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Michigan Nursing License Requirements

The Michigan Board of Nursing oversees the licensing of nurses in the state to help ensure appropriate training and quality of care. The Michigan Board of Nursing licenses practical nurses, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners, among other nursing specialties. All nurses must have at least a diploma or certificate in nursing to become licensed in Michigan. Learn more about the requirements for obtaining a nursing license in the state by choosing a category of licensure below.

» 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)

4 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Michigan

1. Complete an Approved Program in Practical Nursing.

Candidates for practical nurse licensing must complete a program in practical nursing that holds approval from the Michigan Board of Nursing.1 Such a program may culminate in a certificate or degree in practical nursing and typically consists of at least 30 weeks of instruction.1,2 The Michigan Board of Nursing approves schools both in Michigan and in other states, lists of which can be accessed on the Board website.1

2. Submit the Application Packet for Licensed Practical Nurse by Examination.

Prospective practical nurses should complete and submit to the Michigan Board of Nursing the Licensed Practical Nurse Examination Application Packet.3 For graduates of programs in the state of Michigan, the Michigan Nursing School Certification Form included in the application packet should be completed by a school administrator and forwarded to the Michigan Board of Nursing.3 Applicants who attended an out of state school should request official and final transcripts to be sent to the Michigan Board of Nursing to support the application.3 Note that applications may take up to six weeks to process.3

3. Complete the Michigan Criminal Background Check.

A criminal background check is required for licensed practical nurse applicants in Michigan.3 The Michigan Board of Nursing recommends that applicants begin the criminal background check 7 to 10 business days after the application for licensure is submitted for optimum processing.3 A fingerprint form and instructions for completing the background check are included in the initial application packet.3

Fingerprint impressions for the background check must be taken by either by a local law enforcement or government agency or an approved LiveScan vendor, a list of which can be found on the Michigan State Police website.4 The LiveScan Fingerprint Request Form found in the application materials must be brought to the LiveScan center when fingerprints are taken.3 Remember to bring photographic identification and any fees required by the fingerprint vendor to the appointment.3

4. Register for and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.

The Michigan Board of Nursing uses a third party service, Pearson VUE, to administer and score the required National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).3 After submitting the application packet, candidates should register for the NCLEX-PN with Pearson VUE through its website.5 Following registration with Pearson VUE and review of the application by the Michigan Board of Nursing, eligible candidates will receive an Authorization to Test to schedule and attempt the NCLEX-PN.3

Test results are typically released four weeks following the exam; applicants who pass will receive their license, while applicants who are not successful will be provided with instructions to re-take the exam.6 Applicants who are unable to achieve a passing score within twelve months of the first attempt at the NCLEX-PN must take a practical nurse education program approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing.2 A lifetime maximum of six attempts at the NCLEX-PN are allowed.2

4 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Michigan

1. Complete an Approved Program in Registered Nursing.

Registered nurses in Michigan must have an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing to qualify for a license.1 The Michigan Board of Nursing approves schools both in Michigan and in other states as meeting the educational requirements for Michigan licensed registered nurses.1 The program a prospective registered nurse completes must be approved to qualify for licensure; lists of approved programs are available on the Michigan Board of Nursing website.1

2. Submit the Application Packet for Registered Nurse by Examination.

The Michigan Board of Nursing provides the Application for Registered Nurse License for prospective registered nurses.7 Candidates who completed a registered nursing degree program in Michigan should request that a school administrator complete the Michigan Nursing School Certification Form included in the application packet and forward the form to the Michigan Board of Nursing.7 Candidates who completed a registered nursing education outside of Michigan must request final, official transcripts to be sent to the Michigan Board of Nursing to support the application.7 Note that applications may take up to six weeks to process.7

3. Complete the Michigan Criminal Background Check.

All prospective registered nurses pursuing licensure in Michigan must undergo a criminal background check.7 For ideal processing, the Michigan Board of Nursing recommends that applicants begin the criminal background check 7 to 10 business days after the application for licensure is submitted.7 Applicants will find in the initial application packet a fingerprint form and instructions for completing the background check.7

Candidates can have fingerprint impressions for the background check taken by a local law enforcement or government agency or an approved LiveScan vendor, a list of which can be found on the Michigan State Police website.4 Note that candidates must bring the LiveScan Fingerprint Request Form found in the application materials to the fingerprint appointment.7 Candidates should also be sure to bring photographic identification and any fees required by the fingerprint vendor.7

4. Register for and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

To earn a registered nurse license, candidates must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The Michigan Board of Nursing contracts the administration and scoring of the NCLEX-RN to a third party company, Pearson VUE.7 After the initial application has been submitted to the Michigan Board of Nursing, candidates should register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-RN.5 Following registration and review of the application, candidates will be issued an Authorization to Test to schedule and sit for the exam.7

It typically takes four weeks from the date of the exam for official scores to be released.6 Candidates who achieve a passing score will receive a license; candidates who do not pass the exam will receive information on scheduling a re-take for the exam.6 Applicants have up to twelve months from the first exam attempt to earn a passing score.2 Those who are unable to pass within that timeframe are required to repeat an education program in registered nursing approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing.2 A lifetime maximum of six attempts at the NCLEX-RN are permitted.2

5 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Michigan

1. Acquire an Active Nurse License in Michigan.

Nurse practitioners in Michigan must first earn a license to practice registered nursing in Michigan.2 The license must be current in order for the candidate to be eligible.8 This entails meeting the registered nurse education requirements set by the Michigan Board of Nursing and achieving a passing score on the NCLEX-RN.

2. Complete a Specialty Education in Nursing.

Nurse practitioner licensure requires a specialty education in advanced practice nursing.8 Nurse practitioners must hold at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).8 Higher degrees such as graduate or post-graduate degrees in nursing are also acceptable.8

3. Earn Advanced Practice Certification from a National Organization.

To obtain a nurse practitioner license, candidates must meet the standards of and acquire certification from one of the national associations approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing outlined in the Michigan Board of Nursing General Rules.2 A current list of recognized associations is also available in the application packet for nurse practitioners.8 Certification is acquired by passing the examination(s) held by the approved national association.2 Such specialty certification must be maintained in order to maintain an active nurse practitioner’s license.2

4. Apply for Nurse Practitioner Licensure.

Nurse practitioner licensure is requested by completing the Nurse Specialty Application Packet.8 Verification of national certification must accompany the application, either by completion of the Nurse Practitioner Specialty Certification form by the certifying association or by an e-mail from the association to the Michigan Board of Nursing.8 The completed application packet should be forwarded to the Michigan Board of Nursing for review.8 Note that a criminal history background check is only required for nurse practitioners who are applying for registered nurse licensure concurrent with nurse practitioner licensure.8

5. Obtain Controlled Substances Prescriptive Authority (Optional).

Nurse practitioners may obtain prescriptive authority for drugs by delegation from a supervising physician.9 Nurse practitioners may only prescribe controlled substances found on Schedules III through V under the delegation of a supervising licensed physician.9 Substances on Schedule II may only be delegated if the delegating physician and nurse practitioner are practicing within a hospital, surgical outpatient facility, or hospice.9 Nurse practitioners must have a Federal Drug Enforcement Administration registration in order to prescribe controlled substances.9 This registration must be completed through the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which can be done online.10

Michigan Nursing Associations

There are numerous nursing associations in Michigan that currently licensed and future nurses can join to find opportunities in continuing education, professional networking, and employment.

American Nurses Association Michigan

Michigan Association of School Nurses

Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners

Michigan Emergency Nurses Association

Michigan Nurses Association

Michigan Nursing Students Association

Michigan Nursing Salary

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants 51,490 $25,750
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses 18,460 $42,600
Registered Nurses 90,540 $64,430
Nurse Practitioners 2,260 $86,910

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

References:
1. Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: Nursing Education Programs
2. Michigan Department of Consumer & Industry Services: Director’s Office, Board of Nursing General Rules
3. Michigan Board of Nursing: Practical Nurse Examination Application Packet
4. Michigan State Police: Private Live Scan Vendors
5. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
6. Michigan Board of Nursing: Nursing NCLEX Examination
7. Michigan Board of Nursing: Application for Registered Nurse License
8. Michigan Board of Nursing: Nurse Specialty Application Packet
9. Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: MAPS Information for Prescribers and Dispensing Practitioners
10. US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration: Application for Registration Under Controlled Substance Act of 1970