Nursing Licensure Requirements in Louisiana
In Louisiana, a nurse may be licensed by either of two agencies. Registered nurses (RNs) are licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. Practical nurses (LPNs) are licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners. Louisiana is not part of the nurse license compact, but issues licenses by examination and endorsement. Procedures differ by agency.
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LPNs and RNs have separate professional organizations within the state. The Louisiana Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses is an affiliate of the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses. The Louisiana State Nurses Association is an affiliate of the American Nurses Association.
The Louisiana Student Nurses Association offers a small number of scholarships (http://www.lasn.org/scholarships.html). The Louisiana Nursing Foundation is another potential scholarship source.
Louisiana LPN Requirements
A student at the LPN level should apply to a Board approved practical nursing program. Click here to see a list of approved programs.
The Application Process
The prospective LPN must later apply to the Louisiana Board for permission to take the NCLEX-PN (http://www.lsbpne.com/firsttimewriters.pdf).
The student must also register with Pearson and pay $200 for the NCLEX-PN (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex/). After Pearson is notified of eligibility by the LSBPNE, the candidate will receive authorization to test. The candidate will be granted a testing window of approximately three months. The candidate will schedule a computer adapted exam during this time. An applicant who has a diagnosis of HIV or HBV must communicate this to the director of the Board. The correspondence should be marked confidential and sent by certified or registered mail.
LPN License by Endorsement
An individual who is licensed as a practical or vocational nurse in another state may apply for licensure by endorsement. There is a separate application which can be downloaded or requested by phone, fax, or email (http://www.lsbpne.com/Endorsement%20Application.pdf).
The nurse must document that the candidate graduated from a program that meets Louisiana’s specific coursework requirements. The candidate must also verify that the license is in good standing. The application package must include a copy of the current license as well as a copy of the fingerprint card and background check request. The fee for endorsement is $100 (as stated in the current application package) but candidates should verify fees and all other information as they are subject to change. There is a separate $18 fee to be paid to the Unites States government for the background check – a copy of the fee should be included in the application packet.
The Board may grant a temporary permit after receipt of required materials. An LPN who has been out of school for at least four years must verify that the candidate has practiced at least six months during the preceding four years. Otherwise, the candidate will be required to take a refresher course.
The Board notes that licensure as an LPN in another jurisdiction is not a guarantee that a candidate will meet Louisiana’s requirements. Eventually the Board will need to receive license verification from any state where the applicant has ever held a license.
Registered Nurse Requirements in Louisiana
A student may apply to a professional nursing program at the associate, diploma, or bachelor’s level. There is a list of approved programs on the Board site.
The Board sets minimum requirements for admission to clinical nursing programs. A student must submit an application, two fingerprint cards, an authorization for a background check, and a $62.50 fee payable to the Board of Nursing. The fee covers fingerprint processing as well as application. The school will submit required documents to the Board. This must be done at least 60 days before enrollment in clinical nursing courses. The student must reapply if the candidate changes programs.
The Application Process
When a student is approaching graduation, the candidate should take steps toward licensure. The candidate will apply to the Board and also register with Pearson, the company that administers the NCLEX-RN exam. After the candidate receives the authorization to test, the candidate will schedule an examination. A candidate who has registered with Pearson may be granted a temporary permit by the LSBN. In the event the candidate fails an examination attempt, the temporary permit will be invalidated.
Candidates who did their clinical nursing coursework at Louisiana institutions are not required to submit fingerprints a second time. However, applicants who went to school in other states must go through the fingerprinting process. Louisiana accepts one online program for initial licensure as an RN: Excelsior College. There are additional requirements for Excelsior graduates. There is a $100 application fee and a $42.50 fingerprinting fee, as per the current application. The NCLEX fee is $200.
Louisiana RNs may get their unofficial exam results two business days after they test. There is a $7.95 fee for this service (https://www.ncsbn.org/1225.htm). This is for the candidate’s information and doesn’t mean that the license will be issued any sooner. A candidate who fails may submit a retake request to the LSBN along with a $100 money order.
RN License by Endorsement
An RN licensed in another state may apply by endorsement. There is a separate application packet for this purpose. It can be downloaded by clicking here. The applicant must send a nursing data form to the program where the candidate got the qualifying degree. If the nursing education was split between two institutions, the candidate should request transcripts from each. The applicant will be expected to verify recent nursing experience as well as nursing licenses. Verification of past LPN licensing (if the RN ever worked in this capacity) is also required. Some states utilize Nursys.com for verification. RNs who graduated from Excelsior or Deaconess College must take additional steps to verify experience.
An endorsement candidate will pay $142.50 if the candidate mails the application, or $152.50 if the candidate brings it in and has the fingerprints done on-site.
An RN who has a job offer in the state may be issued a temporary permit. There is a walk-in service for this purpose. The candidate should have the application notarized before the candidate shows up at the office; a recent passport style photo should be attached. The applicant may have the fingerprints done on site. The candidate should have either a notarized copy of the current nursing license or nursing verification from Nursys.com. An endorsement candidate requesting to work under a temporary permit will pay $192.50 if the candidate mails materials, $202.50 if the candidate shows up on site. (The candidate should make sure that the candidate’s at the office by 3:00 and should not leave until the candidate confirms that the fingerprints are acceptable.) An applicant who answers yes to compliance questions (indicating legal or disciplinary history or conditions that may impede safe practice) is not eligible for a temporary license; the candidate must wait for a full review.
Some candidates may be required to take refresher courses. The LSBN has a listed of approved courses (http://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/1/Documents/Forms/RNRefresherCourses.pdf). Some out-of-state refresher programs have been approved.
In the event of a disaster, an out-of-state registered nurse who wishes to serve in Louisiana as either a volunteer or paid employee may be granted a disaster permit. The candidate should fax a copy of the out-of-state license and the driver’s license along with this required form.
International RNs must take the CGFNS Qualifying Examination unless they have already taken the NCLEX or State Pool Examination. Internationally educated nurses who have taken the NCLEX in another state but didn’t take the CGFNS should provide evidence of having had their credentials evaluated. The TOEFL may also be required of international candidates. Canadian nurses have different requirements. Those who received an actual score (not simply a pass) on the CNATS may be exempted from the NCLEX, provided they took the exam in English. In lieu of equivalency evaluation, Canadian candidates can validate licensing. Full instructions for international candidates can be found in the endorsement application package.
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