Nursing Licensure Requirements in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing licenses professional and practical nurses. The state currently has 20,548 RNs and 3,388 LPNs. New Hampshire is a member of the nurse license compact. A candidate must declare a primary state of residence; if it is New Hampshire, the candidate can expect a multistate license which will allow work in other compact states (like Maine).

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If a nurse is licensed in a non-compact state, for example, Vermont, or is transferring the residency to New Hampshire, the candidate may apply by endorsement. If the candidate is applying for licensure for the first time in a U.S. state, the candidate will apply by examination and take the NCLEX. RN candidates who completed New Hampshire programs had a 93.85% NCLEX pass rate in 2012. LPN candidates who completed New Hampshire programs had a 90.78% in 2012, up from 81.86% in 2011.

New Hampshire LPN Requirements

LPN Education Paths

There is more than one path to licensure as an LPN. The standard route (acceptable across the country) is to complete an approved program in practical nursing. New Hampshire currently has four practical nursing programs that are accepting new students ( A student enrolled in a professional (RN) program is eligible to apply once the candidate has completed 600 hours of nursing education. Education must include concurrent theory and practice. The candidate will need courses in nursing fundamentals, parent/ child health, and medical/ surgical nursing.

Read “Choosing an LPN Program in New Hampshire” to gain a better understanding of the LPN program education requirements and process.

The Application Process

After graduation, or when the candidate has met coursework requirements, the candidate will turn in an application. The candidate may use a paper form application or utilize the online system at ( The fee is currently $120. The background check must be done by the New Hampshire Police; the candidate should contact the Board to ask for a fingerprint card. The fee for running a background check on Live Scan prints is $51.50.

NCLEX registration is a separate step. It costs $200. A nurse may work under a temporary permit while waiting to take the NCLEX. There is an additional $20 fee. A nurse who is in the process of meeting LN requirements is known as a Graduate Practical Nurse. A temporary license is good for, at most, 120 days.

U.S. candidates are expected to take and pass the NCLEX within four years of the time they graduate. A maximum of five attempts is allowed; remediation is required after an unsuccessful third attempt. Remediation is also required after four years – regardless of whether the candidate actually attempted the exam. A prospective LPN who is applying on the basis of comparable education is only allowed one attempt. Although it is not a licensing requirement, LPNs may wish to join the LPN Association of New Hampshire.

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Out of State LPNs

A nurse who has been licensed elsewhere will need to provide license verification. In many cases, this may be done online through the NURSYS database. In some cases, paper verification will be required; the application notes which states require paper forms.

A nurse with an active license is a candidate for license by endorsement. The candidate will need to go through a criminal background check. Endorsement candidates may request a temporary permit. The temporary permit does not confer multistate practice privileges. Endorsement candidates must meet continuing competency requirements. Generally, this means practicing at least 400 hours during the preceding four years and doing 30 continuing education contact hours during the preceding two. Nurses who have taken the NCLEX in the prior two years are also considered to have met the requirement.

Sometimes the NCLEX is retaken for re-entry into the field — New Hampshire will authorize applicants to do so. The other re-entry option is to enroll in a board approved refresher course. A nurse who chooses this option must get a special kind of temporary permit, one that authorizes participation in the clinical portion of the course.

LPNs educated outside the U.S. and Canada must demonstrate that their education meets New Hampshire’s requirements for theory and clinical coursework.

RN Requirements in New Hampshire

RN Education

An RN should complete an approved program. There are a number of options within the state, both at the associate and baccalaureate levels. Graduates of other U.S. and Canadian programs can be authorized by New Hampshire to take the NCLEX licensing exam after they submit transcripts and application materials.

Choosing an RN Program in New Hampshire” offers several additional resources to learn about selecting an appropriate professional nursing program.

The Application Process for RNs

Upon program completion, the graduate will apply for permanent licensure, and, if desired, temporary licensure; the latter will allow work while waiting to take the NCLEX-RN and receive results. The temporary license may be issued when the candidate has completed 1,080 hours of nursing education. A fingerprint based criminal background check is among the requirements for licensure.

There will be a $120 application fee, or $140 if the candidate simultaneously applies for both licenses. While working under a temporary permit, the candidate is known as a Graduate Nurse. The candidate must register with Pearson, the company that administers the NCLEX-RN. A $200 testing fee will be required upon registration. The candidate will wait to receive the ATT before scheduling an exam.The candidate may take the computer adapted test at the testing center that’s most convenient, either in New Hampshire or another state.

A candidate who does not pass the NCLEX on a first attempt may retake, but New Hampshire does place limits on the total number of retakes. An unsuccessful candidate may opt for the NCEX-PN (and a lower level of licensing) if the candidate prefers.

The New Hampshire Nurses Association does not have a role in the licensing process, but does provide resources, including continuing education, to the state’s RNs.

Out of State RNs

RNs who are currently licensed in other U.S. jurisdictions may apply by endorsement. Application fees are the same as they are for those applying by examination. There is a continuing competency requirement. Nurses who have not practiced the minimum number of hours will need to do a structured refresher course or retake the NCLEX. Those opting for the refresher course will apply for a temporary permit sometime after they enroll but before they actually begin. There is a list of approved courses on the Board site. All include, at minimum, 40 hours of instruction and 80 hours of clinicals.

International RNs

In some cases, Canadian nurses may be licensed by endorsement (without having to take the NCLEX). The NCLEX exemption applies only to those nurses who took the Canadian licensing exam in English before July 31, 1995. There is a special application for RNs applying by this route. In order to be eligible for the endorsement license, Canadian nurses also need to show that they practiced 400 or more hours during the preceding four year period.

RNs who were educated in foreign countries (excluding Canada) must either be certified through CGNFS or have a course by course evaluation of their credentials.


The New Hampshire Board of Nursing

New Hampshire Nurses Association

LPN Association of New Hampshire

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