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Utah Nursing License Requirements

The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing is responsible for issuing initial and renewal licenses for nurses practicing in the state of Utah. The Utah state nurse licensure requirements exist to ensure the professional qualifications of nurses and to protect the public welfare, and include qualifications for education prior to licensure. Learn more about becoming a practical nurse, registered nurse, or nurse practitioner in Utah by reading 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)

5 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Utah

1. Attend a Program in Licensed Practical Nursing.

To qualify for a practical nursing license in Utah, applicants must have graduated from a program designed to prepare practical nurses for the profession. Such a program must hold accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc., or the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.1 Note that applicants for licensure are responsible for ensuring and proving that the program completed was appropriately accredited at the time of graduation.1 The Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing also grants approval to programs located in Utah that meet the education requirements; a list of these can be found on the Department’s website.2

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

Prospective practical nurses must register for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) prior to submitting the practical nurse application materials to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.1 Registration is completed through Pearson VUE, a third party testing company which also administers and scores the NCLEX-PN.3

3. Complete State and Federal Background Checks.

A state background check through the Bureau of Criminal Identification and a federal background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation are required to receive a practical nursing license in Utah.1 Prospective licensees may bring a completed application to the Salt Lake City office of the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing and have the fingerprints required for these background checks taken in person.1

If this is not an option due to distance, applicants may have fingerprint impressions rolled on Form FD-258, which can be provided by local law enforcement, the Bureau of Criminal Identification, or an agency authorized to take fingerprint impressions on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.1 Because a high rate of fingerprint impressions taken at other vendors are ultimately rejected, the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing recommends that candidates either visit the Salt Lake City office or an office of the Bureau of Criminal Identification.1

4. Submit the Application for Licensure.

The Application for Licensure for Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse should be completed and submitted to request initial licensure by examination in Utah.1 Note that the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing will not accept applications submitted more than six weeks prior to the expected graduation date from a practical nursing program.1 An official transcript bearing the school seal of the program graduated which states the graduation date and degree earned must be sent directly from the program graduated to the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing.1 Generally, applications can be processed in between seven and 21 days if all materials are received completed and in a timely manner.1

5. Earn a Passing Score on the NCLEX-PN.

After application materials have been reviewed, including the results of the required background checks, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing will make the licensure candidate eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN.1 The eligibility is established through an Authorization to Test Letter, which can then be used to schedule the examination attempt through Pearson VUE.1 Scores are typically available within one to two weeks of the examination attempt; a paper license will be mailed to successful applicants.1 Unsuccessful applicants will receive a summary of the exam results which can be used to guide study for a second attempt at the exam.1 Unsuccessful applicants must apply to re-take the exam through Pearson VUE using the typical registration procedure, and also apply through the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing using the Intent to Retake the NCLEX Examination form.4

5 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Utah

1. Earn a Degree in Nursing.

Prospective Utah registered nurses should plan their education to meet the Utah requirements for licensure qualification. Applicants who attend a nursing school in state may wish to consider a program that has been approved by the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing, a list of which is provided on the Department website.2 Programs that are not approved by the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing must hold accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc., or the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs to qualify graduates for Utah licensure.1 It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that the program completed holds the requisite approval or accreditation.1

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

The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing requests that applicants for first-time licensure register for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before submitting the licensure application, as this helps to streamline the licensing process.1 Applicants register for the NCLEX-RN through Pearson VUE, a third party firm that delivers and scores the NCLEX-RN on behalf of the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.3

3. Complete State and Federal Background Checks.

All first-time applicants for nurse licensure in Utah must complete a Bureau of Criminal Identification state background check as well as a Federal Bureau of Investigation federal background check to qualify for a license.1 Those living within a reasonable distance from the Salt Lake City offices of the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing have the option of bringing a completed application form to the office in person to have fingerprint impressions for both background checks completed.1

For candidates for whom this is not an option, fingerprint impressions may be rolled by local law enforcement, local offices of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or agencies authorized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take fingerprint impressions.1 Note that Form FD-258 should be available and used for the fingerprints at any of these locations.1 As the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing finds that a high number of fingerprint impressions taken at other vendors are rejected each year, it is recommended that applicants use either its Salt Lake City office or an office of the Bureau of Criminal Identification for the fingerprint impressions.1

4. Submit the Application for Licensure.

The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing provides the Application for Licensure for Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse for first time registered nurse applicants by examination.1 Prospective registered nurses should note that while it is possible to apply for a license prior to graduating from a nursing program, applications submitted more than six weeks before the expected graduation date will not be accepted.1 In addition to the application, candidates must request that the program from which they graduated provide an official transcript with the school seal printed with the graduation date and degree earned directly to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.1 Generally, applications can be processed in between seven and 21 days if all materials are received completed and in a timely manner.1

5. Earn a Passing Score on the NCLEX-RN.

Following review of the application materials and required background checks, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing will make the licensure candidate eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN.1 Eligible candidates will receive an Authorization to Test Letter which allows scheduling and attempt at the NCLEX-RN through Pearson VUE.1 Release of scores is typically completed within one to two weeks of the examination; those who pass the examination will receive a paper license through the mail.1 Applicants who do not pass will receive by mail an exam result summary to guide study towards a future attempt at the NCLEX-RN.1 Applicants who did not pass must apply for a re-take through Pearson VUE as well as through the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing, using the Intent to Retake the NCLEX Examination form.4

6 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Utah

1. Obtain a Utah Registered Nurse License.

Nurse practitioners in Utah must have, or be eligible for, a registered nurse license in order to become a nurse practitioner.5 This requires applicants to complete an approved education in registered nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN.

2. Earn a Graduate Degree in Advanced Practice Nursing.

All nurse practitioners in Utah must have a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing in order to be eligible for licensure.6 The program should be accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.7 Programs that are located outside of the state of Utah but hold the approval of the board of nursing for the state in which the school is located may also be acceptable.7 Coursework in health assessment, diagnosis and treatment, and pharmacotherapeutics must be completed as part of the degree program to qualify graduates for licensure.5

3. Obtain National Certification Through Examination by a Recognized Organization.

National certification through examination is an important prerequisite for nurse practitioners in Utah. A list of qualifying examinations recognized by the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing as appropriate for the purpose of nurse practitioner licensure can be found in The Nurse Practice Act Rule.7

4. Complete State and Federal Background Checks for Licensure.

Nurse practitioners must complete a state background check through the Bureau of Criminal Investigation as well as a federal background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation in order to be eligible for Utah licensure.5 For candidates living within a convenient distance of Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake City offices of the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing offer fingerprint impressions for the background checks to candidates who bring in completed applications in person.5

Candidates who do not find this to be an option may have fingerprint impressions for the background checks completed through local law enforcement, local offices of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or agencies authorized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take fingerprint impressions.5 Applicants should be aware that regardless of the source, fingerprint impressions should be taken on Form FD-258.5 Due to a traditionally high number of rejected fingerprints from a number of fingerprint impression vendors, the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing recommends the use of either its Salt Lake City office or an office of the Bureau of Criminal Identification for the fingerprint impressions.5

5. Submit the Application for Licensure as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.

Prospective Utah nurse practitioners should complete the Application for Licensure as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse to begin the licensing process.5 The application must be accompanied by proof of national certification issued by the certifying organization as well as official graduate transcripts forwarded to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing by the degree program.5

Note that prospective nurse practitioners who have not yet taken a national qualifying examination may request an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Intern license.5 Such a license allows the nurse practitioner to practice under supervision, but not dispense or prescribe controlled substances, pending examination.5 If such a permit is desired, applicants may fill out the appropriate portion of the APRN Intern License Request form included in the application materials.5 Note that an intern license may only be requested if all application materials, including the application for full licensure, are submitted.5

6. Request Prescriptive Authority for Controlled Substances, If Desired.

Nurse practitioners in Utah may apply for and receive prescriptive authority under a Utah Controlled Substance License. This application may be completed at the same time that the initial application for licensure is submitted.5 Candidates who wish to obtain this authority must complete the “take home” Utah Controlled Substances Law and Rules Examination, which is included in the application materials for licensure, and submit this with the license request as well as the additional required fees for controlled substance licensure.5 After Utah Controlled Substance License is issued, nurse practitioners must also register with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) before prescribing, dispensing, or administering controlled substances.8 Nurse practitioners who intend to prescribe Schedule II-III Controlled Substances must work in collaboration with a consulting physician and keep an updated Consultation and Referral Plan on site at the primary work location.5

Utah Nursing Associations

Membership in one or more of the nursing associations of Utah can provide current and future nurses with access to employment opportunities, professional networking, and education.

Utah Nursing Salary

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants 10,110 $23,000
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses 2,410 $39,380
Registered Nurses 17,920 $59,810
Nurse Practitioners 1,670 $83,880

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

References:
1. State of Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing: Application for Licensure Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse
2. State of Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing: Approved Utah Nursing Education Programs
3. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
4. State of Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing: Instructions to Retake the NCLEX Examination
5. State of Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing: Application for Licensure Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
6. State of Utah Administrative Code R156-31b. Nurse Practice Act Rule
7. State of Utah Administrative Code: Nurse Practice Act
8. US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration: Application for Registration Under Controlled Substance Act of 1970