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Nursing License Requirements in Indiana: Become a Nurse in Indiana!

Indiana’s RNs and LPNs are licensed by the Indiana State Board of Nursing (http://www.in.gov/pla/nursing.htm). The National Nursing Database reports that Indiana has 129,881 nurses: 103,066 RNs and 26,815 LPNs.

Indiana is not a member of the nurse licensure compact. Nurses are licensed by endorsement if they have already passed an acceptable licensing exam, and by examination if they have not. First time licensees take the NCLEX exam at either the PN or RN level, depending on the level of the program they completed. The Board publishes NCLEX test rates by schools. Results from the years 2007 to 2012 are currently available.

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Nursing Scholarships and Financial Aid in Indiana

There are several other organizations in the state that nurses should be aware of. The Indiana Center for Nursing is the state nursing workforce site (http://www.ic4n.org/). By browsing the site, one can find information about scholarships http://www.ic4n.org/statewide-initiatives/scholarship-program/ and financial aid http://www.ic4n.org/nursing-education/financial-aid/.

The Indiana State Nurses Association is a professional organization for the states RNs (http://www.indiananurses.org/). The Indiana Practical Nurses Association supports the state’s LPNs (http://www.ipnalpn.com/).

LPN Requirements in Indiana

LPN Education Requirements

The first step is to enroll in an approved practical nursing program. Indiana approves LPN programs that are the equivalent of a calendar year in length and meet content requirements. There is a list of programs on the Board site (http://www.in.gov/pla/2490.htm). Don't know how to choose an LPN program that would be appropriate for you? Read "Choosing an LPN Program in Indiana" to gain a better understanding of the criteria you may want to consider.

The Application Process

A student will turn in the application as the candidate approaches graduation. At what point the candidate becomes eligible will depend on the school. The Board publishes a list of application dates by school.

The application will need to be notarized. A $50 fee must be remitted with the application package (http://www.in.gov/pla/2501.htm). The candidate will get a criminal background check after the application has been received. The Board notes that they are legally prohibited from viewing the criminal history of anyone but an applicant; results are not kept on file anywhere, so if a candidate’s CBC precedes the application, the candidate will have to go through the process again. (It should be noted that a conviction won’t necessarily preclude licensing, but the candidate may be asked to appear before the Board.)

When the student has finished all requirements, the director will submit certification to the Indiana Board.

NCLEX-PN Exam

The candidate must also register for the NCLEX-PN and pay the $200 testing fee (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex/). This can be done at the Pearson site. A candidate bulletin is available through Pearson or the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Only when all required steps have been completed will an Authorization to Test be issued. At this point, the candidate can schedule at a choice of sites. The NCLEX-PN is computerized and available at Pearson sites year round.

It takes a few weeks to receive official test results. This is typically the last step in the process. If the candidate has passed, and everything else is in order, official notification will come in the form of an email with license number included.

A candidate who does not pass will be able to apply for re- examination. Additional fees will be required – and so will another CBC.

Out-of-State LPNs

A nurse who has been licensed or certified elsewhere must provide official verification. This is the case with all health licenses – CNA, EMT etc. – not just nursing. In many cases, nursing licenses can be verified online. If the state does not utilize the NURSYS database, a paper form is required. This will take longer, but a temporary permit may be issued. The permit costs an additional $10.

An LPN who is licensed in another state must show that the candidate is a graduate of an approved nursing program and that the candidate has passed the NCLEX or SBTPE. Indiana does not accept state-constructed exams such as the one that was used in California in past decades.

RN Requirements in Indiana

RN Education Requirements

An RN should begin by enrolling in an approved program. There is a list of in-state programs on the Board's website. You will also find approved programs as well as criteria to consider when selecting an RN program here: RN Programs in Indiana. There are a number of programs at both the associate’s and bachelor’s levels. Although Indiana does not currently have any diploma programs for RNs, students who complete such programs are eligible for licensure.

The Application Process and the NCLEX-RN

A student will apply as the candidate’s nearing the end of the program. Students at different schools become eligible to apply on different dates. Still, the Board notes that application processing may take longer in May-June and September- December.

A candidate will need to take some preliminary steps, including having a 2 ½ by 3 ½ photograph taken. The application includes questions about legal and professional history. Any ‘yes’ answers will require explanation in the form of a sworn affidavit. (The exception is if the candidate has already applied to the Indiana Board for a license and the facts have not changed.)

The candidate will submit an application with a $50 fee. Click Here for the Application forms and related materials. The candidate will have a background check completed once the candidate receives notification that the application has arrived. (If there is other information missing from the application file, the candidate will receive an email to this effect.)

The candidate must also register with Pearson to take the NCLEX-RN (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex). The candidate will pay a $200 testing fee upon registration, but will not schedule an exam until the candidate receives the ATT. The candidate may schedule at a Pearson site of choice (either in Indiana or another state).

The successful candidate will receive an email with a license number. The unsuccessful candidate will receive written notification and a retake application. The candidate will need to pay additional fees for re-examination.

The Indiana Board will allow up to three examination attempts before requiring a candidate to make an appearance.

Out-of-State RNs

A nurse who is licensed in another U.S. jurisdiction can apply by endorsement, assuming the candidate has passed the NCLEX or its predecessor, the SBTPE.

The nurse will need to provide license verification for all healthcare licenses the candidate has held. An endorsement candidate may be issued a temporary permit which will get working sooner. For this, the candidate will need a copy of the current license.

Internationally Educated Nurses

Indiana does accept the CNATS exam for licensing purposes provided it was administered in English. Thus Canadian nurses may be eligible for licensure by endorsement.

Nurses from other nations are eligible for endorsement only if they have already passed the NCLEX in another jurisdiction. They are eligible for license by examination, but must first pass a qualifying exam through the Commission for Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. They must also provide license verification from the country where they received their nursing degree. Transcripts should show the time spent in theory and in clinical education.

Applicants may call the Indiana Board of Nursing at (317) 234-2043 with questions and to confirm they are on the correct path.

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