Maryland RN Licensing Guide
- Compact State
- Participates in NURSYS
- Renewal every 2 years
The Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) consists of 14 members appointed by the Governor and operates under the Maryland Nurse Practice Act. It’s mandated to regulate the practice of the 86,500-plus registered nurses reported in the National Nursing Database in early 2022. MBON’s mission is to advance safe quality of care through nursing education, licensure, certification, and accountability. It issues Maryland nursing licenses through endorsement and examination to qualified candidates.
MBON sets standards for approval of registered nursing education programs in Maryland to ensure they receive appropriate knowledge to seek licensure and practice safely. MBON representatives survey each RN nursing program when first established in Maryland and periodically, then submit written reports detailing the competency of the programs. MBON also approves Nurse Refresher Courses in the state and out-of-state RN nursing education programs.
MBON uses forms designed to be scanned into an imaging system to process paper applications. Most average printers and photocopiers can’t produce paper applications clear enough for scanning. Therefore, paper forms for Maryland RN licensure by endorsement or exam and renewal applications aren’t available for download online. Applicants needing these forms must request MBON to send them to them.
MBON sends licensees a renewal notice at least three months before their license expires either via email or first-class mail. Nurses can complete their Maryland RN license renewal online up to 90 days before and 30 days after the expiration date of their license. RN licenses expire on the 28th day of the licensee’s birth month every two years. RNs born in odd-numbered years renew in each odd-numbered year and those born in even-numbered years renew in each even-numbered year.
Licensees with previous convictions or disciplinary actions against their nursing license can still process their renewal online, but they must send all documentation to the MBON office to the attention of the Background Review Department. However, if a new conviction has occurred since a licensee’s last renewal, they can’t renew online. They must contact MBON for appropriate forms and further information.
RNs must complete one of the following for Maryland RN license renewal:
1,000 hours of active nursing practice within the past 5 years
A board-approved nursing education program within the past 5 years
30 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) within the 2 years immediately before renewal
Maryland RN license renewals can take 5 to 10 days to be processed. However, if licensees must complete a background check as part of their renewal, their renewal requires additional processing time. Applicants may email questions about the renewal process to [email protected].
Continuing Education Requirements
Although the Maryland Board of Nursing doesn’t require continuing education, it is one of three options to maintain an active RN license as part of the Maryland RN license renewal process. When using this option, nurses must obtain 30 continuing education units during the two years immediately preceding their renewal.
Maryland RN renewal applicants may use college or university coursework to fulfill CEUs, with 15 CEUs awarded for each semester hour completed. However, the coursework must be related to renewal applicant's nursing practice and they must pass the course with a grade of "C" or better. MBON will also accept CEUs awarded by or approved by:
All local, state, and national Area Health Education Centers
American Nurses Association
Maryland Nurses Association
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
National League for Nursing
American Nurses Credentialing Center
Any local, state, or national professional nursing association that provides educational programs
Any professional organizations offering CEUs for renewing a national APRN certification
RNs must retain evidence of CEU completion for 6 years from the date they used the CEU to renew their license. CEUs are subject to random audit. If chosen for audit, RNs must produce proof of CEU to MBON within 30 days of the request.
Effective April 1, 2022, nurses completing their Maryland RN license renewal applications must attest that they’ve completed an approved implicit bias training course. The attestation is included on the paper and online renewal applications. Implicit bias training is a one-time requirement for one renewal only. Licensees aren’t required to submit a certificate of completion and continuing education units aren’t required.
Applicants must disclose their Social Security Number (SSN). It’s a mandatory part of the application process. Any Maryland nursing license application MBON receives without an SSN won’t be processed and will be returned to the applicant. All applicants submitting an initial application for licensure or certification must also submit a properly formatted digital passport-style photo in the JPG or PNG file format.
All applicants for Maryland nursing licenses by endorsement or exam must have their fingerprints taken to complete state and federal criminal history background checks as part of the licensure process. Private background checks aren’t accepted. MBON provides thorough fingerprinting instructions.
MBON supplies the fingerprint card and CHRC form, which are preprinted with the return address, routing information, and other required information to ensure it receives the background checks. The $57.25 fee for fingerprinting is paid directly to Maryland's Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS).
Applicants receive a state fingerprint card with two postcards attached that are stamped and signed at the police department. One postcard serves as evidence that they’ve had their fingerprints taken. The second card is the applicant’s receipt with the verification number for any necessary follow-up.
Applicants should not sign the fingerprint cards or form until they’re told to do so by the person taking their fingerprints. They also shouldn’t complete fingerprinting any sooner than six weeks before they intend to complete their nurse licensure application because MBON is only authorized to retain CHRCs for 90 days. Once 90 days have passed, applicants must contact the CJIS to resend their CHRCs to MBON.
Applicants in Maryland receive an electronic form. The quickest way to receive results of a background check is to have electronic fingerprints taken at one of the State Police barracks or the CJIS office via Live Scan. Applicants should:
Print the last page of the CHRC Form
Take the form to one of the fingerprinting sites
Take at least one form of current identification
Driver’s license issued by the State of Maryland, any U.S. state, or any country
Passport from the U.S. or any country
Certificate of U.S. citizenship
Alien registration card
Identification card issued by a state or local governmental agency, U.S. territory, or foreign government
Pay the fingerprinting fee
Have fingerprints taken
Applicants submitting paper applications must copy the front and back of the lavender print fingerprint card and attach it to their application. They should keep a record of their tracking number, found on the electronic receipt or beneath the bar code of the fingerprint card. If MBON doesn’t receive the CHRC, applicants need this number to track the results.
Results should be returned in one week. Questions may be directed to Maryland’s CJIS at 410-764-4501 or 888-795-0011 on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Applicants Outside Maryland:
Applicants who aren’t in Maryland must email a request for a fingerprint packet to [email protected] and include their name and current mailing address. They must do this before applying online for a Maryland nursing license. The packet contains a lavender and white printed card for the state and FBI CHRC. Don’t fold or bend this card or it will be rejected. Applicants must:
Have fingerprints manually rolled/inked on the fingerprint card at a state or local police department or certified site
Fill the card out completely by typing or legibly printing all required information
Send a check or money order made out to "CJIS Central Repository"
Mail the fingerprint card and fee to:
CJIS – Central Repository, P.O. Box 32708, Pikesville, MD 21282-2708
Or overnight it to:
6776 Reisterstown Road, Suite 102, Baltimore MD 21215
The report is sent to MBON and the applicant. Results usually take 3 to 4 weeks.
MBON reviews all background reports before issuing a Maryland RN license. MBON staff requests additional information from applicants with reports containing arrests and/or convictions. A prelicensure committee reviews all information submitted by the applicant and forwards a report to MBON for a decision. It may deny licensure, license the applicant with/without probation, or issue charges against a renewal.
Only designated MBON staff have access to CHRCs and the results are confidential. The only information released is MBON’s decision. Applications won’t be processed without both state and federal background checks. Questions about the background review should be sent to [email protected].
Maryland Board of Nursing 4140 Patterson Avenue Baltimore, MD 21215 [email protected] (410) 585-1900 / (888) 202-9861
Maryland was the first state to join the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in 1999. It transitioned from the NLC to the Enhanced NLC on January 19, 2018. MBON issues multistate Maryland RN licenses to nurses who declare Maryland their primary state of residence (PSOR). Multistate/Compact licenses allow RNs to practice in other Compact states without seeking further licensure.
RNs can only hold a multistate license in one Compact state at a time and that license must be issued from the nurse’s primary state of residence. To apply for a multistate nursing license in Maryland, applicants must submit satisfactory evidence that Maryland is their PSOR. Evidence must include a completed Declaration of Primary State of Residence form and official documentation listing their permanent home address, such as a driver’s license, voter registration card, or federal income tax return.
RNs whose PSOR isn’t Maryland may apply for licensure by endorsement or exam if the PSOR isn’t a Compact state. Applicants for licensure by exam can’t take the exam and be licensed in Maryland if their PSOR is a Compact state. Applicants for licensure by endorsement must receive an endorsement before practicing in Maryland if they hold a single state license. If they hold a multistate license issued by their PSOR, they’re not required to apply for licensure to practice in Maryland. Criminal history records checks aren’t required for RNs practicing in Maryland on their Compact licenses, but they are required for all other applicants.
Licensure by Endorsement
Nurses licensed in another state who have never held a Maryland nursing license may apply for licensure by endorsement. Endorsement applicants must initiate a background check before completing the online RN Endorsement Application. However, applicants with a misdemeanor or felony must complete the PDF Endorsement Application and submit it and other required documents to MBON via email.
When completing the online endorsement application, applicants will need:
The tracking number on the Live Scan receipt or the 12-digit number printed beneath the barcode on the purple fingerprint card
An active license from another U.S. state
A Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card for fee payment
Applicants must provide nurse license verification from their original state of licensure, which is the state where they were initially licensed by exam. If the original state of licensure participates in Nursys, applicants can submit a verification request through this online system. If the state doesn’t participate in Nursys, applicants should contact the State BON to determine whether it has its own verification process. If the state doesn’t have a verification process, applicants must print the Verification Form, complete Part 1, and send it to the original licensing authority to complete and return to MBON.
Applicants for licensure by endorsement who completed a nursing education program that's not on the Board’s Approved Out of State RN Nursing Programs list must email the names of the nursing program and the Dean or Director of Nursing and the program's email address to MBON.
Once MBON receives the purple postcard indicating an applicant has begun the background check process and the applicant’s signed application and required application fees, it may issue a temporary license to eligible endorsement applicants who requested and paid for a temporary license. Temporary licenses for endorsement candidates are good for 90 days. A permanent endorsement license won’t be issued until MBON receives and reviews the criminal history records check (CHRC). Applicants wanting temporary licenses must use their permanent mailing address when completing the application for a Maryland RN license by endorsement.
Any documentation that must be emailed to MBON by the applicant or directly from the source or any questions about the endorsement licensure process should be sent to [email protected].
Licensure by Exam
Graduate nurses not licensed in any state who haven’t passed the NCLEX must apply for licensure by exam. Applicants must initiate the criminal history background check, then complete the online RN Licensure by Exam Application. To be eligible, they must have earned a diploma or degree from an RN nursing education program approved by MBON or, if they attended an out-of-state program, the program must be:
Approved by the State BON where the applicant lives
Considered substantially equivalent to nursing programs in Maryland by MBON
Applicants who graduated from an out-of-state nursing program must submit an official final transcript in a sealed envelope. MBON only accepts official transcripts either mailed or emailed directly from the nursing school. It no longer accepts transcripts directly from applicants.
When applying for licensure by exam, applicants also must submit a Declaration of Primary State of Residence form and official documentation listing their permanent home address. If Maryland is their PSOR, they’re considered for a multistate license.
Once MBON receives the applicant’s signed application, fee payment, and the purple print postcard indicating they’ve completed their fingerprinting, it makes the applicant eligible to take the NCLEX. Applicants must register for the NCLEX-RN through Pearson VUE either online or by calling 866-496-2539 and pay the $200 exam fee. They shouldn’t register with Pearson VUE until MBON tells them to do so. Pearson VUE sends applicants their Authorization to Test through email, allowing them to schedule their NCLEX.
After taking the NCLEX, applicants who passed should allow at least 10 business days for their license number to be posted to the Look-Up A License verification site. However, a license won’t be issued until MBON reviews the applicant’s CHRC. Applicants who don’t pass the NCLEX must schedule a retest.
Applicants needing help completing the Maryland RN license by exam application may contact MBON by phone or send an email to [email protected].
Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses
Foreign educated nurses must complete the same steps as those educated in the U.S., but they have some additional steps. They must first call 410-585-1929 or email [email protected] to request an application packet, which includes:
Maryland BON Application
Criminal History Record Check Documents
Declaration of Primary State of Residence Form
Credentials Evaluation Service Application
Memo Concerning English Proficiency Exam
NCLEX Candidate Bulletin
Foreign educated applicants must complete and mail their Maryland nurse licensure application and applicable fee to MBON. Their packet should also include their completed Declaration of PSOR form and verification they’ve initiated their background check.
Next, international applicants complete the steps required for their Credential Evaluation Service Application. They must complete:
An online application and pay a fee to the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
A Request for Academic Records and mail it to their school of nursing
A Request for Validation of Registration and mail it to their licensing agency
The school of nursing and the licensing agency send the required documents to CGFNS. Once CGFNS receives the application and all requested documentation, it completes a Credential Evaluation Service Professional Report. CGFNS mails this report directly to MBON.
Foreign educated nurses who completed their basic nursing education in another country and nurses who completed their education in Puerto Rico must pass an oral English test and have their scores sent to MBON. Acceptable tests and scores include the:
Test of English as a Foreign Language iBT (TOEFL iBT) with a score of 26
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score of 7 on speaking, a score of 6 on all other modules, and an overall score of 6.5
International nurses who have an advanced degree from a college or university in the U.S. are exempt from passing an oral English test. They must provide proof of degree, such as a copy of their diploma.
After meeting all other requirements and submitting all necessary documentation, international nursing applicants may complete their registration with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-RN. Once registered, they receive an Authorization to Test letter and can schedule their exam. They receive the results of their exam within five days of the exam date. These results are mailed, so they must inform MBON immediately of any address changes. Applicants who pass the NCLEX and all other licensure requirements are issued a Maryland RN license.
The overall application timeline varies by individual, but time frames that impact application processing include receipt of background check and NCLEX results. The results of background checks are usually returned in one week when fingerprints are collected electronically and 3 to 4 weeks when collected manually. It takes at least 10 business days for an applicant’s license number to be posted to the license verification site after taking the NCLEX and if they passed. Applicants should only contact the MBON office if they don’t see their name on the verification website and it’s been at least:
2 weeks since electronic fingerprinting
6 weeks since manual fingerprinting
Applicants should also contact MBON if their temporary license or 60-day letter expires in five days and they haven’t received their permanent Maryland nursing license number.
Temporary Nurse License
MBON doesn’t issue temporary licenses to graduate nurses seeking Maryland nursing licenses by exam. It will issue temporary licenses to endorsement applicants, which are good for 90 days. Endorsement applicants must pay an additional $40 temporary license fee. If they don’t send the verification of CHRC with their application, they won’t receive a temporary license. MBON may approve up to two 90-day extensions on a temporary license if an applicant’s CHRC is still pending, meaning the applicant submitted fingerprints, but the results haven’t been returned. There isn’t any additional paperwork or a fee required to receive an extension.
MBON accepts personal checks and money orders made payable to “Maryland Board of Nursing” and Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards. It doesn’t accept cash. Applicants paying in person must present a valid driver’s license or photo ID. All fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable. Current application fees and related costs include:
RN Licensure by Endorsement or Exam/Re-Exam: $100
Temporary License (Endorsement Candidates Only): $40
Biennial Active RN Renewal: $136 (Includes $26 Maryland Health Care Commission Fee)
Biennial RN Conversion from Inactive to Active Status: $96 (Includes $26 MHCC Fee)
Biennial Volunteer RN Renewal: $40
Biennial Inactive RN Renewal: $40
VisaScreen Verification: $25
Returned Check: $25
Background Check: $51.25 includes $20 in-person fingerprinting fee (Paid directly to Maryland's Criminal Justice Information System)
National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN): $200 (Paid directly to Pearson VUE)
Effective April 1, 2022, nurses completing their Maryland RN license renewal applications must attest that they’ve completed an approved implicit bias training course. The attestation is included on the paper and online renewal applications. Licensees who don’t include attestations on their April or May 2022 renewal applications must still complete the required training and attest to it during their 2024 renewal. Implicit bias training is a one-time requirement for one renewal only. Licensees aren’t required to submit a certificate of completion and continuing education units aren’t required.
RNs who graduated from nursing education programs that didn’t include a clinical component can now apply for a Maryland nursing license by endorsement.
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Frequently asked questions
How many times can I retake the NCLEX-RN in Maryland if I fail the exam?
Applicants for licensure by exam who didn’t pass the NCLEX-RN can schedule to retake the exam after 45 days have passed. MBON automatically sends a reschedule application with all NCLEX results indicating a failing grade. Applicants who need a reschedule form should email the exam department at [email protected]. Those who are rescheduling should address this email to Avis Ward.
Is Maryland a compact state for nurses?
Yes, Maryland was the first state to join the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in 1999. It transitioned from the NLC to the Enhanced NLC on January 19, 2018.
When do I have to renew my Maryland RN license?
Maryland RN licenses expire on the 28th day of the licensee’s birth month every two years. You can complete your Maryland RN license renewal online up to 90 days before and 30 days after the expiration date of your license.
How much is a Maryland nursing license?
The application fee for a Maryland RN license through examination or endorsement is $100. Applicants applying for licensure by exam must also pay a $200 exam fee to Pearson VUE. If they fail, they must pay the $100 application fee to the Maryland Board of Nursing and the $200 exam fee to Pearson VUE again to retake the exam.
Does Maryland require continuing education for RN license renewal?
Although continuing education isn't required for Maryland RN license renewal, it is one of three options for meeting renewal requirements and maintain an active Maryland RN license. Nurses who choose continuing education must complete 30 continuing education units within the two years immediately preceding the date they apply for renewal of their license.