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Nursing License Requirements in Utah: Become a Nurse in Utah

The Utah State Board of Nursing is under the banner of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, or DOPL. The Board licenses registered and practical nurses and regulates their practice. The National Nursing Database reports that Utah currently has 28,895 RNs and 3,394 LPNs.

Utah is a member of the nurse licensure compact. An RN or LPN licensed in another compact state is allowed to work in Utah without a new license. However, if Utah becomes the primary state of residence, the candidate will need a new license. In this instance, the candidate is not allowed to work under the old license more than 30 days. There are links to additional information about the compact (including a video) on the main page of the Utah Board of Nursing.

Nurses are licensed by endorsement or examination. Candidates who haven’t been licensed in other U.S. jurisdictions take the NCLEX at the PN or RN level.

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DOPL releases NCLEX pass rates periodically. The most recent figures are from the 4th quarter of 2012. Utah's RN candidates had an 87.3% NCLX pass rate, compared to 84.4% nationwide. Utah has been slightly above the national average since 2010; 2008 and 2009 figures, though, show the state slightly below the national average. The most recent figures put Utah's LPN candidates at 92%, well above the average of 85.1%. (Here Utah has been consistently well above the national average for the past five years.)

Nursing Grants and Scholarships in UT

The Utah Nurses Foundation provides grant-in-aid scholarships; there are two application periods each year. Students may find additional scholarship opportunities at the school level.

LPN Requirements in Utah

Education

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Candidates for practical nursing should enroll in an approved program. Utah has a requirement that in-state nursing programs hold national accreditation, at least once they get beyond their period of initial provisional approval. All the state's practical nursing programs are accredited by the NLNAC. A list can be found on the DOPL site (http://www.dopl.utah.gov/forms/nurse_approved_programs.pdf).

There are several factors to consider prior to selecting a practical nursing program. The article, LPN programs in Utah, will help you better understand these factors during your LPN program selection process.

A student enrolled in an RN program may apply for LPN by equivalency once the candidate has completed coursework equivalent to that found in an NLNAC accredited program. (The candidate will need verification of equivalency.)

Applying for Licensure

An LPN student can apply for licensure when the candidate's in the final semester of the program. The candidate will be licensed only after the candidate has completed all requirements, but the process itself takes time.

Nursing applicants who have their electronic fingerprints done at the DOPL office will not pay a fee for the fingerprinting process. (The cost of running the background checks is included in the $100 fee that is to be paid upon application.)

After program completion, the candidate must have an official transcript sent.

The Board recommends that candidates register for the NCLEX exam at least two months in advance of the time they intend to take it. Registration can be completed online (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex). A practical nursing candidate will register for the NCLEX-PN and pay an additional $200 fee.

After registration, the candidate will wait for DOPL to communicate to the testing company that the candidate has met all requirements to sit for the exam. At this point, the candidate will be allowed to schedule.

Examination results are sent within two weeks. Licenses are sent to successful candidates within three weeks of examination. An unsuccessful candidate may submit the short retake application that is available on the DOPL site (http://www.dopl.utah.gov/licensing/forms/092.pdf). Candidates must wait 45 days between examination attempts.

Endorsement and International LPNs

An LPN with an active license in another state can apply by endorsement. This is a relatively simple process. The LPN does not need to provide transcripts, but must submit verification from a current state of licensure. BCI and FBI background checks are required. Candidates who can’t come to the DOPL office may use fingerprint cards (Form FD-258).

An international LPN applying by examination should have a credential evaluation report by the Foundation for International Services, Inc. If the credentials are adequate, the candidate will be able to take the NCLEX-PN.

An internationally educated nurse who has taken the NCLEX and been licensed in the U.S. must still provide credential evaluation from an approved organization.

The Board requires that candidates understand all applicable laws and rules. They change from time to time, so it’s important to visit the Board site.

RN Requirements in Utah

Education

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An RN must attend an approved program. Utah programs hold state approval and national accreditation; Utah requires accreditation for all programs that have gone beyond the initial approval period. Associate level programs are accredited by the NLNAC. Baccalaureate level pre-licensure programs hold accreditation through the NLNAC and/or CCNE; most have the CCNE accreditation. (http://www.dopl.utah.gov/forms/nurse_approved_programs.pdf).

The Board considers an out-of-state program approved if it meets the standards described in the DOPL rules. If the student is doing the program in another jurisdiction, it must either be accredited by one of the approved agencies or approved by the licensing board in the state where it's located.

Read the "RN Programs in Utah" article to learn about factors to consider when choosing a Registered Nursing program.

If the program is placing students in Utah facilities to do their clinical work, it must be approved by its state board and hold accreditation by an acceptable accrediting body as well. Additional standards apply.

Applying for Licensure

A candidate should apply to the Board when the candidate's in the final semester of the program -- this will allow the to get the license as soon as possible once the candidate becomes eligible. The candidate will pay a total of $100 to the Board (a $60 application fee plus two $20 background check fees).

The candidate’s background must be checked through both the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Candidates who get their fingerprinting done at the DOPL office will not need to pay a fingerprinting fee at the facility.

The application includes qualifying questions. ‘Yes’ answers require additional information to be submitted to board. A candidate who is currently licensed as an LPN and has completed requirements for the RN license may apply even if the candidate has a current disciplinary sanction. However, the new license will show the same restriction.

The candidate will register for the NCLEX-RN well in advance of the time the candidate plans to take it (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex). The cost to register is $200.

After graduation, the candidate will send an official sealed transcript to DOPL (or request that it be sent directly).

An ATT will be sent once the candidate has been found to have met the requirements of both the licensing board and the testing company. At this point, the candidate can schedule the exam.

A candidate who is successful on the exam can expect the license to be mailed within about three weeks. An unsuccessful candidate may submit a notice of intent to retake – the candidate must do this so that the Utah Board can again communicate eligibility.

Endorsement and International RNs

An out-of-state nurse may apply by endorsement if the candidate has a current active license. The candidate will provide license verification. Transcripts will not be required.

A candidate who is declaring Utah as the state of primary residency must provide a Utah address to the Board within 30 days of the time the candidate arrives in the state.

International RNs seeking licensure by examination must pass the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) qualifying exam before they can take the NCLEX. They must also have a credential evaluation through CGFNS.

Professional and Student Nursing Associations in Utah

Utah State Board of Nursing

Utah Nurses Foundation

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