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Idaho Nursing License Requirements

The Idaho Board of Nursing, which oversees the practice of nurses in the state, licenses practical nurses, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners in addition to other nursing specialties. Nurses in Idaho must have a thorough education in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination(s) in order to qualify for a license. Whether you are just beginning your education in nursing or ready to graduate, this page can help you find the next steps to earning nurse licensure in Idaho.

» 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 a nurse practitioner (requires a master’s degree)

5 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Idaho

1. Complete an Education Program in Practical Nursing.

Completion of an education program in practical nursing is the first step to becoming a licensed practical nurse in Idaho. The program should be approved by the Idaho Board of Nursing.1 Programs that are not expressly approved may still qualify a candidate for licensure provided that official transcripts showing that equivalent courses have been taken at an approved school to repair deficiencies; courses must include a course in personal and vocational relationships in practical nursing.1

2. Submit An Application for Practical Nurse Licensure.

The Idaho Board of Nursing provides the Application for Nurse Licensure By Examination for prospective practical nurses.2 The form must be notarized and the original document must be sent to be accepted.2 In addition, the application must include a passport style photo taken within a year of application showing only the head and shoulders of the applicant.2 Applicants should also complete and forward the census questionnaire form included in the application packet.

An affidavit of graduation completed by the director or administrator for the nursing program from which the applicant graduated must be forwarded from the program directly to the Idaho Board of Nursing.2 The affidavit should only be completed once all program requirements are met, and must be notarized.2

3. Complete A Criminal Background Check.

The Idaho Board of Nursing requires all applicants for practical nurse licensing to complete state and federal background checks. For this purpose, the Idaho Board of Nursing provides a fingerprint card.2 Note that fingerprint cards printed by other agencies or organizations are not acceptable.2 Fingerprint cards can be requested by telephoning the Idaho Board of Nursing at (208) 334-3110 extension 2476.2 Along with the background check, applicants must complete the NonCriminal Justice Applicant Privacy Statement provided in the application packet for practical nurse licensure.2

4. Request Temporary Licensure, If Necessary.

A temporary license to practice as a practical nurse may be issued at the discretion of the Idaho Board of Nursing pending passage of the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).1 Temporary permits may be valid for up to three months and allow practice under the direct supervision of a licensed registered nurse.1 Temporary permits are requested using the same application for regular licensure.2 A temporary permit can be requested before, but can not be issued until after, graduation from a nursing program.2

5. Take The NCLEX-PN.

After submitting the application for licensure to the Idaho Board of Nursing, applicants should register to take the NCLEX-PN with the testing company, Pearson VUE.2 Registration for the NCLEX-PN must be done through Pearson VUE.3 Once eligibility for the exam has been established, the applicant will receive an Authorization to Test that permits the applicant to schedule and take the exam.2 Note the Authorization to Test is only valid for 90 days; candidates who do not anticipate being ready to take the exam within that time frame have the option of delaying registration.2 Once the NCLEX-PN is passed, a license in practical nursing will be issued.2

5 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Idaho

1. Complete an Education Program for Registered Nurses.

Prospective Idaho registered nurses must first complete a degree or diploma in registered nursing approved by the Idaho Board of Nursing.1 If a program is completed that is not approved by the Idaho Board of Nursing, deficiencies in the candidate’s education may be addressed by taking courses from an approved program in the necessary areas and providing official transcripts proving completion.1

2. Submit The Application for Registered Nurse Licensure.

The Application for Nurse Licensure By Examination should be completed to request licensure as a registered nurse.4 As the form requires notarization, the original copy completed must be forwarded to the Idaho Board of Nursing.4 A passport style photo taken within a year of application which shows only the head and shoulders of the applicant should be included with the application.4 A census questionnaire form, which is included in the application packet, must accompany the application.4

To prove compliance with the educational requirements for registered nurses, the director or administrator for the program in registered nursing completed must provide an affidavit of graduation directly to the Idaho Board of Nursing.4 The affidavit should be completed once all program requirements are met, and must be notarized.4

3. Complete A Criminal Background Check.

A criminal background check at the state and federal levels is necessary for issuance of a license for practicing registered nursing. A fingerprint card from the Idaho Board of Nursing may be requested by telephoning the Idaho Board of Nursing at (208) 334-3110 extension 2476.4 The fingerprint card used must be issued by the Idaho Board of Nursing; fingerprint cards issued by other agencies or organizations will not be accepted.4 Note that in the application packet for registered nurses a NonCriminal Justice Applicant Privacy Statement is provided, which should be completed by the applicant and forwarded to the Idaho Board of Nursing.4

4. Request Temporary Licensure, If Necessary.

A temporary license permitting registered nurses to practice with graduate status may be requested from the Idaho Board of Nursing before the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)is attempted.1 Temporary permits are valid for up to three months and allow registered nurses to practice as graduates under the direct supervision of a licensed registered nurse.1 A temporary permit can be requested before, but can not be issued until after, graduation from a nursing program using the registered nurse application form.4

5. Take The NCLEX-RN.

Applicants can register to take the NCLEX-RN after submitting the application for registered nurse licensure.4 As the Idaho Board of Nursing uses Pearson VUE, a test administrator, to provide the NCLEX-RN examination registration must be completed through the Pearson VUE website.3 After eligibility to take the exam has been determined, an Authorization to Test will be sent to the candidate by Pearson VUE which allows the candidate to schedule and take the exam.4 This authorization is valid for 90 days following issuance, meaning candidates who are not ready to take the exam within this window might wish to delay registration.4 A passing score on the NCLEX-RN is the last step to licensure as a registered nurse in Idaho.4

7 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Idaho

1. Earn a License As a Registered Nurse.

Prospective nurse practitioners are required to hold a registered nurse license in the state of Idaho.1 Applicants must therefore begin their education with a registered nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN prior to applying for licensure as a nurse practitioner.4

2. Complete a Graduate Program in Advanced Practice Nursing.

Qualification as a nurse practitioner is dependent on completion of a graduate or post-graduate program in advanced practice registered nursing.1 To be deemed as meeting the requirements, the program completed must hold accreditation by a national organization that the Idaho Board of Nursing recognizes.1 The Idaho Board of Nursing recognizes all organizations that meet the standards of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.1

3. Earn National Certification From a Nursing Association.

The Idaho Board of Nursing requires nurse practitioners to pursue national certification from a recognized national nursing association.1 The certification must be in the specialty area(s) that the nurse practitioner intends to practice.1

4. Complete the Application for Advanced Practice Professional Nurses.

Candidates for licensure as nurse practitioners should complete the Application for Nurse Licensure (Advanced Practice Professional Nursing).5 This form must be notarized, and an original copy must be sent to the Idaho Board of Nursing.5 In addition, a photograph showing the head and shoulders of the applicant taken within a year of initial application should be included in the application packet.5 Candidates should also provide a notarized, current copy of their national certification to the application.5 Separately, an official transcript documenting program completion and graduation for the graduate or post-graduate program taken must be sent to the Idaho Board of Nursing directly from the school.5

5. Request Temporary Licensure, If Desired.

Nurse practitioners may request temporary licensure from the Idaho Board of Nursing provided that all licensure qualifications have been met pending national certification.1 The applicant must demonstrate eligibility to take the certification examination intended at the next opportunity, and the certifying association must provide verification that the candidate has registered for such an exam.1 The temporary permit is valid pending full licensure unless a national certification examination is attempted unsuccessfully or is not taken on the date scheduled, unless another date of expiration is specified.1

6. Complete A Criminal Background Check.

A criminal background check at the state and federal levels is necessary for advanced practice nursing. Candidates may call the Idaho Board of Nursing at (208) 334-3110 extension 2476 to request a fingerprint card.5 Note that fingerprint cards issued by agencies or organizations aside from the Idaho Board of Nursing will not be accepted.5 Candidates will also find within the application packet for advanced practice nurses a NonCriminal Justice Applicant Privacy Statement.5 This form must be completed by the applicant and forwarded to the Idaho Board of Nursing.5

7. Request Dispensing Authority.

Nurse practitioners in Idaho may request prescriptive authority at the time of initial advanced practice licensure application or at a later time.1 The application for nurse practitioners includes a second application for prescriptive authority, which must be notarized.5 To be eligible for this authority, nurse practitioners must obtain thirty contact hours of advanced education in pharmacotherapeutics.1 A Verification of Pharmacology Course Content and Contact Hours form must be completed by the pharmacology or advanced nursing program from which the applicant graduated, notarized, and sent directly to the Idaho Board of Nursing from the school.5 Note that nurse practitioners who graduate from a program accredited by a national organization recognized by the Idaho Board of Nursing on or after December 31, 2015 will automatically receive prescriptive and dispensing authority as part of the Idaho nurse practitioner’s license.1

Idaho Nursing Associations

Joining an Idaho nursing association can provide prospective and current nurses with opportunities for employment, education, and professional networking.

Idaho Nursing Salary

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants 7,720 $22,730
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses 2,870 $38,470
Registered Nurses 11,420 $59,100
Nurse Practitioners 510 $98,140

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

References:
1. Idaho Administrative Code 23.01.01: Rules of the Idaho Board of Nursing
2. Idaho Board of Nursing: Application for Nurse Licensure By Examination
3. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
4. Idaho Board of Nursing: Application for Nurse Licensure By Examination
5. Idaho Board of Nursing: Application for Nurse Licensure Advanced Practice Professional Nurse