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Registered Nurse Requirements: Your Roadmap to State
Licensure

Earning your license is the final hurdle in getting your nursing career off the ground. Learn everything you need to know about getting licensed in your home state and beyond.

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A smiling registered nurse in a purple uniform looks at her smartphone inside a car, with her face mask pulled down to her chin, sunlight illuminating her face.

Becoming a registered nurse isn’t for the faint of heart. Before you can even begin to consider earning your license, you need to find, fund, and complete your nursing program. Only after finishing the requisite didactic coursework, lab simulations, and clinical practice hours, can you finally sit for the NCLEX-RN exam — a requirement for licensure in all U.S. jurisdictions — and take steps to meet your state’s licensure requirements. It can be overwhelming just to get a handle of these requirements, much less meet them. We’ve created this guide to help you understand what’s expected of you so that you can take that final step toward your career as a licensed RN.

Before we get into state-specific requirements, keep in mind that, in addition to the application and licensing fees charged by each state, you will have to pay the NCLEX-RN exam fee, which is currently $200. If you are applying for licensure in a member state of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), you will also pay an additional state-specific fee.

In most cases, licensure requirements for registered nurses are similar from state to state, but it is important to understand the differences that do exist. License renewal and continuing education/competency requirements, for example, can vary significantly by jurisdiction. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the specifics of both initial licensure and license renewal — including fees — in your state so you can embark on your RN education with confidence and clarity. Keep reading to learn more.

Click on Your State to See Your Requirements

Alabama

Education & Exam Requirements – The Alabama Board of Nursing (ABN) oversees the licensing process for RNs in the state. To be eligible for RN licensure in Alabama, you must complete a state-approved, ACEN or CCNE-accredited RN diploma or degree program with a minimum of an associate degree in nursing; meet all education and clinical experience requirements; pass the NCLEX-RN exam and a criminal background check; and submit proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residence. Alabama is a Nursing Licensure Compact state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current cost for initial RN licensure in Alabama is $128.50 for a single state license (SSL) or $228.50 for a multi-state license (MSL). You must renew your RN license every two years in Alabama. To do so, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) and pay a renewal fee of $103.50 (SSL) or $203.50 (MSL).

Alaska

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensure is administered by the Alaska Board of Nursing. To obtain your initial RN license, you must have completed a nationally accredited ADN or BSN program and passed both the NCLEX-RN exam and a criminal background check. Alaska is not currently an NLC member state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – Including application, license, and fingerprinting fees, an RN license in Alaska costs $375. You must renew your RN license every two years (by November 30 of even-numbered years). To do so, you must pay a renewal fee of $200 and complete two of the following three requirements: 30 CE hours; 30 hours of participation in uncompensated professional activities; or 320 hours of RN employment.

Arizona

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licenses in Arizona are administered by the Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN). To earn your RN license in Arizona, you must complete an AZBN-approved diploma, ADN, or BSN degree program, earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, and submit a clean criminal background check. Arizona is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – To obtain your initial RN licensure, you’ll have to pay a $300 application fee and a $50 fingerprint fee. To maintain your license and continue practicing, you are required to renew your license every four years. You can do so by completing a minimum 960 hours of professional nursing practice. Practitioners who have graduated a nursing program; completed a nurse refresher course; or earned an advanced nursing degree within the last five years do not have to renew their licenses. The current renewal fee is $160.

Arkansas

Education & Exam Requirements – Arkansas nurses earn their credentials through the Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN). To obtain your initial license, you must graduate from an ASBN-approved RN diploma or degree program, earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, and submit to a State and Federal criminal background check. Arkansas is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – RN licenses in Arkansas must be renewed bi-annually. To renew your license, you must meet one of the following requirements: earn 15 practice-focused contact hours through a nationally recognized or state CE-approved program; certify through a national certifying board; or complete an academic course in nursing or a related field. Both initial licensure and license renewal include a fee of $100.

California

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensing in California is overseen by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). To obtain a California RN license by exam, you must graduate from an approved ADN, BSN, or entry-level MSN program, earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, and submit to a criminal background check. California is not currently an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The application fee for initial RN licensure depends on whether you completed your nursing education in-state; California program graduates pay $300; out-of-state graduates pay $350; and international graduates pay $750 for international graduates. Out-of-state applicants are charged an additional $49 for fingerprinting. You are required to renew your license every two years by completing 30 hours of continuing education hours and paying a license renewal fee of $190.

Colorado

Education & Exam Requirements – To earn your Colorado RN license through the Colorado Board of Nursing (CBN) you must complete a CBN-approved nursing diploma, ADN, or bachelor’s degree program and earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. You must also answer a series of criminal history screening questions and submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. Colorado is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for initial RN licensure in Colorado is $135. You will be required to renew your RN license every two years (odd or even years by issuance date). There is no CE requirement for registered nurses. The current RN license renewal fee is $108.

Connecticut

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensing in Connecticut is administered by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH). Applicants for initial RN licensure by exam must have completed a DPH-approved nursing certificate, diploma, or degree (ADN minimum), and met all education and clinical experience requirements. Following completion of these education requirements, applicants must obtain a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. Connecticut is currently not an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The initial RN licensure fee in Colorado is currently $180. RNs must renew their licenses every six years by paying a renewal fee of $110 and completing two contact hours of education and training on mental health screening and suicide prevention. The current fee for RN license renewal is $110.

Delaware

Education & Exam Requirements – The Delaware Board of Nursing (DBN) oversees the licensing of RNs in the state. Delaware requires, at a minimum, that RNs applying for licensure complete a DBN-approved RN diploma or ADN program (that includes a minimum of 400 clinical experience hours) and earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. Applicants must also pass a criminal background check. Delaware is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for initial RN licensure is $170. To renew your license, you must complete a minimum of 30 CE hours every two-year renewal period. You will be notified of the cost of renewal when you begin the process.

Florida

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensing in Florida is administered by the Florida Board of Nursing (FBN). To obtain your license by exam in Florida you must have graduated from a nursing diploma or degree program approved by the FBN or the state in which the program was located, or accredited by the ACEN or CCNE. You must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam and disclose any criminal history beyond minor traffic offenses. Florida is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for initial RN licensure by exam is $110. To maintain your license, you must submit proof of having completed 27 hours of CE during the license period. This includes 16 hours of general CE coursework as well as coursework in a number of specific subjects. The current active-to-active RN license renewal fee is $65.

Georgia

Education & Exam Requirements – Administration of RN licensing in Georgia is handled by the Georgia Board of Nursing (GBN). Requirements for initial RN license by exam include graduation from a GBN-approved ADN or BSN program, a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, and completion of a criminal background check. Georgia is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure by exam is $40. Licenses must be renewed every two years by January 31 of the expiration year. The GBN provides five continuing competency/education options for RN license renewal applicants. The RN license renewal fee is $65.

Hawaii

Education & Exam Requirements – Hawaii’s Board of Nursing (BON) oversees all aspects of the RN licensing process in the state. Obtaining an initial RN license by exam in Hawaii requires completion of a BON-approved, nationally accredited nursing program (ADN or BSN) and a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. Applicants who fail the NCLEX-RN exam three times must complete a remedial nursing course to retake the exam. You must also submit to a criminal history record check, including fingerprinting ($52.50 fee). Hawaii is currently not an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current initial application fee for RN licensure is $60. RN licenses must be renewed every two years by June 30 of odd-numbered years regardless of when the license was issued. Hawaii’s BON provides several options for completing the continuing competency requirement for license renewal. Popular options include completion of 30 CE hours and completion of two credits in a post-licensure nursing college course. The current license renewal fee is $196.

Idaho

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensing in Idaho is administered by the Idaho Board of Nursing.Licensure requirements include completion of an ACEN or CCNE-accredited nursing program; a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam; and completion of a criminal background check, including fingerprinting. Idaho is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure by exam in Idaho is $118.25, which includes the $28.25 fingerprint processing fee. The RN license renewal period is from May 1 to August 31 of each odd-numbered year. To renew your license, you must complete 15 hours of continuing education every two-year cycle. The current fee for RN license renewal is $90.

Illinois

Education & Exam Requirements – The RN licensing process in Illinois is overseen by the Illinois Department of Finance & Professional Regulation (IDFPR). To apply for your license, you are required to have completed an IDFPR-approved nursing diploma or degree program (ADN or higher), taken and passed the NCLEX-RN exam, and completed a criminal history check that includes fingerprint submission. Applicants must apply to both Pearson VUE and Continental Testing Services to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Illinois is currently not an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – To apply for initial RN licensure by exam in Illinois you must pay a $108 fee. In order to maintain your license, you will be required to complete 20 CE hours per two-year license period, including one-hour courses in sexual harassment prevention training, implicit bias awareness training, and the diagnosis, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s disease. The current license renewal fee is $80.

Indiana

Education & Exam Requirements – The Nursing Board of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) oversees the RN licensing process in the state. To be eligible for licensure, you must possess a nursing diploma or degree (ADN or higher) obtained from a PLA-approved program; earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam; and submit fingerprints for and pass a criminal background check. Indiana is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for an initial Indiana RN license is $50. You must renew your Indiana RN license every two years. The expiration date is October 31 of every even-numbered year. There is no continuing education requirement for Indiana RNs. The license renewal fee is $50.

Iowa

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensure in Iowa is overseen by the Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals, & Licensing. You must have successfully completed both a state-approved nursing degree program (ADN minimum) and the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain an Iowa RN license. You must also submit a fingerprint card for use in required criminal history background checks by the FBI and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Iowa is a NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial Iowa RN licensure is $93. You can also expect to pay an additional $50 fingerprinting fee. You must renew your RN license every three years, and can do so by completing a minimum of 36 contact hours of continuing education, or obtaining an exemption to this requirement. The current license renewal fee is $99.

Kansas

Education & Exam Requirements – The Kansas Board of Nursing (KBON) oversees the RN licensing process in the state. Kansas RN license applicants must possess an ADN or BSN from a KBON-approved degree program, obtain a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, and complete a criminal background check that includes submission of both fingerprints and a signed waiver agreement. Kansas is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – Application for initial RN licensure by examination is $100 for a single state license and $125 for a NLC multi-state license. Applicants must also pay the criminal background check fee, currently $48. You must complete 30 contact hours of approved continuing nursing education during each two-year licensing cycle in order to renew your RN license. The current renewal fee is $85.

Kentucky

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensing in Kentucky is administered by the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBON). To obtain licensure by examination, you must complete a board-approved diploma or degree (ADN minimum) program, and pass both the NCLEX-RN and KBON Jurisprudence exams. You must also submit state and federal criminal background reports through the IdentoGo. Kentucky is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for initial RN licensure in Kentucky is $125. You can also expect to pay a $53.25 fee for your state and federal criminal background reports. In order to maintain your RN license, you will have to renew it annually. To do so, you’ll have to complete 14 continuing education hours that include courses in domestic violence training and pediatric abusive head trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome). The current license renewal fee is $65.

Louisiana

Education & Exam Requirements – The RN licensing process in Louisiana is overseen by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN). To obtain your Initial RN license by exam, you must complete a state-approved ADN degree program or nursing diploma program. You must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete a criminal background check including fingerprinting. Louisiana is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure by exam is $100. You will also be required to pay an additional fee of $39.25 for the criminal background check. Initial RN licensure is valid for one year, after which your license will be valid for two years. To renew your license, you must complete either a minimum of 30 continuing education contact hours or 900 employer-verified practice hours during the two-year licensing cycle. The current license renewal fee is $60.

Maine

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensure is Maine is handled by the Maine State Board of Nursing (MSBON). To qualify for licensure, you are required to have completed an MSBON-approved nursing diploma or degree program of at least two years in length that lead to RN license eligibility. You must also obtain a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam and submit to a criminal background check which includes fingerprint submission. Maine is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – You must renew your Maine RN license every two years on or before your birthday. There is currently no continuing education/competency requirement for Maine RN license holders. Both the initial RN licensing and license renewal fees are currently $75.

Maryland

Education & Exam Requirements – The Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) oversees the RN licensing process in Maryland. All applicants are required to complete an MBON-approved RN nursing diploma or degree program, take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and submit to a criminal history records check. Maryland is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure by exam in Maryland is $100. RN licenses require renewal every two years. There is no continuing education requirement for RN license holders in Maryland. The current RN license renewal fee is $136.

Massachusetts

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensing in Massachusetts is administered by the state’s Board of Registration in Nursing. To earn RN licensure, you must have graduated from a Board-approved RN diploma or degree (ADN or higher) program; earned a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam; and demonstrated good moral character through the submission of “pertinent information regarding past and present conduct and disciplinary and/or criminal history.” Applicants for initial licensure must also complete a one-time education and training course in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with cognitive impairments. Massachusetts is not currently an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure by exam in Massachusetts is $230. You must renew your RN license every two years on or before your birthday in even-numbered years. To do so, you must complete 15 contact hours of continuing education over the course of the two-year licensure cycle. The current renewal fee is $120.

Michigan

Education & Exam Requirements – Licensure of RNs in Michigan is overseen by the state’s Board of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs. To earn your initial RN licensure, you must have completed a Board-approved diploma or degree (ADN or higher) program leading to NCLEX-RN exam and state licensure eligibility. You must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam and a criminal background check, and complete a one-time training course in human trafficking. Michigan is currently not an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for an initial RN license in Michigan is $212.90. To renew your license, which you must do every two years in order to continue practicing, you are required to complete 25 hours of continuing education per licensing period, including two hours on pain and pain symptom management. You must also complete two hours of training in implicit bias within five years of your initial licensure. The current license renewal fee is $161.40.

Minnesota

Education & Exam Requirements – The Minnesota Board of Nursing (MBON) is the state administrative agency in charge of RN licensing. Initial licensure requires you to hold either a nursing diploma or degree (ADN minimum) from an MBON-approved RN education program. You must also earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, provide proof of not having engaged in conduct warranting disciplinary action, and submit a fingerprint card for a criminal background check. Minnesota is currently not an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – As an applicant for initial RN licensure in Minnesota, you can expect to pay an application fee of $105 and a criminal background check fee of $33.25. To renew your RN license, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education in the two-year license period. The current license renewal fee is $85.

Mississippi

Education & Exam Requirements – The Mississippi Board of Nursing (MBON) is the administrating body in charge of RN licensing in the state. RN licensure regulations in Mississippi requires you to possess a nursing diploma, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree from a program that meets MBON standards. You must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete a criminal background check (including fingerprinting). Mississippi is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current RN license application fee is $100. You are also responsible for the $75 criminal background check fee. The license renewal period is September 1 through December 31 of even-numbered years. To renew your license, you must complete a minimum of 20 contact hours of education/training per two-year licensing cycle. The current renewal fee is $100.

Missouri

Education & Exam Requirements – The RN licensing process in Missouri is. To obtain your initial RN licensure by exam — a process overseen by the Board of Nursing of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration — you must complete a nursing diploma program sponsored by a healthcare institution or approved by the Board of Nursing. You must also have earned a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam and completed a criminal background check, including fingerprint submission. Missouri is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – There is no application fee for initial Missouri RN licensure by exam, although you must pay a fee (currently $41.75) for your criminal background check. All Missouri RN licenses expire on April 20 of each odd-numbered year. There is no continuing education requirement for Missouri RN license holders, but you must pay an $85 fee to renew your license.

Montana

Education & Exam Requirements – The Montana Board of Nursing (MBON) oversees the RN licensing process in the state. You must complete a nursing diploma or degree program from an MBON-approved school of nursing to earn your initial RN licensure by examination, plus pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check. Montana is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The application fee for first-time RN license by exam seekers is $100, plus an additional $25 for those seeking a temporary license. If you intend to obtain your fingerprint card from a local Montana law enforcement agency, you must pay an additional $30 fee for that service. RN licenses must be renewed every two years. Renewal requirements include completion of 24 contact hours of continuing education obtained during the two-year licensing period. The current renewal fee is $100.

Nebraska

Education & Exam Requirements – Nurse licensing in Nebraska is administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. To earn you RN license, you are required to complete a state-approved two-year or four-year RN education program leading to an RN diploma or degree (ADN or BSN), take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and complete a criminal background check (including fingerprinting). Nebraska is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure by exam is $123. There is an additional fee for the required criminal background check. All Nebraska RN licenses expire on October 31 of each even-numbered year. The state provides several options for RNs to meet continuing education/competency requirements including, among others: 500 hours of nursing practice during the past five years and completion of 20 contact hours of continuing education during the two-year license cycle; completion of an approved refresher course within the past five years; or the acquisition or maintenance of current national certification in a nursing specialty. The current license renewal fee is $123.

Nevada

Education & Exam Requirements – The Nevada Board of Nursing (NBON) is the agency that oversees RN licensure in the state. Applicants for licensure must complete an NBON-approved RN diploma or degree program (ADN or higher), pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and submit a fingerprint card. Nevada is currently not an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current initial RN licensing fee is $100, on top of which you must also pay a $40 fingerprinting fee. To maintain your license, you must renew it every two years. Renewal requirements include the completion of 30 hours of nursing-related CE during the two-year licensing period. Starting in January 2024, CE requirements will include 4 hours of training in cultural competency per licensing cycle. You will also be required to complete a one-time 4-hour bioterrorism course. The current license renewal fee is $100.

New Hampshire

Education & Exam Requirements – The RN licensing process in New Hampshire is overseen by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. License requirements include graduation from a Board-approved nursing diploma or degree program that meets NCLEX-RN eligibility requirements. You must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and submit to a criminal background check. Finally, you must have completed a minimum of 400 hours of active practice in the four years immediately prior to your application date. New Hampshire is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure in New Hampshire is $148, which includes a mandatory $28 Professional Health Program (PHP) fee. Applicants also pay $48.25 for fingerprinting as part of their criminal background check. Your RN license will expire every two years on your birthday; to renew it, you must complete a minimum of 30 hours of CE during the licensing cycle. The current license renewal fee is $108 (also including PHP fee).

New Jersey

Education & Exam Requirements – The New Jersey Board of Nursing (NJBN) administers the state’s RN licensing process. In addition to completing state and federal fingerprint-based background checks, you must complete an RN diploma, ADN, or BSN program approved by the NJBN to obtain your initial RN licensure. As can be expected, you must also earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. New Jersey is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – Initial RN licensure by exam costs $195, including a $75 application fee and $120 initial license fee. RN licenses are valid for two years. To renew your license, you must complete 30 contact hours of CE each cycle. You can carry over up to 15 additional CE hours to the next renewal period. The current renewal fee for active RNs is $120.

New Mexico

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensure in New Mexico is administered by the New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBN). To earn your RN license, you must possess a nursing diploma or degree (ADN or BSN) from an NMBN-approved RN nursing program. You must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete a criminal background check that includes the submission of fingerprints. New Mexico is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial licensure by exam in New Mexico is $150. Initial RN licenses are valid for one year, after which the renewal period for RN licenses is two years. To renew your license, you must complete 30 hours of CE per licensing cycle. The current RN license renewal fee is $110.

New York

Education & Exam Requirements – The RN licensing process in New York is handled through the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of the Professions. To become a licensed and registered RN in New York, you must complete an NYSED-approved RN diploma or degree (ADN or higher) program and earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. You must also be of good moral character and complete required infection control and child abuse reporting coursework. New York is currently not an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for initial RN licensure and registration is $143. A New York RN license is valid for life. However, your RN state registration is only valid for three years. There are no specific continuing education requirements for RN registration renewal. However, RNs are required to complete three contact hours of infection control education every four years. The current fee for registration renewal is $73.

North Carolina

Education & Exam Requirements – The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) is in charge of the RN licensing process in the state. If you’ve graduated from an NCBON-approved RN diploma or degree (ADN or higher) program, taken and passed the NCLEX-RN exam, and submitted to a fingerprint-based State Bureau of Investigation and FBI criminal history check, you’ve met the initial licensure by exam requirements. North Carolina is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial licensure by examination is $75. You must also pay an additional fee for fingerprinting and you criminal background check. License renewal is required every two years. To renew your license, you must complete a continuing competence component. North Carolina provides several options for meeting this requirement, including, among others: 30 contact hours of CE; 15 contact hours of CE plus 640 hours of active nursing practice; and completion of an NCBON-approved refresher course. The current license renewal fee is $100.

North Dakota

Education & Exam Requirements – The North Dakota Board of Nursing (NDBON) oversees RN licensing in the state. To earn your initial RN licensure by exam, you must possess an RN nursing diploma or degree (ADN or higher) from an NDBON-approved in-state program or an out-of-state program approved by that state’s BON that meets NDBON supervised clinical experience requirements. Applicants must also earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain a clear or approved criminal history check. North Dakota is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for initial RN licensure $145. RN licenses are valid for a period of two years. To renew your license, you must have completed 400 hours of active nursing practice within the last four years (exceptions are made for new nursing school graduates and those who have completed an approved refresher course) and 12 contact hours of continuing education. The current fee for license renewal is $130.

Ohio

Education & Exam Requirements – The Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN) oversees RN licensing in Ohio. As an RN license applicant, you must possess an RN diploma or degree (ADN or higher) from a nursing education program approved by the OBN or National Council of State Boards of Nursing. You must also obtain a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam and submit to a criminal records check by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Ohio is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current cost of initial RN licensure by exam in Ohio is $75 for a single-state license and $100 for a multi-state license. Your RN license must be renewed every two years. Following the initial licensing period, you are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education per two-year licensing cycle. The current renewal fee is $65.

Oklahoma

Education & Exam Requirements – The Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN) is the state agency in charge of the RN licensing process in the state. In order to earn you RN licensure by exam in Oklahoma, you must hold an RN nursing diploma, ADN, or BSN degree from an in-state nursing program approved by the OBN or out-of-state program approved by that state’s board of nursing that substantially meeting OBN requirements. You must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and submit fingerprint images for the purpose of a state and federal criminal history records search. Oklahoma is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – As an initial RN license by exam seeker, you can expect to pay an application fee of $85 as well as an additional fee for fingerprinting services. You must renew your RN license every two years and can do so by completing or holding one of the following: 520 hours of active nursing practice; 24 contact hours of continuing education; a nursing refresher course; six semester hours of RN-level or higher nursing coursework. You can also renew your license with proof of current certification in a nursing specialty. The current license renewal fee is $75.

Oregon

Education & Exam Requirements – The RN licensing process in Oregon is overseen by the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN). Applicants for initial RN licensure by examination must provide proof of graduation from a pre-licensure nursing diploma, ADN, or BSN program with a designated NCLEX Program Code. You must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and submit to a fingerprint-based federal criminal background check. Oregon is currently not an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure is $160. RN licenses must be renewed every two years. To do so, you must attest to a minimum of 400 hours of professional nursing practice during the two-year licensing cycle. RNs who do not meet the 400 hour minimum must complete a given number of continuing education hours based on the number of practice hours completed in the previous three or four-year periods. The current license renewal fee is $145.

Pennsylvania

Education & Exam Requirements – The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing is in charge of the RN licensing process in the state. Initial RN licensure by exam requirements include graduation from a Board-approved RN diploma or degree (ADN or higher) program and passage of the NCLEX-RN exam. Applicants must also complete three hours of child abuse recognition and reporting training, and submit to a background check from their current state of residence and every other state in which they have lived, worked, or completed training in the last 10 years. Pennsylvania has partially implemented the NLC.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for initial RN licensure is $95 for Pennsylvania-educated applicants and $115 for applicants educated out-of-state. RN licenses must be renewed every two years. Renewal requires completion of 30 hours of continuing education (including two hours of child abuse and reporting training) per two-year licensing cycle. The current license renewal fee is $122.

Rhode Island

Education & Exam Requirements – The RN licensing process in Rhode Island is facilitated by the State of Rhode Island Department of Health. To acquire your RN licensure by exam, you must possess an RN diploma or degree (ADN or higher) obtained from a Board-approved nursing program; take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam; and submit to a federal background check supported by fingerprints. Rhode Island is currently awaiting NLC implementation.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current initial RN license fee is $135. Renewal requirements include 10 hours of continuing education every two-year licensing period, including two hours on substance abuse. All RNs must also complete a one-time, one-hour training course on Alzheimer’s disease. The current RN license renewal fee is also $135.

South Carolina

Education & Exam Requirements – The South Carolina Board of Nursing (SCBN) oversees the RN licensing process in the state. To earn your RN license, you must graduate from an RN education program approved by the SCBN or a similar nursing board in the state or jurisdiction in which the program is located. You must also earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam and submit to a criminal background check, with fingerprints. South Carolina is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fees for an initial RN license by exam are $90 without temporary license and $100 with temporary license. RN licenses are valid for two years. To renew your license, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two-year licensing cycle. The current renewal fee is $75.

South Dakota

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensure in South Dakota is administered by the South Dakota Board of Nursing (SDBON). To gain initial RN licensure by examination in South Dakota, you must have earned an RN diploma or degree (ADN or BSN) through an SDBON-approved nursing education program. You must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check. South Dakota is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fees for initial RN licensure by examination are $100 without a temporary license and $125 with a temporary license. There is no continuing education requirement for South Dakota RN license holders. The current license renewal fee is $115.

Tennessee

Education & Exam Requirements – The Tennessee Board of Nursing (TBON) is the administrative agency that oversees RN licensing in the state. Prospective RN licensees must have graduated from a TBON-approved diploma, ADN, or BSN program. You must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check. Tennessee is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – There is currently no charge for application for initial RN license by examination in Tennessee. Your RN license is valid for two years, after which you will have to complete two of 15 continuing competence activities. Examples of approved activities include completion of five contact hours of continuing education, evidence of current national certification, and completion of a nurse refresher course. The current RN license renewal fee is $100.

Texas

Education & Exam Requirements – The RN licensing process in Texas is administered by the Texas Board of Nursing (TBON). To become licensed in Texas, you must possess a diploma or degree (ADN or higher) from a TBON-approved RN education program. Other requirements include a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, completion of the Nursing Jurisprudence Exam, and submission of fingerprints for use in a criminal background check by the FBI and Texas Department of Public Safety. Texas is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for application for an initial RN license by examination is $75 (including Nursing Jurisprudence Exam fee). RN licenses are renewed every two years. Renewal requires either completion of 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education or obtaining, maintaining, or renewal of national nursing certification. The current license renewal fee is $68.

Utah

Education & Exam Requirements – The Utah Division of Professional Licensing’s Board of Nursing is responsible for the state’s RN licensing process. To earn your license, you must complete a Board-approved RN diploma or degree (ADN or BSN) program, take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and submit your fingerprints as part of a mandatory criminal background check. Utah is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current cost of initial RN licensure by exam is $90, which includes the license application fee and fees for FBI and BCI fingerprint files. RN licenses are good for two years and expire every January 31 of odd-numbered years. Renewal requires proof of one of the following: 400 hours of licensed practice; 200 hours of licensed practice and 15 hours of continuing education; or 30 hours of continuing education. To renew your license, you must also complete four specific online suicide prevention trainings. The current license renewal fee is $68.

Vermont

Education & Exam Requirements – Nurse licensing in Vermont is handled through the state’s Office of Professional Regulation. To obtain RN licensure in Vermont, you must have completed an approved and nationally accredited U.S. registered nurse education program that meets Board requirements. Additional requirements include a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam and completion of a criminal background check that includes fingerprint submittal. Vermont is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The initial RN license by exam fee is $75. Renewal requires completion of 960 hours of active RN practice within the last five years; completion of 20 hours of continuing education within the last two years; or possession of a nationally recognized nursing certification. The current fee for RN license renewal is $220.

Virginia

Education & Exam Requirements – Virginia’s Board of Nursing oversees the state’s RN licensing process. To obtain RN licensure by examination in Virginia, you must have graduated from a Board-approved in-state RN program, or an out-of-state diploma or degree program approved by its state board of nursing. You must also complete an application, take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and submit necessary documentation (including fingerprints) for a criminal history background check. Virginia is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – Initial RN license seekers currently pay a $190 application fee. License renewal is required every two years — Virginia provides several options for meeting the continuing competency requirement for license renewal. Among them: completion of 30 hours of continuing education; evidence of 640 hours of active RN practice plus 15 hours of continuing education; possession of a nationally recognized nursing specialty certification; or completion of a board-approved nursing refresher course. The current license renewal fee is $140.

Washington

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensing in Washington is overseen by the Washington State Board of Nursing (WABON). RN licensure requirements include an RN nursing diploma or degree (ADN or higher) earned through a nursing education program approved by WABON or another state’s board of nursing. Applicants must also obtain a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam and submit to a criminal background check. Washington has partially implemented the NLC. That means RNs in other NLC states with a multi-state license may practice in Washington, but Washington resident RNs may not practice in other NLC states.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – Both the initial RN application and license renewal fees are $138. RN licenses must be renewed annually. Renewal requirements include a minimum of 96 active practice hours and eight continuing education hours each one-year licensing cycle.

West Virginia

Education & Exam Requirements – Licensing of registered nurses in West Virginia is administered by the West Virginia RN Board. To be eligible for RN licensure, applicants must complete an RN diploma or degree program with a nursing curriculum approved by the Board or accredited and approved by a comparable board of nursing in another jurisdiction. All applicants must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete a fingerprint-based West Virginia and national electronic criminal history records check. West Virginia is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current fee for initial RN licensure is $70. Initial license fee waivers are available to low-income individuals and military families. RN licenses are valid for two years with renewal required in even-numbers years. To renew your RN license in West Virginia, you must complete 12 hours of continuing education per licensing cycle. All licensed RNs must complete three hours of CE in drug diversion during their first year of nursing. The current license renewal fee is $90.

Wisconsin

Education & Exam Requirements – The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Board of Nursing oversees RN licensure in the state. Licensed RNs in Wisconsin must have earned a nursing diploma or degree (ADN minimum) from a Board-approved program and a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. They must also have completed a criminal history check through the FBI and Wisconsin Department of Justice. Wisconsin is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current application fee for initial RN licensure by exam in Wisconsin is $57. RN licenses are valid for two years and expire at the end of February in even-numbered years. There is no continuing education requirement for Wisconsin RN license-holders. The current RN license renewal fee is also $57.

Wyoming

Education & Exam Requirements – RN licensing in Wyoming is administered by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing (WSBN). To obtain your initial Wyoming RN license, you must graduate from a WSBN-approved diploma or degree program (ADN or higher). Additional requirements include taking and passing the NCLEX-RN exam and completing a criminal background check through the FBI and the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigations. Wyoming is an NLC state.

License Cost, Maintenance & Renewal – The current initial RN license by examination fee is $130. RN licenses are valid for two years, after which they must be renewed by completing one of the following requirements: 400 or more active RN practice hours; 200 to 399 active RN practice hours and 15 hours of continuing education; or 200 practice hours or less and 30 hours of continuing education. The current RN license renewal fee is $110.

Frequently Asked Questions About RN Licensure by State

Regardless of where you intend to practice, there are likely several questions you have regarding RN licensing, particularly when it comes to obtaining a temporary license and practicing across state lines. Take a look at our answers to four of the most common questions our readers ask:

Are there any restrictions on practicing as a nurse in my state if I hold a license from another state?

You cannot practice as an RN in one state with an RN license from another state unless you possess a multi-state license from a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) member state and are working in another. Even then, you must apply for a new license (single-state or multi-state) in your current state if you have made, or intend to make, it your primary state of residence.

Can I apply for temporary or provisional licensure if I have not yet completed all the requirements for full licensure in my state?

The requirements and limitations for temporary licensure vary from state to state, but most states allow for the issuance of temporary RN licenses under specific circumstances. Arkansas, for example, issues temporary licenses to nursing school graduates awaiting the results of their first NCLEX-RN exam and endorsements to applicants who possess a current RN license in another state.

What is the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and how can I take advantage of it to obtain a multi-state license?

The Nurse Licensure Compact, or NLC, is an agreement between compact member states that allows a nurses who reside and practice in one compact state or jurisdiction to legally practice in another without having to obtain a separate license. To obtain an NLC license (also known as a multi-state license, or MSL) you must meet specific requirements and complete an additional application process (and fee) through your home state’s board of nursing. 41 U.S. jurisdictions currently participate in the NLC.

What is the process for transferring my nursing license to another state if I plan to move in the future?

The process for transferring your license depends on whether you currently hold a multi-state license and whether or not the state to which you are moving is an NLC member state. In all cases, you will be required to apply for licensure by endorsement, however moving from one NLC member state to another will allow you to practice with your old license while you wait your new one.