This article is from guest blogger Melissa Trenway who blogs at Nursetini.
Those with a nursing license who wish to move to another state have options available to them. While states differ on what is required of nurses, those who have graduated from an accredited nursing program can find that transferring a license is not as difficult as getting one. For those interested in pursuing a nursing degree or furthering your nursing career, there are many schools across the country that provide accredited education for nurses, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. They approve baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing. Another national nursing education accrediting agency is the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission. You can use their search engine to search by area, institution name, and even program type. One reason national accreditation, rather than regional or state accreditation, is so important is that issues when transferring your nursing license can arise. For example, if the school you graduated from is recognized and accredited in your old state but not the new, chances are your nursing license may not transfer. This can be avoided by getting a nursing degree from a nationally accredited program.
Another important part of becoming a nurse is the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX. It is often used as the standard for many states and demonstrates your competence to future employers. For 2011, candidates for the NCLEX test must pay $200 to take the exam in addition to any other licensure fees required by their state. International candidates need to obtain a certification from the Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools and demonstrate a proficiency in English.
Once an education and examination has been passed, it is important to know what the requirements are of the state you wish to transfer your license to. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing is the most comprehensive site with the most up to date information on state requirements for new and transferring nurses. You can get information on your current and future state board, help with the NCLEX, and contact information. Many states have an initial state licensing fee which can range from about $80.00 to $300.00. There can also be license renewal requirements every year or two which can cost around $100. Some states even have continuing education requirements that have nurses completing an approved curriculum on a regular basis. These fees and rules also apply to transferring nurses, as well as recent graduates.
If you have already graduated from an approved nursing program and have passed the NCLEX, check out the site of the state you wish to transfer your license to. They can contain further details for transfer candidates, as well as more advanced guides for their specific requirements. The process usually involves applying for a state license, paying fees, transferring relevant records, identification, and in some cases, even a background check. For example, those wishing to transfer to California as an RN must get what is called “licensure by endorsement.” To qualify, candidates must hold a current and active license in another state or Canada, have completed an educational program meeting all California requirements, and have passed National Council Licensure Examination or the State Board Test Pool Examination.
It is essential to know all the requirements for the state you wish to transfer your license to in order to keep costs down, shorten wait time, and ensure that you get approved for your move. To get a list of contact information, including phone number and name of contact, for the nursing boards in all 50 states and even a few U.S. territories, click here. For convenience, many state boards allow you to do items online, such as fill out applications and send in payments, making the process of applying for an transferring a nurse’s license even easier. Another feature of applying online is the ability to better track your application process so that any snags or problems can be addressed quickly and without incurring penalties.