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Nursing License Requirements in Ohio: Becoming a Nurse in Ohio

The Ohio Board of Nursing licenses practical nurses and registered nurses (http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/index.htm). The state currently has 189,095 RNs and LPNs, according to the database of the National Council of Boards of Nursing. The Ohio Board releases workforce surveys periodically with additional information about the state’s nurses; the most recent one was in 2011 (http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/PDFS/workforce/1.3.1Workforce-Memo.pdf). The Center for Health Affairs NEONI predicts changes in supply and demand and is expanding beyond the Northeast part of the state (an area where healthcare is something of an export industry).

Ohio is not a member of the nurse license compact. A stated reason is that some compact states have more lenient laws when it comes to things like licensing nurses with felony backgrounds. Ohio does have an endorsement process, however, and allows applicants who are licensed in other jurisdictions to begin work under a temporary permit provided they meet eligibility requirements.

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First time licensees are licensed by examination. Ohio RN candidates had a first time pass rate of 89.85% in 2012. PN candidates had a first time pass rate of 87.40% during that time period.

Nursing Scholarships & Loans in Ohio

There are multiple scholarship opportunities for the state’s nursing students (http://ohiocenterfornursing.org/tuition_assistance.html). The Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program is a loan repayment program. The Ohio Nurses Foundation offers a number of $1,000 scholarships with different criteria (http://ohionursesfoundation.org/?page_id=54).

LPN Requirements in Ohio

LPN Education

An LPN should enroll in a state approved practical nursing program. Candidates can find a list of approved programs in the education section of the Board site (http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/education.htm). The Board has specific coursework requirements for LPNs who administer medication and perform IV therapy. Those who are authorized to do medication will get the designation LPN Meds; those who are authorized to do both will receive an LPN-M-IV designation.

Read "Choosing an LPN Program in Ohio" to gain a better understanding of the LPN program education requirements and process.

LPN Application Process

At program completion, Ohio graduates should have their program director send a verification letter to the Board. If the candidate wishes to be authorized to do IV therapy, the completion letter must have the appropriate designation. Graduates of out-of-state programs should have official transcripts sent to the Board to confirm that they have met the educational requirements for licensure. They have additional requirements to get the IV designation.

Licensing packets can be downloaded from the Board site in Adobe Acrobat form (http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/forms.htm). Candidates should be aware that there were new application forms April 1, 2013 and that they do change periodically. There is a $75 nonrefundable application fee.

A background check is required before licensure. In most cases, applicants will be required to have their fingerprints done electronically; they should select a Webcheck site that does both BCI and FBI background checks. The Board will issue fingerprint cards in some instances, such as if the candidate is more than 75 miles from a Webcheck facility.

The candidate will also need to register for the NCLEX-PN. The candidate will pay $200 upon registration. The candidate will not be allowed to schedule the exam until the Ohio Board has communicated eligibility. At this point, the candidate will receive an ATT which will allow the candidate to schedule at a choice of testing centers.

The Board notifies candidates of exam results, but it may be possible to get results from Pearson earlier for a small fee. This service is now online.

A candidate who fails an examination attempt may retake the test, but will need to submit another application and fee. The Board will send details after the attempt.

LPNs may wish to join the Licensed Practical Nurse Association of Ohio for continuing education and other resources (http://www.lpnao.org/).

LPN by Endorsement

Endorsement candidates need to take a two hour course in Ohio rules and laws; the requirement can be met through distance education. Candidates should visit the continuing education section of the Board site to find approved courses.

A criminal background check is another requirement for licensure. Out of state candidates may request fingerprint cards from the Board. It is possible to obtain a temporary permit before the results are in provided the candidate has submitted verification of education and licensure along with the required application and fee.

A nurse who begins work under a temporary permit must keep the license active in the qualifying state until such time as the Ohio license is issued.

Endorsement candidates must demonstrate appropriate coursework in order to be authorized to administer medication and/or carry out IV therapy. If an endorsement candidate provides evidence of appropriate IV coursework, the candidate must still take a one hour module in state specific laws and rules.

RN License Requirements in Ohio

RN Education

A candidate should enroll in a program that is either approved by the Ohio Board or approved by some jurisdiction in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. (http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/education.htm)

"Choosing an RN Program in Ohio" offers several additional resources to learn about selecting an appropriate professional nursing program.

The RN License Application Process

At the close of the program, the director or dean will send a letter to the Ohio Board stating that the candidate has met educational requirements.

The candidate will still need to pass a licensing exam and a criminal background check. In-state candidates are generally required to have their fingerprints done electronically through the approved vendor, Webcheck. Exceptions may be granted if the candidate lives very far from a facility or has a first set of prints rejected.

A fee of $75 must accompany the application. The candidate will also need to register with Pearson VUE and pay a $200 testing fee (www.vue.com/nclex). The candidate will receive an ATT once eligibility has been verified.

Candidates may check the status of their application at the following address: http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/Verification.htm.

Registered Nurses may wish to join the Ohio Nurses Association (www.ohnurses.org).

RN by Endorsement

A candidate who is licensed in another state should fill out the endorsement application. The candidate should check the continuing education section of the Board site to find a two hour internet course in applicable laws and rules.

A background check will be required. If the candidate is currently living outside Ohio, the candidate may request fingerprint cards. The nurse should have official license verification sent to the Ohio Board. If the state of licensure participates in the Nursys.com license verification system, this may be a quick process. Once license and education have been verified, the candidate may be issued a temporary permit.

International Nurses

Internationally educated candidates who are seeking U.S. licensure for the first time should submit a credential evaluation from CGFNS (http://codes.ohio.gov/). Even if the internationally educate candidate has been licensed in the U.S. and is applying by endorsement, the candidate will need to provide documentation of education, through CGFNS or another satisfactory source; a transcript that has been translated may be accepted. If education is not deemed equivalent, the Board may require additional coursework.

International candidates must also show evidence of having taken an English proficiency exam unless they attended school in one of the English speaking nations that are exempted. All Canadian graduates are exempted except those from Quebec. Additionally, five schools in Quebec have been approved as meeting the English language requirement.

International candidates who are applying by examination take the TOEFL.

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