Nursing Licensure Boards

Completing an on-campus or online master’s degree in nursing or a nurse practitioner program is the first step toward a fulfilling nursing career. To work in a professional setting as a registered nurse (RN), advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) nurses must also meet the professional standards set forth by their state’s board of nursing.

Nurses are regulated, much like medical doctors and other medical professionals. Because of their capacity working with the health of our communities, nurses are licensed by states to ensure they are qualified to provide care to patients. 

To qualify for a license, you may be required to submit:

  • An RN advanced nursing degree from an accredited school of nursing
  • Official transcripts
  • Legal citizenship
  • An application fee
  • Completed application, which may require a fingerprint card and comprehensive background check
  • Passing NCLEX score
  • Board-recognized certification
  • Recorded clinical hours of experience

Requirements will vary by state and by nursing career. Licensure will have to be renewed approximately every two years. Every state will have its own criteria, so nurses will need to research the requirements of the state where they want to work.

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Sponsored

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn an M.S. in Nursing online at the Wegmans School of Nursing

  • The Wegmans School of Nursing is ranked among the top 100 nursing schools nationally, and is No. 6 in New York state1
  • Part-time and accelerated tracks available
  • Four program options: PCFNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP

Earn your MSN online from USC’s Top-Ranked School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

1 U.S. News & World Report, 2022 Best Nursing Schools: Master’s. Ranked in 2021.

Sponsored

What Is the State Board of Nursing?

State boards of nursing were created more than 100 years ago in the United States. The state board of nursing is the governing body that:

  • Establishes standards for safe nursing care
  • Evaluates licensure applications
  • Issues licenses to practice nursing
  • Renews nursing licenses
  • Holds licenses to provisions defined in state/territorial laws
  • Takes disciplinary action against nurses who have engaged in unsafe nursing practice, including probation, reprimand, limited or restricted practice, suspended practice and license revocation
  • Authorizes use of licensing examinations
  • Advises on the determination of the legal scope of nursing practice in the state
  • Approves nursing education programs
  • Regulates advanced nursing practice
  • Regulates nursing assistants/nurse aides and medication assistants and aides working in home health care settings and nursing homes

The purpose of nursing licensing and regulatory boards is to issue and monitor licensing to nurses while maintaining standards for safe nursing care. Each state has its own Nurse Practice Act that is enforced by nursing regulatory bodies employing nurses to comply with law and rules to maintain their licenses. Nurse Practice Acts often include qualifications for licensure, nurse career titles to use, scope of practice, and actions against nurses who do not follow the law.

What Is the Role of the State Board of Nursing?

The state board of nursing establishes clear legal authorization for the scope of the nursing practice and ensures nursing titles are given to the professionals who have met the essential qualifications.

These functions protect the public from being treated by unqualified health care providers, which could harm their health and livelihood. The state board of nursing ensures nursing professionals get the education they need to legally deliver optimal treatment so patient health is protected.

Find Your State’s Board of Nursing

Alabama Board of Nursing

770 Washington Ave., Suite 250
Montgomery, AL 36104
(800) 656-5318
Alabama Board of Nursing Website

Alaska Board of Nursing

500 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1500
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 269-8156
Alaska Board of Nursing Website

Arizona State Board of Nursing

1740 W. Adams Street, Suite 2000
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 771-7800
Arizona State Board of Nursing Website

Arkansas State Board of Nursing

1123 S. University, Suite 800
Little Rock, AR 72204
(501) 686-2700
Arkansas State Board of Nursing Website

California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians

2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 205
Sacramento, CA 95833
(916) 263-7800
Board of Vocational Nursing & Psychiatric Technicians Website

California Board of Registered Nursing

1747 N. Market Blvd., Suite 150
Sacramento, CA 95834
(916) 322-3350
California Board of Registered Nursing Website

Colorado Board of Nursing

1560 Broadway, Suite 1350
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 894-2430
Colorado Board of Nursing Website

Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing

410 Capitol Ave., MS #13PHO
Hartford, CT 06134
(860) 509-7603
Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing Website

Delaware Board of Nursing

Cannon Building, Suite 203
861 Silver Lake Blvd.
Dover, DE 19904
(302) 744-4500
Delaware Board of Nursing Website

District of Columbia Board of Nursing

899 N. Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 442-5955
District of Columbia Board of Nursing Website

Florida Board of Nursing

4052 Bald Cypress Way Bin C-02
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 245-4125
Florida Board of Nursing Website

Georgia Board of Nursing

214 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
(844) 753-7825
Georgia Board of Nursing Website

Hawaii Board of Nursing

P.O. Box 3469
Honolulu, HI 96801
(808) 586-2695
Hawaii Board of Nursing Website

State of Idaho Board of Nursing

280 N. 8th Street, Suite 210
Boise, ID 83720
(208) 577-2476
State of Idaho Board of Nursing Website

Illinois Board of Nursing

100 W. Randolph, 9th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
(888) 473-4858
Illinois Board of Nursing Website

Indiana State Board of Nursing

402 W. Washington Street, Room W072
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 234-2043
Indiana State Board of Nursing

Iowa Board of Nursing

400 SW 8th Street, Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 281-3255
Iowa Board of Nursing Website

Kansas Board of Nursing

900 SW Jackson Street, Suite 1051
Topeka, KS 66612
(785) 296-4949
Kansas Board of Nursing Website

Kentucky Board of Nursing

312 Whittington Parkway, Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40222
(502) 429-3300
Kentucky Board of Nursing Website

Louisiana State Board of Nursing

17373 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
(225) 755-7500
Louisiana State Board of Nursing Website

Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners

131 Airline Drive, Suite 301
Metairie, LA 70001
(504) 838-5791
Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners Website

Maine State Board of Nursing

161 Capitol Street
Augusta, Maine 04333
(207) 287-1133
Maine State Board of Nursing Website

Maryland Board of Nursing

4140 Patterson Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215
(888) 202-9861
Maryland Board of Nursing Website

Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing

239 Causeway Street, Suite 500, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
(800) 414-0168
Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Website

Michigan Board of Nursing

611 W. Ottawa
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 335-9700
Michigan Board of Nursing Website

Minnesota Board of Nursing

1210 Northland Drive, Suite 120
Mendota Heights, MN 55120
(612) 317-3000
Minnesota Board of Nursing Website

Mississippi Board of Nursing

713 Pear Orchard Road, Plaza II, Suite 300
Ridgeland, MS 39157
(601) 957-6300
Mississippi Board of Nursing Website

Missouri Board of Nursing

3605 Missouri Boulevard
Jefferson City, MO 65102
(573) 751-0681
Missouri Board of Nursing Website

Montana Board of Nursing

301 S. Park Avenue, 4th Floor
Helena, MT 59620
(406) 444-6880
Montana Board of Nursing Website

Nebraska Nurse Licensing

301 Centennial Mall South, 1st Floor
14th & M Streets
Lincoln, NE 68508
(402) 471-4376
Nebraska Nurse Licensing Website

Nevada State Board of Nursing

5011 Meadowood Mall Way, Suite 300
Reno, NV 89502
(888) 590-6726
Nevada State Board of Nursing Website

New Hampshire Board of Nursing

121 S. Fruit Street, Suite 102
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2323
New Hampshire Board of Nursing Website

New Jersey Board of Nursing

124 Halsey Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
(973) 504-6430
New Jersey Board of Nursing Website

New Mexico Board of Nursing

6301 Indian School Road, NE #710
Albuquerque, NM 87110
(505) 841-8340
New Mexico Board of Nursing Website

New York State Board of Nursing

89 Washington Ave., 2nd Floor West Wing
Albany, NY 12234
(518) 474-3817
New York State Board of Nursing Website

North Carolina Board of Nursing

4516 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 782-3211
North Carolina Board of Nursing Website

North Dakota Board of Nursing

919 S. 7th Street, Suite 504
Bismarck, ND 58504
(701) 328-9777

North Dakota Board of Nursing Website

Ohio Board of Nursing

17 S. High Street, Suite 660
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 466-3947
Ohio Board of Nursing Website

Oklahoma Board of Nursing

2915 N. Classen Blvd., Suite 524
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
(405) 962-1800
Oklahoma Board of Nursing Website

Oregon State Board of Nursing

17938 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road
Portland, OR 97224
(917) 673-0685
Oregon State Board of Nursing Website

Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing

2601 N. 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(833) 367-2762
Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing Website

Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education

3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-5960
Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education Website

South Carolina Board of Nursing

110 Centerview Drive
Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 896-4300
South Carolina Board of Nursing Website

South Dakota Board of Nursing

4305 S. Louise Ave., Suite 201
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
(605) 362-2760
South Dakota Board of Nursing Website

Tennessee Board of Nursing

665 Mainstream Drive, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 532-5166
Tennessee Board of Nursing

Texas Board of Nursing

333 Guadalupe, Suite 3-460
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 305-7400
Texas Board of Nursing Website

Utah Board of Nursing

Heber M. Wells Building, 4th Floor, 160
East 300 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
(866) 275-3675
Utah Board of Nursing Website

Vermont State Board of Nursing

89 Main Street, 3rd Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620
(802) 828-1505
Vermont State Board of Nursing Website

Virginia Department of Health Professions Board of Nursing

Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233
(804) 367-4400
Virginia Board of Nursing Website

Washington State Department of Health Nursing Commission

111 Israel Road SE
Tumwater, WA 98501
(360) 236-4703
Washington Nursing Commission Website

West Virginia RN Board

90 MacCorkle Ave., SW #203
South Charleston, WV 25303
(304) 744-0900
West Virginia RN Board Website

West Virginia State Board of Examiners for Licensed Practical Nurses

101 Dee Drive, Suite 100
Charleston, WV 25311
(304) 558-3572
West Virginia LPN Board website

State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Board of Nursing

4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 266-2112
Wisconsin Board of Nursing Website

Wyoming State Board of Nursing

130 Hobbs Ave., Suite B
Cheyenne, WY 82002
(307) 777-7601
Wyoming State Board of Nursing Website

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Sponsored

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn an M.S. in Nursing online at the Wegmans School of Nursing

  • The Wegmans School of Nursing is ranked among the top 100 nursing schools nationally, and is No. 6 in New York state1
  • Part-time and accelerated tracks available
  • Four program options: PCFNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP

Earn your MSN online from USC’s Top-Ranked School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

1 U.S. News & World Report, 2022 Best Nursing Schools: Master’s. Ranked in 2021.

Sponsored

FAQs

How does someone become a member of the board of nursing?

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the board of nursing in your state, contact the board to find out how. Typically, board members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. You may need to contact the governor’s appointment office in your state if you’re interested. The existing board of nursing members may also play a role in approving new nurses for appointment.

To qualify for appointment, nurses will typically have to have worked a certain amount of years in the jurisdiction they’re applying for and be licensed.

How can I check my license through the board of nursing?

Typically, nurses can check their licenses at the state board of nursing’s website. Licensed nurses may have an online portal they can access to see how long their license is in effect for, when renewal dates are and other information. Nursys is also a database lookup for state boards of nursing.

How do I get in contact with the board of nursing in my state?

The best way to contact the board of nursing in your state is to first visit the board of nursing website’s contact page. There might be information regarding the preferred method of contact, such as email or phone, as well as the name of the point of contact.

If there’s no preferred method listed, you can call the contact number on the state board of nursing website to get information on how the board can help you based on your needs. However, many state boards of nursing accept online services and are self-service.

Which nurses must be licensed by the state board of nursing?

The following nursing specialties must be registered by the state board of nursing: registered nurses (RN), advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), clinical nurse specialists (CNS) and nurse practitioners (NP). Nursing specialities regulated by state boards of nursing vary state to state with nursing recognition. Be sure to check with your state for more information.

Contact your state board of nursing if you have questions about licensing requirements. Nursing aides, nursing assistants and home health care aide licensing requirements may differ from RN, APRN, CNS and NP nursing license requirements. 

How does the state board of nursing influence nursing practice?

The state board of nursing influences nursing practice by setting the standards and requirements to legally practice nursing in a health care setting. The state board of nursing also decides who will be licensed, which influences the landscape of nursing professionals in each state.

Get Licensed to Advance Your Nursing Career

Licensure enables nurses to legally practice nursing in their state. Getting licensed can lead to career advancement opportunities and increased earning potential. Check with your state to see what requirements you need to fulfill to get licensed and legally practice nursing.

Information on this page was last retrieved in June 2020.