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Nursing License Requirements in Missouri

Missouri’s LPNs and RNs are licensed by the Missouri Board of Nursing, a part of the Division of Professional Registration (http://www.pr.mo.gov/nursing.asp). Right now there are 24,456 LPNs and 99,529 RNs in the state, according to the National Nursing Database.

Nursing Licensure Compact State = Yes

Missouri is part of the nurse license compact. Nurses who apply must declare a state of residency. If it’s Missouri, they will be granted a multistate license which allows them to work in other compact states as well. If the primary state of residency is another compact state, for example, Iowa or Arkansas, that’s the compact state that the nurse should apply to.

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Missouri grants licenses by endorsement and examination. Nursing graduates must pass the NCLEX exam at the appropriate level unless they have done so already. The Board lists pass rates by school (http://pr.mo.gov/boards/nursing/passrates.pdf). A school that repeatedly falls below an 80% pass rate will lose its full approval status.

Nurses must know the applicable laws; the state’s practice act can be found on the Board site. The state offers forgivable student loans to some LPN and RN students who attend state approved schools (http://www.health.mo.gov/living/families/primarycare/healthprofloans). In order for the debt to be forgiven, the nurse must work at a qualifying Missouri institution after graduation.

Sources for Missouri Nursing Scholarship Information

The Missouri State Association for Licensed Practical Nurses, Inc. is another scholarship source for LPN students (http://www.mosalpn.org/scholarships.shtml). The Missouri Nurses Foundation makes small awards to students studying at the BSN level (http://www.missourinurses.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=11).

LPN Requirements in Missouri

Education

An LPN must graduate from an approved program in practical nursing. Click Here for a list of approved schools.

The LPN Application Process

The LPN Candidate may apply to the Board when the candidate’s in the final three months of the program; there will be a $41 fee assessed (http://pr.mo.gov/nursing-fees.asp). Applications can be downloaded from the Board site (http://pr.mo.gov/nursing-licensure.asp). The application contains screening questions about things like legal history and alcohol or drug problems. Any “yes” questions will require supporting documentation. An applicant who answers yes to questions about drug usage or treatment is welcome to include reference letters as well as the required documents.

The applicant will need to attach a 2 by 2 photograph and have the application materials notarized. The candidate will also need to have a fingerprint-based criminal history check. The candidate should register at www.machs.mo.gov and then go to one of the fingerprint sites shown on the website map. The candidate should be prepared to pay the fee (currently $44.80) when the candidate registers.

It will also be necessary to register online for the NCLEX-PN and pay a $200 fee. The candidate can find a bulletin with detailed instructions on the Pearson site (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex) or the site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

An LPN candidate may practice as a graduate nurse for up to 90 days. The clock begins ticking once the candidate officially graduates. The Board notes that a candidate who practices beyond the allowable time could lose the opportunity to go through the testing process. Questions about the application/ licensing process can be answered via phone: (573) 751‐0681.

An LPN who desires state IV certification must apply for this privilege separately. This entails doing a board approved IV course and completing an eight hour practicum. There is a form that is to be submitted to the Board within 60 days of completing the program.

The professional organization for LPNs is the Missouri State Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (http://www.mosalpn.org/). Membership is voluntary.

Out of State LPNs

LPNs who are licensed in other states may apply by endorsement. There is a separate application packet. The LPN will need a background check. The candidate should send a transcript, a copy of the license, and a $51 fee. The candidate will also need official license verification. The Board asks that candidates go to Nursys.com for more information.

An out-of-state endorsement applicant may be granted a temporary permit which will allow to attend orientation and get started in the nursing position a little earlier.

IV certification does not transfer to Missouri, even if one is, or has been, licensed in another compact state. LPNs may have their IV education evaluated by the Board, however. The Board may find that the coursework is equivalent to what is required in Missouri, or that it can substitute for a portion of the requirement.

RN License Requirements in Missouri

A registered nurse must graduate from an approved professional nursing program. There are a number of programs offered at both the associate’s and bachelor’s levels; the state also has one approved diploma program (To see a list of approved schools/programs: http://pr.mo.gov/nursing-education.asp).

An LPN who wants to complete RN requirements can enroll in a bridge program; the Board invites practical nurses to call the Board at 573-751-0080 to get a list of bridge programs.

The RN Application Process

The candidate can begin the application process when the candidate’s three months away from degree completion. The candidate will fill out an application and have it notarized. The candidate must also attach a passport style photo and have an administrator from the nursing program verify that the candidate is indeed the person shown in the picture.

The applicant should register for a criminal background check at the following address: www.machs.mo.gov. The candidate will need to enter the number 0001. A list of fingerprint sites can be found at that web address. (It is possible to get the fingerprints done without pre-registering, but the Board warns that wait times will be long!) The fee for fingerprinting and running state and federal background checks is currently $44.80 (http://pr.mo.gov/nursing-fingerprints.asp).

Exam registration is a separate step. The Board recommends that it be completed at least four weeks before graduation; it can be done as early as three months before. Missouri applicants must register for the NCLEX online (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex).

Once the applicant actually graduates, the candidate must have an official transcript sent to the Board. At this point, the candidate will be authorized to test. Details about the process are found in the candidate bulletin, which can be downloaded from Pearson.

An RN graduate can work as a graduate nurse while the candidate is waiting to attempt the NCLEX and receive passing scores – provided the process is complete within 90 days of graduation.

An RN pays $45 with the application. If the candidate needs to retake the exam, the candidate will pay $40 with the retake application. This is separate from the examination fee of $200, which is paid to the testing company.

The Missouri Nurses Association, or MONA, is a professional organization for the state’s registered nurses (http://www.missourinurses.org). Nurses can stay apprised of legislative issues as well as participate in professional development.

Out of State Applicants

A candidate with a license in another U.S. state or jurisdiction may apply by endorsement. An endorsement applicant pays $55.

International nurses must have a course by course evaluation from one of the agencies that the Board has approved for this purpose. (Fees may vary according to the service selected.)

International applicants pay the same $45 fee to apply to the Missouri Board that other examination candidates do. In addition to a copy of their license, they should have a copy of their birth certificate, or an acceptable alternate document, and marriage certificate (if applicable). The Board notes that licensees must have a U.S. social security number.

English proficiency can be demonstrated through any of the following exams: TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC.

Once an international candidate has been found eligible, the Board will send information about registering for the NCLEX.

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