Maryland Nursing License Requirements

The Maryland Board of Nursing regulates the state’s Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses. According to the National Nursing Database, Maryland currently has 73,086 RNs and 13,538 LPNs.

Select the type of Nursing License you are seeking:

The Maryland Board also regulates Certified Nursing Assistants. In some cases, CNA is a step along the way. Nursing students will need this designation to complete their training within the state.

Where to find money for nursing school

Some nursing students may be eligible for grant money under the Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Program ( A student can look on the site of the Maryland Board to find additional information about financial aid ( as well as national nursing scholarships (

Both new graduates and international applicants apply by examination. One of the requirements is passing the NCLEX at the appropriate level. Applicants from other U.S. states may apply by endorsement. Nurses whose primary residence and license is in another nurse compact state do not need a new license to practice in Maryland. LPN and RN candidates are required to show evidence of residency when applying; if residency is in another compact state (for example, Virginia or Delaware), they should go through their own state board, not the Maryland Board, for NCLEX permission.

During the 2012 fiscal year, Maryland’s NCLEX-PN candidates had a 93.27% pass rate on their first attempt (compared to a national average of 83.94%). NCLEX-RN candidates had a first time pass rate of 87.71%; this compares to 88.92% for the nation as a whole. The Board lists pass rates by individual school (

There is a statewide articulation agreement to help licensed nurses achieve higher levels of education (

Professional Nursing Organizations

There are several other organizations that nurses should be aware of. The Maryland Nurses Association is a statewide organization for RNs. Its philanthropic branch is known as the Maryland Nurses Foundation; this is a potential source of scholarship money (

The Maryland Licensed Practical Nurses, Inc. is for the state’s LPNs (

The Maryland Nursing Workforce Commission is under the banner of the Board and has articles that might be of interest to nurses (

LPN Requirements in Maryland

LPN Education Requirements

The foundation for becoming an LPN is a high school education. The prospective LPN should then enroll in a practical nursing program that has been approved by the Maryland Board or a similar program that has been approved by the board in another state. (Maryland will also allowed graduates of registered nursing programs to take the NCLEX-PN and be licensed as practical nurses.) Read “Choosing an LPN Program in Maryland” to gain a better understanding of the LPN program education requirements and process.

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NCLEX-PN and the rest of the Application Process

A nursing student will become certified as a CNA and fulfill training requirements. After graduation, the candidate will apply to the Maryland Board to take the NCLEX. The candidate may email the Board to request an application and/or ask questions (

There are several steps to the licensing process. The applicant must have fingerprints done. The Board notes that the process is quicker if the applicant goes to a police barracks or criminal justice office that does electronic fingerprinting. Currently the best place is Reisterstown Plmda (right by the Board office) but other sites may be added. Fingerprints done at other locations may take several weeks to process. Applicants should make sure they follow the instructions on the Board site ( There is a $57.25 charge associated with the criminal history check.

A postcard will be stamped during the process. This is evidence that the applicant has completed the fingerprinting process. If the candidate has met other requirements, the candidate will be authorized to take the NCLEX exam. There is a $200 fee for the exam, payable to Pearson VUE (

LPN by Endorsement Candidates

The endorsement application can be completed online. An email address will be required.

A passport style photo is also necessary. Applicants can look on the Board site for instructions as well as a tool to use for cropping their digital photo:

Out of state applicants may practice on a temporary license while awaiting results of the criminal background check. They do need to have their fingerprints done first – if the applicant follows the steps correctly, a purple postcard will be stamped at the police station during the fingerprint check. This serves as evidence that the step has been completed.

Applicants who are currently living out of state may email the following address for criminal background check instructions: [email protected].

The application fee is $140 if requesting both a temporary and permanent license, $100 if a temporary license will not be required.

RN License Requirements in Maryland

Education Requirements for RNs

A prospective RN should enroll in an approved program. Generally speaking, Maryland approves programs located within its borders and other states approve programs within theirs. There are a number of in-state programs at both the ADN and BSN levels. “Choosing an RN Program in Maryland” offers several additional resources to learn about selecting an appropriate professional nursing program.

Out-of-state programs are acceptable as long as they are substantially equivalent. Candidates from out-of-state programs that are not equivalent may need a preceptorship (

Students who are enrolled in clinical programs in Maryland will need to be certified as CNAs while they complete requirements. A background check is required. The application is a relatively simple process that may be handled by the school (

A nurse who is already licensed as an LPN may opt for an LPN to RN program. Currently, there are just two online LPN to RN programs that the Maryland Board will accept: Indiana State University and Chamberlain College of Nursing ( The program at Indiana State is baccalaureate level; the one at Chamberlain confers an associate’s degree.

The Application Process and NCLEX-RN

After graduation, the RN candidate must take and pass the NCLEX-RN. Candidates from Puerto Rico must also demonstrate English language proficiency. It will be necessary to apply to the Board for permission to test. Applications may be requested at: Candidates who had background checks while pursuing lower levels of licensing will need to do so again.

The applicant should also read the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin. This can be downloaded from Pearson ( A $200 fee must accompany registration. Exams are scheduled on an ongoing basis. However, it is important to schedule during the time frame that is granted with the Authorization to Test.

There is a graduate status that will allow candidates to begin work while going through the licensing process; conversely, the graduate can continue to work under the CNA license.

A candidate who fails a NCLEX attempt will need to wait 45 days before making another attempt. The Maryland Board does allow graduates of registered nursing programs to test, and be licensed, at the PN level.

RN by Endorsement Candidates

Endorsement candidates may apply online ( An application fee of $100 will be required. An additional $40 will be assessed if the applicant wants to work under a temporary license. The applicant must have fingerprints done (though not necessarily processed) in order to be eligible for the temporary license.

International Nursing Candidates

Nurses educated in other nations have some additional requirements. A candidate should apply to the Maryland Board at the beginning of the process so that documents can be sent to the Board as they become available. The candidate should apply for a CES Professional Report, take an oral proficiency exam, and then register for the NCLEX. (The Board will determine the correct level – RN or PN.) The following page outlines the process (

There are several English exams that are accepted: TOEFL, IELTS, and ILA. The English proficiency exam may be waived for candidates who completed programs of three years or longer that are located in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, or any Canadian providence except Quebec.

There is a $100 application fee.

An international candidate in the later stages of the licensing process will be able to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant.


Maryland Board of Nursing

Maryland Nurses Association

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