additional CE requirements may be imposed by your national certification organization.


Every time a candidate applies to take the NCLEX, the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) charges $125. For background checks, candidates must also give their fingerprints. Students who have completed approved nursing schools and meet the state's requirements are eligible to take the NCLEX.

Nurses must renew their license every year by completing 14 hours of continuing education, earning a national nursing-related certification, conducting nursing research, publishing a nursing paper in a recognized journal, presenting a continuing education presentation, or acting as a facilitator to student nurses.


If they complete an accredited nursing program, produce their Social Security number, and submit their initial application within 60 days of graduation, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing will allow first-time RN candidates to sit for the NCLEX.

Background checks must reveal the absence of any outstanding criminal or civil charges, as well as complaints of abuse, from other medical regulating authorities. Candidates must get licensure within four years of completing nursing school and must take the NCLEX four times.


In Maine, a first-time RN candidate must submit an online application, $75 in payment, a passport-style photo, and transcripts demonstrating completion of an approved nursing program to the State Board of Nursing.

These applicants must also explain any issues raised on Section II of their applications, show proof of primary residency in Maine, and pass a $52 criminal background check.

In Maine, RN licenses expire on the nurse's birthday every other year. Candidates for renewal must show proof of 75 continuing education credits and pay a $75 renewal fee.


The Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) requires candidates seeking RN licensing to submit their federal tax identification or Social Security numbers. The board also checks that candidates do not owe overdue child support payments or have other negative marks on their records that could impede their ability to work.

Candidates who have graduated from accredited local universities or out-of-state colleges that meet the same requirements are accepted by MBON. Candidates who have graduated from other colleges may be eligible for licensing provided they complete additional clinical rotation hours.

Maryland, as a founding member of the NLC, continues to provide this flexibility to its nurses.


Candidates who have graduated from board-approved schools and have a good moral character are accepted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. What defines good moral character is determined by several laws. Candidates with particular criminal backgrounds, for example, will never be approved by the board, whilst those with other types will be able to demonstrate that they have changed.

The application fee is $230 for each candidate. In even-numbered years, RN licenses expire on nurses' birthdays. For renewal, each nurse must complete at least 15 hours of continuing education, pay a $120 fee, and maintain good moral character as defined by law.


Every two years, registered nurses in Michigan must renew their qualifications by completing at least 25 hours of authorized continuing education and keeping the renewal documents for at least four years.


The Minnesota Board of Nursing accepts applications for the NCLEX either online or by mail from new RN candidates. Each candidate pays $138.25 with their application, which includes the criminal background check and additional expenses.

Before registering with Pearson Vue, prospective nurses must complete the fingerprinting process and transmit proof of graduation. Refresher courses are required for candidates who graduated from nursing school five years or more before the deadline.

Every two years, Minnesota nurses must renew their licensure and complete 24 hours of continuing education credits.


Each first-time RN candidate must submit their Social Security number as well as a $100 fee to the Mississippi Board of Nursing. Candidates are not eligible to apply until they have completed their studies, and the board must receive authentic transcripts directly from schools. Mississippi is a member of the NLC and accepts certified nurses from many other states, however, all new applicants must go through the Mississippi criminal background check system.

Every even-numbered year, between September 1 and December 31, RNs must renew their licenses and complete at least 20 contact hours of continuing education.


Candidates nearing graduation and those who have just earned board-approved degrees are accepted by the Missouri Board of Nursing. Candidates can start the procedure as early as three months before the start date by submitting a passport-style photograph, agreeing to a background check, and having their fingerprints taken at an approved facility.

The background check will set you back just under $45, and the application will set you back $45. RNs in Missouri are not required to receive continuing education credits to renew their licenses, and nurses who obtain licensure in Missouri can practice in any NLC member state.


The Montana Board of Nursing requires RN candidates to provide transcripts verifying their graduation date, as well as completed applications to Pearson Vue and the board. Candidates must provide fingerprints, consent to background checks, explain any negative behavior on their records, and pay a $100 application fee.

RNs in Montana should renew their licenses by December 31 of even-numbered years. Even if they obtained licensure within the last two years, each candidate must complete 24 contact hours of continuing education per cycle to renew their license.


An RN candidate should include proof of citizenship or legal presence, a passport-style photograph, proper name change documentation, and any relevant criminal case documents when applying to Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Candidates should also have transcripts, background check results, and verifications of previous licenses sent to DHHS by the appropriate institutions. Nebraska permits graduates of accredited institutions to apply for single-state or multistate licenses as an eNLC state.

In Nebraska, RN licenses must be renewed by October 31 in even-numbered years. To maintain eligibility for renewal, each nurse must complete 20 hours of continuing education contact hours every two years. The Department of Health and Human Services also establishes employment criteria.


RN candidates must have degrees that have been accepted by the Nevada State Board of Nursing, although they are not required to attend school in the state. If they fulfill or surpass Nebraska's standards, online nursing students can enroll in out-of-state schools. Candidates must also provide their SSN and fingerprints.

The first RN application price is $100, and there are additional fees for the background check. Graduates who meet these requirements can obtain interim permits that allow them to practice while waiting for the results of the NCLEX.

Every two years, a nurse's license must be renewed.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing accepts RN applicants with licenses from other NLC states, but only New Hampshire residents can petition for initial licensure.

Candidates must present proof of residency, a criminal background check with fingerprints, and Pearson Vue preregistration if they are from within the state. Prospective nurses must also submit copies of their official transcripts and driver's licenses.

Every two years, nurses must renew their licenses. Candidates for renewal must have worked 400 hours as an RN in the preceding four years, completed one refresher program in the previous two years, or passed the NCLEX in the previous two years.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Board of Nursing, which is part of the Division of Consumer Affairs, certifies nursing programs and issues licenses to nurses at all levels in the state. Only schools with NCLEX pass rates of 75% or higher are approved by the board.

Many common components of the application for initial RN licensing in New Jersey, such as a criminal background check and education verification, are included. The state also checks to see if candidates owe back child support or have any physical issues that would prevent them from providing adequate care. To keep their licenses alive, nurses must complete 30 continuing education credits every two years.

New Mexico

An RN candidate in New Mexico has only three tries to pass the NCLEX before their application is rejected by the New Mexico Board of Nursing. The exam must be passed within the first three years after graduating.

In-state and out-of-state residents are both welcome on the board. Each prospective nurse must pay a $110 application fee and complete $44 fingerprinting cards. Candidates should get original transcripts from their approved colleges and provide graduation verification on the board's nursing webpage.

In New Mexico, registered nurses must renew their licensure every two years. Each candidate must complete 30 continuing education units and pay a $93 fee with each renewal cycle.

New York

The nursing license in New York is regulated by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Each aspiring nurse who wishes to work in New York must be of high moral character, complete an approved curriculum, and pass the NCLEX. While waiting to take the exam and get official scores, certain recent nursing graduates may be eligible for temporary licensure. The application costs $143, and the temporary permission costs $35.

Nurses must renew their certifications every three years to continue practicing nursing in New York. Renewal fees for LPNs and RNs are $73 and can be paid online. Nurse practitioners must pay $35 to renew their certification, whereas RNs must pay $73 to renew their certification. Nurses must establish proper moral conduct by answering questions about their criminal and professional history to renew their accreditation. Every four years, nurses must also complete infection control-related continuing education.

North Carolina

Candidates must submit their information to the North Carolina Board of Nursing online. About 4-6 weeks before graduation, each prospective nurse can submit the $75 fee and their initial application, and then closer to graduation, they can submit transcripts and education verification. Out-of-state candidates must submit finished documentation, while students in North Carolina can resubmit transcripts 30 days before graduation.

To keep their license in North Carolina, nurses must pay a $100 fee and complete continuing education requirements every two years. During the renewal, the state specifies many options for achieving those goals, including accumulating 640 work hours and 15 contact continuing education hours.

North Dakota

By giving their Social Security number, mailing official copies of their final transcripts, and paying a $130 processing fee, a nursing school graduate in North Dakota can apply for RN licensing. Out-of-state students must complete accredited nursing programs in North Dakota that offer an equivalent amount of clinical hours.

RNs in North Dakota must renew their licenses every two years, and renewal candidates must show that they have worked at least 400 hours in the previous four years and have completed 12 contact hours in the previous two years. Continuing education credits do not carry over from one renewal term to the next, according to the North Dakota Board of Nursing.


School authorities must send letters to the state board validating each candidate's degree after graduation. Each candidate must also pass a criminal background check through the state's provider, which includes fingerprinting. Finally, all aspiring registered nurses must submit a $75 deposit along with their application.

RN licenses must be renewed every two years in Ohio. Nurses do not need to earn continuing education credits for the first two years after licensure. For each succeeding renewal term, a nurse must acquire 24 continuing education credits.


The Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN) is a member of the National League of Nursing (NLC), which assists nurses in bringing their skills to new states. Graduates should submit official and final transcripts when applying for initial licensure. Candidates who went to nursing school outside of the state must give course descriptions as well. All first-time RN candidates must pay an application fee of $85 and provide fingerprints for background checks.

Oklahoma nurses must renew their licensure every two years. Earning 24 continuing education credits in the past two years is one way to stay eligible for renewal, according to OBN.


A passport-style photograph must be attached to the state's LIC-103A form by new nursing graduates seeking licensing in Oregon. They must submit it to representatives from nursing schools.

Before their initial renewal, a nurse must complete 960 hours of nursing work and seven hours of continuing education in pain management in order to maintain current licensure in Oregon.


To apply for first licensing and renewal, RN applicants must go through the Pennsylvania Licensing System, which is run by the Pennsylvania Department of State. Each prospective RN must submit proof of graduation from a board-approved school, a $35 application processing fee, a $35 temporary license payment, and answers to inquiries about their criminal and personal histories.

Temporary permits allow people to practice under the supervision of licensed nurses while waiting for their NCLEX results. Every two years, nurses must complete 30 hours of continuing education, including two hours on child abuse prevention.

Rhode Island

Nursing licensing in Rhode Island is regulated by the Rhode Island Department of Health. An application online must be accomplished and there's a $135 application fee that needs to be paid. Aspiring nurses should also secure their formal transcripts and degree verification. They can obtain this from the state health agency. Nurses can also purchase a framed copy of their licenses for $30.

RN licenses in Rhode Island must be renewed every two years. During this time, each nurse must complete 10 hours of continuing education, including two hours in substance addiction prevention. A nurse who is having difficulty meeting these requirements during a renewal cycle might ask for a six-month extension.

South Carolina

A nurse license is overseen by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR). A new RN candidate must provide a passport-style photograph, as well as a notarized affidavit proclaiming good moral character and proof of citizenship or lawful immigration, with their application.

LLR provides nurses in South Carolina with a variety of options for keeping their licenses active. Every two years, an RN, for example, can complete 30 contact hours of continuing education, present verification of accreditation from a nationally recognized nursing organization, or receive a second nursing degree.

South Dakota

Each first-time RN candidate must submit a completed application, a $100 processing fee, and the results of a criminal background check to the South Dakota Board of Nursing. Nursing graduates must submit certification of nursing education credentials to the state board.

Official transcripts from out-of-state programs must be submitted by candidates. Prospective nurses who meet all of these conditions, register for the NCLEX, and pay an additional $25 can get a temporary permit.

RN licenses in South Dakota must be renewed every two years. A $115 processing fee and proof of suitable employment are required of each renewal candidate.


Each RN candidate must indicate Tennessee as their primary residence, submit to a criminal background check, submit a passport-style photograph, and reaffirm their citizenship in the United States. Furthermore, if a candidate has ever held a professional license of any sort, the Tennessee Board of Nursing requires a copy of the license.

Nursing students should start the criminal background check procedure around six weeks before graduation, according to the board. Before submitting their applications to the board, all Tennessee candidates need to register with Pearson Vue. Every two years, on the last day of their birth month, each nurse must renew their license.


Registered nurses and practical nurses are licensed by the Texas State Board of Nursing. Because Texas is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (Compact), nurses licensed in another Compact state are not required to apply for licensure unless they intend to make Texas their principal residence.

Every two years, Texas nurses must renew their licensure, which requires them to complete 20 hours of continuing education. If professionals default on their Texas Guaranteed Student Loans or fail to submit required background check updates, their licenses may not be renewed.


The Utah Department of Commerce's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) is the office in charge of RN qualifications. For background checks, candidates must present official transcripts as well as fingerprints.

RNs from other NLC states can practice for up to 90 days in Utah before asking for endorsement licensing. Every two years, nurses must renew their licenses by completing 400 working hours or 200 hours and 15 continuing education credits.


The Vermont Secretary of State is in charge of the Board of Nursing and RN licenses in the state. A first-time candidate pays a $60 application fee, provides their Social Security number, and confirms that their school delivers the state official and final transcripts. Some candidates are also required to submit education verification forms.

Every two years, Vermont nurses must renew their licensure. Candidates for renewal can apply online and verify how many hours they worked since their last application.


Candidates who have graduated from state-approved nursing programs are welcome to apply to the Virginia Department of Health Professions. Candidates from other states are eligible to apply provided they have completed at least 500 hours of supervised clinical care as part of their nursing degree.

Candidates for licensure who do not match these standards, as well as those with degrees from other countries, must contact the department before applying. Criminal background checks are required of all applicants for RN licensure in Virginia, including those who apply via endorsement.

Nurses in Virginia must renew their licenses every two years and must meet one of several continuing education criteria to do so.


The Washington Nursing Commission costs candidates $88 for paperwork, and to receive clearance, each prospective nurse must register with Pearson Vue and submit education verification to the nursing commission.

Candidates then earn their licenses and enter a Transition to Practice program, where they work under the supervision of preceptors. Every three years, nurses in Washington must renew their licensure. Each nurse must demonstrate that they have completed 531 hours of nursing practice and 45 hours of continuing education in the previous three years to renew their license.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, nursing students often start the exam application process approximately two months before graduation. Each candidate should submit their full application along with a $70 processing fee at that time. Candidates can also apply for temporary permits, but only certain of these are accepted by the West Virginia RN Board.

Temporary qualifications allow nurses to practice for 90 days. Candidates must submit official transcripts to the board and register for the NCLEX through Pearson Vue after graduation.

Each year, on October 31st, RN licenses in West Virginia expire. Annually, a candidate must complete 12 hours of continuing education credit to be eligible for renewal.


The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services grants multistate RN licenses to qualified candidates who can show that Wisconsin is their home state or that they intend to move there.

Candidates who have completed state-approved programs can use an online method to apply. Wisconsin accepts in-state institutions and gives a list of out-of-state programs that are authorized.

In even-numbered years, nurses in Wisconsin must renew their licenses by the final day of February. The state does not require candidates to do continuing education to renew their license, but they must reaffirm their resident status.


A two-year associate's degree (ADN) or a four-year bachelor's degree (BSN) program is required to become an RN (registered nurse). The more time you spend studying, the more in-depth your understanding becomes. Furthermore, the better your degree, the more work chances you will have and the higher your compensation will be.

The Wyoming State Board of Nursing recognizes RN graduates from in-state programs on its authorized list as well as similar programs in other states. Each aspiring registered nurse must pay the board $130. This includes the paperwork processing as well as a $60 background check.

Candidates can then ask for official transcripts from their nursing school to be sent to the board for review. After the application has been approved by the board, the candidate can provide fingerprint cards and register with Pearson Vue.

RN licenses in Wyoming expire every two years, and nurses can renew their licenses in a variety of ways, including completing 500 hours of work in that time.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc., or NCSBN, is made up of all of the BONs in the United States and its four territories. The NCSBN is a non-profit organization that permits state nursing regulatory authorities to act and collaborate on issues of common interest. The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an interstate agreement that allows a nursing license issued in one NLC state to be used in other NLC states (unless otherwise restricted). NLC has been enacted in 34 states.


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