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Connecticut Nursing License Requirements

Prospective nurses in Connecticut begin the licensure process by earning an education appropriate to the level of licensing. Licensed practical nurses usually complete a training program, while registered nurses complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Advanced practice registered nurses must have a master’s degree. In all cases, licensed nurses in Connecticut have opportunities to continue their education and pursue career advancement. This page explains how to obtain a nursing license in Connecticut and begin your career in nursing.

» How to become a licensed practical nurse (requires completion of a training program)
» How to become a registered nurse (requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
» How to become an advanced practice registered nurse (requires a master’s degree)

4 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Connecticut

1. Take a Practical Nurse Training Program.

Connecticut requires prospective practical nurses to complete a training program over the course of at least 10 months consisting of a minimum of 1,500 hours of theory, observation, and client care.1 Candidates whose training programs fall short of the required hours may be able to substitute clinical work experience.1

2. Register for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.

To obtain a license, practical nurses must successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). 1 The Connecticut Department of Public Health requires candidates to register for the NCLEX-PN prior to beginning the licensure process with the state to avoid delays in application processing.1 Registration for the NCLEX-PN should be completed with Pearson VUE, a test administrator used to schedule and proctor the exam.2

3. Submit the Application for Practical Nurse Licensure.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health provides the Licensed Practical Nurse Application form to be completed for licensure.3 In addition to the form, candidates should forward a recent passport style photograph and the required application fees.3 Note that the application form must be signed in the presence of and sealed by a notary public.3

Nurses who have graduated from a practical nursing program and have not yet taken the NCLEX-PN are permitted by law to practice under direct supervision without a license for up to 90 calendar days following graduation.4 This privilege is granted provided that the organization for which the practical nurse is working has verified graduation from a nursing program, and is revoked after either 90 days following graduation or upon unsuccessful completion of the NCLEX-PN.4 No application for the temporary privilege is required.4

4. Take the NCLEX-PN.

After the Connecticut Department of Public Health reviews the licensure application and finds that minimum requirements for licensure have been met, an Authorization to Test for the NCLEX-PN will be issued to the candidate.2 Note that although a license candidate may register for the NCLEX-PN without the Authorization to Test, the authorization is required to actually take the exam.1 Once the Authorization to Test is received the candidate will be able to schedule an exam date with Pearson VUE and attempt a passing score on the NCLEX-PN.1 Official test results, and licensure if a passing score is earned, will be issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health following the exam.1

4 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Connecticut

1. Complete a Registered Nurse Training Program.

Successful completion of a program in registered nursing is required for registered nurse licensure in Connecticut.5 The program should be approved by the Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Nursing.5 Registered nurse training programs should provide at least four academic semesters consisting of at least 35 semester hour credits in nursing.5 Out of state programs that comply with the Connecticut education requirements may also be deemed acceptable.5 A list of approved in state programs can be accessed on the Department of Public Health website.6

2. Register for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

A passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is a prerequisite for registered nurse licensure in Connecticut.7 Candidates must register to take the NCLEX-RN prior to filing a license application with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, or delays in processing may occur.7 The initial registration to take the NCLEX-RN is done with Pearson VUE, a test administrator used to schedule and proctor the exam.2

3. Apply for Registered Nurse Licensure.

The Registered Nurse Licensing Application form should be submitted to the Connecticut Department of Public Health after registration for the NCLEX-RN is completed through Pearson VUE.8 The application must be notarized by a notary public.8 Candidates should also request that the registered nursing program completed forward official transcripts to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.7

A registered nurse who has graduated from a program in registered nursing but has not attempted the NCLEX-RN is permitted by law to practice as a registered nurse under supervision prior to issuance of a license.4 This practice may occur for up to 90 calendar days after graduation from the program, and does not require a separate application.4 The organization employing the registered nurse must verify graduation from a registered nursing program, and practice must cease either after 90 calendar days from the graduation date or upon notification that the nurse did not pass an attempt at the NCLEX-RN.4

4. Take the NCLEX-RN.

After the Connecticut Department of Public Health has reviewed the completed licensing application materials, an Authorization to Test will be issued to the candidate for licensure.7 This authorization allows the candidate to schedule the NCLEX-RN with Pearson VUE, the test administrator.7 Following examination the Connecticut Department of Public Health will notify the candidate whether the NCLEX-RN was successfully passed, and if so, a registered nursing license will be issued.7

6 Steps to Become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse in Connecticut

1. Become a Licensed Registered Nurse.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health requires advanced practice registered nurses to first become licensed as registered nurses in Connecticut.9 This includes completing all registered nurse education and licensing requirements, including passing the NCLEX-RN.9

2. Earn a Master’s Degree in Nursing.

Nurse practitioners in Connecticut must earn a master’s degree in nursing or a related field.9 The master’s program completed must be certified by one or more of the recognized national certifying bodies approved by the Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Nursing.9 More information on approved programs can be obtained by visiting the national associations listed on the Connecticut Department of Pubic Health website.9

3. Complete an Advanced Nursing Pharmacology Program.

Prospective advanced practice registered nurses must earn an education in advanced nursing pharmacology consisting of at least 30 hours.9 Note that following licensure, to prescribe controlled drugs advanced practice registered nurses must also obtain a Connecticut Controlled Substance Registration and a Federal Drug Enforcement Administration registration.10 Links to the appropriate registration sites can be found on the Connecticut Department of Public Health website.10

4. Become Nationally Certified as an Advanced Practice Nurse.

In addition to completing a master’s degree approved by a national certifying body, prospective advanced practice registered nurses who wish to become licensed in Connecticut must become nationally certified.9 This certification can be obtained by one or more of the national associations approved by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, a current list of which can be found on the department’s website.9

5. Apply for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Licensure.

The APRN License Application must be completed following national certification to earn advanced practice registered nurse licensure in Connecticut.11 Candidates should include with the form the current required application fee and a passport style photograph.9 To support the application, verification of graduation from a master’s degree program and verification of national certification should be forwarded to the Connecticut Department of Public Health directly from the appropriate institution(s).9

A provision in Connecticut law allows nurses who are currently licensed in Connecticut as registered nurses and who have successfully completed a master’s degree certified by the appropriate association to practice as advanced practice registered nurses without a license for up to 120 calendar days after graduating a master’s degree program.12 Such practice must be under the supervision of an appropriately licensed nurse or physician contingent upon verification that the advanced practice registered nurse candidate has registered for a national certifying examination.12 Drugs may not be prescribed or dispensed by the candidate pending licensure, and temporary practice must cease either after 120 calendar days following graduation or upon notification that a national certifying examination was not passed.12

6. Obtain Professional Liability Insurance.

Advanced practice registered nurses are required to maintain professional liability insurance or the equivalent to protect against professional malpractice claims.13 Minimum coverage amounts are outlined on the Department of Public Health website.13 An advanced practice registered nurse who fails to maintain required coverage may have his or her license suspended, limited, or revoked, or be subject to other disciplinary actions.13

Connecticut Nursing Associations

Current and future nurses practicing in the state of Connecticut may find it helpful to join one or more nursing associations operating in the state. Membership in professional nursing associations can provide valuable benefits such as networking, professional opportunities, and continuing education.

Connecticut Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Society

Connecticut Emergency Nurses Association

Connecticut Nurses’ Association

Connecticut Nurses’ Foundation

Connecticut Student Nurses Association

The Organization of Nurse Executives Connecticut

Connecticut Nursing Salary

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants 21,380 $31,660
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses 8,320 $53,560
Registered Nurses 34,820 $75,660
Nurse Practitioners 2,090 $94,700

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

References:
1. Connecticut Department of Public Health: Practical Nurse Licensure by Examination
2. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
3. Connecticut Department of Public Health: Licensed Practical Nurse Application
4. Connecticut Department of Public Health: Graduate Nurses
5. Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies: Nursing Education Programs and Licensure Requirements General
6. Connecticut Department of Public Health: Registered Nurse Education Programs
7. Connecticut Department of Public Health: RN Licensure by Examination
8. Connecticut Department of Public Health: Registered Nurse Licensing Application
9. Connecticut Department of Public Health: APRN Licensure Requirements
10. Connecticut Department of Public Health: Controlled Substance Registration
11. Connecticut Department of Public Health: APRN License Application
12. Connecticut Department of Public Health: APRN Graduate Nurse Temporary Practice Provision
13. Connecticut Department of Public Health: APRN Professional Liability Insurance Requirements