Michigan RN Licensing Guide
- Not a Compact State
- Participates in NURSYS
- Renewal every 2 years
The Nurse Practice Act of 1909 created the Michigan Board of Nursing (BON), then the BON’s authority transferred to the Nursing Practice Act of 1967. Authority was later transferred to the Michigan Public Health Code (MPHC) through the Public Act of 1978, but the MPHC still creates a 24-member BON appointed by consent of the Senate. MPHC authorizes the BON to establish qualifications for earning a Michigan nursing license, but the Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL) issues these licenses. A total of 173,348 registered nurses were licensed to practice in Michigan in September 2022.
Although Michigan doesn’t have a stand-alone Nurse Practice Act, the Michigan BON oversees nursing licensure and practice per the Occupational Regulation Sections of the MPHC. The BON establishes education standards for nurses and approves RN education programs. It also implements criteria for confirming continued competency and takes disciplinary action against licensees when necessary to ensure public health, safety, and welfare aren’t adversely affected.
The Michigan BON oversees nurses practicing in the state, but the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Bureau of Professional Licensing actually processes the applications for Michigan nursing licenses. Graduate nurses seeking licensure by exam and RNs licensed in other states seeking licensure by endorsement must apply online using the Michigan Professional Licensing User System (MiPLUS). The BPL no longer accepts paper applications for Michigan nursing licenses.
The Michigan BON only sends Michigan nursing licenses electronically to help reduce paper use. However, RNs may request a paper copy of their license during the application or renewal process.
The BPL sends Michigan RN license renewal notifications via email and mailed postcard. Michigan nursing licenses must be renewed every two years online. Michigan allows a 60-day grace period after the expiration of an RN license in which an applicant can submit a standard renewal application along with payment of renewal and late renewal fees. Once this grace period expires, RNs must go through the lengthier and costlier relicensure process.
Michigan RN license renewal applications include good moral character questions and disciplinary questions. Any questions answered “Yes” require documentation. RNs are also required to accept the renewal attestation certifying that they’ve met all the continuing education (CE) requirements during the two-year period immediately preceding the renewal application.
Licensees who haven’t completed their required CE and/or are unable to prove they’ve completed their required CE shouldn’t renew their license until they have and can prove they’ve completed their required CE. Otherwise, they risk possible sanctions, such as reprimands, probation, fines, and/or license denial, limitation, suspension, or revocation. Licensees aren’t required to begin earning CE until after their first renewal.
Michigan RN license renewal applicants who didn’t complete training in identifying victims of human trafficking for their initial licensure must complete this requirement before they can renew. This is a one-time requirement for license renewals beginning in 2018 and all initial licenses issued after January 6, 2022.
Once a licensee completes their initial renewal, they also must complete one hour of implicit bias training for each year of the license cycle. This training must be completed for each renewal cycle, so RNs must complete two hours of implicit bias training before every renewal going forward. Both of these training requirements are in addition to the regular CE requirements.
Continuing Education Requirements
Before the end of each two-year licensure period, every RN must complete continuing education as part of the renewal process. CE requirements apply even if an RN isn’t actively engaged in nursing practice. However, the MPHC authorizes the Michigan BON to waive CE requirements if a renewal applicant provides evidence that they didn’t complete the required CE due to disability, military service, being outside the continental U.S., or other circumstances beyond their control.
Requirements include a minimum of 25 hours of CE, with at least two hours in pain and symptom management. The Michigan BON must approve all CE programs or courses. It permits several accrediting organizations and boards to approve nursing CE providers, including:
American Nurses Credentialing Center
National League for Nursing
Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
American Association of Nurse Practitioners
National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
American College of Nursing Midwives
National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
American Osteopathic Association
Another state or provincial board of nursing
A nursing CE program approved by the Michigan BON
Besides completing CE courses or programs, licensees may also earn varied amounts of CE credit hours through numerous other activities. They can earn:
5 hours of CE for each semester hour of academic courses related to nursing practice
3 hours of CE for each quarter hour of academic courses related to nursing practice
25 hours of CE for obtaining/maintaining specialty certification as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse-midwife, or nurse anesthetist
10 hours of CE for initial completion of a national nursing specialty exam, with a maximum of 20 hours per renewal period
10 hours of CE for the initial publication of an article or a chapter of a book related to nursing or allied health, with a maximum of 10 hours per renewal period
1 hour of CE for each 50 to 60 minutes of participation in independent study related to nursing practice that doesn’t include a self-assessment component, with a maximum of 4 hours per renewal period
1 hour of CE for each 60 minutes of participation on a healthcare organization committee dealing with utilization review or quality patient care, with a maximum of 4 hours per renewal period
3 hours of CE for each 60 minutes of presentation of an academic or a CE program not part of the licensee’s regular job, with a maximum of 6 hours per renewal period
5 hours of CE maximum for one-on-one participation as a preceptor for a nursing student or new employee undergoing orientation for at least 120 hours
Every nurse should retain records documenting their completion of CE for a period of four years following the renewal cycle in which they earned the CE. The BPL conducts random audits at the end of each Michigan RN license renewal period. It contacts RNs selected for audits by letter. Licensees missing CE hours have two years from the date of the license renewal application to complete these hours. However, their Michigan nursing license won’t be renewed until they meet their CE requirements.
Individuals applying for Michigan RN licensure must provide their Social Security Number (SSN) on their applications. However, if they don’t have one or they’re exempt by law from obtaining one, they must complete and upload the SSN Affidavit for Licensure while submitting their online application.
All applicants must be fingerprinted for a criminal background check if they haven’t been fingerprinted for a Michigan health professional license since October 1, 2008, or their Michigan nursing license has been lapsed for over three years. Applicants receive an automated email with a form and instructions on completing their CBCs after submitting their online application for a Michigan nursing license by exam or endorsement.
Applicants must use the Michigan Criminal Background Check Fingerprint Request Form and complete the fingerprinting process with MorphoTrust/IdentoGO. The fingerprinting agency submits captured fingerprints to the Michigan State Police Department to have CBCs conducted by the state police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Michigan Board of Nursing Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Professional Licensing 611 West Ottawa Lansing, MI 48933 [email protected] (517) 241-0199
Michigan isn’t a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), so prospective nurses must apply for a Michigan RN license by endorsement or examination. Legislation was reintroduced during the 2021-2022 legislative session, via House Bill 4046, that would allow Michigan to join the NLC. A similar bill passed both chambers of the Michigan Legislature during the previous legislative session, but it was vetoed by the Governor on December 30, 2020. The Michigan Health & Hospital Association continues to support the NLC.
Licensure by Endorsement
RNs who possess an active, unencumbered license in another state initially obtained by passing the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) can apply for a Michigan RN license by endorsement. Licensed RNs must apply for an endorsement even if they hold a multistate/Compact license because the state doesn’t recognize the NLC. They must complete an online application and upload any supporting documentation. Other steps include:
Answering Good Moral Character questions and submitting required documentation if they answer “Yes” to any questions related to moral character
Requesting verification of licensure from the licensing agency in any state they currently hold or ever held a nursing license
Verifications must be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to Bureau of Professional Licensing, PO Box 30670, Lansing, MI 48909
Providing professional education information, including the name of the school attended and educational program completed
Once they submit their completed online application and pay the licensure fee, endorsement applicants receive an Application Confirmation letter via email that contains instructions on completing a criminal background check (CBC). The BPL must receive CBC results and all required documentation before it considers issuing a permanent Michigan nursing license by endorsement.
Michigan doesn’t participate in Nursys, the national database for verification of nurse licensure operated by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Endorsement applicants must contact current and past licensing agencies to request that they send an official verification of licensure. These verifications must include any disciplinary action taken or pending against the applicant.
Licensure by Exam
To be eligible for licensure in Michigan, graduate nurses must have completed a Michigan BON-approved nursing education program. Applicants who attended schools outside Michigan must have completed an approved out-of-state nursing program. Prospective RNs must apply for a Michigan RN license by exam by completing an online application and uploading all supporting documentation. Other steps include:
Answering Good Moral Character questions and uploading required documentation if they answered “Yes” to any questions related to moral character
Completing training to identify victims of human trafficking
Requesting the nursing school to email a completed Michigan Nursing School Certification Form and/or final official transcripts to [email protected]
Completing a criminal background check based on the instructions in the Application Confirmation letter received via email after submitting the online application and paying the application fee
Applicants for licensure by exam must also register with Pearson VUE and pay the $200 examination fee to take the NCLEX-RN. They must attempt the NCLEX within two years of their graduation date. Pearson VUE notifies the BPL when applicants register for the exam and the BPL notifies Pearson VUE when their applications are complete and they’re eligible to take the exam. Once made eligible, Pearson VUE sends applicants an Authorization to Test (ATT), allowing them to schedule their exam.
Pearson VUE sends NCLEX-RN scores directly to the BPL, usually within 3 to 5 business days after an applicant takes the exam. Applicants won’t receive their test results if they pass; they receive their license. If an applicant fails, they receive their results from the BPL office and must begin the retesting process.
Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses
Foreign educated nurses must follow the same steps as applicants who were educated in the U.S., but they have additional steps to complete. Most applicants must order a verification of credentials from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Certification Program. These verifications include a nursing education review and licensure review and may include one or more exams.
CGFNS verifications must be sent directly to the BPL and meet the standards set by the Michigan BON. However, foreign educated nurses who have passed the NCLEX-RN and maintained an active RN license without any disciplinary sanctions in the U.S. for a minimum of five years immediately preceding their application for a Michigan nursing license are exempt from completing the CGFNS Certification Program.
Applicants who graduated from a Canadian registered nursing program may also be exempt. If the nursing education program was taught in English and approved by a Canadian province and the applicant currently has an active Canadian nursing license that hasn’t been sanctioned by the applicable Canadian nursing authority, they’re exempt from completing the CGFNS Certification Program. However, for every license they currently hold or previously held, they must request the Canadian licensing agency that issued each license to submit verification of licensure directly to the BPL. They must also request the approved Canadian nursing school to send final official transcripts directly to the BPL. All verifications and transcripts may be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to Bureau of Professional Licensing, PO Box 30670, Lansing, MI 48909.
Foreign educated nurses must demonstrate English language proficiency by earning a passing score on an approved English proficiency exam. CGFNS provides evidence of competency for spoken and written English by requiring them to earn passing scores on one of these accepted examinations:
Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT)
Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
CGFNS doesn’t accept the at-home versions of any English proficiency exam. If the applicant’s nursing education program was taught in English and their transcript confirms they earned no less than 60 college-level credits from an undergraduate or a graduate school, they’re exempt from passing an English proficiency exam.
The BPL processes applications in order by the date received. New Michigan nursing license applications take approximately 6 to 8 weeks for processing after submission of all required documents.
Temporary Nurse License
The Michigan BON may grant a nonrenewable, temporary license to applicants for a Michigan RN license by endorsement. The applicant must be licensed as an RN by an equivalent licensing board or authority in another state or province of Canada. The BPL issues temporary licenses within 48 hours of receiving verification of an applicant’s currently active, unencumbered RN license. Temporary licenses are valid for one year, but they may expire sooner if the applicant is issued a permanent Michigan RN license or they’re notified that they failed:
the CGFNS qualifying exam
to complete the application process for full licensure
to meet the requirements for nursing licensure in Michigan
The Michigan BON may grant a nonrenewable, temporary license to applicants for a Michigan RN license by exam who have completed all licensure requirements except for the NCLEX-RN or a similar required evaluation procedure. The BPL issues these temporary licenses for 18 months, but they’re automatically voided if the applicant fails the NCLEX-RN. Temporary licenses won’t be issued to applicants who previously failed the licensure exam or whose license has been suspended or revoked. Temporary license holders must practice under the direct supervision of an RN who doesn’t hold a limited or temporary license.
All Michigan nursing licensure fees must be paid during the online application process using a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit or debit card. American Express isn’t currently accepted. Applicants are connected to the Michigan Department of Treasury’s Centralized Electronic Payment Authorization System (CEPAS) site to pay their fees. Current nurse licensure fees and related costs include:
RN License by Endorsement/Exam: $208.80
RN Specialty Certification: $40.55 or $55.45
Michigan RN License Renewal: $128.50
RN License Renewal with Specialty: $158.30
Late Renewal: Add $20
RN Relicensure: $228.80
Effective January 1, 2022, issued or renewed Michigan nursing licenses will only be sent electronically to help reduce paper use. However, RNs may request a paper copy of their license during the application or renewal process.
Effective January 6, 2022, completion of training to identify victims of human trafficking is required for initial licensure.
Effective June 1, 2022, completion of 2 hours of implicit bias training within the 5 years immediately preceding issuance of the license is required.
Travel Nurse RN - Manager
- Newberry, MI
- 5x8 hrs
- Referral Bonus
Travel Nurse RN - CVOR
- Ann Arbor, MI
- 5x8 hrs
- Days, Evenings
- Referral Bonus
Travel Nurse RN - OR - Operating Room
- DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital
- Detroit, MI
- 3x12 hrs
- Referral Bonus
Travel Nurse RN - PCU - Progressive Care Unit
- Petoskey, MI
- 3x12 hrs
- Referral Bonus
Travel Nurse RN - Behavioral Health
- Forest View Psychiatric Hospital
- Grand Rapids, MI
- 5x8 hrs
Frequently asked questions
What should a Michigan RN license by exam applicant do if they fail the NCLEX-RN?
Applicants who fail the NCLEX-RN must wait 45 days before they can retest. They must pay another $200 testing fee when they re-register with Pearson VUE. Pearson VUE sends a new ATT with a 90-day window that begins on the 45th day after the previous testing date. Applicants who fail the NCLEX-RN three times must complete a Michigan BON-approved NCLEX review course before testing again. Applicants for a Michigan RN license by exam are only allowed a total of six attempts to pass the NCLEX, including any attempts they made in other states.