Renew your nursing license before it expires: 5 things you should know - NurseJournal (2023)

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Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN has over two decades of nursing experience with a clinical focus in rehabilitation medicine. She has published and lectured throughout her career. Morris founded Indiana's first conference for teachers specializing in Medica...

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Nursing license renewal rules vary by state. Learn the important rules you need to know and how to renew an expired nursing license.

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  • Registered nurses cannot practice without an active nursing license from their state's nursing board, which must be renewed periodically based on state requirements.
  • Nurses who practice without an active license may face suspension or probation of their license, a fine, a criminal charge of misdemeanor, or criminal charges in states with more severe penalties.
  • Nurses should be aware of the dates when their nursing license must be renewed, the renewal rules in their state, the fees, and any hours of continuing education required.

To practice nursing, you must have an active nursing license from yourProvincial Nursing Council. Renewal of this license is a requirement to keep your job. Some healthcare facilities keep track of when staff nursing licenses expire, as they may face fines if they allow an unlicensed nurse to practice.

The renewal period and renewal requirements vary by state. Find out what to expect when renewing your state nursing license and five factors to know about the renewal process.

How to renew your nursing license before it expires

The simplest and easiest way to renew your nursing license is to do it before it expires. If you plan to stop practicing, you can apply to your state board of nursing for deactivation of the license.

Once the nursing license expires, many states put the license in an inactive state. Depending on your state's regulations, you may be required to pay an additional renewal fee or attend a board-approved re-entry program or refresher courses. While the process can vary by state, these are the general steps required to renew your nursing license before it expires.

1 |Start the process early

Take the time to review your state's requirementsContinuing Education in Nursing(CE) or practice hours and ensure you have the correct documentation to meet the requirement. Check the status of your nursing license and learn how many hours your state nursing agency is using to renew nursing licenses.

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

2 |Full CE requirement or practical requirements

Some states have a specific number of EC hours that must be completed and submitted in order to renew your nursing license. Other states may have specific CE courses that must be completed. For example, Pennsylvania requires all registered nurses to complete a Child Abuse CE for license renewal.

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

Finally, some states do not have requirements to renew your expired nursing license.

3 |Check your license status

You can usually check the status of your nursing license through your nursing authority's website or your state portal. You want to make sure that it's currently active and that no violations of your license have been logged.

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4 |fill out the application

Most, if not all, states have the ability to renew your nursing license online if it has not yet expired. Be sure to use the recommended hardware and software to access the country portal. Some states recommend using the Internet Explorer browser because other browsers cause technical difficulties.

You may also need to access the portal using a computer rather than a phone, tablet or iPad. You need access to legal information such as your social security number, legal address, nursing license number, and date of birth.

5 |Pay the registration fee

The cost of renewing an expiring nursing license varies by state. Your state's nursing department website or portal will list applicable fees, which may be higher if you let your nursing license expire.

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What to do when your foster license expires?

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

Expired Nursing License Deadline

Renewal requirements differ for nurses with newly expired licenses or if the license has expired two, five or more years. Many states have a grace period for nurses delaying the renewal of their expired nursing licenses.

For example, Michigan aGrace period of 60 daysand Georgia has one30 days grace periodwhere you can renew your license for an additional late fee without having to go through relicensing. Each nursing authority can determine whether and for how long it can extend an extension period.

In most states that have a grace period, you can renew your expired nursing license online. However, after the grace period has expired, it is often necessary to submit additional documentation for re-licensing. Contact your state nursing authority to arrange additional steps to renew an expired nursing license.

These steps may include updating CE hours, taking a refresher course, or retaking the National Board Licensing Exam.

Consequences of working with an expired nursing permit

An active license is the law for nurses wishing to practice nursing. There are several legal ramifications if you break the law. In most states, practicing without a license is a misdemeanor charge, but some states have "enhanced penalties". This allows the state to cover thatnurse with a crime.

It is more common for nurses to be fined for working with an expired license. The amount of the fine varies from state to 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 nursing agency. Depending on how long you've been practicing without a license, you may also be confrontednursing disciplinary actionfrom your employer.

Nurses should check with their state's Department 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 revenue before the new license is activated, there are several options available. For example, you can work asMedical AssistantNo nursing license, but must practice as part of the job profile of a doctor's assistant.

Some hospitals allow nurses whose licenses have expired to work as medical assistants until the renewal is approved. Other positions that do not require an active license includeeducator nurse, laboratory technician, health information technician and clinical research associate.

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5 Things You Should Know About the Nursing License Renewal Process

Nurses are required to renew their licenses, but the process and procedure may vary by home state. These are the five things you need to know about renewing your nursing license, no matter where you live.

  • Know the expiry date of your maintenance license

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

  • Know the renewal rules in your state

    Each state has different renewal periods and different rules for nurses who have not applied for renewal. Some states have grace periods in which you can apply with a late fee without relicensing. Other states require additional documentation to renew an expired nursing license. It is crucial that you know your state's rules.

  • 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 with a provider recognized by the nursing authority.

    Most states perform random audits of your CE hours certification such as:California requirementseOhio requirements. All states require you to keep your CE certificates for a minimum of two years and up to six years depending on the state.

  • Know the online renewal period

    States open the renewal period online 90 to 30 days before the renewal period expires. The deadline depends on the state. You should know when the gate opens in your state so you can start the process as early as possible.

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  • Find out how much it costs to apply for an extension

    Renewal application costs vary by state, but are generally less than $100. States use an online system to accept payment of renewal application fees.


Renew your nursing license before it expires: 5 things you should know - NurseJournal? ›

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 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).

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.

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.

Does Texas Board nursing do background checks on renewal? ›

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

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.

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 ...

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 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 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.

What state has the lowest RN salary? ›

Highest-paying states for RNs, adjusted for cost of living

As of 2021, Hawaii tops the list at 119.3, while Mississippi comes in lowest, at 87.8.

What state pays the highest for RN? ›

15 Highest-Paying States for Nurses
  • California. California tops the list of 15 highest-paying states for nurses. ...
  • Hawaii. Hawaii ranks second on the list of top 15 highest-paying states for nurses. ...
  • Oregon. Oregon ranks third for highest-paying states for RNs. ...
  • Washington, D.C. ...
  • Alaska. ...
  • Massachusetts. ...
  • Washington. ...
  • New York.

What is Rule 214 Texas Board of Nursing? ›

Texas Administrative Code

(b) Rules for vocational nursing education programs shall provide reasonable and uniform standards based upon sound educational principles that allow the opportunity for flexibility, creativity, and innovation.

What disqualifies you from being a nurse 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.

How far back does the state of Texas background check go? ›

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.

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.

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 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

What happens if my MA LTC expires? ›

Please be aware that once your LTC/FID expires it is expired, there is no longer a grace period. If you renew your license prior to the expiration date, then the permit becomes indefinite until you receive your new permit. If you have any questions regarding LTC or FID cards please call Chief Christopher Blair or Sgt.

What is the age limit for LTC in MA? ›

Application process, fees, and renewals

New LTC applicants must be 21 years of age or older to obtain a permit. In accordance with MGL Ch. 140, Sec.

What disqualifies you from getting a LTC in Massachusetts? ›

Commission of a felony or misdemeanor with a sentence greater than two years. Commission of a violent crime. Violation of any firearms law punishable by imprisonment. Violation of any narcotics law.

Who owns the Nclex? ›

NCLEX examinations are developed and owned by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.
National Council Licensure Examination.
PurposePrerequisite to nurse licensure in the USA and Canada
Year started1994 in United States 2015 in Canada
11 more rows

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.

What is the importance of extended learning experiences and preparation in nursing? ›

After earning licensure, nurses, including advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), are required to complete continuing education (CE) coursework throughout their careers. CEs help nurses brush up on essential skills, learn about new healthcare procedures and keep up with technological changes.

How long does Texas nursing license renewal take? ›

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.

Is there a grace period for nursing license in Texas? ›

If you've submitted your renewal application by the last day of the month that your nursing license is set to expire, you have a grace period of one month. You can continue to practice nursing during this grace period, while your nursing license renewal is being processed by the BON.

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.

How long does a US nursing license last? ›

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

How long is a US nurse license valid? ›

Generally, US registered nurses must renew their license every two or three years. If the candidate wants to reactivate their expired license, some states require the applicant to submit a complete set of fingerprints.

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.

At what age do most nurses retire? ›

At What Age Do Most Nurses Retire?
  • 7% of both women and men retired at age 63.
  • 8% of women and 7% of men retired at age 64.
  • 11% of women and 13% of men retired at age 69.
  • 9% of women and 6% of men retired at the age of 70 or beyond.
Aug 4, 2022

Can a RN negotiate salary? ›

It is possible to negotiate a higher salary as a new nurse. There is no rule book that says you can't. No one will scold you or punish you if you negotiate. As a matter of fact, according to the 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey report from Jobvite, your potential employer expects it.

What state pays school nurses most? ›

The highest-paid school nurses work in California and Hawaii where the cost of living is respectively 50 percent higher and 77 percent higher than it is throughout the U.S. as a whole.

What type of RN makes the most? ›

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist consistently ranks as the highest-paid nursing career. That is because Nurse Anesthetists are highly skilled Registered Nurses who work closely with medical staff during medical procedures that require anesthesia.

What city pays nurses the most? ›

This makes San Jose the highest-paying city for nurses as of May 2021 (according to the BLS). In the United States, the average salary for RNs is $82,750. Additionally, the median (50th percentile) is $77,600. Over $100,000 lower than the San Jose's average nurse salary is Decatur, AL, at $54,410.

What is the highest-paid nurse per hour? ›

According to, research nurses earn an average of nearly $88,000 per year or over $42 per hour. The highest-paid research nurses (in the top 10% of all earners) can bring home more than $105,000 per year.

What is the hardest in nursing? ›

Hardest Nursing School Classes
  • Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
  • Pharmacology. ...
  • Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
  • Evidence-Based Practice.

What is the most stressful type of nursing? ›

The most stressful nursing jobs include ICU nurse, ER nurse, and NICU nurse. In these roles, nurses work in an intense environment with high stakes. They manage emergency situations and care for critically ill patients. Other stressful nursing jobs include OR nursing, oncology nursing, and psychiatric nursing.

What is the hardest type of nurse to be? ›

Most Stressful Nursing Positions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. ...
  • Emergency Department nurses. ...
  • Neonatal ICU. ...
  • OR nursing. ...
  • Oncology Nursing. ...
  • Psychiatric Nursing.
Jan 27, 2021

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 is a temporary nursing license good for in Massachusetts? ›

During the conditional approval period, the nurse must complete all outstanding licensure requirements. After 90 days, to continue practicing in Massachusetts, a nurse must verify online that their permanent license has been issued.

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 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.

How many nurses are in Massachusetts? ›

Active RN (including APRN) and LPN licensees
FYCombined Total Number of LicenseesRN Licensees
20 more rows

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

Can an RN student take the LPN exam in Massachusetts? ›

Read “Choosing an LPN Program in Massachusetts” to gain a better understanding of the LPN program education requirements and process. An RN student who withdraws in good standing is eligible to take the PN test provided the candidate has completed coursework equivalent to that found in a practical nursing program.

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 nursing 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.

Does Massachusetts require SSN for nursing license? ›

62C, s. 47A, the Bureau of Health Professions Licensure is required to obtain your SSN and forward it to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue will use your SSN to ascertain whether or not you are in compliance with Massachusetts tax laws (G.L. c.

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.


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