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Requirements to take the NCLEX-RN Exam

The NCLEX-RN is an exam which a nurse completes to demonstrate competency as a registered nurse. Unlike other tests, you actually have to apply to take the NCLEX-RN — not everyone is allowed to register.  While each state board of nursing has its own requirements, here are some of the common themes when it comes to requirements to take the NCLEX-RN exam.


Nursing School Requirement

To qualify to take the NCLEX-RN, you must first complete an accredited registered nursing program. When you enroll into a nursing program, be sure to understand what credentials you will attain upon completion. Is this a practical nursing program or a registered nursing program? Will you earn a diploma, associate degree or a bachelor’s degree? Choosing the best program for you requires that you understand all your options. Once you have decided on a program, study hard and stay focused. The length of training will vary based on the program you enrolled in. Completing your training is the first step on your journey to becoming a registered nurse.



Once you have completed your training, you will be ready to register for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of all the knowledge and skills you have mastered throughout your nursing training. You will need to register through Pearson Vue to take the NCLEX-RN exam. It is important to budget ahead for the costs associated with taking the exam and becoming licensed in your state.


Various State Requirements to take the NCLEX-RN

Each state has specific requirements which must be completed in order to qualify for a license as a registered nurse. The state nursing boards review each applicant’s qualifications and then notify Pearson Vue that you are an approved candidate for the NCLEX-RN exam. Check out this resource for a list of State Boards of Nursing contacts and requirements. Some states, such as New Jersey, Virginia and Ohio, require criminal background checks while other states, such as New York mandate specific educational modules.

Once all requirements have completed and the state board of nursing notifies Pearson Vue that you are eligible to take the exam, you will receive an authorization to take the exam. Now you need to focus and study for the NCLEX-RN exam. You have worked hard for the opportunity to apply your knowledge and prove that your are qualified to practice as a registered nurse. Good Luck and welcome to an amazing profession.


About Michelle

Michelle Besmer is dedicated to preparing the next generation of nurses for successful careers. She completed her Bachelors of Nursing and her Masters as a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Rutgers University. She has practiced and trained nurses in pediatrics for over 15 years. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, baking and playing trumpet.

2 Responses to “Requirements to take the NCLEX-RN Exam”

  1. Marva says:

    Please replace “insurance” by “iissuance”
    “SInce some states rely on your website to find out who is licensed, what do you do to ensure that your postings are accurate, considering those who claimed to have not sat the Exams, are also posted on your website as RNs.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      I’ll be happy to help, Marva, but I can’t seem to find the insurance/issuance error you’re referring to. Can you tell me a little more? Also, if you could, let me know where the quotation “Since some states…” comes from, and what your question is about that information. 🙂

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