The Alaska Board of Nursing licenses LPNs and RNs. Nurses who do their education within the state are licensed by examination upon completion of educational requirements. Some of the state’s future RN graduates should see their loans repaid, thanks to the newly funded SHARP II program.
Nurses who are already licensed in other jurisdictions may be licensed by endorsement. Alaska is not a nurse compact state. Wherever else a nurse may be licensed, that nurse still needs an Alaska nursing license to practice within the state.
Alaska conducts workforce surveys periodically during the license renewal period. Interested individuals can access these through the Board site is they want a better sense of the profession. They can find out what percentage of Alaska’s nurses are actively practicing, what their work settings and job roles are, and what their educational and career plans are. The National Nursing Database is a source of more current information when it comes to basic demographics. The NND reports that Alaska has 17,595 licensed nurses. That's 16,084 at the RN level and 1,511 at the PN level.
The Alaska Nurses Association (http://www.aknurse.org/) is an additional professional resource for the state’s nurses.
An LPN should enroll in a program that has been approved by the Board, accredited by the ACEN...formerly NLNAC, or is comparable (if located in another jurisdiction). In Alaska, there is one approved LPN program at the Alaska Vocational Technical Center. Students may stay in dormitories or family housing units while taking nursing classes.
Before pursuing education as an LPN, an individual must be certified as a nursing assistant (NA). AVTEC requires prospective nurses to complete certain prerequisite courses and score at the 12th grade level on the TABE test. They must also have a background check, be current on vaccinations, and be able to lift 50 lbs. Learn more about the preparation and educational process at "LPN Programs in Alaska."
Later the candidate will apply to take the NCLEX-PN exam and earn a license in practical nursing. The application packet can be downloaded from the Board site (http://www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/pnur1.htm). A passport-style photo is to be attached to the application.
The applicant must pay a total of $284, or $334 if the candidate is under a tight deadline and seeks to work under a temporary permit. An LPN may practice for up to six months under a temporary permit or until such point as the candidate receives notification of NCLEX-PN results. The candidate may register with the testing company and pay exam fees at any point along the way. Exam information can be found on the Pearson site (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex/).
Although a candidate can schedule an exam at their convenience, it is important to remember that the process takes a little time. Before the candidate can schedule an exam, the candidate will need to receive authorization to test. (Temporary permits are not issued to candidates who have failed an examination attempt or not taken an exam for which they were scheduled.)
The endorsement route (license without examination) is for candidates with current, active licensing in another U.S. jurisdiction, and in a limited number of cases, for Canadian nurses. There is a separate licensure packet for endorsement candidates (http://www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/pub/nur4014.pdf). Candidates should make sure they have the most current version.
Endorsement candidates must demonstrate continuing competency. 320 hours of nursing practice in the preceding two years is sufficient for meeting this requirement.
An endorsement applicant may provide a certified true copy of the license. A notary will be required. Employment verification can be found in the licensure packet. License verification forms -- to be sent to the state of licensing -- are also found in the packet. In many cases, license verification can be done online at http://www.nursys.com.
Nurses educated in countries other than the U.S. or Canada should have their coursework evaluated by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. They must also take and pass the TOEFL or IELTS to demonstrate English competency.
A person may qualify for an RN license by completing an associate, diploma, or baccalaureate program that is board approved, CCNE- or ACEN/NLNAC- accredited or very similar. There is just one program located in the state. The University of Alaska-Anchorage has associate's and bachelor's level RN programs. In order to serve Alaska's rural population, courses are available via distance learning. The program can be completed at any of 13 locations (http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/schoolofnursing/outreach/index.cfm). Outstanding students can compete for the school’s nursing scholarships.
If you would like more information about the RN programs in Alaska, please read "Choosing an RN Program in Alaska."
Prior to applying to the Board, a candidate should have a passport-style photograph made – this will be attached to the application (http://www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/pnur1.htm). The candidate will need to have fingerprints made on either the Board’s card (which can be requested via the website) or card FD 258 (which is available at a number of agencies that do fingerprinting).
A candidate for RN should submit a $284 fee for application, fingerprint based background check, and initial licensing fee. ($50 is nonrefundable and goes toward the processing of the application.) Education will ultimately be verified by two documents: The nursing program will send verification that requirements have been met. The candidate will later be responsible for having an official transcript sent; it must show the degree and the date conferred.
The candidate should submit an additional $50 if seeking a temporary permit (for a total of $334).It is not necessary to have the official transcript yet; the program verification will be adequate at this stage.
The permit is good for up to six months. During this time, the candidate must take and pass the NCLEX-RN. The temporary permit ceases to be valid in the event a candidate fails.
In addition to applying to the Board, candidates will need to register with the testing company, Pearson. The Arkansas Board notes that this can be done at any stage of the process. The Board will need to notify Pearson of eligibility. At this point, the candidate will receive an authorization to test.
The Alaska Board may issue a license to someone who has defaulted on a student loan or is arrears on child support, but the license will be temporary. The nurse will lose licensing is the situation is not rectified within 150 days.
Out of state nurses should verify that they have done at least 320 hours of practice during the two years preceding application. Otherwise, they will need to do one of two things: demonstrate that they meet the Board’s continuing competency requirements through another pathway or take a refresher course. Any candidate who has not practiced for five years must take the refresher course. Learn more at the Board’s website: http://www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/pnur1.htm
License verification should be provided electronically through the site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
In most cases, foreign educated nurses will be required to have their education evaluated by the CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service and make a separate demonstration of English language competency. They may opt for either the IELTS or the TOEFL. The review is not necessary for most Canadian nurses. The language requirement does not apply to nurses educated in Canadian providences (with the exception of Quebec).
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