• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - Louisiana

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

    Overview

    The General Assembly of the State of Louisiana prompted the regulation of nursing education and practice by signing the first Nurse Practice Act on July 10, 1912. For more than 100 years, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) has worked diligently to safeguard public health by ensuring individuals practicing as registered nurses are competent and safe. The LSBN consists of 11 members and reported having over 63,500 registered nurses with Louisiana nursing licenses in March 2022.

    About

    To ensure individuals obtaining Louisiana nursing licenses receive appropriate education and training, the LSBN reviews and approves nursing education programs within the state. It also establishes minimum curriculum requirements and standards to ensure nursing program graduates meet state licensing requirements. Unlike many State BONs that are only authorized to oversee prelicensure nursing education programs, the LSBN approves everything from diploma programs to graduate programs for nurses.

    LSBN requires prospective and renewing nurses to apply through the online Nurse Portal. Applicants receive notifications through the Portal’s message center if LSBN requires additional information to complete licensure or it approves their Louisiana nursing license application. The Portal also provides status updates throughout the application process.

    Renewal

    Initial Louisiana nursing licenses are issued by calendar year and must be renewed by December 31, regardless of when they were issued. Subsequent Louisiana RN license renewals are biennial, meaning they expire every two years. RNs must submit their license renewal applications online between October 1 and December 31. After December 31, LSBN considers renewal applications late and adds a $50 late fee. Louisiana RN licenses not renewed by January 31 expire, and nurses must apply for reinstatement.

    RNs currently holding a single state nursing license in Louisiana must apply for conversion to a multistate license because single state licenses don’t automatically convert during renewal. Single state RN license holders must submit both a conversion application and a renewal application, but only during the first renewal. During subsequent Louisiana RN license renewals, they only need to submit the renewal application. RNs don’t have to wait for renewal to convert their license; they can apply for conversion at any time.

    After nurses submit their Louisiana RN license renewal applications, the LSBN licensure verification page reflects updated nurse licensure status by the next business days. RNs with questions about renewals may send queries to [email protected].

    Continuing Education Requirements

    During each two-year licensure period, RNs must complete continuing education (CE) requirements to qualify for Louisiana RN license renewals. RNs must either complete at least 30 contact hours of CE through approved providers or at least 900 practice hours as verified by the employer. 

    CE providers must be approved by LSBN or any U.S. Board of Nursing or accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Practice hours aren’t required to be completed in Louisiana. RNs licensed for the first time by endorsement or examination aren’t required to fulfill minimum CE or practice hours during the initial licensure period.

    Alternately, RNs may count academic courses in post-secondary institutions instead of CE contact hours, if the courses relate to specific knowledge and/or skills required for nursing practice or lead to an advanced degree or certification in advanced nursing. Academic courses that lead to a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing acquired post-licensure may be used to cover the renewal requirements for up to four consecutive years. One academic semester hour equals 15 contact hours of CE.

    RNs may also fulfill CE requirements by holding a certification in a nursing specialty from national organizations recognized by LSBN. Certifications must have been current for the full licensure period.

    LSBN randomly selects RNs each renewal season for audits of CE/nursing practice hours. LSBN staff selects 3% of all active licensees to demonstrate compliance during random audits. Failure to respond to or pass an audit may result in disciplinary action and/or inactivation of a nurse’s license.

    RNs are responsible for obtaining and retaining documentation that verifies compliance with CE and nursing practice requirements for five years. RNs must submit this documentation to LSBN upon request.

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    All applicants for Louisiana nursing licenses must submit a criminal background check packet, which requires fingerprinting by trained individuals authorized to provide fingerprinting services. CBC packets must include two FBI fingerprint cards (FD-258), which most law enforcement agencies and private fingerprinting vendors can supply. If the agencies don’t have blank FBI cards, applicants may print paper cards online and bring these to the agency for fingerprinting.

    Each card must contain a distinct set of fingerprints. If an agency uses a Live Scan system, they must scan fingerprints on both hands and print these on one card, then scan both hands again and print these fingerprints on the second card. The applicant must fill out and sign both cards. If fingerprints are returned as unreadable or otherwise inadequate, the applicant must submit a new set of fingerprints and any applicable fees.

    The CBC packet also must include two Authorization for Criminal Background Check forms, signed by the applicant. These forms give the Louisiana State Police permission to release all pertinent criminal record information related to the applicant in their files and the files of other states, the FBI, and/or applicable international organizations.

    Louisiana nursing license applicants must submit completed CBC packets with a copy of the receipt of fee payment directly to LSBN either through U.S. postal mail or by hand-delivering to the office after submitting their nurse licensure application. The $39.25 fee for processing CBCs should be paid electronically through the Nurse Portal when submitting the Louisiana RN license application.

    Contact Information

    Louisiana State Board of Nursing 17373 Perkins Road Baton Rouge, LA 70810 [email protected] (225) 755-7500 / (225) 755-7584

    Multistate

    Louisiana never joined the original Nurse Licensure Compact, so it became a new addition when the Governor signed Senate Bill 202 and enacted the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) on May 31, 2018. The eNLC became fully implemented on July 1, 2019. Local nurses can now apply to convert their Louisiana RN licenses to Compact/multistate RN licenses and practice in other Compact states without applying for any other licensure.

    New applicants for a Louisiana RN license who declare Louisiana as their primary state of residence (PSOR) are potentially eligible for a multistate nursing license. A PSOR is where an applicant has their fixed permanent home for legal purposes. The home’s address should match the address listed on official documents. To prove Louisiana is their PSOR, applicants must upload a PDF copy of one of these documents:

    • A current, unexpired Louisiana driver’s license with a home address in Louisiana

    • Page 1 of their current federal income tax return with their PSOR declaration

    • A DD Form 2058 State of Legal Residence Certificate from the military

    If an applicant’s PSOR isn’t Louisiana, they can’t apply for a multistate license in Louisiana. Only the nurse licensing agency in their PSOR may issue them a multistate license. Applicants whose PSOR is Louisiana but don’t meet all the eligibility requirements of a multistate license receive a single state nursing license and are only authorized to practice in Louisiana.

    Nurses already licensed in Louisiana may apply to convert their single state Louisiana nursing license to a multistate license if they qualify. To convert, choose “Other Applications” from the home page of the Nurse Portal and choose the “Conversion of Louisiana RN License to Multistate License” application.

    All applicants must send a completed criminal background check packet (CBC) to the LSBN office. Because records submitted when they were first licensed may no longer be available for review, conversion applicants also may be required to submit official transcripts, licensure verifications, and other information.

    All multistate licensure applicants must meet uniform licensure requirements. They must:

    • Declare Louisiana their PSOR and meet all the state’s licensure requirements

    • Graduate from a Board-approved nursing education program

    • Pass an English proficiency exam, if applicable

    • Pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) or its predecessor

    • Hold or be eligible for an active, unencumbered Louisiana nursing license

    • Submit state and federal fingerprint-based CBCs

    • Have no state or federal felony convictions

    • Have no misdemeanor convictions related to nursing

    • Not currently be participating in an alternative program

    • Self-disclose current participation in an alternative program

    • Have a valid U.S. Social Security number (SSN)

    Applicants who don’t declare Louisiana as their PSOR within the application or are otherwise ineligible for a multistate license receive a single state license. Nurses granted a single state Louisiana RN license are only authorized to practice in Louisiana.

    Applications expire if an applicant doesn’t submit all requested documents within 60 days of submitting an application. Should their application expire, applicants must contact the LSBN through the Nurse Portal message center before submitting a new conversion application.

    Licensure by Endorsement

    RNs licensed in other jurisdictions may be eligible for Louisiana RN licensure by endorsement if they meet all of LSBN’s criteria. Applicants must have:

    • A current, unrestricted RN license in another U.S. state or territory

    • Current RN licensure issued directly from the jurisdiction of last employment

    • Completed a Board-approved nursing education program or a nursing program that meets or exceeds the educational standards for programs in Louisiana

    • Passed the NCLEX-RN or a recognized predecessor exam

    • No pending disciplinary actions by any nursing or other health regulatory board in the U.S. or any other country

    • No pending civil or criminal charges in the U.S. or any other country

    • Evidence of English language proficiency, if they’re an international graduate

    • Been issued a U.S. SSN (social insurance numbers from Canadian Provinces aren’t accepted)

    Graduates from nontraditional nursing education programs that didn’t include faculty-supervised clinical components, such as Deaconess College and Excelsior, have additional requirements. These applicants must:

    • Provide supporting documentation detailing six months to one year of full-time clinical experience in a staff RN position under RN supervision in another state

    • Submit three typed, signed, and dated letters of recommendation for licensure from current/previous RN supervisor(s) and/or employer(s) that include:

      • Attestation to the applicant’s satisfactory clinical performance

      • Verification of employment dates as an RN

      • Supervisor’s contact information

    During the online application process, applicants for licensure by endorsement must:

    • Upload a PDF copy of a current government-issued photo ID

    • Send an original, signed, and notarized Affidavit of Verification directly to the LSBN office via U.S. mail

    • Upload any documents related to any “Yes” responses to compliance questions, if applicable

    • Send LSBN a criminal background check packet through the U.S. mail or drop it off at the office after application submission

    Applicants must also request regulatory agencies to send verifications of RN licensure. They must utilize the Nursys online RN licensure verification system for all states that participate. If a State BON doesn’t participate in Nursys, applicants must send the BON a Verification of Nursing License form to complete and send directly to LSBN. Applicants must request verification of RN licensure from:

    • The original state of licensure where the nursing board exam was taken, even if that license has expired

    • The state/province/country of licensure of last employment before seeking Louisiana licensure endorsement

    • The State BON where previously worked or where last RN license was issued, if currently unemployed

    Once an applicant starts an application for licensure by endorsement, all fees, forms, and other required documentation must be submitted within one year, or they may be denied licensure. Questions about Louisiana nursing license endorsements may be sent to [email protected].

    Licensure by Exam

    Graduate nurses who’ve never been licensed and need to take the NCLEX-RN should apply for Louisiana RN licensure by exam. To be eligible for licensure, applicants must:

    • Complete a Board-approved nursing education program or a nursing program that meets or exceeds the educational standards for programs in Louisiana

    • Pass the NCLEX-RN within four attempts within four years of graduation

    • Not have any pending disciplinary actions by any nursing or other health regulatory board in the U.S. or any other country

    • Not have any pending civil or criminal charges in the U.S. or any other country

    • Evidence of English language proficiency, if they’re an international graduate

    • Been issued a U.S. SSN

    During the online application process, applicants for licensure by exam must:

    Applicants also must request the administrator of their nursing education program to submit proof of program completion. Verification of completion shouldn’t occur until after graduation.

    • Graduates of in-state nursing education programs shouldn’t submit transcripts from programs approved by LSBN. The administrators of these programs use the Affidavit of Graduation portal to review and approve graduates for the NCLEX-RN by attesting they completed the nursing education program once their degree has been conferred.

    • Graduates of out-of-state nursing education programs must request the program administrator to submit a completed Affidavit of Graduation form and official transcripts listing the degree conferred to the attention of the Education Department at the LSBN office. LSBN won’t accept transcripts delivered by applicants.

    Immediately after submitting their application for licensure, new graduates must register with Pearson VUE, the administrator of the NCLEX-RN, and pay the $200 exam fee. They must contact Pearson VUE directly by:

    • Registering online and choosing a payment option

    • Calling Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services at 866-496-2539 and paying by credit card

    Once LSBN validates completion of an applicant’s nursing degree, it sends Pearson VUE confirmation of their eligibility for testing. Pearson VUE sends the applicant an Authorization to Test through email with instructions on scheduling their NCLEX.

    After taking the exam, applicants receive the official results within three weeks. NCLEX-RN results aren’t provided by phone and can’t be forwarded. Applicants must keep their mail and email addresses current in the Nurse Portal to ensure they receive these results. Applicants who don’t pass the exam must complete the retake exam application through the Nurse Portal. Questions about Louisiana nurse licensure by examination may be sent to [email protected].

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Internationally educated nurses (IENs) applying for a Louisiana RN license must complete the same steps as applicants educated in the U.S. They also have additional requirements.

    All IENs must have been issued a U.S. SSN to apply for licensure. If an applicant doesn’t have an SSN, they must contact the U.S. Social Security Administration directly to apply. The process can be lengthy. Complete this step before applying for a Louisiana nursing license.

    IENs who haven’t taken the NCLEX-RN or State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) in any country or U.S. state or territory, must contact the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam. Once passed, the CGFNS must issue an official certificate directly to LSBN.

    All IENs must contact approved credentials evaluation services and request a detailed report to be prepared and sent directly to LSBN for review. LSBN accepts the: 

    IENs who have taken the NCLEX-RN and currently hold an RN license from another country must ensure the credentials evaluation includes licensure verification. Licensure verifications from non-U.S. jurisdictions listed on a credentials evaluation report must be current and dated within nine months of the date of issuance or completion of the report.

    All IENs must pass an English proficiency exam and have the educational testing service send the test report directly to LSBN. Examinations accepted by LSBN include the:

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL/TOEFL iBT)

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic version)

    • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)

    • Pearson English Language Test (PTE) (Academic version)

    • Michigan English Test (MET) (formerly Michigan English Language Assessment Battery)

    Once IEN applicants complete all requirements, they must submit an application for licensure by endorsement or exam to LSBN with the required fees and supporting documents. They must also provide a current government-issued photo ID, such as a Green Card, U.S. Residency Card, or driver’s license. Once LSBN staff reviews all documents, it determines eligibility to sit for the NCLEX-RN if the applicant hasn’t previously passed this exam. LSBN notifies IEN applicants in writing when staff has completed the review process and whether licensure has been granted. IENs aren’t eligible for temporary permits.

    Timing

    The overall application processing timeline varies but generally takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Included in this time frame is the three weeks it takes for official results of the NCLEX-RN to be released to the Louisiana RN license applicant.

    Temporary Nurse License

    Licensure by Endorsement:

    LSBN issues temporary permits that allow qualified applicants for licensure by endorsement to practice nursing in Louisiana until they receive Louisiana RN licensure. Temporary endorsement permits may be requested by applicants who:

    • Submit the request and the additional $100 fee with their online endorsement application

    • Live in and plan to work in Louisiana

    • Have an RN nursing degree from an accredited or BON-approved program in the U.S.

    • Passed the NCLEX-RN or a recognized predecessor

    • Submit verification that they hold a current, unencumbered RN license from another U.S. state or jurisdiction

    • Submit a notarized sworn statement that they meet the requirements for Louisiana nursing licensure and don’t have any history of criminal activity, chemical dependency, or complaints against any licenses held for any profession in any U.S. state or territory

    • Confirm they’ve submitted the forms and fees required for processing their criminal history record

    A temporary endorsement permit is revoked immediately upon receipt of any information that indicates an applicant may not qualify for nurse licensure in Louisiana. LSBN issues temporary endorsement permits for 90 days, but they may extend them on a case-by-case basis. 

    Licensure by Exam:

    LSBN issues temporary permits that allow graduate nurses to work under the supervision of an RN pending the results of the first NCLEX-RN. To qualify, applicants of Louisiana nurse licensure by exam must:

    • Take the NCLEX within three months of graduation

    • Live in and plan to work in Louisiana

    • Not have any criminal charges pending

    • Not have any cause for denial of licensure or allegations that constitute grounds for disciplinary action

    LSBN also must receive proof of completion of a nursing program. In-state programs provide this evidence through the Affidavit of Graduation Portal online. Out-of-state programs must submit a completed Affidavit of Graduation form and official transcript.

    RN applicants should allow up to three weeks following their graduation date to verify on the LSBN website that they’ve been issued their temporary permit. LSBN issues temporary permits for 90 days, which begins on the date applicants graduate, and can’t be extended. Permits are immediately voided upon receipt of the applicant’s NCLEX-RN results, even if 90 days haven’t passed.

    Fees

    All applications must be submitted online through the Louisiana Nurse Portal with fees paid by credit, debit, or prepaid card. All fees are nonrefundable. Application fees for nursing licensure and related costs include:

    • Licensure by Endorsement/Exam: $100

    • Conversion to Multistate License: $50

    • Temporary License: $100

    • Criminal Background Check: $39.25

    • Louisiana RN License Renewal: $100

    • Additional Fee for Late Renewal: $50

    • Verification of Licensure: $25

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    Frequently asked questions

    How can RNs tell if their Louisiana nursing license is a multistate license?

    RNs may verify whether their Louisiana nursing license is a single state or multistate license on Nursys through its QuickConfirm option.

    Does LSBN offer a walk-through service?

    No, LSBN doesn’t offer a walk-through service.