Renew Your Nursing License Before It Expires: 5 Things To Know - NurseJournal (2023)

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Written by Gayle Morris Click to Read Full Biography Contributing Writer

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN has over two decades of nursing practice with a clinical focus in rehabilitation medicine. She has published and lectured throughout her career. Morris founded Indiana's first conference for school teachers focusing on the medi...

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Published April 4, 2023

Nursing license renewal rules vary depending on the state. Check out what crucial rules you need to know and how to renew an expired nursing license.

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  • Nurses cannot practice without an active nursing license from their state's board of nursing, which must be periodically renewed depending on the state requirements.
  • Nurses who practice without an active license face possible suspension or probation on their license, a fine, a misdemeanor criminal charge, or a felony charge in states with enhanced penalties.
  • Nurses should know the dates their nursing license must be renewed, the renewal rules in their state, the fees, and any required continuing education hours.

To practice nursing, you must have an active nursing license from your state's board of nursing. Renewing that license is a requirement to keep your job. Some healthcare institutions track when the staff's nursing licenses expire since they may incur fines for allowing an unlicensed nurse to practice.

The renewal period and requirements for renewal vary by state. Discover what you can expect when you renew your state nursing license and five factors you might want to know about the renewal process.

How to Renew Your Nursing License Before It Expires

The easiest and simplest way to renew your nursing license is to do it before it expires. If you plan to discontinue practicing, you may request to make the license inactive with your state's board of nursing.

Once the nursing license has expired, many states place the license on inactive status. Depending on the rules of your state, you may need to pay an additional renewal fee or take a board-approved re-entry program or refresher courses. While the process may vary by state, these are the general steps required to renew your nursing license before it expires.

1 | Start the Process Early

Take time to check your state's requirements for nursing continuing education (CE) credits or practice hours and ensure you have the proper documentation to fulfill the requirement. Check the status of your nursing license and learn the timetable your state's board of nursing uses to renew nursing licenses.

For instance, if your state requires six weeks to approve the renewal but you finalize the application within three weeks of expiration, you may not be able to work until the license is renewed, depending on your state.

2 | Complete Prerequisite CE or Practice Requirements

Some states have a specified number of CE hours that must be completed and submitted to renew your nursing license. Other states may have specific CE courses that must be completed. For example, Pennsylvania requires all nurses to complete a child abuse CE for license renewal.

States may also have practice requirements, like Delaware which requires nurses to have 1,000 practice hours in the past five years, 400 practice hours in the past two years, or a refresher course in the past two years.

Finally, some states have no requirements to renew your expired nursing license.

3 | Check the Status of Your License

Typically, you can check the status of your nursing license through the board of nursing website or state portal. You want to ensure it is currently active and there are no infractions against your license that may have been filed.

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4 | Complete the Application

Most, if not all, states have the option to renew your nursing license online if it has not expired. Take care to use the recommended hardware and software to access the state portal. Some states recommend using the Internet Explorer browser as other browsers will result in technical difficulties.

You may also need to access the portal using a computer and not a phone, tablet, or iPad. You will need access to legal information such as your social security number, legal address, nursing license number, and date of birth.

5 | Pay the Application Fee

The cost to renew a soon-to-be expired nursing license varies by state. Your state's board of nursing website or portal will outline the fees involved, which may be higher if you allowed your nursing license to expire.

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What to Do if Your Nursing License Expires

If your nursing license expires before you are able to renew, there are options. However, options vary by state and there are consequences for working with an expired nursing license.

Expired Nursing License Grace Period

The renewal requirements differ for nurses with newly expired licenses or if the license has expired for two, five, or more years. Many states have a grace period for nurses who are late renewing their expired nursing licenses.

For example, Michigan has a 60-day grace period and Georgia has a 30-day grace period where you can renew your license, with an additional late fee, without going through relicensure. Every board of nursing can determine if and for how long they may extend a grace period for renewal.

Most states that have a grace period allow you to renew your expired nursing license online. However, once you are past the grace period, you often have to submit additional documentation for relicensure. You must contact the board of nursing in your state to determine any additional steps necessary to renew an expired nursing license.

These steps can include catching up on CE hours, a refresher course, or retaking the National Council Licensure Examination.

Consequences of Working with an Expired Nursing License

An active license is the law for nurses who want to practice nursing. There are several legal consequences if you break the law. In most states, practicing without a license is a misdemeanor criminal charge, but some states have "enhanced penalties." This allows the state to charge the nurse with a felony.

It is more common for nurses to incur a fine if they work under an expired license. The size of the fine varies depending on the state. You are not allowed to work without a license and in some cases, you may be suspended or placed on probation by your state's board of nursing. Depending on the length of time you have been practicing without a license, you may also face nursing disciplinary action from your employer.

Nurses should check with their state's board of nursing to determine if they are within the state's grace period to renew their expired nursing licenses. If your license has expired and you need income before the new license is activated, there are several options available. For example, you can work as a medical assistant without a nursing license but must practice within the scope of the medical assistant job description.

Some hospitals allow nurses whose license has lapsed to work as medical assistants until the renewal has been approved. Other positions that do not require an active license include nurse educator, laboratory technician, health information technician, and clinical research associate.

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5 Things to Know About the Nursing License Renewal Process

Nurses must renew their licenses but the process and procedure can vary depending on their home state. These are the five things you need to know about renewing your nursing license no matter where you live.

  • Know Your Nursing License Expiration Date

    Your nursing license has an expiration date that varies depending on the state. It can be from 1-4 years. You should find out the date your license expires from your state's board of nursing and mark it on your calendar to start the renewal process 60 days before it expires.

  • Know the Renewal Rules in Your State

    Every state has different renewal periods and different rules for nurses who miss submitting a renewal application. Some states have grace periods during which you can submit an application with a late fee without going through relicensure. Other states require additional documentation to renew an expired nursing license. It is crucial you know the rules in your state.

  • Know the Continuing Education Requirements for Renewal

    Most states require nurses to submit continuing education hours with their license renewal application. These hours must be completed through a provider recognized by the board of nursing.

    Most states do random audits of your CE hour certification, such as California's requirements and Ohio's requirements. All states require you to keep your CE certificates for a period of no less than two years and up to six years, depending on the state.

  • Know the Online Renewal Time Period

    States open the online renewal period 90-30 days before your renewal deadline. The time period depends on the state. You must know when the portal in your state opens so you can start the process as early as possible.

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  • Know How Much the Renewal Application Costs

    Renewal application cost varies by state but is usually less than $100. States use an online system to accept payment of the renewal application fees.


What are the requirements for RN renewal MA? ›

To renew your nursing license, The Board of Registration in Nursing requires all licensed nurses in Massachusetts to complete 15 contact hours (CH). View all CE in nursing regulations in 244 CMR 5.00: Continuing Education (PDF) | (DOCX).

What is required to renew RN license in Texas? ›

And, following the initial renewal/very first renewal, nurses need 20 contact hours of Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) in their area of practice or a Board-approved national nursing certification in their area of practice to renew their license each 2-year licensing period.

What are the CE requirements for NY RN license renewal? ›

New York continuing education requirements

RNs and APRNs need the following continuing education: Three contact hours in Infection Control at initial licensure and every four years thereafter. One-time requirement of two hours in Child Abuse Identification and Reporting. APRNs must maintain national certification.

How many months before Texas nursing Licence can you renew? ›

Your initial Texas license is valid for a period of 6-29 months, depending on your birth month and year. After your first renewal, your license will expire on the last day of your birth month, typically every 2 years. Licensees born in odd-numbered years will renew in odd-numbered years.

How often do you need to renew your LTC in MA? ›

Renewing LTC & FID: o Renewable every 6 years o Submit renewal application 6-8 weeks prior to expiration date. o Include completed application o Check or Money Order - $100.00 fee - payable to Town of Belchertown ▪ No charge for renewal if 70 years or older ▪ Retired law enforcement officers $25.00 fee o Drop off at ...

How much is RN license renewal in MA? ›

The RN nursing license renewal fee is $120. The APRN nursing license renewal fee is $180. Late fees of $57 apply if you renew after your birthday.

What are the requirements for Texas nursing license? ›

  • graduated from an approved licensed practical nurse/vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) or registered nurse (RN) program.
  • taken the appropriate US exam, and.
  • have either worked in nursing or have taken the US NCLEX® exam sometime in the previous four years prior to the application.

What happens if you forget to renew your nursing license in Texas? ›

4. What happens if I don't renew my license before its current expiration date? According to the Texas Board of Nursing, any nurse who does not renew their license before its expiration date will be put on a DELINQUENT status. Nurses can NOT work in the state of Texas with a delinquent nursing license.

How many hours of continuing education are required for license renewal in Texas? ›

24 hours of continuing education is required for each license period.

How long do you have to renew your nursing license after it expires in NY? ›

Every three years, the New York Nursing Board requires nurses to renew their licenses. (There are no nursing CEU contact hours required to renew New York RN, LPN, or APRN licenses.)

How many CE credits do I need for RN in Washington state? ›

CE Requirements for Nurses in Washington

Washington APRNs must complete 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years. An additional 15 hours in pharmacology is required if you have prescriptive authority.

How much is RN license renewal in NY? ›

Renewal: License renewal is required through the New York State Board of Nursing every three years. There are no educational requirements. A fee of $73 per renewal period is required.

How long can you not work as a nurse and keep your license in Texas? ›

In Texas if your license is inactive and you do not work in nursing for 4 years or more you are required to take a Refresher Course in order to reactivate it. (There is just a fee if less than four years). There is not an active work/employment requirement in Texas.

Does Texas Board nursing do background checks on renewal? ›

Criminal background checks are performed on all applicants for Licensure in Texas.

How do I renew my US nursing license? ›

1) verify 520 hours of employment a year, or 2) complete 24 hours of continuing education, or 3) verify current certification in a nursing specialty area, or 4) complete a board approved refresher course, or 5) complete 6 academic semester credits hours of coursework at the current level of licensure or higher.

How much is LTC renewal fee in Texas? ›

How much does it cost to obtain or renew an LTC? The standard fee for an original LTC is $40. The standard fee for a renewal of a LTC is $40. However, Texas law provides for some discounts if you meet certain special conditions.

How long does LTC last Texas? ›

The Texas LTC, formerly known as a concealed handgun license or CHL, is a license that allows a person to carry a handgun in public places in Texas. It is issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and is valid for five years.

Is there a grace period for LTC renewal in Texas? ›

You may apply for your renewal up to 6 months before you license expires and no more than 12 months after it expires.

How much is a mass RN license? ›

This page is located more than 3 levels deep within a topic. Some page levels are currently hidden.
Application fee$275per application
License verification fee$30per license

How many times can you take Nclex in MA? ›

If you happen not to pass the exam, you can retake it after 45 days. And if you are wondering how often you can take the NCLEX, the NCSBN retake policy allows for a retake eight times a year, ensuring 45 exam-free days between each test.

What is MA Nursing? ›

As a medical assistant, you will perform both clinical AND administrative duties to provide a broader range of skill-sets to your [potential] employer. Just because you have your certification as a medical assistant doesn't mean that you will perform all of these duties on a daily basis.

What is the easiest nursing license to get? ›

Easiest states to become a nurse – Length of licensing process
  • Maine: 1-2 weeks.
  • Maryland: 2-3 days.
  • Missouri: 2 weeks.
  • Nevada: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Carolina: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Dakota: 1-2 weeks.
  • Texas: 2 weeks.
  • Vermont: 3-5 business days.

What disqualifies you from getting a nursing license in Texas? ›

Crimes of fraud, deception, lying and falsification are also included as being highly relevant to your fitness to be a nurse. Additionally, crimes involving the “delivery, possession, manufacture, or use of, or dispensing or prescribing a controlled substance, dangerous drug, or mood-altering substance” are relevant.

Can I use my Texas RN license in another state? ›

The new enhanced licensure compact, or eNLC, is the licensure model that allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) to have one multistate license, with the privilege to practice in the home state and in other eNLC states physically, electronically, and/or telephonically.

How long does it take to renew Texas RN license? ›

The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) staff has a target of 15 business days from the date the last item needed is received to review and, if approved, to submit an endorsement application for a license to be issued, then for the license to be issued.

What does an inactive nursing license mean Texas? ›

A person whose license is on inactive status may not perform any professional nursing or vocational nursing service or work.

Is Texas a compact state for nursing license? ›

The Texas Legislature adopted the Nurse Licensure Compact in 1999 and it was signed into law by Governor George Bush on June 19, 1999. It became effective on January 1, 2000. The compact is an agreement between states to recognize each others' licensees.

What is the rule 216.3 in Texas Nursing Board? ›

A nurse, including an APRN, who provides direct patient care must complete a human trafficking prevention course approved by the Health and Human Services Commission.

How do I check my CE hours for insurance in Texas? ›

Click “Look up Courses or Transcript.” Search for a single course with “Approved Courses Inquiry” or search for a CE provider with “Approved Provider Inquiry.” If you need help, email or call 512-676-6500. Review your CE transcript on Sircon.

How often do Texas nurses have to take the jurisprudence exam? ›

Many states specify continuing education requirements that the nurse must fulfill for license renewal. For example, Texas (TX) requires nurses to complete their license renewal every 2 years.

How many times can you take the Nclex in New York? ›

New York: Unlimited attempts. Canada: 3 attempts maximum.

How much is the Nclex fee in NY? ›

Before you will be allowed to take the NCLEX-RN, you must: Apply for licensure as an RN and pay the $143 fee to NYSED. Register directly with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-RN at or by calling Pearson VUE at 1-866-496-2539.

Can you be a nurse with a felony in New York? ›

As a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse in New York, there is no automatic disqualification for any conviction.

How long is Washington RN license good for? ›

Every three years, the Washington Nursing Board requires nurses to complete the following continuing education contact hours to comply with licensing requirements: 45 contact hours for RN license renewal. 45 contact hours for LPN license renewal.

How many times can you retake NCLEX in Washington state? ›

“Candidates who have applied for licensure/registration with a participating nursing regulatory body (NRB) will be permitted to take the NCLEX eight times a year and there must be 45 test-free days between each examination.

What counts as active nursing hours Washington State? ›

(1) "Active nursing practice" means engagement in paid, unpaid, or volunteer activity performing acts requiring substantial nursing knowledge, judgment, and skills described under RCW 18.79. 040, 18.79. 050, and 18.79. 060.

What is needed to renew NY nursing license? ›

How to renew your New York nursing license
  • Submit renewal application. Once your New York license has been issued it is valid for life, but the state's registration certificate needs to be renewed every three years. ...
  • Fulfill continuing competency requirements. ...
  • Submit your renewal application.
Sep 16, 2022

How long does NY RN license take? ›

It typically takes 6 to 8 weeks to receive your New York nursing license. Timeframe will vary based upon the volume of applications currently under submission. RNs who are licensed and educated in other states can apply for NY licensure by endorsement.

How long can you stop working as a nurse? ›

This is typically two years from the issued date. The time from the issued date to the expired date is considered your active period. This means that you are legally able to practice nursing during this time.

What is the longest shift a nurse can work in Texas? ›

In 2003, The Institute of Medicine (IOM), now known as the National Academy of Medicine, made recommendations that nursing work hours be limited to no more than 12.5 hours in a 24-hour period, 60 hours in a 7-day period, or 3 consecutive days of 12-hour shifts.

How do I keep my nursing license active when not working in NY? ›

If your license is inactive, you won't be permitted to practice nursing until you've reactivated it. To do this, you'll need to complete the necessary requirements put forth by your licensing board, which likely include taking some continuing education courses — a task that may delay your return to work significantly.

How many times can you take the NCLEX in Texas? ›

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) allows National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) test-takers up to eight retakes per year with a forty-five-day wait period between each test.

How far back do nursing background checks go in Texas? ›

How Many Years Back Does a Background Check Go in Texas? In the state of Texas, criminal background checks generated by an employer can go back seven years into an applicant's criminal and personal history.

Does a DUI affect your nursing license in Texas? ›

No. A DWI charge does not disqualify a person from becoming a nurse in Texas. Thousands of healthcare professionals in Texas have overcome criminal charges. Avoiding a conviction is what matters most.

How do I verify my nursing license in USA? ›

Nursys is the only national database for verification of nurse licensure, discipline and practice privileges for RNs, LPN/VNs and APRNs licensed in participating jurisdictions, including all states in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).
  1. e-Notify.
  2. Nurse License Verification.
  3. Licensure QuickConfirm.

Does CES report expire? ›

Purpose: If your CES order is not completed within a year's time due to inactivity, it will expire. You can reprocess your expired order, which will allow you another year to submit the necessary documentation to obtain a CES Professional and/or Academic Report.

What documents do I need to renew my license in NM? ›

What You Need To Renew Your Driver's License
  1. Proof of identity.
  2. Proof of federal identification number.
  3. Two proofs of New Mexico residency.

What happens if you let your nursing license expire in Massachusetts? ›

RN and APRN licenses expire at 11:59PM on your birthday in even numbered years. Renew up to 90 days before expiration at Late fee charged after expiration. Practice with expired license subject to fines & imprisonment.

How long does it take to get MA RN license by endorsement? ›

Current reports indicate that it is taking 4-6 weeks to get a California RN license by endorsement if you perform a LiveScan, the results are clean, and you turn in all required paperwork to the CBRN in person.

Will Massachusetts join compact nursing license? ›

Massachusetts does not issue temporary licenses and does not take part in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).

How long does MA RN license take? ›

Applicants should allow a minimum of 8 weeks to complete GMC evaluation after all required documents have been received. Provide evidence that you have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

How long does it take to renew MA RN license? ›

Allow 14 days for processing time. Be sure to complete this process before to renewing to avoid paying for APRN authorization because once payment is made, it is non-refundable.

How long does a US nursing license last? ›

The majority of US states require nurses to renew their license every two years.

Which state is easiest to get RN license? ›

Easiest states to become a nurse – Length of licensing process
  • Maine: 1-2 weeks.
  • Maryland: 2-3 days.
  • Missouri: 2 weeks.
  • Nevada: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Carolina: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Dakota: 1-2 weeks.
  • Texas: 2 weeks.
  • Vermont: 3-5 business days.

How many times can you take the NCLEX in Massachusetts? ›

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which administers the NCLEX, limits the frequency by which candidates can take the exam. Individuals who fail the NCLEX must wait 45 days between tests, which means they can take a maximum of eight tests per year.

How many clinical hours do you need to take the NCLEX? ›

Education and Examination

The training must include a minimum of 400 clinical hours and 300 classroom hours. The NCLEX-RN exam costs $200, and applicants need to pay an $88 application fee.

What states are not in compact? ›

These states are currently not a part of the agreement of the compact states, nor do they have legislation in the works to this end:
  • California.
  • Nevada.
  • Oregon.
  • Connecticut.
Mar 14, 2022

How much does the Nclex cost in Massachusetts? ›

Licensing fees

For more information visit the Massachusetts licensing page. Licensing fees by examination (first-time nurses): NCLEX fee: $200. Application fee: $230.

How do I get a compact nursing license in the States? ›

Requirements and How to Get a Compact Nursing License
  1. Criminal background check. You must pass a criminal background check, including a fingerprint check. ...
  2. Education requirements. ...
  3. NCLEX requirements. ...
  4. Additional public protection requirements. ...
  5. Contact your state board of nursing.

What is a conditional RN license in Massachusetts? ›

The conditional approval authorizes full, unrestricted practice and will remain in effect until the Board approves the application, denies the application, or expires the conditional approval because applicant did not submit supporting documentation to PCS within 90 days.

How long is the RN exam? ›

2. How Long is the NCLEX RN? The minimum number of questions on the NCLEX is 75, and the maximum number of questions is 145. The max amount of time you can take on the exam is 5 hours, including all breaks.

How do I get my RN from MA? ›

The three main routes an MA can take to become a registered nurse are:
  1. Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  3. Licenced Practical Nurse (LPN) to RN.
Mar 2, 2023


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