License Requirements: Registered Professional Nursing

General Requirements | Fees | Partial Refunds | Moral Character Requirements | Education Requirements | Examination Requirements | Limited Permits | Instructions for Applying for Licensure as a RN

General Requirements

You must be licensed and registered by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as a registered professional nurse (RN) to practice nursing as an RN or refer to yourself as an “RN”, “registered nurse” or “registered professional nurse” in New York State.

Licensure and Registration

To be licensed and registered as an RN in New York State, you must:

  • be of good moral character;  
  • be at least eighteen years of age;
  • graduate from a nursing education program acceptable to NYSED;
  • complete New York State required infection control coursework and child abuse reporting coursework;
  • pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) or another license examination acceptable to NYSED; and,
  • apply for an RN license with NYSED. 

After you qualify for a license as an RN, NYSED will issue you a license parchment and a registration certificate.

  • Your license is valid for life, unless it is surrendered, revoked, annulled, or suspended by the New York State Board of Regents.
  • Your RN registration certificate will authorize you to practice as an RN for 3 years in New York State. The second registration after licensure is shortened to move your re-registration period to align with your month of birth. The registration renewal fee will be prorated for that period. You must renew your registration every 3 years to continue to practice as an RN in New York State. You are not legally allowed to practice as an RN while your registration is expired

Laws that govern RN licensure are included in Education Law Article 139 and 8 NYCRR Part 64.

You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.


Fees

The fee for licensure and first registration is $143.

The fee for a limited permit is $35.

Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received. You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.

  • Do not send cash.
  • If you apply for licensure electronically using the online Application for Licensure, you will be required to pay by credit card.
  • Other payments must be made by personal check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
  • Mail any required forms and fees to the indicated address on the form.

NOTE: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by credit card, check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.


Partial Refunds

Individuals who withdraw their licensure application may be entitled to a partial refund.

  • For the procedure to withdraw your application, contact the Nurse Unit by e-mailing opunit4@nysed.gov or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 280 or by faxing 518-474-3398.
  • The State Education Department is not responsible for any fees paid to an outside testing or credentials verification agency.

If you withdraw your application, obtain a refund, and then decide to seek New York State licensure at a later date, you will be considered a new applicant, and you will be required to pay the licensure and registration fees and meet the licensure requirements in place at the time you reapply.


Moral Character Requirements

You must demonstrate that you are currently of good moral character in order to be licensed or registered as an RN.  When you apply for a license or to renew your registration, you will be required to answer the following questions:

  • Have you been found guilty after trial, or pleaded guilty, no contest or nolo contendere to a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any court?
  • Are criminal charges pending against you in any court? Has any licensing or disciplinary authority refused to issue you a license or ever revoked, annulled, cancelled, accepted surrender of, suspended, placed on probation, refused to renew a professional licensed or certificate held by you now or previously, or ever fined, censured, reprimanded or otherwise disciplined you?
  • Are charges pending against you in any jurisdiction for any sort of professional misconduct?
  • Has any hospital, licensed facility or clinical laboratory restricted or terminated your professional training, employment or privileges or have you ever voluntarily or involuntarily resigned or withdrawn from such association to avoid imposition of such measures?

A “yes” answer to one or more of these questions will not necessarily disqualify you from a license or a registration in New York State. The New York State Education Department decides on a case by case basis whether prior criminal conviction(s) or other issues will disqualify the applicant from being licensed or registered as an RN in New York State. 


Education Requirements

FRAUD ALERT:  Don't make the costly mistake of attending a “nursing school” in New York that will not qualify you to be licensed as an RN!!  Before you enroll in or pay for a nursing education program in New York State , VERIFY that it is a nursing education program registered by the New York State Education Department as licensure qualifying for RN. A list of these registered nursing education programs is on our website.

To meet the education requirements for licensure as an RN, you must graduate from an nursing education program acceptable to the New York State Education Department (NYSED). In addition, you must complete NYSED approved child abuse reporting and New York State required infection control coursework or qualify for an exemption from the coursework requirements.     

Education Programs

You must graduate from a nursing education program that meets one of the three criteria below.

  1. A nursing education program (associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree or Diploma program) registered by NYSED as license qualifying for RN; or,
  2. A nursing education program located in another state or U.S. Territory, if approved by the licensing authority of the state or U.S. Territory as preparation for practice as an RN. (US territories include: Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa); or,
  3. A general nursing education program located in a country outside of the United States or its territories, which is acceptable to NYSED.

Child Abuse Reporting Coursework

Before NYSED will issue you a limited permit or license, you must complete NYSED approved child abuse reporting coursework or qualify for an exemption.

  • If you graduated from a nursing education program registerd by NYSED as licensure qualifying for RN after September 1, 1990, you have already completed the child abuse reporting coursework requirement as part of your studies.
  • If you did not graduate from a nursing education program registerd by NYSED as licensure qualifying for RN after September 1, 1990 and you do not qualify for an exemption, you must take an NYSED approved child abuse reporting course. These courses are available online. For more information and a list of approved course providers.
  • You may qualify for an exemption from New York’s child abuse reporting coursework requirement if you can demonstrate that, during your nursing practice, you will not have contact with persons under the age of 18 or residents of nursing homes or residential care schools. You can request this exemption when you apply for your license.

Infection Control Coursework

All practicing RNs must complete NYSED approved infection control coursework every four (4) years or qualify for an exemption. When you apply for a license, you will be required to show that you completed NYSED approved infection control coursework or qualify for an exemption.

  • If you graduated from a nursing education program registered by NYSED as licensure qualifying for RN within the past four years, you already completed the required infection control coursework as part of your nursing studies. You do not have to take additional infection control coursework when you apply for a license.
  • If you did not graduate from a nursing education program registered by NYSED as licensure qualifying for RN within the past four years, you must take an NYSED approved infection control course -or- qualify for an exemption from these coursework requirements. NYSED approved infection control courses are available in person and online. For more information and a list of approved course providers.
  • You may qualify for an exemption from New York’s infection control coursework requirement if you can show NYSED that: (1) you took infection control training that is equivalent to NYSED required infection control coursework or, (2) taking infection control coursework is not necessary due to the nature of your nursing practice. You can request this exemption when you apply for your license.

Examination Requirements

In most cases, to meet the examination requirements for licensure as a RN, you must pass the National Council Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The NCLEX-RN was developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and administered by Pearson VUE. The NCLEX-RN is designed to test knowledge and skills essential for safe and effective entry level RN practice. If you were licensed as an RN in another state, U.S. Territory or Canada and passed the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) or the Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), you have already met the examination requirement for licensure as an RN. In all other cases, you must take and pass the NCLEX-RN.

Pearson VUE is a company that offers the NCLEX-RN throughout the U.S., in U.S. territories and in some other countries. Before you will be allowed to take the NCLEX-RN, you must:

  1. Apply for licensure as an RN and pay the $143 fee to NYSED.
  2. Register directly with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-RN online at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex/ or by calling Pearson VUE at 1-866-496-2539.

Note: If you have a disability and are seeking a reasonable accommodation to take the NCLEX-RN, you must complete and submit a Request for Reasonable Testing Accommodations Form to NYSED. You can also request copy of the form by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 320 or by faxing 518-473-8222. NYSED will inform you in writing whether your request has been approved. You will not be allowed to take the NCLEX-RN until your request has been processed by NYSED. Please note in your Application for Licensure (Form 1) that you are requesting reasonable accommodation(s).


Limited Permits and New Graduate Practice

If you have ever taken the NCLEX-RN, you are not eligible for a limited permit.

NYSED issues limited permits to nursing school graduates who have:

  1. applied to NYSED for a licensure as an RN and limited permit; and
  2. have met all requirements for licensure as an RN in New York State except for taking the National Council License Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

A limited permit holder (called a "Graduate Nurse" or "GN") can temporarilly practice nursing under RN supervision at the health care facility noted on the limited permit. The GN must be employed by the health care facility and the supervising RN must be on the care unit with the GN when the GN provides care.

A limited permit is valid for up to 1 year or until 10 days after the GN is notified that they failed the NCLEX-RN, whichever happens first. A GN who fails the NCLEX-RN must cease practicing nursing when the limited permit expires. A GN who changes employers will have to obtain a new limited permit from NYSED to practice nursing for the new employer.

New Graduate Practice

If you graduated from a nursing education program registered by NYSED as licensure qualifying for RN and you applied for licensure and a limited permit for RN, you may be legally allowed to practice nursing for 90 days immediately following graduation. To find out if you graduated from a qualifying New York nursing school, vist here. During the 90 day period, you must practice nursing as a GN while employed at the health care facility identified on your limited permit application and you must be personally supervised by an RN. The supervising RN must be on the patient care unit with you while you practice nursing.


Instructions for Applying for Licensure as a RN

NOTE: Read all instructions carefully! You must ensure that all required application forms, information and documentation are complete and are sent to the New York State Education Department (NYSED). You are responsible for asking organizations to send written verification of your education or other credentials directly to NYSED.

Choose a Pathway for applying for licensure as a RN in New York State:

  • RN Pathway #1 For graduates of New York State approved nursing schools (and never licensed as a RN).
  • RN Pathway #2 For graduates of nursing schools in another state or a U.S. territory (and never licensed as an RN).
  • RN Pathway #3 For RNs who have been licensed in another state or U.S territory (and who graduated from nursing school in the U.S.).
  • RN Pathway #4 For RN applicants with recent Canadian BSN, BN or NScN Degrees.
  • RN Pathway #5 For graduates of foreign nursing schools (outside the U.S. and U.S. territories).
Last Updated: September 16, 2019