NDBON Seal Logo

Initial RN or LPN License by Exam  

Important Notice: If you have already applied for license by exam, please disregard this message.

If you plan to apply for license by exam and your graduation date is AFTER April 15, 2024, we respectfully request that you apply after April 15, 2024, due to implementation of a new licensing management system by our agency. Your assistance by waiting to apply for license by exam will ensure our agency may meet the timeline for completion of the transition without any interruptions in services.
Please note: Yahoo's email system blocks emails from entities that may send emails to multiple parties at once. Use of a Yahoo email account may prevent you from receiving important Board of Nursing emails related to your licensure.

To qualify for licensure by examination in the state of ND you must have:

  1. A US Social Security Number
  2. Completed a program preparing you for the level of licensure sought:
  • a board approved in-state nursing education program; or
  • an out-of-state nursing education program that meets the following requirements:
    • Is approved by another board of nursing; and
    • Includes supervised clinical experience across the life span as part of the curriculum and is equivalent in amount and time to the ND Board of Nursing approved programs.

Click here for Graduates of an International Nursing Education Programs Eligibility to Test

You are not eligible for licensure in ND if your primary state of residence is another state that belongs to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).  "Primary state of residence" is the state a nurse refers to as their "home state" under the NLC.  This means that it is your "declared fixed permanent and principal home for legal purposes".  For more information on the Nurse Licensure Compact and for a list of states belonging to the compact see: https://www.nursecompact.com/

To Apply 

If you have not taken an RN/LPN licensing examination and wish to have North Dakota as your original state of licensure complete the following:

  1. Official Transcripts
  • Upon completion of your nursing program, you must request your college to send the official transcript of your grades with the degree posted directly to the Board of Nursing office. Copies of transcripts sent by applicants or faxed transcripts will not be accepted. 
  1. Register with NCLEX Candidate Services for testing
  • Register at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex or phone 1-866-496-2539 ($200 fee required). 
  • NCLEX Candidate Services will notify the Board when you have registered with them.
  • If you need to change your appointment, you must contact NCLEX Candidate Services one full business day (24 hours) prior to your scheduled appointment.
  1. Complete the online Initial RN/LPN Exam Application below
  • You will be prompted to pay at the end of this online application via credit or debit card.  The non-refundable initial exam/processing fee is $145.  A receipt will display when your application has been submitted.    
  1. Complete a Criminal History Record Check (CHRC) for the ND Board of Nursing. 

Authorization to Test

NCLEX Candidate Services will e-mail you an Authorization to Test (ATT) when:

Track the Progress of your Application

Track the progress of your application in the  "Application Status" section of this site. 

  • Items without dates next to them have not been received in the Board office yet.

Work Authorization

A Work Authorization will be issued when you have completed the items listed under Authorization to Test above. 

  • Work Authorizations are only posted online in the Verify section of this site.  There will be no paper Work Authorizations issued.
  • The candidate who has applied to write the licensing examination must have a "Work Authorization" from the Board of Nursing to attend orientation or practice as a graduate nurse. The board considers orientation to be nursing practice.
  • The Work Authorization is valid for 90 days after the date of issue or upon notification of the NCLEX test results, whichever occurs first.
  • A Work Authorization for license by examination will remain effective if the applicant has passed the NCLEX, but the criminal history record check results are still pending.
  • A Work Authorization is valid only for North Dakota employment, is nonrenewable and available only to graduates who complete application for licensure within 60 days of graduation.

View Guidelines for Employment of Graduate Nurses before Licensure here

Full Licensure

To receive a full license the following must be received and approved in the Board Office:  

  • The online Initial RN/LPN Exam Application and fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Passing Results from NCLEX
  • Clear or approved criminal history record check 

Once all of the above are received in our office and approved, allow up to three (3) business days for full licensure to be issued.  Applicants for initial licensure by examination shall receive a license expiring December 31 of the following year as part of the application fee.  All licenses are posted online in the Verify section of this site. 

Keep all demographic (name, address, phone number, email address) changes updated with the Board Office - click here to reach the Demographic Update section.