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WES Advisor Blog

Nursing Licensure

by Luke Smith,

WES Education Services

September 12, 2022

Registered Nurse (RN) licensure is required for RNs and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). Each state has a board of nursing that regulates licenses, and requirements vary by state. To be eligible for licensure, most states require that you pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

  • Some states allow recent graduates of RN programs to practice nursing under supervision for a limited period of time while they await their NCLEX exam date, under a temporary or limited permit or license. Check with your state board of nursing to find out if this can be an option for you.

You must obtain a credential evaluation of your international education in order to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Many states require that you obtain your credential evaluation from CGFNS International (formerly the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools). Some states may also accept evaluations for RN or LPN/LVN licensure from Educational Records Evaluation Service (ERES), Josef Silny & Associates, or the International Education Research Foundation (IERF). Currently, IERF only performs evaluations for applicants educated in Canada, India, Mexico, Philippines, and Puerto Rico.

  • Puerto Rico is the only U.S. territory that is NOT a member of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Therefore, any nursing education completed in Puerto Rico must be evaluated for licensure purposes the same as it would have to be for any education completed in a foreign country. Exceptions to this rule may exist on a state-by-state basis, such as in New York, which does recognize nursing education completed in Puerto Rico as being a U.S. education.

In most states you will need to pass an English language exam if your degree program was not taught entirely in English and in a country where English is the primary language. Accepted exams and scores vary by state, but may include the IELTS Academic, the PTE Academic, the TOEFL iBT, or the TOEIC.

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