Gateway to being a Nurse Practitioner: ‘The Nursing License!’

A career in the field of nursing is a good choice. It is a well demanded and an adequately paid profession in the USA. Many decide after passing high school that they would like to take up this career and get enrollled in a nursing school. While even if you did not decide earlier you do not need to whine. You can still make a career change and get into this field.What’s important here, is that you should know the ‘Nursing Requirements’ that include every thing you neeed, and what is the path to be a licensed nurse.

Lets start with it..

If we summarize all the steps, the journey  begins by,

  • Graduating from a recognized nursing program
  •  Meeting the specific requirements of the state board of nursing
  •  Passing the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) NCLEX® examination for registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs)

RN and PN: Now these are two most heard terms and you should be knowing the diference before you start your career.

RN means a Registered Nurse and PN stands for Practical Nurse. Both of them comprise of educational and licensure requirements which have been set by the state’s Board of Nursing in which you would like to practice. To learn more about the requirements for licensure as a registered nurse, first you need to opt for the state where you would like to practice and get a license for! The board pf Nursing of that particular state is entitled to lay down teh rules and provide you with teh license.

Be it a Bachelor’s degree program (BSN), Associate’s degree program (ADN) and a Diploma from an approved nursing programm make you eligible for being an RN

For being an LPN Licensed Practical Nurse, you should have passed high school and then obtain a one-year certificate program in nursing. LPNs often work under RN’s supervision while in some states they may be supervised by more experienced LPNs. 

The duties of an RN and PN differ slightly. RNs not only record patient health and report it to doctors but also can instruct patients bout precautions to be taken and how to care about the patient after injury, they may also create care plans and are sometimes assign specific populations line neonatal care or maternity care.While the LPNs are restricted to maintaining health records and reporting and are sometimes not even allowed to insert IVs.

BUT for both, after you complete your educational requirements you need Licensure and the completion of the NCLEX exam is mandatory for that. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re looking for an NCLEX review program that not only provides you with updated and sound content, but helps you build the ability to think confidently, train you to analyse questions by making you acquainted with case studies, practical scenarios and simulation tests; we recommend Brilliant Nurse, which offer a variety of courses for RN as well as PN aspirants.

It is COMPLETE in every sense and touches all important aspects of the exam. Check out the given links: Extended (3 month access) NCLEX-PNÆ Test Prep Track and Extended (3 month access) NCLEX-RNÆ Test Prep Track

What is the NCLEX exam?

NCLEX stands for National Council Licensure Exam. It is administered by the boards of nursing that represent the 50 states in the United States, the District of Columbia and the 5 US territories. This is a rigorous exam to determine basic nursing competencies. It is much like a marathon and preparation is an essential part of passing the NCLEX.

The NCLEX exam is very specific in its purpose; it determines if you are safe to begin practice as an entry-level nurse.

The number of questions differ for the RN and PN applicants. For the RN exam you get a maximum of 265 questions where a minimum of 75 questions need to be answered correctly. And for PN the maximum number of available questions is 205 while the minimum that need to be answered are 85.

Since, the test is a Computerised Adaptive test recognises the knowledge you possess by testing you with a variety of questions which progressively become tougher if you keep answering them correctly.

If you know your content well and are able to answer questions correctly you will be getting even harder questions and that’s a good sign indicating a high probability of passing the exam. But it is a thing to worry if you are stuck in the low level questions, which are testing only the basic knowledge.

You need to ahev a good preperation for this exam for this you will need a good NCLEX review course!

NCSBN:  National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is an independent, not-for-profit organization through which boards of nursing act and counsel together on matters of common interest and concern affecting public health, safety and welfare, including the development of nursing licensure examinations.

“Options for obtaining a nursing license are many and spread across all the states of the United States! You can choose the state of your choice where you want to practice as a nurse. Every  nurse aspirant is required to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses/practical nurses) exam to obtain the certification.”

The steps involved..

1. CONFIRM YOUR ELIGIBILITY: See, that you meet all of the board of nursing’s/regulatory body’s eligibility requirements to take the NCLEX Examination. This can be known by contacting the board of nursing where you wish to practice. The NCSBN website provides a list of all the states’ Borads of Nursing. You can acquire information about their requirements, rules and the Nurse practice acts that they comply with. You can even contact their memeber svia e mail. So, you can clearly check your eligibility status with the BON where you wish to practice.  

The most important and obvious requiremant is th succesful completeion of the nursing program!

2. APPLY: Submit an application for licensure/registration to the board of nursing/regulatory body where you wish to be licensed/registered. At this point you will choose the state where you wish to practice.

3.REGISTRATION: You should complete your appplication process with NCSBN.Register and then pay for the NCLEX examination with Pearson VUE. Pearson VUE provides computer based testing solutions through electronic test delivery. The payment has to be done via the Pearson Vue website after completing the online registration process for NCLEX, since they are responsibel for conducting the test.

4. SCHEDULING: When you complete both of the above mentioned requirements, you will be declaredeligible and you will be recieving na ATT (Authorization to Test) letter. It is now  teh turn to schedule yuour exam. The ATT is avlid for a specific period of time, so you need to schedule yur exam within the stipulated duration.

Online Scheduling: This is done via your own web acccount that you had created with Pearson VUE naf if you’ve not done this then you need to create an acccount. Log in your account using your user name nad password and schedule your exam. You will recieve confirmation e mails and so you need to be vigilant in checking yur inbox nad even spam folders sometimes.

This completes your steps to be eligible and appear for the Nursing Licensure examination test ‘NCLEX’. The most important part is that you need to be very thoroughly prpeared and appear for the test in the right frame of mind, you will definitely succeed. Al the mentioned steps are  for students who obtaines a nursing degree from teh USA but for those who come from foreign countries you need some additional steps.

Foreign immigrants’ requirements!

You also need to clear an English proficiency test: Any one of these will do. 

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)   

Your test results need to be sent directly to the state board you’re applying to by your test administration.

Foreign candidates are exempted from the english proficiency test if,

  • The nursing degree has been obtained from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada (except Quebec), or the Republic of Ireland.
  • The language of instruction in the nursing school was english.
  • Textbooks used were in english meaning you know your nursing content in english.

Rest all steps remain the same: 

  • Confirm your eligibility with the desired Board of Nursing.
  • Register with NCSBN and pay the fee for the exam with Pearson VUE.
  • After you recieve the ATT, schedule your exam  with a suitable date and testing location within the validity period of ATT.

CGFNS Certification Program:

It is an exam for the foreign students which checks and verifies their credentials. First of all you need to check with your BON (where you wish to practice) that they desire this certification or not. Since, some do and do not.

The CGFNS Certification Program was created with the intent to predict and evaluate the potential of foreign-educated and also forecast which nurses were likely to meet the requirements for licensure as registered nurses in the United States. This lets you know whether or not you are eligible to appear for the NCLEX exam. CGFNS Certificate also helps applicants to qualify for an occupational visa. The CGFNS sends a report to the BON if you meet their requirements.

Get an Immigrant VISA: 

To get an RN immigrant visa as a nurse you’ll need the evidence of a US-based employer who will be the petitioner for your immigrant visa. A Visa Screen Certificate (VSC) which is to be  issued by The International Commission on Healthcare Professionals (ICHP), a division of Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).
Both of these documents must be sent directly to ICHP/CGFNS on your behalf by the issuing authority.

After that the NVC (National Visa Centre) will process your visa and this may take a few mnths to about a year sometimes, you will then have to go through a Visa interview and medical examination. Now you will be in a postion to be a licnsed nurse in the US.

Apart from ol the steps mentioned here remember clearing the NCLEX is the most critical aspect for both native and foriegn educated nurses. Prepaer yourself in the best manner and start your nursing career.

Retaking the NCLEX Licensure Test

If in any case you fail the NCLEX in the first attempt, not all hope is lost! You may retake the exam 45 to 90 days after you took the previous exam. The state board of nursing will specify the time period.

For this you need to notify your Board of Nursing that you want to appear for the examination again. Enquire about the fee and documents required. Rest of the process will agin be the same where you need to re- register with Pearson VUE and provide a fee of 200$. After this you will agin receive the ATT and, you can schedule your exam again.

For any further queries you may visit the official website of NCSBN.

We recommend BrilliantNurse’s 6 months All access test prep tracks with daily assignments courses for preparation of NCLEX-PN® and NCLEX-RN® so that you clear it in one shot to kick start your career. Check the provided links: Ultra-extended (6 month access) NCLEX-RN® Test Prep Track + Learning Path – with Daily Assignments and Ultra-extended (6 month access) NCLEX-PN® Test Prep Track + Learning Path – with Daily Assignments








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