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North Dakota Nursing License Requirements

The state of North Dakota, through the North Dakota Board of Nursing, recognizes and licenses several practice areas of nursing including practical nursing, registered nursing, and nurse practitioners. All nurses begin the road to licensure by obtaining an education in nursing, which may range from a certificate program to a graduate degree. Learn how to become a practical nurse, registered nurse, or nurse practitioner in North Dakota by selecting one of the categories 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 North Dakota

1. Complete an Approved Program in Practical Nursing.

To be eligible for licensure in North Dakota, practical nurses must complete either an associate’s degree or certificate program in nursing.1 If located in the state of North Dakota, that program should hold the approval of the North Dakota Board of Nursing to qualify graduates for licensure.1 Out of state programs may qualify provided the program is approved by another board of nursing or is clinically and educationally equivalent to approved programs in North Dakota.2 A list of approved associate’s degree and certificate programs is available on the North Dakota Board of Nursing website.1

2. Submit the Application for Licensure by Examination Online.

The North Dakota Board of Nursing uses an online application for initial licensure by examination.2 Note that to be eligible for initial licensure in North Dakota, candidates must have primary residence in North Dakota.2 In addition to the online application, candidates must request that official transcripts be sent from the program graduated directly to the North Dakota Board of Nursing.2 Candidates who are deemed eligible for licensure by examination within sixty days of graduation from an approved program will be issued a work authorization, which is valid for 90 days.2 Confirmation of the work authorization is available online only.2

3. Complete a Criminal History Record Check.

A criminal history record check is required for nurse licensure in North Dakota.2 Candidates may elect to complete the record check either electronically or using ink and roll fingerprint impressions; either method should be completed through local law enforcement.3 Physical fingerprint cards may be provided by local law enforcement.3 Fingerprints should be accompanied by a completed Criminal History Record Check form as provided by the North Dakota Board of Nursing.4 Candidates should forward the fingerprints and form, along with the required fees, to the North Dakota Board of Nursing for processing.3

4. Complete National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses Registration and Testing.

The North Dakota Board of Nursing uses Pearson VUE, a third party testing service, to administer the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).2 Candidates must register for the exam through Pearson VUE.5
Applicants who do not pass the NCLEX-PN may re-test by requesting re-test eligibility from the North Dakota Board of Nursing.6 Re-test eligibility is requested through an online application; applicants who apply to re-test within one year of the initial eligibility date are not required to pay North Dakota Board of Nursing additional testing fees, though fees may apply through Pearson VUE.6 Applicants who do pass the NCLEX-PN will be issued a practical nurse license.

4 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in North Dakota

1. Complete an Approved Program in Practical Nursing.

Prospective registered nurses in North Dakota begin the path to licensure by completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program in nursing.1 Programs in the state of North Dakota should be approved by the North Dakota Board of Nursing.1 Out of state programs can also qualify graduates for licensure if the program is approved by the appropriate nursing board or is considered equivalent to North Dakota approved programs based on clinical and educational content.1 Interested applicants can find a list of approved associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs through the North Dakota Board of Nursing.1

2. Submit the Application for Licensure by Examination Online.

Applications for initial licensure should be completed online through the North Dakota Board of Nursing.2 To be eligible for first-time North Dakota licensure, candidates must have primary residency in North Dakota.2 Candidates must have official transcripts sent from the school of nursing attended to the North Dakota Board of Nursing.2 Those who have graduated an approved nursing program within the sixty days prior to being declared eligible for licensure will receive a 90 day work authorization.2 If issued, the 90 day work authorization is available to check online, and will not be sent by mail.2

3. Complete a Criminal History Record Check.

Prospective registered nurses must undergo a North Dakota criminal history record check to obtain licensure.2 This criminal history record check is completed through law enforcement, and may be done either electronically or using traditional ink and roll impressions.3 The physical fingerprint cards for an ink and roll impression may be provided by the law enforcement agency visited for fingerprinting.3 Applicants should be sure to include a completed Criminal History Record Check form with the fingerprints when these documents are returned to the North Dakota Board of Nursing for processing, along with the required fees.4

4. Complete National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses Registration and Testing.

A passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is required to obtain a registered nurse license in North Dakota.2 Pearson VUE, a third party test administrator, proctors the NCLEX-RN on behalf of the North Dakota Board of Nursing.2 Registration for the NCLEX-RN is therefore completed through Pearson VUE.5 Should an applicant not obtain a passing score on the initial attempt at the NCLEX-RN, a request for re-test eligibility can be submitted to the North Dakota Board of Nursing using the online application.6 Candidates who request re-test eligibility within one year of initial eligibility are not required to pay additional fees to the North Dakota Board of Nursing, though Pearson VUE exam fees may apply.6 Once a passing score on the NCLEX-RN is earned, a registered nurse license will be issued.

6 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in North Dakota

1. Become Licensed as a Registered Nurse in North Dakota or a Compact State.

Licensure as a registered nurse is a prerequisite to licensure as a nurse practitioner in North Dakota.7 The registered nurse license may be held in North Dakota or a compact state.7 As such, the path to becoming a North Dakota nurse practitioner begins with an education appropriate for registered nurse licensure and achieving a passing score on the NCLEX-RN.

2. Obtain a Graduate Degree in Nursing.

Nurse practitioners must complete a nursing education program at the graduate level through an accredited school to be eligible for licensure.7 The program should be specific to the practice of nurse practitioners and include at least one population focus.7 A list of graduate degree programs in North Dakota that have been approved by the North Dakota Board of Nursing is available on the Board website.1

3. Become Nationally Certified Through a Recognized Organization.

North Dakota nurse practitioner requirements hold that prospective nurse practitioners must be nationally certified through a recognized certifying body.7 The certification should be specific to the nurse practitioner role and the candidate’s population focus.7 Certification examinations that are recognized and acceptable are listed on the North Dakota Board of Nursing website.8

4. Complete the Initial Application for Advanced Practice Licensure.

The North Dakota Board of Nursing provides the Initial Advanced Practice Application With or Without Prescriptive Authority for prospective nurse practitioners to apply for licensure.9 This form must be completed in its entirety and supported by official transcripts from the education program completed, sent directly from the program to the North Dakota Board of Nursing.9

Nurse practitioner candidates may be eligible to receive a temporary practice permit if the candidate has registered for the next available certification examination in his or her specialty area as a first-time candidate or is awaiting results.7 All other licensure requirements must have been met for a temporary permit to be issued.7 Note that temporary permits do not grant prescriptive authority.7 Candidates may request a temporary permit by marking the appropriate box on the first page of the application form.9

Nurse practitioners may elect to apply for prescriptive authority at the time of initial licensure or following the issuance of a nurse practitioner license. In either case, candidates for prescriptive authority must have completed an acceptable curriculum in advanced pharmacotherapy, physical assessment, and pathophysiology of at least thirty contact hours within three years of the application.7 Prescriptive authority includes authority to prescribe and dispense controlled substances, although controlled substances also require registration with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).10 Nurses who request prescriptive authority after initial application may use the Initial Prescriptive Authority Application in lieu of the original licensure form.11

5. Complete a Criminal History Record Check.

The North Dakota Board of Nursing requires that prospective nurse practitioners undergo a criminal history record check.9 This check may be completed electronically or with the ink and roll fingerprint impression method through local law enforcement.3 The North Dakota Board of Nursing will accept fingerprint cards provided by law enforcement agencies.3 Completed fingerprint cards, or if applicable electronic fingerprint impressions, should be forwarded to the North Dakota Board of Nursing along with a completed Criminal History Record Check form for processing.4

6. Submit Scope of Practice Guidelines for Approval.

North Dakota requires nurse practitioners to submit a scope of practice statement to the North Dakota Board of Nursing, which must be approved prior to the nurse practitioner beginning practice.7 Scope of practice changes must be sent to the North Dakota Board of Nursing within five working days, and a statement of such must be forwarded within sixty days of the date the change takes place.7

North Dakota Nursing Associations

Joining a nursing association in North Dakota can provide future and currently practicing nurses with opportunities for employment, networking, and education.

North Dakota Nursing Salary

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants6,550$27,530
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses3,280$37,900
Registered Nurses7,580$53,520
Nurse Practitioners500$85,480

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

References:
1. North Dakota Board of Nursing: Board Approved Programs of Nursing
2. North Dakota Board of Nursing: Application for Licensure by Examination
3. North Dakota Board of Nursing: Criminal History Record Check
4. North Dakota Board of Nursing: Criminal History Record Check Form
5. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
6. North Dakota Board of Nursing: Application to Retest/Request for Eligibility to Retest
7. North Dakota Administrative Rules and Regulations Chapter 54-05-03.1: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
8. North Dakota Board of Nursing: Advanced Practice Certification Examinations Recognized by the ND Board of Nursing
9. North Dakota Board of Nursing: Initial Advanced Practice Application with or without Prescriptive Authority
10. US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration: Application for Registration Under Controlled Substance Act of 1970
11. North Dakota Board of Nursing: Initial Prescriptive Authority Application