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Important Update: Licensing System Now Live

The North Dakota Board of Nursing is excited to announce that our new licensing system is now live. You can access the system by clicking "Nurse Portal" in the below navigation bar. Learn more by reading our news release at: https://www.ndbon.org/article.asp?id=190.

License by Examination FAQ

Application Processing

When am I made “Eligible for Licensure by Examination”?

In order to be made eligible to test AND be issued a work authorization to practice as a graduate nurse, the following must be received in the board office:

  • On-line application for license by examination and nonrefundable fee payable by credit or debit card;
  • Official transcripts from nursing program with the degree posted; and
  • Registration with NCLEX Candidates Services for testing (fee required is listed on their website)

What do I do if I have a name or address change?

Address and name changes can be made on this website in the Demographic Updates section.

What are the payment options and what do I do if I do not have a credit card or debit card?

You may use a Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit or debit cards.  If you do not have a credit card or debit card you can purchase a Visa, MasterCard or Discover gift card at many banks or credit unions or at discount stores such as Walmart or CVS Pharmacy for the purpose of paying for the on-line application.  

What if I am claiming another compact state as my primary state of residence?

If you claim another compact state as your primary state of residence, you will need to apply for license by examination in your primary state of residence.  If you change your primary state of residence at a later date, you can apply for license by endorsement in ND.  See https://www.nursecompact.com/ for a current list of compact states. 

Scheduling to Test

When can I schedule my appointment?

An Authorization to Test (ATT) is required to schedule your appointment.  Once you have been made eligible for licensure by examination by the Board of Nursing, your ATT will be e-mailed to you by Pearson Vue.

How long is the ATT valid?

The authorization to test is valid for 90 days. 

How soon will I be able to test?

You are guaranteed to be offered a testing date within 30 days of the time you call the Pearson Test Center.   If the test center offers a date within the 30 days and you decline that date, the test center has met their contractual obligation.  Please contact the Board office if you have any problems scheduling your test.

What happens if I need to reschedule?

If you need to change your appointment, you must contact NCLEX Candidate Services one full business day (24 hours) prior to your scheduled appointment.

Is there a practice test?

Yes, there is a tutorial available on the test vendor website at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex

Work Authorization & Practice as a Graduate Nurse

When do I get my Work authorization to practice as a graduate nurse?

Your work authorization will be issued when the ND Board of Nursing has made you eligible for licensure by examination, .  A paper work authorization will not be mailed.  Your work authorization number, issue date and expiration date will be posted on the Verify link.

When can I start working as a graduate nurse?

Your work authorization must be issued before you start practicing as a graduate nurse or attend any orientation sessions.   

How long is a work authorization valid?

The work authorization is valid for 90 days, or until you are notified of the test results, whichever occurs first. 

Can anyone get a work authorization?

You must complete the application for licensure process within 60 days of graduation to be eligible to receive a graduate nurse work authorization.

Will I receive a work authorization by mail?

No.  Work authorizations will be posted on our website for applicants and employers to access. 

Can a graduate from a nursing education program who receives a work authorization for license by examination continue to work as a UAP or LPN if they have a current registration/license for a UAP or LPN?

If the employer decides to retain the employee in a UAP or LPN nurse role they may do so.  The employer needs to verify permits, license, and registrations on the Board website under Verify.

Can I complete any orientation (including classroom instruction and reading policy and procedures) prior to receiving a nursing license, permit, or work authorization?

No. The Board reaffirmed the position in 2018, as adopted and reaffirmed in 1987 and 1998, that orientation to a position that requires a nursing license, permit, or work authorization is considered nursing practice and therefore requires that the individual be properly licensed or authorized to practice for the position to which they are being oriented.

Can I work on a nursing unit in a position other than as a licensed nurse?

If a nurse holds licensure in ND and chooses to work in a position other than nursing, and the job description does not include use of nursing knowledge, skills, and abilities, the individual is free to do so.  However, the individual could not claim those hours for nursing practice hours for purposes of maintaining eligibility for licensure. 

An individual applying for nurse licensure in ND must be authorized to practice nursing if hired in any nursing position that requires nursing knowledge, regardless of title.  This is done by obtaining a work authorization or permit.   

  • Exception: If the individual is licensed, registered or authorized to perform the work required in that position.   For example, a nurse who is registered as a certified nursing assistant may work in that role without having a license, permit or work authorization to practice nursing (October 25, 2018 motion).

Criminal History Record Check

How do I apply for a criminal history record check (CHRC)?

After you complete your application for licensure by examination, choose the Criminal History Record Check link . Print and complete the CHRC Form provided on the link and CAREFULLY follow the instructions for fingerprinting. 

How long does the fingerprinting process take?

Both federal and state checks will be performed.  If fingerprints are not adequate for identification purposes for BCI, new cards will be required for a second set of prints.   If the second set of prints are not adequate for identification purposes, a name search will be requested.  Processing time averages ten to 14 business days from the time your completed fingerprint card and fees are received in the Board office if first set of fingerprints are adequate.

Obtaining Results and Licensure

How soon will my results be available?

Your unofficial examination results are available through NCLEX Quick Results Service offered by the test service.  You can access your unofficial results via the internet at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex and sign in with a user name and password.  Choose “Current Activity”, then “Recent Appointments”, and then “Status”.  After entering a credit card number the unofficial results will be displayed.  The fee for this service will be listed on the website.  Your credit card will only be charged if your results are available.

The Board office makes every effort to notify you of your results via email within 48 hours of your testing.  DO NOT CALL the Board office for your test results; Board staff is unable to release them over the phone or to your employer.  If you pass, you will receive a license to practice as a nurse.

NOTE:  You can be made eligible to test for the NCLEX prior to Board receipt of CHRC.  However, your CHRC must be completed prior to your license being issued.   

Can I find out if I passed or failed using the Board’s website?

You can access the Board’s website to see if a license has been issued.  If a license is not showing for you, it does not necessarily mean that you’ve failed.  It is possible that a license has not yet been issued for you.  After the results have been processed, the license verification will show a license number if you passed, or the work authorization will be expired if you failed.  DO NOT CALL the board office for confirmation, Board staff cannot release pass/fail results by phone.   

Can I start practicing as a nurse once I received my unofficial results that I passed?

No.  You cannot start practicing as a nurse until you have been issued a license by the Board of Nursing.  Licenses can be viewed in the "Verify” section.

When will my license expire?

Applicants for initial license by examination shall receive a license expiring December 31 of the following year as part of the application fee. 

What if I fail?

If you fail, you will receive a diagnostic profile of your areas of weakness, and the required documents to submit for retesting.   You are eligible to retest 45 days after your original test date.  The retesting application can be submitted online prior to that date for processing.

Can I continue to work as a graduate nurse if I fail the NCLEX?

 No.  Your Graduate Work Authorization becomes invalid when you receive the examination results.  A candidate who fails the licensing examination may not be employed in a position with functions that are usually assigned to licensed nurses.  You are NOT able to continue to practice as a graduate nurse.


Approved 07/07
Reviewed/Revised 12/20

Page Updated: 4/13/2017 2:22:29 PM