• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - Delaware

    • Compact State
    • Participates in NURSYS
    • Renewal every 2 years

    Overview

    The Delaware Board of Nursing (BON) is part of the state’s Division of Professional Regulation (DPR). Its primary objective is to protect public health, safety, and welfare by developing standards for professional nursing competency, promoting nursing rules and regulations, arbitrating complaints against nurses, and imposing disciplinary sanctions when necessary. More than 19,600 registered nurses held licenses in Delaware in March 2022.

    About

    All applications for a Delaware nursing license must be submitted through the DELPROS system. The Delaware BON no longer accepts paper applications. Once applicants begin an application through DELPROS, they only have six months to finish and submit it. If they fail to submit the application in this time frame, they must restart the entire online application again. Applicants can also use DELPROS to check the status of their application for single state or multistate licensure by exam or endorsement throughout the application process.

    Renewal

    Licensees should begin the Delaware RN license renewal process a few months before their licenses expire. RN licenses expire on February 28, May 31, or September 30 of odd-numbered years. The expiration month varies based on when the original license was issued. Notices of upcoming renewals are sent via email with instructions on how to submit renewals on DELPROS. 

    When applying for Delaware RN license renewal, nurses must provide workforce data using the free Nursys e-Notify service. RNs who don’t submit workforce data during renewal will have their licenses put on hold until it’s been verified that they’ve completed this task.

    Nurses must attest that they’ve practiced a minimum of 1,000 hours in the past five years or 400 hours in the past two years. They also must proclaim that they’ve completed the required CE units. The BON performs random audits to ensure compliance of Delaware RN license renewal requirements. Nurses randomly selected for audit must verify they’ve maintained the required CE and other requirements requested by the BON. Nurses should only upload CE certificates and documents verifying practice requirements if they’ve been notified that they were selected for audit.

    Failure to submit requested documentation during an audit could impact continued eligibility for licensure. Failing to renew within two months of the date of expiration will result in an RN’s license being terminated. To resume practicing, they must apply to reinstate their license through DELPROS.

    Continuing Education Requirements

    Within each two-year licensure period, Delaware RNs must complete the required CE per the Board’s Rules and Regulations. Requirements include listing completed CE units in the Continuing Education Tracker on DELPROS. Each course must be listed individually in the CE Tracker. The number of CE hours required for the first renewal depends on how and when an RN’s license was initially issued.

    Licensure Method / Length of Licensure / Number of CE Hours Needed

    • Examination / Less than two years / Zero hours (first renewal only)

    • Examination / Two or more years / 30 hours

    • Endorsement or Reinstatement / Less than one year / Zero hours (first renewal only)

    • Endorsement or Reinstatement / At least one year but less than two years / 15 hours

    • Endorsement or Reinstatement / Two or more years / 30 hours

    For each subsequent renewal, RNs must complete at least 30 hours of CE. Three CE hours must be related to substance abuse, but the specific topics can be of the nurse’s choosing.

    Requirements

    Delaware was part of the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and joined the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) on January 19, 2018. As part of the Compact, applicants for a Delaware RN license must meet the 11 uniform licensure requirements.

    The Delaware BON also has detailed requirements for approval of nursing education programs. Requirements include a curriculum that enables students to develop the nursing knowledge and skills needed to meet the scope and standards of competent nursing practice expected of a registered nurse. RN programs must provide concurrent theory and clinical practice in the physical and/or mental health care of patients of all ages in diverse healthcare settings. 

    Most importantly, education programs must include a minimum of 400 hours of clinical experience for RN students. Graduate nurses seeking a Delaware nursing license by exam whose program didn’t include this minimum are ineligible to take the licensing exam. RNs applying for licensure by endorsement must present their case to the Delaware BON for a decision on appropriate action when their education programs didn’t include this minimum.

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    Applicants are required to complete both State of Delaware and FBI criminal background checks as part of the application process. The Authorization for Release of Information, Criminal History Record Check form includes instructions on how to arrange to be fingerprinted.

    Applicants In Delaware:

    Complete the authorization form and take it to the primary State Bureau of Identification (SBI) facility in Kent County (Dover) or the satellite facilities in New Castle County (Newark) or Sussex County (Georgetown). Kent County takes walk-ins but New Castle and Sussex are by appointment only.

    Pay the $65 fee to cover both the State of Delaware and FBI criminal background checks at the fingerprinting office. All locations accept money orders, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. New Castle and Kent counties also accept cash. None of the offices accept personal checks.

    Applicants Outside Delaware:

    Applicants should visit their local police agency for fingerprinting. All types of fingerprint cards are accepted or they can print the FBI FD-258 fingerprint form on regular paper. They must still complete the Authorization for Release of Information form. Mail the completed form and fingerprint card along with a money order or certified check for $65 made payable to Delaware State Police to:

    Delaware State Police State Bureau of Identification P.O. Box 430 Dover, DE 19903-0430

    All applicants must submit their completed authorization form and payment to the SBI, not the Delaware BON office or the DPR office. All applicants should allow the SBI at least four weeks to send their criminal history records to the BON office.

    Contact Information

    Delaware Board of Nursing Cannon Building 861 Silver Lake Boulevard, Suite 203 Dover, DE 19904 [email protected] (302) 744-4500

    Multistate

    Under the Compact, RNs holding a multistate Delaware nursing license can provide patient care in other Compact states without having to obtain licensure in those states. To apply for multistate licensure, Delaware must be the applicant’s primary state of residence or permanent home for legal purposes. If they’re a legal resident of another state, they must apply for licensure in their home state, not in Delaware. Current RNs whose license is marked “Valid Only In Delaware” don’t have a multistate license and can file a request to upgrade to multistate licensure.

    To qualify for a multistate license, applicants must meet all 11 uniform licensure requirements, which include:

    • Meeting the licensure requirements of their home state

    • Having a valid U.S. Social Security number

    • Graduating from a nursing education program approved by the BON

    • Passing an English proficiency exam if English isn’t their native language

    • Submitting fingerprints for state and federal criminal background checks

    • Passing the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)

    • Holding or being eligible for an active, unencumbered license

    • Self-disclosing any current participation in an alternative program

    • Not currently participating in an alternative program

    • Not having any state or federal felony convictions

    • Not having any nursing-related misdemeanor convictions

    Applicants who don’t meet all these requirements may still receive a single state nursing license that’s only valid for practicing nursing within Delaware. RNs who currently hold a multistate license in one state and permanently move to another state must obtain a new multistate license when they declare their residency in the new state.

    Licensure by Endorsement

    Applicants who have a current, active RN license in another state or U.S. territory and have never held a Delaware RN license can apply for licensure by endorsement. If the applicant has a multistate license from another state, they can practice nursing in Delaware under their Compact license until they’re issued their Delaware nursing license. However, applicants with a single state license from a non-Compact state and applicants licensed in a Compact state who don’t have a multistate license should apply for a temporary permit while waiting for their Delaware nursing license.

    Before applying to be licensed by endorsement in Delaware, RNs must meet one of the following practice requirements:

    • Graduated from a State BON-approved nursing education program within the past two years that included at least 400 hours of clinical experience

    • Completed at least 1,000 hours of nursing practice over the past five years

    • Completed at least 400 hours of nursing practice over the past two years

    • Completed a Board-approved refresher program

    RNs who don’t meet any of these practice requirements may submit their application and be issued a temporary permit while completing an alternative supervised practice plan. Applicants who have practiced at least 1,000 hours in the last five years or 400 hours in the last two years must have also completed at least 30 hours of continuing education (CE) within the past two years.

    RNs who qualify for licensure by endorsement must transmit their completed application and fees using DELPROS. They must also submit:

    • Copy of their driver’s license or state ID card from the Department of Motor Vehicles

    • State of Delaware and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal background checks 

    • Nursing Employer Reference Form(s) from their employer(s)

    • Nursing School Reference Form from their nursing school

    • Verification of original licensure by examination

    When verifying licensure, if the licensing state uses the Nursys databank, applicants can complete the Nursys Verification Request and send verification electronically for $30. Otherwise, they must complete and send the Verification of Original Licensure form to the State Board of Nursing that originally licensed them. This BON office finishes the form and mails it directly to the Delaware BON. Most Boards of Nursing charge a fee for verification services.

    Licensure by Exam

    Graduate nurses can apply for Delaware nurse licensure by exam upon graduation from an approved nursing education program. If the program was in-state, it must be among the approved Delaware nursing education programs. In addition to submitting a completed application and appropriate fees through DELPROS, Delaware RN license candidates must submit:

    • Copy of their driver’s license or state ID card from the Department of Motor Vehicles

    • Nursing School Reference Form sent directly from their school

    • Official transcript showing degree received and date conferred sent from their school

    • State of Delaware and FBI criminal background checks 

    Applicants also must register to take the NCLEX-RN on the Pearson VUE website. Once the Delaware BON office receives, reviews, and approves all required documents, it notifies Pearson VUE of an applicant’s eligibility to take the exam. Pearson VUE sends eligible applicants Authorization to Test (ATT) forms by email. Any questions should be sent to Pearson VUE as the BON office has no information regarding the status of ATT forms. The BON will notify applicants if they’re not eligible to test.

    After an applicant receives their ATT, they schedule an appointment to take the NCLEX-RN. The BON receives test results directly from Pearson VUE. It informs the applicant via email whether they passed the exam and were issued a Delaware RN license or failed and must apply to retest.

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Applicants who received their nursing education outside the U.S., including Canada and Puerto Rico, must complete all the same requirements for licensure by exam as applicants from within the U.S. They must also:

    • Pass an English proficiency exam if English isn’t their native language

    • Request that a copy of their Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Credential Evaluation Service (CES) Report be sent directly to the Delaware BON office

    Timing

    It takes at least four weeks for the SBI to send criminal history records to the Delaware BON office. Applicants for licensure by exam should also allow up to two weeks after taking the NCLEX for the BON to receive their results. Completed applications and required documentation are reviewed and approved during monthly Board meetings, held every month but August and December. The overall timeline from applicant submission to license issuance varies by applicant.

    Temporary Nurse License

    Applicants who’ve already submitted an application for licensure by exam or endorsement can apply for a temporary permit to practice professional or graduate nursing, but only if they have a job offer letter from an employer in Delaware. For those who applied for licensure by endorsement, their start work date will be before the endorsement process is complete. For those who applied for licensure by exam, their start work date will be before they take the NCLEX-RN. Applicants must not begin orientation or employment until they’re assigned a temporary permit number.

    GN Temporary Permit for Exam Candidates:

    To earn a graduate nurse temporary permit, candidates must submit:

    • Application and fee through DELPROS

    • Official transcript showing degree received and date conferred sent from their school

    • Copy of job offer letter

    • State of Delaware and FBI criminal background checks 

    GN temporary permits are sent through email and expire 90 days after the applicant’s graduation date or immediately upon failing the NCLEX-RN.

    RN Temporary Permit for Endorsement Candidates:

    To earn a registered nurse temporary permit, candidates must submit:

    • Application and fee through DELPROS

    • Nursing Employer Reference Form

    • Copy of job offer letter

    • State of Delaware and FBI criminal background checks

    RN temporary permits expire 90 days after issuance. However, a permit can be extended for a total of six months, including a second period of 60 days and a third period of 30 days. RNs can only use their temporary permits at the facility indicated on their application.

    All applicants are notified through email when their temporary permits have been issued. They can print their permits from their online account and verify permits on the Search and Verify a Professional License page. The Delaware BON no longer mails paper permits or licenses.

    Fees

    All fees for Delaware nurse licensure are nonrefundable and securely processed through Delaware Professional Regulation Online Services (DELPROS). The shopping cart concept utilized by DELPROS allows users to pay application fees all at once or individually using a credit or debit card. Applicants must pay online, they can’t pay by check, money order, or cash. Application and other miscellaneous fees for Delaware nursing professionals include:

    • Registered Nurse Application: $170

    • Temporary Permit: $40

    • Upgrade to Multistate Licensure: $25

    • Re-examination: $25

    • Criminal Background Check (SBI & FBI): $65

    • NCLEX-RN Exam/Retest: $200

    • Refresher Program: $1000

    • Registered Nurse Reinstatement: $255

    • Inactive License Status Change Request: $45

    • Verification of Licensure: $35

    • Verification of Licensure with Exam Scores/Hours/History: $45

    Renewal fees are disclosed at the time of renewal. A late fee is added to the renewal fee when a licensee submits an application for renewal after the expiration date. Late fees are 50% of the renewal fee.

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    Frequently asked questions

    How often can Delaware RN licensure applicants retake the NCLEX-RN?

    Delaware nursing license applicants can reapply to take the NCLEX-RN every 45 days up to eight times a year for a total of five years. If it’s been more than two years since an applicant graduated from nursing school, they must submit proof of completion of an NCLEX-RN review course taken within the past six months. If it’s been more than five years since an applicant graduated, they’re no longer eligible for licensure by exam in Delaware.

    Can Delaware nursing license applicants challenge the results of their FBI background check?

    Yes, nurse licensure applicants can challenge the accuracy of their FBI criminal history record by sending their challenge to:

    FBI, Criminal Justice Information Services Division ATTN: SCU, Mod. D-2 1000 Custer Hollow Road Clarksburg, WV 26306

    Are applicants required to have a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for a Delaware nursing license?

    If an applicant has an SSN, they must enter it when registering for a DELPROS account or they can’t move forward with the application process. However, if an applicant has never been issued an SSN, they can answer questions concerning their lack of an SSN and agree to report to the BON office when they’re issued one later.