• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - Florida

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

    Overview

    The Florida Department of Health's Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) serves as the primary administrative support unit for the Florida Board of Nursing (FBON). The FBON approves new pre-licensure nursing education programs and issues Florida RN licenses. It issued Florida nursing licenses to more than 352,500 registered nurses in early 2022. It also monitors, disciplines, and when appropriate, rehabilitates licensees to ensure their competence in providing healthcare services to the people of Florida.

    About

    Applicants of a Florida nursing license may apply for a single state or multistate license by exam or endorsement based on their current status. The Board accepts paper applications or applications submitted electronically through MQA Online Services.

    The FBON approves professional nursing education programs within the state with a curriculum that provides theoretical instruction and clinical experience in medical, surgical, pediatric, geriatric, obstetric, and psychiatric nursing. The settings for clinical training must at least include long-term care, acute care, and community settings. Graduates of both accredited and approved nursing education programs are eligible to apply for licensure by examination.

    Renewal

    Florida RN license renewal postcards are mailed at least 90 days before expiration dates. RN renewal deadlines are based on expiration dates within three groups. Current licenses expire at midnight (EST) on:

    • April 30, 2022 – Group 1

    • July 31, 2022 – Group 2

    • April 30, 2023 – Group 3

    Florida RN licenses operate on biennial licensure cycles, meaning they expire every two years relative to the dates above. Florida RN licenses are renewed upon the receipt of:

    • Completed renewal application

    • Appropriate renewal fees

    • Completed Continuing Education (CE) requirements as reported in CEBroker.com

    RNs should receive their new Florida nursing licenses in about 1 to 2 weeks. To expedite renewal, RNs may renew online. The “Renew My License” option is available on the MQA Online Services dashboard no later than 90 days before the renewal date. When renewing online, nurses may pay fees with a credit or debit card or they can print their application summary and mail it along with a money order or cashier’s check to:

    Division of Medical Quality Assurance P.O. Box 6320 Tallahassee, FL 32314-6320

    Continuing Education Requirements

    The FBON can require up to 30 hours of CE biennially as a condition of renewal of a Florida RN license. CE courses may be live or home study and all mandatory courses must be offered by an FBON-approved provider except the two-hour Human Trafficking course. Current CE requirements include:

    • General: 16 Hours

      • Must be approved by a state or national organization authorized to accredit nursing CE

    • Florida Laws & Rules: 2 Hours

      • Must be FBON approved as listed on CE Broker

    • Prevention of Medical Errors: 2 Hours

      • Must be FBON approved as listed on CE Broker

    • Human Trafficking: 2 Hours

      • Doesn’t have to be FBON approved/Required every renewal/biennium

    • Recognizing Impairment in the Workplace: 2 Hours

      • Must be FBON approved as listed on CE Broker/Required every other renewal

    • Domestic Violence: 2 Hours

      • Must be FBON approved as listed on CE Broker/Only required every third renewal/biennium

    • HIV/AIDS: 1 Hour

      • Must be FBON approved as listed on CE Broker/One-time requirement before the first renewal

    Whether they were licensed by exam or endorsement, nurses whose initial Florida RN licenses weren’t issued for a full two years are exempt from general CE hours during the first biennium. However, they must complete one hour of CE for each month they held their licenses. These hours must include 1 hour of HIV/AIDS and 2 hours each of Florida Laws & Rules, Prevention of Medical Errors, Human Trafficking, and Recognizing Impairment in the Workplace for their first renewal.

    Nurses who are certified by a healthcare specialty program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies are exempt from CE requirements except the 2 hours of Human Trafficking.

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    All new applicants for licensure by endorsement or exam must have their fingerprint submitted electronically by a Live Scan provider to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The FBON is no longer legally authorized to accept hard fingerprint cards or background check results from applicants.

    The FDLE completes a search of Florida and national criminal history records pertaining to an applicant. Results are sent to the Care Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse where the FBON accesses them for consideration during the licensure process. The FDLE and the Clearinghouse retain all submitted Live Scan fingerprints.

    Applicants in Florida needing background screening must:

    • Register with the Clearinghouse system

    • Choose “Initiate New Screening”

    • Create a profile

    • Make an appointment with a Live Scan provider

    • Complete the Electronic Fingerprinting Form

    • Bring the form and ORI Number (EDOH4420Z) to the Live Scan appointment

    • Pay the appropriate fee

    • Have fingerprints taken

    • Receive a Transaction Control Number to provide to the FBON if requested

    Applicants outside of Florida must have their prints taken on a fingerprint card, then contact an approved Live Scan provider in their area that converts these cards for electronic submission to the FBON.

    Contact Information

    Florida Board of Nursing 4042 Bald Cypress Way, Room 120 Tallahassee, FL 32399 [email protected] (850) 245-4125

    Multistate

    Florida is part of the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), which it implemented on January 19, 2018. The FBON issues multistate licenses to new applicants who meet the 11 uniform licensure requirements of the Compact. It also gives nurses with active, unrestricted single state licenses permanently residing in Florida the option to convert to a multistate license. Visiting RNs with a Compact license from another state can practice in Florida without obtaining another license.

    RNs holding a multistate nursing license must adhere to the nursing practice laws and rules of the state in which they’re practicing. Resident nurses currently holding a standard single state Florida RN license may upgrade to a multistate license if they:

    • Have an active, unencumbered Florida license

    • Have a U.S. Social Security Number

    • Declare Florida as their primary state of residency

    • Provide proof of residency via a driver’s license, voter registration card, or federal income tax return

    • Submit an application with appropriate fees

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

    • Get fingerprinted by a Live Scan service provider with results submitted no more than 90 days before applying or anytime within a year of applying

    • Don’t have felony convictions or any misdemeanors related to the practice of nursing

    • Aren’t currently enrolled with Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN) or any other treatment program

    • Self-disclose any participation in an alternative program

    RNs who were foreign-educated also must be evaluated by an independent credentials review agency and pass an English competency exam if the instruction wasn’t completed in English. All applications to update to a multistate nursing license are reviewed for completeness within 30 days of receipt and an application specialist may request additional information. When all requirements are met, the multistate upgrade is added to the applicant’s current Florida nursing license. Multistate upgrade applications are valid for one year. They expire if they’re not approved within this time frame and the applicant must submit a new one. 

    Licensure by Endorsement

    Applicants are eligible for Florida nursing licensure by endorsement if they currently hold a valid RN license in another state or U.S. territory and they completed the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) or the NCLEX-RN. Applicants who haven’t taken the SPTPE or NCLEX-RN may still qualify for licensure by endorsement if they’ve actively practiced nursing in another state or U.S. territory for two of the preceding three years without any disciplinary action taken against their license. They also must not have any criminal history. 

    Candidates must submit a Nursing Licensure by Endorsement Application with the appropriate fees. They must also:

    • Schedule an appointment to be fingerprinted by a Live Scan service provider

    • Contact the licensing Boards where their initial and active nursing licenses are held and request verifications to be sent to the FBON

    Applications for RN licensure by endorsement are reviewed for completeness within 30 days of receipt. Once all documents are received, an application specialist reviews them and may request additional information. The Florida nursing license by endorsement is issued when all requirements are met. Applicants who haven’t actively practiced nursing within the past five years must take a remedial course before licensure.

    Licensure by Exam

    Nursing students may be eligible to apply for licensure by exam if they graduated from a:

    • Nursing education program approved or accredited by the FBON

    • Nursing program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education that’s been issued an NCLEX code by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)

    • Nursing education program approved/recognized by the jurisdiction where it’s based and has been issued an NCLEX code by the NCSBN

    • Military nursing education program that’s been issued an NCLEX code by the NCSBN

    • Generic Master of Science in Nursing or higher program that’s been issued an NCLEX code by the NCSBN

    • Non-NCSBN jurisdiction or international nursing education program determined by the Board to be equivalent to an approved program

    Candidates must submit a Nursing Licensure by Examination Application with the appropriate fees and begin registration with Pearson VUE, the NCLEX-RN testing vendor. Applicants must also schedule an appointment to be fingerprinted by a Live Scan service provider. Their nursing program must send an official transcript with their graduation date and degree conferred directly to the FBON. Transcripts won’t be accepted from applicants. Nursing programs can send secure electronic transcripts to [email protected] or mail paper transcripts to:

    Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance Bureau of Health Care Practitioner Regulation, Board of Nursing 4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin C-02 Tallahassee, FL 32399-3252

    Once all documents are received, an application specialist reviews them and may request additional information. If all requirements are met, applicants receive an eligibility letter and the FBON transfers approval to Pearson VUE.

    Pearson VUE sends applicants their Authorization to Test (ATT), which is valid for 90 days and contains a candidate identification number, test authorization number, and expiration date. Testing centers fill up quickly and expiration dates can’t be extended for any reason. If an applicant’s ATT expires, they must re-register for the NCLEX and pay another fee.

    The FBON issues an initial license to applicants who pass the licensure exam within 7-10 days. Applicants who don’t pass the NCLEX must apply to take the test again and pay a retest fee to the FBON and Pearson VUE.

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Applicants for a Florida nursing license who received their education outside the U.S. or graduated in a U.S. territory whose regulatory nursing board isn’t a member of the NCSBN must complete all the standard licensing requirements and submit:

    • A Course-by-Course Education Evaluation Report from a Board-approved credentialing agency:

      • Ashland Educational Services Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency

      • Educational Records Evaluation Service, Inc.

      • Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. International Education Consultants

      • Commission on Graduates on Foreign Nursing Schools

    • Proof of English competency, unless the nursing coursework and textbooks were in English, and must complete the:

      • International English Language Testing System with a minimum score of 6.5 overall and a 7.0 on the spoken portion of the academic version

      • Michigan Language Assessment with a minimum score of 55 and minimum speaking score of 55%

      • Occupational English Test with a minimum score of 300

      • Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 540 on the paper-based, 207 on the computer-based, or 76 on the Internet-based version

    Nurses educated outside the U.S. or in a Non-NCSBN jurisdiction must take the NCLEX-RN and obtain a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN). An SSN isn’t required to complete the application process or take the NCLEX but is required before the FBON can issue a nursing license.

    Canadian RNs who took the Canadian Nurses Association Testing Service (CNATS) exam before August 8, 1995, and test scores are in an acceptable range, may be eligible for licensure by endorsement in Florida. Canadian RNs who took the CNATS exam after this date must take the NCLEX unless they’re licensed in another state or U.S. territory, which may qualify them for licensure by endorsement.

    Timing

    Florida law requires initial applications to be reviewed within 30 days of receipt. However, there isn’t any set time frame for application approval. The FBON processes applications in date order received, but overall time frames vary based on the number of applications received and the length of time required to receive all necessary documentation. Applicants for licensure by exam are issued their licenses 7 to 10 business days after the FBON receives notification from Pearson VUE that they passed their licensure exam.

    Temporary Nurse License

    Florida doesn’t issue temporary nursing licenses. However, applicants approved for Graduate Nurse (GN) status may practice nursing under the direct supervision of a registered nurse before they pass the NCLEX-RN. To qualify for GN status, applicants must have:

    • Applied for a Florida nursing license by examination

    • Graduated from an approved nursing program no more than three months ago

    • Received authorization to take the NCLEX from Pearson VUE

    • Received authorization from the FBON to practice as a graduate nurse

    • Received a graduate nurse letter

    Applicants who don’t pass the NCLEX-RN on their first attempt or who don’t show up for the first exam they’ve been made eligible to take, lose their graduate nurse status and can no longer practice in this capacity.

    Fees

    Florida nursing license applicants may pay fees by money order or cashier’s check made payable to the Department of Health. Those applying online through MQA Online Services must pay fees with a credit card. The application and licensing fees paid by applicants for licensure by exam or endorsement include a $5 fee to fund efforts to combat unlicensed activity and a $5 fee to carry out the provisions of the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program. Both fees are assessed during initial licensure and at each license renewal. Current fees include:

    • Application for Licensure by Exam/Endorsement: $110

      • Processing Fee: $50

      • Initial Licensure Fee: $50

      • Unlicensed Activity Fee: $5

      • Student Loan Forgiveness Fund: $5

    • Pearson VUE, Nurse Licensure Testing Vendor: $200

    • Live Scan Service Provider: Varies

    • License Verification: Varies

    • Multistate Upgrade: $100

    • Renewal Fees Before License Expires:

      • Active to Active: $75

      • Inactive/Active to Inactive: $65

      • Inactive to Active: $130

      • Active/Inactive to Retired: $55

    • Renewal Fees After License Expires:

      • Active to Active: $130

      • Inactive to Inactive: $120

      • Active to Inactive: $175

      • Inactive to Active: $240

      • Active/Inactive to Retired: $165

    • Renewal Fees 120-Day Notified Delinquent:

      • Active to Active: $205

      • Inactive/Active to Inactive: $185

      • Inactive to Active: $260

      • Active to Retired: $185

      • Inactive to Retired: $175

    Applicants denied licensure or who withdraw their application are entitled to a refund of $60. Fees are refundable up to three years from the date they’re received.

    Recent Updates

    As of January 1, 2019, all certified or licensed Florida nursing processionals must complete a two-hour CE course on human trafficking every biennium. These courses don’t have to be taught by an FBON-approved provider but must include information and data on:

    • Different types of human trafficking

    • Factors that put people at greater risk of becoming a human trafficking victim

    • Validated assessment tools for identifying human trafficking victims and indicators someone may be a human trafficking victim

    • Procedures for sharing information related to human trafficking with patients

    • Hotlines maintained by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for reporting human trafficking 

    • Public and private social services available for rescue, referrals, shelter, food, and clothing

    • Referral options for legal and social services

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    Frequently asked questions

    How many times can Florida RN licensure applicants retake the NCLEX-RN?

    Florida nursing license applicants can retake the NCLEX up to three times. After the third failed attempt, they must complete an FBON-approved remedial course. The course provider must submit proof of completion directly to the FBON before the applicant can take the NCLEX for the fourth time.

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

    Applicants aren’t required to have an SSN to take the NCLEX, but Florida law prohibits the FBON from issuing them a license until they’ve received an SSN. Applicants must provide proof of receipt by submitting a copy to the FBON by regular mail or fax.