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Nursing License in Oklahoma: Become a Nurse in Oklahoma!

Oklahoma is not a member of the nurse license compact. Nurses who are licensed in other states, whether compact or non-compact, can apply by endorsement. Graduates who are applying for licensure for the first time apply by examination.

Oklahoma’s registered nurses and practical nurses are licensed by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (http://www.ok.gov/nursing).

Select the type of Nursing License you are seeking:


There are several additional organizations that support the state’s nurses. The Oklahoma Nurses Association is a professional organization (http://oklahomanurses.org/). The Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Center has the goal of ensuring an adequate workforce on into the future (http://www.okhealthcareworkforce.com).

LPN Requirements in Oklahoma

Education

There are two pathways to licensing as a practical nurse. The first is to complete an approved practical nursing program. It must be approved by the Oklahoma Board if located within Oklahoma; if located in another state, it should meet similar standards. Completing an approved program will ensure that a candidate is eligible for licensing not only in Oklahoma but in other states as well.

The other route is through equivalency. Oklahoma will license students who began professional (registered) nursing courses, but did not stick with the program through graduation. Some professional nursing students may also be eligible for licensure.

In order to be license eligible, the candidate must have instruction in the following areas; anatomy and physiology, nutrition, human growth and development, pharmacology, and mental health. Instruction and clinical practice are required in the following areas: adult nursing care, child nursing care, and maternal-infant nursing care. The applicant must have completed at least a year of nursing coursework. It’s alright if the program was in another state; the candidate should be prepared to submit course descriptions. The Board notes that equivalency by partial program completion is not an option for candidates who attended Excelsior or similar programs.

An LPN candidate who partially completed a professional nursing program will submit an extra $40 to have the candidate's education evaluated. This is in addition to the other requirements outlined below.

A nursing graduate who completed a professional nursing program but failed the NCLEX-RN will also use the equivalency application packet if the nursing graduate wishes to apply for licensure as a professional nurse (http://www.ok.gov/nursing/nclex7.pdf). The nursing graduate will need to do the readings that are included in the packet and submit the post-test with the application. (The readings are about the legalities of practicing as an LPN.)

Click Here for a list of approved LPN programs in Oklahoma.

Applying for LPN Licensure

All practical nursing candidates, whatever their education, will need to show evidence of having a high school diploma or GED. They must also pass the NCLEX-PN. Board approval is required. Candidates should submit the application for license by examination to the Oklahoma Board and include the required $85 fee. The application must include a passport-type photo that conforms to the quality guidelines found in the packet and is signed in the manner prescribed.

A fingerprint-based criminal background check is required. In-state candidates use MorphoTrust for their fingerprinting.

The candidate will pay a $200 fee when the candidate registers for the licensing exam. The candidate may receive a candidate bulletin from the program; otherwise the candidate can go online (www.vue.com/nclex). After registering and applying, the candidate will wait to receive an Authorization to Test (ATT). At this point, the candidate can schedule a computer adapted exam. The Oklahoma Board recommends scheduling promptly.

Click Here to access the LPN License application forms. (Go to the Board of Nursing website to verify this list is the most current.)

An unsuccessful candidate can apply for retake, so long as the candidate did graduate from an approved program.

Out of State LPNs

Out-of-state candidates may request fingerprint cards from the Board and take them to a law enforcement agency in their own jurisdiction. They need to provide license verification from the state where they were initially licensed.

Oklahoma does not accept state constructed licensing exams; candidates who have not taken the NCLEX-PN, or its predecessor, must do so.

Nurses who have not practiced at least 520 hours during the previous two years will need to show continuing competency through coursework. If the nurse took the NCLEX within the previous two years (and graduated within two years of the time the candidate took the NCLEX) this requirement does not apply. There is also an exemption for military spouses; details can be found in the application packet for license by endorsement (http://www.ok.gov/nursing/endorseused07.pdf).

A temporary permit may get an out of state nurse working sooner. It is available to candidates who have a clean disciplinary and legal history and who meet Oklahoma’s licensing requirements. There is a $10 fee, which is to be added to the standard $85 application fee.

Internationally educated nurses must have their credentials evaluated by CGFNS. In many cases, an English proficiency exam will be required.

Click Here to access the LPN License application forms.

RN License Requirements in Oklahoma

RN Education

A prospective RN should complete a professional nursing program that’s approved by the Oklahoma Board or an equivalent program approved by the board in another jurisdiction. "Choosing an RN Program in Oklahoma" offers several additional resources to learn about selecting an appropriate professional nursing program.

Click Here for a list of approved associate degree programs. (Go to the Board of Nursing website to verify this list is the most current.)

Click Here for a list of Baccalaureate Nursing Programs. (Go to the Board of Nursing website to verify this list is the most current.)

The Application Process

When it’s time to apply, the candidate will have official transcripts sent to the Board. If the program was completed in another state but the candidate wishes to apply by examination in Oklahoma, the candidate will also send course descriptions. Details can be found in the application packet (https://www.ok.gov/nursing/licensing/app/index.php).

Nurses must also show evidence of having an acceptable professional and legal background. The application includes professional fitness questions. If a candidate has had criminal charges or disciplinary procedures, the candidate will need to provide extensive information. A criminal history does not always preclude licensure. However, a candidate with a felony conviction is not eligible for licensing until at least five years have passed since retribution (unless the candidate was granted a presidential or gubernatorial pardon).

The nurse candidate must also have fingerprints done. If the candidate lives within Oklahoma, the candidate must use Oklahoma’s approved vendor.

Candidates should include an $85 application fee.

It will also be necessary to register with Pearson to take the NCLEX-RN. There will be a $200 fee. After the candidate has completed the application and registration processes, the candidate can be issued an ATT. The ATT will grant the candidate a 90 day window to take the exam. The Board recommends that the scheduling be done right away.

Nursing candidates are expected to apply to the Board within two years of the time they graduate. A candidate who fails to do so must either enroll in an approved refresher course or take nursing coursework that includes, at minimum, 80 hours of classroom/ laboratory review and 80 hours of clinical work.

A candidate who fails the NCLEX-RN may apply to retake the examination. The candidate also has the option of taking the NCLEX-PN and pursuing a lower level of licensing, if the candidate prefers.

Out of State RNs

An endorsement RN will need license verification from the original state of licensure; if it doesn’t provide enough information about the qualifications, RN will need to submit transcripts as well.

If a nurse does not meet the minimum practice requirements, nurse will need to display continuing competency through education. Relatively recent graduates are exempted. Military spouses are not subject to the same active practice requirements.

Internationally educated nurses will need to provide a certification, VisaScreen or educational evaluation from CGFNS. In order to be eligible for licensure at the RN level, they will need to demonstrate coursework and clinical work in mental health nursing as well as adult, pediatric, and maternal-infant care. International candidates will also need to display English proficiency unless they are from one of the English speaking countries on the exemption list.

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