Alabama Nursing License Requirements
The practice of nursing in Alabama is overseen by the Alabama Board of Nursing, which is responsible for assuring the health and welfare of Alabama citizens by promoting and regulating the qualifications of nurses to practice in the state. There are several categories of practice for nurses in Alabama, all of which require specific education and experience to attain. Licensed practical nurses do not need a degree but do need to complete an approved training program. Registered nurses in Alabama must have an education specific to registered nursing and may provide professional nursing care under appropriate supervision. Certified registered nurse practitioners in Alabama must have an education at the master’s level or above and can provide advanced nursing care in collaboration with a licensed physician. This page will provide further information on how to obtain licensing as a registered nurse or Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner in Alabama.
» 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 Alabama
1. Complete an Approved Licensed Practical Nursing Program.
The postsecondary program that a prospective licensed practical nurse completes in order to obtain licensure must be approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing. Candidates can view all approved licensed practical nursing programs as well as provisionally approved programs on the website of the Alabama Board of Nursing.1 Candidates from out of state, or those who wish to study licensed practical nursing out of state, may be able to obtain approval for the program completed if that program is substantially equivalent.1
2. Complete the Application to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse.
The Alabama Board of Nursing provides an online application for those ready to take the next step in obtaining licensure as a practical nurse.1 Note that all application fees are due at the time that the application is completed, and can be paid online via credit card.1 Alabama also requires prospective nurses to provide proof of citizenship or proof of legal ability to work in the United States. The United States Citizenship/Legal Presence Documents form should be completed by US citizens while those who are not US citizens but have authorization to work should complete the United States Citizenship/Legal Presence Documents for non-citizens form.1 The completed form should be mailed to:
Citizenship Licensing Specialist
Alabama Board of Nursing
PO Box 303900
Montgomery, AL 36130-3900
The form may also be faxed to 334-293-5201.
3. If Applicable, Request a Temporary Permit.
Future nurses who have graduated from an approved education program but have not yet received licensure may request a temporary permit to practice nursing from the Alabama Board of Nursing. If approved, the prospective nurse may provide nursing services as a Nursing Graduate under the direct supervision of a licensed nurse who is physically present during work hours. Permits may be used for up to 90 days following issuance, but may not be renewed.1
4. Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.
The Alabama Board of Nursing recommends that the application for licensure and the application to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) be completed on the same day to ensure proper processing.1 As with the application for licensure, the application to take the NCLEX-PN is completed online, with fees due at the time of submission.1
Following review of the applications for licensure and to test, the Alabama Board of Nursing will notify the NCLEX-PN test administrator, Pearson/VUE, of the applicant’s eligibility to take the exam. This authorization is a prerequisite to attempting the NCLEX-PN.1 After receiving authorization the candidate may schedule his or her exam date. Exam results will be recorded as Pass/Fail for purposes of licensure by the Alabama Board of Nursing.1
5 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Alabama
1. Complete an Approved Registered Nursing Program.
Candidates must complete a registered nursing program approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing in order to become eligible for licensing as a registered nurse. A full list of approved and provisionally approved programs is available on the Alabama Board of Nursing website.1 Substantially equivalent programs in other states may also be acceptable.1
2. Apply for a Temporary Permit, If Desired.
Alabama allows prospective nurses who have graduated from a nursing program who have yet to request a temporary permit to practice as a Nursing Graduate. This permit allows nurses to practice under the supervision of a licensed registered nurse who is physically present in the facility while the Nursing Graduate is working. Each temporary permit is valid for 90 days after issuance and may not be renewed.1
3. Apply for a Registered Nurse License.
The application to become a registered nurse is completed on the Alabama Board of Nursing website.1 In addition to the application, the Alabama Board of Nursing also requires that applicants for a nursing license submit proof of citizenship or for non-citizens, proof of eligibility to work in the United States. US citizens should submit a completed United States Citizenship/Legal Presence Documents form for citizens while non-citizens should complete the United States Citizenship/Legal Presence Documents form for non-citizens form.1 The completed form should be mailed to:
Citizenship Licensing Specialist
Alabama Board of Nursing
PO Box 303900
Montgomery, AL 36130-3900
Alternatively, the form may be faxed to 334-293-5201.
4. Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.
Applicants should submit the application to become a registered nurse and apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) on the same day.1 The application to take the NCLEX can be completed entirely online through the Alabama Board of Nursing website.1 Note that the NCLEX registration fee is due at the time that the application is submitted.
The Alabama Board of Nursing will review the application to practice as a registered nurse and then give notification to Pearson/VUE, the NCLEX test administrator, that the applicant is eligible to test. This Authorization to Test must be received by Pearson/VUE before the exam can be attempted.1 The candidate may then register with Pearson/VUE for an exam date and time. The candidate’s score on the NCLEX is recorded as Pass/Fail by the Alabama Board of Nursing.1
5. Apply for Approval for Practice Beyond Basic Nursing Educational Preparation.
If desired, registered nurses may request the permission of the Alabama Board of Nursing to perform standardized procedures that fall outside basic nursing educational preparation by filling out the Application for Approval: Standardized Procedure for Practice Beyond Basic Nursing Educational Preparation.1 The completed form must outline the procedures to be done, an outline of the preparation program and qualifications of the overseeing supervisor, and plans for clinical practice and competence assessments. The Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Medical Officer, and Chief Executive Officer of the facility where the nurse is to practice the procedure must all sign the approval form, which should be sent to the Alabama Board of Nursing with all supporting documentation.
Registered nurses may also pursue specialized practice as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) by completing an educational program that follows the guidelines of the International Association of Forensic Nurses Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Education Guidelines.1
4 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Alabama
1. Become a Registered Nurse.
Alabama requires that prospective Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs) first achieve active licensure as a registered nurse.1 The license should be unencumbered, although the Alabama Board of Nursing may approve applicants with an encumbered license at its discretion. See the section above for the steps to become a registered nurse in Alabama.
2. Complete A Master’s Degree in Advanced Practice Nursing.
Licensure as a CRNP is contingent upon the applicant completing a master’s degree program for nurse practitioners. The master’s program must provide clinical and theoretical competence as well as clinical learning experiences in an organized plan of study.1 The master’s program must also be accredited by an organization that the US Department of Education recognizes as an accrediting body.1
3. Obtain Advanced Practice Specialty Certification.
Prospective CRNPs in Alabama must obtain certification as registered nurse practitioners from a nationally certifying agency approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing.1 The verification of certification should be sent directly to the Alabama Board of Nursing.
CRNPs may also request provisional approval to practice from the Alabama Board of Nursing before attempting the national certification exam.1 If approval is granted, prospective CRNPs may practice under the title of Graduate Registered Nurse Practitioner under the direct supervision of a collaborating physician or a licensed CRNP.1 Provisional approval may be granted for up to one year.1
4. Apply for A License to Practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner.
The application for Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners is completed online at the Alabama Board of Nursing website. Applicants should have all necessary information at hand prior to starting the application, including the current registered nurse license number to begin the application process. Official transcripts from the master’s degree program should be forwarded directly to the Alabama Board of Nursing from the school at which the program was completed.
To be eligible for licensure, CRNPs in Alabama are required to engage in and submit to the Alabama Board of Nursing a collaborative practice agreement with a qualified physician.1 No CRNP may practice outside of the established agreement. A CRNP may also request prescribing authority for drugs that are not on the controlled schedule of drugs provided that the CRNP and collaborating physician meet the requirements for issuance of prescriptions by a CRNP outlined in the Alabama Administrative Code.1
Alabama Nursing Associations
The following nursing associations provide great resources for professional networking, employment opportunities, and continuing education.
- Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists
- Alabama Association of Nursing Students
- Alabama Association of School Nurses
- Alabama State Nurses Association
- North Alabama Nurse Practitioner Association
Alabama Nursing Salary
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses||13,030||$36,300|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2016.2,3,4,5
1. Alabama Board of Nursing: https://www.abn.alabama.gov/
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Nursing Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes311014.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Registered Nurses: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Nurse Practitioners: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm