5 Steps to Getting Your Nursing License in All 50 States

Your education is just part of the process of earning nursing credentials. Find out what’s next after your degree.

nursing students taking notes in classroom
nursing students taking notes in classroom

The process of getting your nursing license can seem complicated, time consuming, and costly. There are multiple license types, different rules in different states, and easy-to-confuse destinations like license, certification, and credential. We’re here to help. We’ve broken down the steps, the states, and more, so you can plan your path to licensure.



Your first step to getting any kind of nursing license will be getting the education and training you need. You can then take an exam to earn your license. Just like earning a driver’s license, you’ll need to get your training first, then demonstrate that training by passing a test. 

Nursing Programs That Require Licensure

There are four different types of nursing programs that require state-issued licenses. It’s important to note each state has slightly different regulations, and you will want to make sure the school you choose prepares you for the requirements of the state you want to work in.

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), called Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNAs) in multiple states

Registered Nurses (RNs)

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), called Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in Texas and California

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

While you might be able to find work as a nursing assistant without a license in some states and at some facilities, you typically won’t be able to use the CNA title. Generally, unlicensed nursing assistant roles pay less and have less room for growth. Plus, many hospitals, medical centers, and other facilities only hire licensed CNAs.

Just like earning a driver’s license, you’ll need to get your training first, then demonstrate that training by passing a test.

While fees and testing requirements can vary, you’ll need about the same level of training and education for each level or nursing in every state. For example, while one state might have lower initial application fees for RNs than a nearby state, you’ll still need to complete either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to start the licensing process.

Step 1: Complete an Accredited, State-Approved Nursing Program

Choosing the right nursing program can make a huge difference in your education. One of the most important considerations when you’re looking at programs is accreditation. If a program isn’t accredited, you could run into the following issues:

  • You won’t be able to get financial aid from the federal government
  • Your credits won’t transfer if you want to go back to school later
  • You might not be eligible to take the exams you need for licensure
  • You might not be eligible for credentials or certifications

Nursing programs are accredited nationally by a few agencies, including:

Both agencies ensure that programs are at a high standard and providing students with the information they need to know to be successful in their nursing careers. You can check if your school or program is accredited in a few ways. The institution most likely declares its accreditation on its website, most often in the “About” section. You can also visit the Department of Education’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs website and search for your school or program.

New Guidelines Clarify State-Level Requirements for Nursing Grads

A new licensing disclosure rule from the U.S. Department of Education requires higher education institutions to tell prospective students whether or not their specific degree program will qualify them to work in all 50 states. The rule, which went into effect on July 1, 2020, is intended to prevent students from completing a school’s program, only to discover upon graduation that the program doesn’t meet state-level requirements for employment.

Step 2: Apply for a License with Your State’s Licensing Board

Once you’ve finished a state-approved, accredited nursing program, you’re ready to apply for your nursing license with your state’s licensing agency or nursing board. A nursing board is a government agency in each state that oversees nursing licensing. Most states have a single nursing board for LPNs, RNs, and APRNs, although few states separate them. Some nursing boards also cover CNAs, but in many states, CNAs are overseen by separate professional licensing agencies. You can check out details of the boards for each nursing type in the maps below.

Most states have similar licensing requirements. You’ll need to have completed a state-approved, accredited program before you apply. You’ll send your transcripts along with your application and fees to your state’s board. LPNs, RNs, and APRNs need to pay application fees in every state. This isn’t always the case for CNAs. In some states, CNAs don’t pay any fees at all, while in other states you’ll only pay for your exam. Even in states that do charge fees, CNAs often have those fees included in their training program or paid by their employer. Some states require clinical hours; some don’t.

State Nursing Licensing Requirements

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Alabama Certified Nurse Aide Registry

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Alabama Board of Nursing

CNAs

State Board Agency Name: Alabama Certified Nurse Aide Registry

Testing requirements: Nurse Aide Competency exam from Pearson VUE or the Alabama Nurse Aide Competency exam through Prometric 

Fees: No application fee. Pay exam fee of either $100 for the written exam of $120 for the oral version.

Continuing Education Requirements: Certifications are kept active if the individual is currently working or has worked within the past 24 months in a nursing home, hospital, home health agency, hospice agency, or mental health facility.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

State Board Agency: Alabama Board of Nursing

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $85 application fee, $50 temporary license fee, $3.50 transaction fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 CEU, plus 12 hours of independent study every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

State Board Agency: Alabama Board of Nursing

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $85 application fee, $50 temporary license fee, $3.50 transaction fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 24 CEU, plus 12 hours of independent study through CEU

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

State Board Agency Name: Alabama Board of Nursing

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $150

Continuing Education Requirements: At least 24 hours with a minimum of 6 hours must be completed in Pharmacology

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Alaska Certified Nurse Aide Registry

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Alaska Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Nurse Aide Examination from Pearson VUE

Fees: $50 for application, $100 for certification, $60 for fingerprint processing, $50 for examination

Continuing Education Requirements: 160 hours of monetarily compensated work experience and 24 hours of CEUs for two-year license renewal. The Alaska CNA Board stipulates that 12 CEUs are to be completed every 12 months to renew your license.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $275 (permanent license only) or $325 (including temporary permit)

Continuing Education Requirements: Must complete two of the following for license renewal: 30 contact hours, 30 hours professional nursing activities, 320 hours nursing employment

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $275 (permanent license only) or $325 (including temporary permit)

Continuing Education Requirements: Must complete two of the following for license renewal: 30 contact hours, 30 hours professional nursing activities, 320 hours nursing employment

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: Non-Refundable Application Fee: $100, APRN Licensure Fee: $100, Prescriptive Authority Fee: $100, Controlled Substances Prescriptive Authority Fee: $100, Temporary Permit: $100

Continuing Education Requirements: Submit proof of 60 hours of continuing education within the previous two years of the date of your application. Five contact hours of education in advanced pharmacology and clinical management of drug therapy.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agency: Arizona State Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Arizona Nursing Assistant exam. The exam has a written and a skills component.

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $50 temporary license, $150 application fee, $50 fingerprints

Continuing Education Requirements: One of the following:

  • Practiced as a nurse for 960 hours or more in the past five years
  • Graduated from a nursing program and obtained a degree within past five years
  • Completed an Arizona Board approved refresher course in the past five years
  • Obtained an advanced nursing degree in the past five years (i.e. LPN-to-RN, RN-to-BSN, master’s, or doctoral)

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $50 temporary license, $150 application fee, $50 fingerprints

Continuing Education Requirements: One of the following:

  • Practiced as a nurse for 960 hours or more in the past five years
  • Graduated from a nursing program and obtained a degree within past five years
  • Completed an Arizona Board approved refresher course in the past five years
  • Obtained an advanced nursing degree in the past five years (i.e. LPN-to-RN, RN-to-BSN, master’s, or doctorate)

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: Application fee: $150 (required), fingerprint fee: $50 (required), temporary certification fee: $35 (optional), prescribing and dispensing fee: $150 (optional) (for nurse practitioners only)

Continuing Education Requirements: Licensees who are authorized to prescribe or dispense Schedule II controlled substances and have a valid DEA number must complete a minimum of three hours related to opioids, substance abuse/use disorder, or addiction every four-year renewal.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Arkansas Department of Human Services

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Arkansas Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Arkansas Nursing Assistant Competency exam

Fees:

  • Arkansas will pay testing fees for candidates who are employed in nursing homes or have offers of employment in nursing homes.
  • Candidates who are not eligible to have the state cover their testing fees will pay $10 for initial eligibility screening and $79 for the full assessment ($45: clinical skills test; $34: written or oral test).

Continuing Education Requirements: CNAs in Arkansas must complete 12 hours of CE annually.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $30 (temporary license), $125 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: One of the following:

  • Practiced as a nurse for 960 hours or more in the past five years
  • Graduated from a nursing program and obtained a degree within past five years
  • Completed an Arizona Board approved refresher course in the past five years
  • Obtained an advanced nursing degree in the past five years (i.e. LPN-to-RN, RN-to-BSN, master’s, or doctorate)

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $30 (temporary license), $125 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: One of the following:

  • Practiced as a nurse for 960 hours or more in the past five years
  • Graduated from a nursing program and obtained a degree within past five years
  • Completed an Arizona Board approved refresher course in the past five years
  • Obtained an advanced nursing degree in the past five years (i.e. LPN-to-RN, RN-to-BSN, master’s, or doctorate)

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: Original license: $125, certificate of prescriptive authority: $160

Continuing Education Requirements:

  • Arkansas nurses are required to complete 15 hours of CE to renew a license.
  • Arkansas nursing licenses must be renewed before the last day of the licensee’s birth month.
  • Renewal applications should include certificates of completed CEs.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: California Department of Public Health

LPN State Board: California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians

RN and APRN State Board: California Board of Registered Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: California Nursing Assistant Competency Evaluation Examination

Fees: $90 for written knowledge exam; $105 for oral version

Continuing Education Requirements: If you are a CNA in California, you need to have 48 hours of continuing education (CE) to renew your license.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: Exam $220; license $220

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $50 (temporary license), $100 (permanent license), $49 fingerprints

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years; due on your birthday

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: Application fee: $500. If you want to prescribe as a nurse practitioner in California, you’ll need to apply for a Furnishing Number (application fee: $50).

Continuing Education Requirements: Licensees who are authorized to prescribe or dispense Schedule II controlled substances and have a valid DEA number must complete a minimum of three hours related to opioids, substance abuse/use disorder, or addiction every four-year renewal.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agency: Colorado Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: National Nurse Aide Assessment from Pearson VUE

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $88 license; $164 renewal

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years (by September 30)

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $88; $164 renewal

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years (by September 30)

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $75 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Follows national requirements

Clinical Hours Required: None required

You Should Know: As an advanced practice nurse, you must qualify and apply for prescriptive authority. You must complete three graduate semester hours in each of the following courses to qualify:

  • Pharmacology (including education on prescribing drugs and controlled substances)
  • Pathophysiology
  • Physical assessment

You must also document an 1,800-hour preceptorship and mentorship and develop an Articulated Plan. If you receive prescriptive authority, the credential you hold will be RXN-P.

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Nurse Aid Registration

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Board of Examiners for Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Connecticut Nurse Aide Examination through Prometric

Fees: $110 exam fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $180 (includes the cost of a temporary license)

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $180 (includes the cost of a temporary license)

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $200 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 50 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Delaware CNA Registry

LPN and RN State Board: Delaware Board of Nursing

APRN State Board: Delaware Board of Nursing (APRN)

CNAs

Testing requirements: Delaware Nurse Aide Exam though Prometric

Fees: CNA exam includes clinical skills test and knowledge test; $108 if taking the written knowledge test; $118 if taking the oral knowledge test.

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: At least 64 hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $40 temporary license; $141 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years, one of the following:

  • 1,000 practice hours within the past five years
  • 400 practice hours within the past two years
  • Refresher course within the past two years AND CEU-30 including three hours on substance abuse

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $170 application and processing fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years, one of the following:

  • 1,000 practice hours within the past five years
  • 400 practice hours within the past two years
  • Refresher course within the past two years AND CEU-30 including three hours on substance abuse

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $170 application and processing fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 10 hours in pharmacology if you have prescriptive authority

Clinical Hours Required: At least 64 hours of paid work in the past two years

Licensing Agency: Florida Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Florida Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: $140 exam fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $110 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours including two hours on the laws and rules that govern the practice of nursing in Florida; two hours of education on human trafficking

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $110 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours including two hours on the laws and rules that govern the practice of nursing in Florida; two hours of education on human trafficking

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $210 licensure fee, $100 for prescriptive authority

Continuing Education Requirements: 16 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Georgia Nurse Aide Program

LPN State Board: Georgia Board of Nursing (LPN)

RN State Board: Georgia Board of Nursing (RN)

APRN State Board: Georgia Board of Nursing (APRN)

CNAs

Testing requirements: National Nurse Aide Assessment through Pearson VUE

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $40 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 500 hours worked in two years

You Should Know: Nurses with 500 worked hours don’t need CEU credits.

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $40 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 500 hours worked in two years

You Should Know: Nurses with 500 worked hours don’t need CEU credits

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $75 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Hawaii Professional & Vocational Licensing Division

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Hawaii Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Hawaii Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: $200 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work over the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: Combined application and license fees: $234 during odd numbered years; $166 during even numbered years (per state’s Compliance Resolution Fund formula)

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years on June 30th of odd years, one of the following:

  • 30 contact hours of continuing education activities
  • Completion of a board-approved refresher course
  • Completion of a minimum of two-semester credits of post-licensure academic education related to nursing practice from an accredited nursing program
  • Participation as a preceptor, for at least one nursing student or employee transitioning into new clinical practice areas for at least 120 hours, in a one-to-one relationship as part of an organized preceptorship program
  • Completion as principal or co-principal investigator of a nursing research project that is an institutional review board project or evidence-based practice project that has been preapproved by the board
  • Authoring or co-authoring a peer-reviewed published nursing or health-related article, book, or book chapter
  • Developing and conducting a nursing education presentation or presentations totaling a minimum of five contact hours of actual organized instruction that qualifies as continuing education
  • Completion of a board-recognized nurse residency program
  • A similar type of learning activity option, provided that the type of activity shall be recognized by the board

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: Combined application and license fees: $234 during odd numbered years; $166 during even numbered years (per state’s Compliance Resolution Fund formula)

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years on June 30th of odd years, one of the following:

  • 30 contact hours of continuing education activities
  • Completion of a board-approved refresher course
  • Completion of a minimum of two-semester credits of post-licensure academic education related to nursing practice from an accredited nursing program
  • Participation as a preceptor, for at least one nursing student or employee transitioning into new clinical practice areas for at least 120 hours, in a one-to-one relationship as part of an organized preceptorship program
  • Completion as principal or co-principal investigator of a nursing research project that is an institutional review board project or evidence-based practice project that has been preapproved by the board
  • Authoring or co-authoring a peer-reviewed published nursing or health-related article, book, or book chapter
  • Developing and conducting a nursing education presentation or presentations totaling a minimum of five contact hours of actual organized instruction that qualifies as continuing education
  • Completion of a board-recognized nurse residency program
  • A similar type of learning activity option, provided that the type of activity shall be recognized by the board

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $194 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours with eight hours in pharmacology

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Idaho Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Idaho Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $25 temporary license, $152 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 15 contact hours of continuing education OR completion of a minimum of one semester credit hour of post-licensure academic education

Clinical Hours Required: 100 hours of practice or simulation practice

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $25 temporary license, $152 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 15 contact hours of continuing education OR completion of a minimum of one semester credit hour of post-licensure academic education

Clinical Hours Required: 100 hours of practice or simulation practice

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $90 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 15 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Illinois Department of Public Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Illinois Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Illinois State Nursing Aide Exam

Fees: $75 application and test fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $25 temporary license, $50 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: CEU: 20 hours, every two years by May 31

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $25 temporary license, $50 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: CEU: 20 hours, every two years by May 31

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $125 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 80 hours, with one hour in sexual harassment every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Indiana State Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Indiana Professional Licensing Agency

CNAs

Testing requirements: Indiana State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $50 temporary license, $60 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $50 temporary license, $60 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $50 Application, $60 prescriptive authority registration

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Iowa Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Iowa State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $169 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every three years:

• 36 hours of CEUs (license less than three years—24 CEUs)
• Two hours child abuse training

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $169 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every three years:

  • 36 hours of CEUs (license less than three years—24 CEUs)
  • Two hours child abuse training

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $81 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work every two years

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Kansas Health Occupations Credentialing

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Kansas Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Kansas State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: $20 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 12 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $75 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $75 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Service

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Kentucky Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Kentucky Nurse Aide Exam (written exam and skills test)

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight paid hours of work every two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $165 temporary license, $165 permanent license, $12 fingerprint fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Two hours of HIV/AIDS education and one of the following within the past two years (waived for the first renewal after licensure):

  • 14 contact hours
  • National, practice-related certification or recertification
  • Completion of nursing research project as director, principal investigator, or co-investigator
  • Publication of nursing-related article
  • Professional nursing education presentation
  • 120 hours as preceptor
  • Seven contact hours plus satisfactory employment evaluation for CE
  • Three contact hours of domestic violence education within the first three years after licensure (one time only)

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $165 temporary license, $165 permanent license, $12 fingerprint fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Two hours of HIV/AIDS education and one of the following within the past two years (waived for the first renewal after licensure):

  • 14 contact hours
  • National, practice-related certification or recertification
  • Completion of nursing research project as director, principal investigator, or co-investigator
  • Publication of nursing-related article
  • Professional nursing education presentation
  • 120 hours as preceptor
  • Seven contact hours plus satisfactory employment evaluation for CE
  • Three contact hours of domestic violence education within the first three years after licensure (one time only)

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $165 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 14 hours with five in pharmacology every year

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Louisiana Department of Health

LPN State Board: Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners

RN and APRN State Board: Louisiana State Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Louisiana Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight paid hours of work every two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $200 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $240.75 (temporary license), $140.75 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements:

  • Full-time nurses: 5 CEU
  • Part-time nurses: 10 CEU
  • Inactive nurses: 15 CEU

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $140.75 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work every two years

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Maine Department of Health and Human Services Division of Licensing and Certification

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Maine State Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Maine State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $75 temporary license, $75 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $75 temporary license, $75 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 50 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Maryland Board of Nursing

LPN and RN State Board: Maryland Board of Nursing

APRN State Board: Maryland Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Maryland State Nursing Aide Exam. Exam has both written test and skills test components.

Fees: $20 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $40 (temporary license), $100 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: 1,000 practice related hours every two years unless you graduated less than five years ago

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $40 (temporary license), $100 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: 1,000 practice related hours every two years unless you graduated less than five years ago

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $50 application fee, $25 certification fee

Continuing Education Requirements: National certification regulations

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Massachusetts Nurse Aide Registry Program

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Massachusetts State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam has both written test and skills test components.

Fees: $93 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the last two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $275 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 15 hours (waived for first renewal) every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $275 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 15 hours (waived for first renewal) every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $180 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 15 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Michigan Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Michigan Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work every two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $64 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 25 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $64 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 25 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $208.80 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 25 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Minnesota Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Minnesota Nursing Board

CNAs

Testing requirements: Minnesota State Nursing Aide Exam

Fees: $64 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $105 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $105 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $105 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Mississippi Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Mississippi Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: National Nurse Aide Assessment though Pearson VUE

Fees: $101 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $100 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 20 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $100 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 20 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $175 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 40 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Missouri Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Missouri Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Missouri State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam has both written test and skills test components

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $55 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $55 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $150 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Montana Department of Health and Human Services

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Montana Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Montana State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: $77 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $200 application fee. $27.25 background check fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $200 application fee. $27.25 background check fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services/Division of Public Health/Licensure Unit

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services/Division of Public Health/Licensure Unit

CNAs

Testing requirements: Nebraska State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam has both written test and skills test components.

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work every two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $123 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 20 contact hours of board-approved CE within the past two years

Clinical Hours Required: 500 practice hours within the past five years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $123 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 20 contact hours of board-approved CE within the past two years

Clinical Hours Required: 500 practice hours within the past five years

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $68 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 40 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 2,080 working hours in the past five years

Licensing Agency: Nevada State Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Nevada State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: $97.50 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: At least 40 hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $100 application, $200 examination

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours (including four hours on bioterrorism) every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $100 application, $200 examination

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours (including four hours on bioterrorism) every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $200 application fee; various fees for exam by specialty

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: At least 40 hours of paid work in the past two years

Licensing Agencies

CNA (LNA) Licensing Agency: New Hampshire Board of Nursing

LPN and RN State Board: New Hampshire Board of Nursing

APRN State Board: New Hampshire Board of Nursing

CNAs (called LNAs in New Hampshire)

Testing requirements: New Hampshire State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: $35 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours in the past two years

Clinical Hours Required: 200 hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $20 (temporary license), $120 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 400 hours every two years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $20 (temporary license), $120 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 400 hours every two years

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $20 (temporary license), $100 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: 60 hours with 30 in your specialty every four years

Clinical Hours Required: 400 hours every four years

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: New Jersey Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: New Jersey Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: New Jersey State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam includes both written test and skills test components.

Fees: $23 skills test, $53 written test, $67 oral or Spanish language test

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least seven hours paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $140 (temporary license), $200 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours (one CEU on organ and tissue donation) every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $140 (temporary license), $200 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours (one CEU on organ and tissue donation) every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 application fee, $80 or $160 certification fee (depending on the date of your RN license)

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every five years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: New Mexico Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: New Mexico Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: New Mexico Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: $102 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $50 (temporary license), $110 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $50 (temporary license), $110 (permanent license)

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: New York State Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: New York Office of the Professions

CNAs

Testing requirements: New York Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: Seven hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $35 temporary license, $143 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: Three CEU on infection control and two CEU on child abuse recognition every four years.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $35 temporary license, $143 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: Three CEU on infection control and two CEU on child abuse recognition every four years.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $85 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Service Regulation

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: North Carolina Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: National Nurse Aide Assessment through Pearson VUE

Fees: $101 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $150 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: : 30 contact hours of continued education every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 640 hours of active practice within previous two years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees:  $150 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 contact hours of continued education every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 640 hours of active practice within previous two years

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $125 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Maintain national certification

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: North Dakota Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: North Dakota Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: North Dakota State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: $120 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $160 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 12 hours every year

Clinical Hours Required: 400 practice hours within last four years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $160 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 12 hours every year

Clinical Hours Required: 400 practice hours within last four years

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $125 application, $75 for prescriptive authority

Continuing Education Requirements: 12 hours in the past two years, 15 hours of pharmacology if you have prescriptive authority

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Ohio Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Ohio Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Ohio State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam includes both written test and skills test components.

Fees: $76 skills test; $24 written test/$34 oral test

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours paid work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $75 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours (including one hour Ohio nursing law) every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $75 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours (including one hour Ohio nursing law) every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Oklahoma State Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Oklahoma Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Oklahoma Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $95 temporary license, $85 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $95 temporary license, $85 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $70 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 15 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agency: Oregon State Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Nurse Aide Competency exam through Headmaster Testing Service

Fees: $106 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $195 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Seven hours on pain management every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 960 practice hours (within five years)

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $195 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Seven hours on pain management every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 960 practice hours (within five years)

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $150 for licensure, $75 for prescriptive authority

Continuing Education Requirements: 45 hours every two years, at least 15 in pharmacology

Clinical Hours Required: None required

You Should Know: Prescriptive authority is required for APRNs in Oregon.

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Pennsylvania Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Pennsylvania Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Nurse Aide competency exam through Credentia

Fees: $102 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work every two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $35 temporary license, $100 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 30 hours, including three hours of state Department of Public Welfare-approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $35 temporary license, $100 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 30 hours, including three hours of state Department of Public Welfare-approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 application, $95 for prescriptive authority

Continuing Education Requirements: 48 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Rhode Island Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Rhode Island Department of Health

CNAs

Testing requirements: Rhode Island State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $135 license and application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 10 hours, including two hours of substance abuse education.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $135 license and application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 10 hours, including two hours of substance abuse education.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $145 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 10 hours, including two hours of substance abuse education.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: South Carolina Bureau of Long Term Care Services

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: South Carolina Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: National Nurse Aide Assessment through Pearson VUE

Fees: $101 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $10 temporary license, $100 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 contact hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $10 temporary license, $100 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 contact hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $170 license fee, $20 for prescriptive authority

Continuing Education Requirements: National certification maintained, 20 hours pharmacotherapeutics if you have prescriptive authority

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: South Dakota Department of Health

LPN and RN State Board: South Dakota Department of Health

APRN State Board: South Dakota Department of Health

CNAs

Testing requirements: South Dakota State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam includes both written test and skills test components.

Fees: $89 for skills test; $70.50 for written knowledge test or $80.50 for oral test

Continuing Education Requirements: 12 hours each year

Clinical Hours Required: At least 12 paid hours every two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $25 (temporary license), $100 (permanent license), $43.25 background check fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: 140 practice hours during any 12-month period within the past six years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $25 (temporary license), $100 (permanent license), $43.25 background check fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: 140 practice hours during any 12-month period within the past six years

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Follows national rules of certification by specialty

Clinical Hours Required: Follows national rules of certification by specialty

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Tennessee Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Tennessee Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Tennessee State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours of paid work in the last two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $115 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: Proof of practice

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $115 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: Proof of practice

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $210 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Two hours to specifically address substance abuse every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Texas Department of Health and Human Services

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Texas Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Texas State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: $95 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: Must be actively employed for renewal

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $186 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 20 hours in the area of practice including two hours on bioterrorism

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $186 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Every two years: 20 hours in the area of practice including two hours on bioterrorism

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $100 for APRN license; $150 with prescriptive authority

Continuing Education Requirements: 20 hours every two years; five additional hours in pharmacotherapeutics for APRNs with prescriptive authority

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Utah Nursing Assistant Registry

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Utah Department of Commerce Division of Occupational and Professional Licensure

CNAs

Testing requirements: Utah State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: $85 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $100 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 15 CEU hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 400 practice hours within the past two years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $100 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 15 CEU hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 400 practice hours within the past two years

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $175 application fee; $240 to include controlled substance license

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA (LNA) Licensing Agency: Vermont Office of Professional Regulation

LPN State Board: Vermont State Board of Nursing

RN State Board: Vermont State Board of Nursing

APRN State Board: Vermont State Board of Nursing

CNAs (Called LNAs in Vermont)

Testing requirements: National Nurse Aide Assessment from Pearson VUE

Fees: $130 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: 400 hours of paid CNA work in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $150 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: One of the following every two years:

• 960 practice hours within the past five years
• 400 practice hours within the past two years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $150 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: One of the following every two years:

  • 960 practice hours within the past five years
  • 400 practice hours within the past two years

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $60 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None if license is in good standing

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agency: Virginia Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Virginia State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam has both written test and skills test components

Fees: None

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

You Should Know: Advanced CNA certification is available: application $25

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $190 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: One of the following:

  • Current specialty certification by a national certifying organization
  • Completion of a minimum of three credit hours of post-licensure academic education relevant to nursing practice
  • Board-approved refresher course in nursing
  • Completion of nursing-related, evidence-based practice project or research study
  • Completion of publication as the author or co-author during a renewal cycle
  • Teaching a nursing-related course resulting in no less than three semester hours of college credit or specialty certification
  • Teaching nursing-related continuing education courses for up to 30 contact hours
  • 15 contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing and 640 hours of active practice as a nurse
  • 30 contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $190 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: One of the following:

  • Current specialty certification by a national certifying organization
  • Completion of a minimum of three credit hours of post-licensure academic education relevant to nursing practice
  • Board-approved refresher course in nursing
  • Completion of nursing-related, evidence-based practice project or research study
  • Completion of publication as the author or co-author during a renewal cycle
  • Teaching a nursing-related course resulting in no less than three semester hours of college credit or specialty certification
  • Teaching nursing-related continuing education courses for up to 30 contact hours
  • 15 contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing and 640 hours of active practice as a nurse
  • 30 contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $125 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 40 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Washington State Department of Health

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: Washington State Department of Health-Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Washington State Nurse Aide Exam

Fees: $85 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $120 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 45 hours every three years

Clinical Hours Required: 531 hours every three years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $120 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 45 hours every three years

Clinical Hours Required: 531 hours every three years

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $125 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 250 hours every two years

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: DC Health CNA Licensing

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: DC Health Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: National Nursing Assistant Assessment Program (NNAAP) Examination administered by Pearson VUE

Fees: $55 written or oral exam

Continuing Education Requirements: Must have worked at least eight hours for pay performing nursing-related services during the certification period and have completed at least 24 hours of continuing education

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $187 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 18 hours of continuing education every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $187 license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours of continuing education every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $230 license fee; $145 prescriptive authority fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours of continuing education, including 15 hours of pharmacology hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification

LPN State Board: West Virginia LPN Board

RN and APRN State Board: West Virginia RN Board

CNAs

Testing requirements: West Virginia State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam includes both written test and skills test components

Fees: $125 for the written and skills test combination or $160 for the oral and skills test combination

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: At least eight hours in the past two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $10 temporary license; $75 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 contact hours of continuing education every two years

Clinical Hours Required: 400 hours every two years

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $25 temporary license; $100 permanent license

Continuing Education Requirements: 12 hours, including two hours on mental health conditions, one hour on drug diversion training and best practice prescribing of controlled substances yearly

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $35 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: 24 hours every two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

You Should Know: All continuing education for APRN license renewal needs to be at the CRNA or APRN level. No RN-level courses.

Licensing Agencies

CNA Licensing Agency: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

LPN, RN, and APRN State Board: State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services

CNAs

Testing requirements: Wisconsin State Nurse Aide Exam. Exam has both written test and skills test components

Fees: $125 written test or $130 oral test

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: Eight hours under the supervision of RN or LPN every two years

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $10 (temporary license), $75 (new graduates), $82 (out of state nurses)

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $10 (temporary license), $75 (new graduates), $82 (out of state nurses)

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $73 credential fee, $75 state law fee

Continuing Education Requirements: Eight CEU hours each year in clinical pharmacology/therapeutics in your area of practice

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Licensing Agency: Wyoming State Board of Nursing

CNAs

Testing requirements: Wyoming Nurse Aide Exam through Prometric

Fees: $60 application, $60 criminal background check

Continuing Education Requirements: None required

Clinical Hours Required: None required

LPNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-PN

Fees: $195 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: One of the following:

  • 500 practice hours within the past two years
  • 1,600 practice hours within the past five years
  • 20 CE units in the past two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

RNs

Testing requirements: NCLEX-RN

Fees: $195 application and license fee

Continuing Education Requirements: One of the following:

  • 500 practice hours within the past two years
  • 1,600 practice hours within the past five years
  • 20 CE units in the past two years

Clinical Hours Required: None required

APRNs

Testing requirements: Nationally recognized exam in area of specialty

Fees: $250 application fee

Continuing Education Requirements: For prescriptive authority 15 contact hours of continuing education in pharmacotherapeutics. Other requirements follow national certification rules.

Clinical Hours Required: None required

Want to Work in the U.S. as a Foreign Nurse?

If you’ve worked as a nurse in another country and want to become a registered nurse in the U.S., there are a few more steps you’ll need to take before applying for your license, including passing an English language proficiency test, taking a special exam top prove your readiness to work as a nurse, and completing a screening for a work visa.

Step 3: Register for the NCLEX or Other Required Exam

RNs and LPNs

Once you’ve applied for your license, you can sign up to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX); a standardized test that state regulatory boards use to determine if a candidate is ready to become licensed as an entry-level nurse.

In every state, RNs and LPNs need to take the (NCLEX) to be licensed. LPNs will take the NCLEX-PN, while RNs will take the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX-PN is an entry-level exam that tests the knowledge LPNs have gained, while the NCLEX-RN is more in-depth and designed for RNs.

You can register for the NCLEX online or by phone. You’ll need to provide proof of your education and proof you’ve been approved by your state to take the NCLEX. This is called an Authorization To Test (ATT). Your state will notify you when your application has been received. You’ll have a window to take your NCLEX once you receive your authorization. Most states will grant a 90-day ATT window.

What About APRNs?

APRNs will need to take an exam in their specialty or practice area. These exams allow you to earn national certification. The test you take will be the same no matter what state you live in. In most states you’ll need to earn certification before you’ll be granted your state license. The test you take will depend on your specialty, but some common APRN certifications include:

  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Family Nurse Practitioner Certification (FNP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Adult Nurse Practitioner Certification (ANP-BC)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certification (ENP-BC)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (PPCNP-BC)
  • National Certification Corporation (NCC) Certification as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP-BC)

What About CNAs?

Your CNA exam will depend on your state. Some states have their own exams, while others use CNA exams from large national organizations like Pearson VUE, a popular online testing portal. No matter the case, you’ll need to complete your CNA program before you can take the exam.

Step 4: Take and Pass the Test

For RNs and LPNs/LVNs, the NCLEX is a multiple-choice exam administered on a computer at an approved testing center. The exam is responsive to you. When you get a question right, your next question will be harder. When you get a question wrong, your next question will be slightly easier. You’ll have a set number of questions and a set amount of time depending on your exam.

In a typical year:

NCLEX-RN

As many as 265 questions over six hours

You’ll answer a minimum of 75 questions.

NCLEX-PN

As many as 205 questions over five hours

You’ll answer a minimum of 85 questions.

You’ll receive your results within about six weeks after taking the exam. If you don’t pass, you can take the exam again, but you’ll be subject to an additional charge. You’ll have to wait at least 45 days before you take the exam again. You can take the NCLEX as many as eight times in a single year, although some states limit the number of times you can retry the exam within a year.

You’ll receive your NCLEX results about six weeks after you take the exam.

Your nursing program will likely have review sessions and study groups set up for the NCLEX. You can also take practice exams on the NCLEX website, or look into other online study guides. Many online practice exams use the same question style as the real NCLEX exam, so you know what to expect.

For other levels of nursing, your test procedure will vary depending on your state (CNAs) or your specialty (APRNs). Your program’s administrator should be able to give more specific information and might be able to provide practice exams or other study aids.

NCLEX Test Changes Due to COVID-19

In response to the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Council of State Board of Nursing has shortened the length of the NCLEX exams and reduced the number of questions. The shorter exams allow testing centers to provide CDC-recommended social distancing while scheduling the maximum number of candidates per day.

The NCSBN says the changes preserve the difficulty of the exams and passing standards. They will remain in place until at least Sept. 30, 2020. Stay up to date on these changes by visiting the NCSBN website.

Step 5: Complete Additional State Requirements

Most states have multiple other requirements you’ll need to meet before you’re fully licensed. Generally, this includes:

  • A background check including FBI fingerprints
  • Self-reporting of any addiction concerns or past legal trouble you’ve had
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • References from professors or supervisors

Most states also require that nurses be of “good moral character.” Normally, this is demonstrated by things like your background check and reference letters. Some nursing boards might also check in with your former employers.

Some states grant temporary licenses while you’re waiting for your full license to be processed, but not all. Your temporary license might have some restrictions. For example, you might only be allowed to work under supervision. You can normally begin applying for jobs once you have a temporary license or when the application is in process. You’ll be able to take on the full range of job duties for your role when your state approves and sends you your license.

Cross-State Licensing is Available

Keep in mind that your license is generally intended for use in your state only. However, many states participate in a program called Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Under the NLC, licenses from participating states can be used in multiple states. So whether you’re moving to a new state long term or taking on a two-month assignment as a travel nurse, you can likely use your current license.

What if Your License Expires and You Want to Work Again?

Generally, RN licenses are valid for two years. If you haven’t been working for a while and want to get back into nursing, there are a few things you need to do. First: check with your state’s board of nursing to find out what the rules are in your particular state.

“Most states allow these nurses to take refresher courses—for both the LPN and RN—and some require a skills test,” says Robert Rosseter, chief communications officer for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “Most boards maintain a list of schools that offer the refresher courses.”

Similarly, you’ll need to check with your state if your APRN or CNA license expires. Depending on how long ago your license expired, you might need to pay a late fee, take a course, or take an exam.


Written and reported by:

Stephanie Behring

Contributing writer


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