New US Nurse Licensure Guidance Tool


A comprehensive online Nurse Licensure Guidance tool has been launched by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The web app is a one-stop shop for nurses educated either in the US or overseas to find all the information and links they need to apply for a license to practice in the state where they choose to work.

Nurse licensure requirements differ between states

Although the NCLEX examination to qualify for licensing is a national examination, nurses need to be authorized to practice by the board of nursing in the state where they will be working. Even if they provide telehealth services or student support, they must be licensed to practice in the state where the client is.

The licensure requirements and application process vary between states, depending on the relevant state legislation. However, the nursing licensure compact now also allows nurses licensed in one state to work in other states that have joined the compact.

 “For many years, we have gotten inquiries from nurses, especially from international individuals, about the licensure process,” Nancy Spector explained. “We developed this innovative webtool as a one-stop-shopping for nurses who want to find out how to become licensed in the U.S.  It is an invaluable resource for nurses to learn about specific state licensure requirements.”


How the Nurse Licensure Tool works

The new NCSBN Nurse Licensure Tool provides quick access and links to state-specific information on applying for a license as either a registered nurse or a practical/vocational nurse.

On the tool, you need to indicate whether you are an RN or LPN/VN and then click on the state where you live and the from where you want to practice. You are then taken to the specific state where links are provided to the state board’s license application, their Nurse Practice Act, and other relevant information.

You will also find an interactive map which shows in which other states you will be authorized to practice if you apply for a multistate license and a link to the uniform licensure requirements for a multistate license.

If you select the option that you qualified as a nurse in another country, the web app will guide you to the specific state’s licensure requirements for internationally educated nurses.  This includes information about examinations to determine your proficiency in English, evaluation of your educational credentials compared to the educational requirements in the US, and contact details for the relevant state board of nursing.

Explore the tool

The NCSBN is an independent organization that brings together the state boards of nursing and other regulatory bodies to coordinate matters of common interest. The Nurse Licensure Guidance tool is their latest contribution to simplifying the nurse licensure process in the US. 


Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.

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