How to Get your RN License
The minimum education expected of professional nurses in the United States consists of undergraduate level curriculum and it can take two years for an associate degree in nursing or four years for a bachelors degree in nursing. There are quite a few nursing schools that provide accredited nursing coursework which prepare professional-level registered nurses ( R.N.) at both the associate and the bachelor degree level of education. Upon graduation from any of the many such nursing programs, a graduate nurse must fulfill the state licensure requirements to begin nursing. Rules and regulations for licensing are different from state to state and one can learn about the specific standards by studying the Board of Nursing web site for a specific state. What all the states have in common is the requirement for graduate nurses to successfully complete the same licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN, which must be passed successfully before a license is awarded. All aspiring nurses must successfully complete the NCLEX test in order to get a registered nurse (RN) license and practice nursing in the state of their choice.
Nurses who have completed a nursing curriculum outside the United States must meet additional requirements. Many states mandate that foreign educated nurses obtain certification by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) prior to qualifying to sit for the NCLEX exam. Some nursing courses which lead to a masters degree require that foreign educated nurses show proof of either a state license or CGFNS certification. It is a good idea to check with a nursing program representative on that state’s specific regulations and laws. Many states provide a unique limited nursing license as an alternative for educational purposes only. Before enrolling in a nursing course you must review the licensing requirements carefully to see if you meet the qualifications for this option. CGFNS certification will also be needed for any nurse educated outside of the United States who wishes to request either a temporary non-immigrant visa or a permanent visa.
There are two critical requirements that must be accomplished in order to get a CGFNS certificate. The first requirement is a review of your nursing credentials and the second step is an test of your nursing knowledge. There are many regulations that must be fulfilled before registration for the CGFNS exam. The committee must verify that you are registered as a nurse in the country where you obtained your education, that you have graduated from one of the government approved nursing schools and that you have received both theory and clinical practice instruction in several nursing areas. Like the NCLEX-RN exam mandatory for United States educated nurses, the CGFNS examination will test your nursing knowledge and determine if you meet the basic requirements for nursing practice. This examination is administered approximately three times a year at various locations around the world. Another certification requirement for all candidates is to demonstrate proficiency of writing and reading the English language as determined by the Test of English as a Foreign Language.