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New Hampshire Nursing License Requirements

Practical nurses, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners in New Hampshire are licensed and overseen by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. To ensure quality of care, all licensed nurses must begin their career by obtaining an appropriate education in nursing. This page will help you determine the next steps to take to become licensed as a practical nurse, registered nurse, or nurse practitioner in New Hampshire. To learn more, select 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 New Hampshire

1. Earn a Diploma or Degree in Practical Nursing.

Candidates for practical nurse licensure must earn a diploma or degree from a program in practical nursing.1 Such a program must meet all requirements for taking the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.1 The New Hampshire Board of Nursing approves schools that meet these requirements within the state of New Hampshire.2 A list of nurse education programs in New Hampshire as well as National Council Licensure Examination results from graduates are available on the New Hampshire Board of Nursing website.2

2. Complete a Criminal Background Check.

A criminal background check is required for practical nurse licensure in New Hampshire.3 The New Hampshire Board of Nursing Record Information Authorization form should be completed by the applicant and notarized to allow the New Hampshire Board of Nursing to receive criminal history information.3 Applicants must contact the New Hampshire Board of Nursing for the required fingerprint cards and have fingerprints taken by an authorized New Hampshire law enforcement agency; note that the New Hampshire Board of Nursing will only accept criminal record reports furnished by the New Hampshire State Police.3 Note also that the background check process can take up to eight weeks.3

3. Submit the Application for New Hampshire Nursing License by Examination.

Prospective practical nurses should complete the Application for New Hampshire Nursing License by Examination to begin the licensing process.3 Applicants should request an official transcript be sent to the New Hampshire Board of Nursing from the nursing program graduated.3 Applicants who are in a registered nursing program but taking the licensed practical nursing National Council Licensure Examination must also request that the director of the nursing program complete a Nursing Courses Successfully Completed Verification form.3 The application should also be supported by a completed Declaration of Primary State of Residence form, as well as a copy of a current state or government issued photo ID.4

Applicants may request a temporary permit by submitting the Application for Temporary license included in the application packet; however, an application for permanent licensure must be on file with the New Hampshire Board of Nursing in order for a temporary permit to be issued.3 Once issued, a temporary permit is valid as long as the permanent application is in active, pending status.3

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

All licensed practical nurses in New Hampshire must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). The New Hampshire Board of Nursing has contracted Pearson VUE, a testing service, to administer and score the NCLEX-PN.3 Applicants should register for the NCLEX-PN on the Pearson VUE website.5 Following review of the application and registration materials the New Hampshire Board of Nursing will issue an Authorization to Test which allows the applicant to schedule and take the NCLEX-PN.3

Test results are typically available within 48 hours of the exam and can be verified, along with license status, at the New Hampshire Online Licensing Verification site.3,6 Applicants who are not successful may attempt the exam up to five times; however, a lifetime maximum of five attempts is permitted before the candidate is made ineligible for licensure.1 Note also that the NCLEX-PN must be taken within four years of graduating from a nursing program.1

4 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in New Hampshire

1. Earn a Diploma or Degree in Registered Nursing.

Registered nurses in New Hampshire must hold a diploma or degree in nursing in order to become licensed.1 To be acceptable, the program must meet the education requirements for sitting for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.1 Schools in New Hampshire that meet these requirements are approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing.2 Information on approved schools and pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination posted by graduates can be accessed on the New Hampshire Board of Nursing website.2

2. Complete a Criminal Background Check.

Prospective registered nurses in New Hampshire must complete a criminal background check to be issued a license.3 The background check is completed by requesting a fingerprint card from the New Hampshire Board of Nursing and completing the Record Information Authorization form.3 Note that the Record Information Authorization form must be notarized.3 Fingerprint impressions must be done by a New Hampshire law enforcement agency; only fingerprint cards and records checks processed by the New Hampshire State Police will be accepted.3 Candidates should be aware that processing times on the background check can take up to eight weeks.3

3. Submit the Application for New Hampshire Nursing License by Examination.

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing provides the Application for New Hampshire Nursing License by Examination for registered nurse applicants.3 Along with this completed form, candidates for licensure should provide a Primary State of Residence form to declare New Hampshire residency, which should be accompanied by a copy of a current photo ID issued by a state or government agency.4 Applicants must request that the nursing program graduated send official transcripts to the New Hampshire Board of Nursing directly.3 In addition, the director of the nursing program should complete and submit a Nursing Courses Successfully Completed verification form if the applicant is a master’s degree student.3

A temporary permit may be requested by completing the Application for Temporary license included in the application packet.3 Note that a temporary permit cannot be issued unless the New Hampshire Board of Nursing has an application for permanent licensure on file.3 Once issued, a temporary permit is valid as long as the permanent application is in active, pending status.3

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

Achieving a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is the final step to licensure in New Hampshire. Pearson VUE, a third party testing service, administers and scores the NCLEX-RN on behalf of the New Hampshire Board of Nursing.3 Therefore, applicants must use the Pearson VUE website to register for the exam.5 Once the application and registration have been reviewed, an Authorization to Test will be issued by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing for the applicant to take the exam.3

Exam results are usually available within 48 hours of testing and can be viewed, along with license status, on the New Hampshire Online Licensing Verification site.3,6 Note that the NCLEX-RN must be attempted within four years of graduating from a nursing program, and that a lifetime maximum of five attempts at the exam are permitted in order to qualify for New Hampshire licensure.1

6 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in New Hampshire

1. Obtain Licensure as a Registered Nurse.

Nurse practitioners who wish to obtain licensure in New Hampshire must first earn a license in registered nursing.1 The initial license may be held in New Hampshire or in a compact state as a multi-state license.1 Prospective nurse practitioners must therefore complete a registered nursing education program and pass the NCLEX-RN.

2. Complete a Master’s Program in Advanced Practice Nursing.

Nurse practitioners in New Hampshire must hold a graduate or post-master’s degree in nursing.1 The program must include a minimum of 225 hours of theoretical nursing content and 480 hours of clinical practice, to include preceptorship and pharmacological interventions.1 The program should be recognized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.1 Note that the pharmacological interventions courses are required as prescriptive authority in New Hampshire is part of the basic licensing process.1

3. Obtain National Certification as a Nurse Practitioner.

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing requires prospective nurse practitioners to hold national certification from a certifying body recognized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.1 A list of recognized associations is available on the New Hampshire Board of Nursing website.7 Certification must be kept active and current as long as an individual is licensed as a nurse practitioner.7

4. Complete a Criminal History Background Check.

Nurse practitioners seeking licensure must complete a criminal background check to be issued a license.8 Prospective nurse practitioners should request a fingerprint card from the New Hampshire Board of Nursing and complete the Record Information Authorization form, which must be notarized.8 Note that the New Hampshire Board of Nursing will not recognize fingerprint impressions or records checks completed by agencies other than the New Hampshire State Police.8 Candidates should be aware that processing times on the background check can take up to eight weeks.8

5. Submit the Application for License: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.

All sections of the Application for License: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse form must be completed and submitted to the New Hampshire Board of Nursing in order to receive a nurse practitioner license.8 Candidates should request that the master’s or post-master’s degree program completed send official transcripts directly to the New Hampshire Board of Nursing.8 The Declaration of Primary State of Residence form should also be completed and submitted, along with a copy of a current photo ID issued by a government or state agency.8

6. Request a Temporary Nurse Practitioner Permit, If Desired.

A temporary permit may be issued to applicants who show evidence that a national certifying examination has been scheduled but not yet taken.1 To request a permit, candidates should complete the Application for Temporary APRN License form.9 The application must also be signed by a licensed oversight advanced practice nurse.9 Note that a permanent license application must be submitted in order for a temporary license application to be considered.9 If issued, a temporary permit is valid for either 120 days or until the applicant receives notification of exam results that show an unsuccessful attempt at passing the exam.1 Once a candidate with a temporary permit can demonstrate the successful passage of a national certifying exam, he or she may receive a nurse practitioner’s license in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Nursing Associations

Prospective and currently licensed nurses in New Hampshire may wish to join a state nursing association to participate in networking opportunities, find employment openings, and access valuable resources like continuing education.

New Hampshire Nursing Salary

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants8,300$28,670
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses2,490$46,150
Registered Nurses12,530$63,920
Nurse Practitioners790$94,470

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

References:
1. State of New Hampshire Office of Legislative Services: Administrative Rules Nurse Practice Act
2. New Hampshire Board of Nursing: Educational Programs
3. New Hampshire Board of Nursing: Application for New Hampshire Nursing License by Examination
4. New Hampshire Board of Nursing: Declaration of Primary State of Residence
5. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Exam
6. New Hampshire Online Licensing
7. New Hampshire Board of Nursing: National Certification for APRNs
8. New Hampshire Board of Nursing: Application for License – Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
9. New Hampshire Board of Nursing: Application for Temporary APRN License