Become a Nurse in New York – Education, Licensure, Requirements
Nursing in New York can take a few different paths. Currently, there are four distinct nursing professions and licenses in New York state: registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. Obtaining a New York nursing license for any one of these professions will require different qualifications, including education and qualifying exams.
If you’re interested in becoming a nurse in New York, this page can help explain the differences among various nursing positions and New York nursing license requirements, as well as salary and job outlooks in different parts of New York state.
Nursing requirements change rapidly. Make sure to confirm licensing requirements with the New York Board of Nursing before applying for licensure.
Requirements for Becoming a Nurse in New York
There are many paths to working in nursing in New York. The steps to become a nurse in New York will mostly depend upon the type of nurse you’d like to become and your current or prospective level of education. The higher your level of education, the more opportunities you’ll have to choose where and how you pursue your career in nursing.
Meet Minimum Education Requirements
Different nursing careers require different degrees. Most careers require a bachelor’s degree in nursing, though registered nurses can qualify with only an associate degree and licensed practical nurses need only attend a state-approved LPN program. More advanced careers such as nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists require a master’s in nursing from a program approved by New York state. Both on-campus and online MSN programs meet New York requirements for advanced nursing licensure.
Nursing Licenses in New York
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Registered Nurse (RN)
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Obtain a Nursing License in NY
All levels of nursing in the state are licensed and registered by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). While the first step toward licensure is education, other requirements include profession-specific exams and possibly practicum hours, professional certification or specialized coursework.
To become certified and registered by NYSED, you’ll need to fill out an application attesting that you meet the stated requirements and pay a licensing fee. The time it takes to receive licensure after applying will vary based on a number of factors, including whether you attended a NYSED program or a qualifying out-of-state school.
Education: Completion of a clinical nurse specialist education program accepted by the NYSED or meet alternative education requirements outlined by the NYSED.
Certification: If applying for New York certification as a CNS, you may provide proof of nationally recognized certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), or the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).
$80 application fee
Examination fee (varies for different certifications)
Additional Information: A New York State license as a registered professional nurse is required for application.
Renewal: License renewal is required through the New York State Board of Nursing every three years. No educational requirements are required for licensure. A fee of $30 per renewal period is required.
Education: Completion of an accepted NYSED nursing program and infection control and child abuse coursework.
$143 application fee
$200 examination fee
Renewal: License renewal is required through the New York State Board of Nursing every three years. There are no educational requirements. A fee of $73 per renewal period is required.
Endorsement: Individuals with equivalent licensure in another state may apply for licensure through endorsement, subject to a $143 application fee. Applicants must also complete infection control and child abuse coursework.
Median Salary in New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Median Salary in Rochester, NY
Median Salary in Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls
Median Salary in Syracuse
Median Salary in Albany-Schenectady-Troy
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Registered Nurse (RN)
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Nurse salaries above were retrieved from O*NET Online in November 2022 and based on Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 wage data.
Nursing salaries in NY vary based on specialization and area of the state. In both the United States as a whole and New York, median salaries in 2020 generally increased based on nurse career type, with an LPN in New York making $51,110 versus a nurse practitioner making $124,020.
New York nursing salaries outpaced the national median in all areas, but those figures may be inflated by the New York City metropolitan area. While the median annual salary for a clinical nurse specialist in the greater New York metropolitan area was $89,840, the same figure was $67,490 in Rochester—well below the national median salary of $75,330.
Nurse anesthetists had the least fluctuation across the whole of New York, with only the Buffalo and Syracuse areas seeing a significantly lower median annual wage. This is also the only nursing profession we tracked in which the median annual wage was higher outside of New York City—the median wage in the Albany area was above $208,000 compared to the New York metropolitan area’s median wage of $200,090.
When it comes to the projected job growth of nurses in New York, all nursing careers are projected to increase from 2018 to 2028, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nurse practitioner jobs in New York are expected to increase 51% by 2030. Across the nation, there are projected to be 46% more nurse practitioners from 2021 to 2031, a growth rate much greater than the average for all jobs. The projected job growth for nurses in New York from 2020 to 2030:
There are many things to consider before you become a nurse in New York. We’ve gathered some frequently asked questions to help you choose if New York nursing is right for you.
How do I become a registered nurse in New York?
To become a registered nurse in New York, you need to graduate from an approved nursing school and take coursework in infection control and child abuse. After this, you would pass the NCLEX-RN exam and pay a licensing fee. RN licenses need to be renewed every three years.
How do I become a nurse practitioner in New York?
To become a nurse practitioner in New York, you must complete a nurse practitioner education program—typically a master’s in nursing program—that is accepted by the New York State Education Department. Additionally, you’ll need to complete pharmacology coursework and receive national certification from an approved body. NP applicants need to pay a licensing fee and renew their license every three years.
Is New York a Nurse Licensure Compact state?
No, New York is not a Nurse Licensure Compact state. Out-of-state nurses who hope to practice in New York must obtain state licensure. Nurses with equivalent licensure in another state may be eligible for New York licensure through endorsement.
How much does a New York nursing license cost?
The cost to obtain a nursing license in New York varies by profession. The application fees are $85 for a nurse practitioner, $80 for a clinical nurse specialist, and $143 for a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse. Licensure may also require exams, which have varying costs.
Do I have to study in New York to become a nurse here?
You do not have to study in New York to work as a nurse in the state. The NYSED accepts nursing license applications from graduates of nursing schools outside of New York that are approved by the licensing authority of the other state.
How can I apply for a New York nursing license?
To apply for a New York nursing license, you must first meet education and testing requirements. You will then complete an application for the New York State Education Department and pay an application fee. The state will review your application and any applicable transcripts or test scores before issuing a license.
Last updated in February 2022
This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.