• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - North Dakota

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

    Overview

    The North Dakota Board of Nursing (NDBON) strives to proactively regulate the practice of nursing by providing registered nurses with timely information that helps them remain compliant with current laws. Its mission is to assure citizens quality nursing care by overseeing nursing education, licensure, and practice. The NDBON recorded over 16,250 registered nurses with active North Dakota nursing licenses in April 2022.

    About

    After submitting an online North Dakota RN license application, applicants can take the progress of their applications in the Application Status section of the online portal. Any documents without dates next to them haven’t been received in the NDBON office yet. Incomplete applications remain active for one year before all fees are forfeited and applicants must submit a new application.

    Renewal

    An initial license by endorsement or exam expires on December 31 of the year following the year in which the applicant was licensed. Subsequent licenses expire every other December 31. North Dakota RN license renewals are due every two years and the NDBON doesn’t issue extensions. To qualify for renewal, licensees must complete continuing education requirements and must:

    • Meet or exceed 400 practice hours as an RN within the past four years

    • Practice hours in other regulated professions can’t be used for nursing practice hours

    Licensees who completed a refresher course within the last year or graduated from a nursing undergraduate or graduate program in the last four years can renew their licenses with less than 400 hours of nursing practice.

    North Dakota RN license renewal applicants should allow 3 to 5 business days for their license expiration date to update on the NDBON’s Verify site once they’ve completed the steps for renewal. Renewal applicants with questions may call (701) 400-9108 or send an email to [email protected].

    Continuing Education Requirements

    All licensees renewing their North Dakota nursing license must complete 12 contact hours of continuing education within the preceding two years of their renewal. Licensees who recently received their initial license by endorsement and are renewing for the first time must complete the CE requirement. They must attest on their North Dakota RN license renewal form that they completed the required 12 contact hours of CE.

    However, licensees with an initial North Dakota nursing license by exam renewing for the first time aren’t required to complete continuing education courses to be eligible for renewal. They attest to their academic coursework on their North Dakota RN license renewal form.

    RNs are required to track their own CE in case they’re chosen for a random audit. The NDBON performs random audits to ensure compliance of CE requirements. CE Broker is the official CE tracking system for the NDBON. Licensees must complete CE before December 31 of their renewal year or they’re assessed a $50 fee per contact hour not completed, up to $600 for all 12 contact hours. Failure to provide proof of CE during an audit may also result in sanctions against the licensee’s North Dakota nursing license.

    The NDBON doesn’t mail hard copies of licenses. Licensees may print their nurse licensure information, including their license number and expiration date, from the Verify section of the NDBON website. For more information about continuing education, licensees may call (701) 989-1276 or send an email to [email protected].

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    NDBON requires all applicants to complete a fingerprint-based criminal history report. The Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) processes all fingerprints. Applicants may have their fingerprints captured either electronically or on cardstock. After submitting their initial online North Dakota RN license application by endorsement or exam, applicants must:

    • Make an appointment to get fingerprinted by their local law enforcement agency or a private agency that provides fingerprinting services

    • Pay the fingerprinting services any required fee

      • This fee is in addition to the fee applicants pay the BCI for fingerprint processing

    • Ensure fingerprinting agencies use the standard FBI Applicant card (FD-258) to capture fingerprints

    • Complete two fingerprint cards if fingerprints are inked and rolled

    • Complete on fingerprint card if fingerprints are captured electronically

    Applicants must submit their fingerprint card(s), the Criminal History Record Check form, and a cashier’s check or money order for $41.25 made payable to BCI. Mail these items to the NDBON office. NDBON submits them to the BCI and BCI returns the background check results to NDBON. If BCI rejects an applicant’s fingerprints, NDBON notifies the applicant so they may have their fingerprints captured again. Applicants with questions about criminal history record checks may call (701) 391-9412 or send an email to [email protected]. 

    Contact Information

    North Dakota Board of Nursing 919 South 7th Street, Suite 504 Bismarck, ND 58504 [email protected] (701) 328-9777

    Multistate

    North Dakota joined the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) on January 1, 2004. It transitioned to the Enhanced NLC on January 19, 2018. RNs with multistate licensure privileges can practice in other Compact states without obtaining additional licensure.

    The NDBON automatically issues a multistate/Compact license to applicants who claim North Dakota as their primary state of residence (PSOR) and meet the 11 Uniform Licensure Requirements (ULRs) of the NLC. An applicant’s PSOR is the state they declare as their fixed permanent and principal home for all legal purposes. Each applicant must submit proof of PSOR and all required documentation necessary to confirm they meet the ULRs. The NDBON issues a single-state nursing license valid only in North Dakota to applicants missing any required documents until it receives all documentation required for multistate licensure. For questions on the NLC and multistate licensure, applicants may call (701) 527-6922 or send an email to [email protected].

    Licensure by Endorsement

    RNs whose PSOR is another state that belongs to the NLC, they aren’t eligible for licensure in North Dakota but can practice in the state under the multistate/Compact license. Licensed nurses who’ve never been licensed in North Dakota and don’t hold a Compact license should complete an Application for Licensure by Endorsement. To qualify, they must have: 

    • A U.S. Social Security number

    • Completed a nursing program that prepared them for RN licensure and included supervised clinical experience across the life span

    • Proof of initial licensure by an examination that meets North Dakota requirements for licensure exams at the time the applicant earned initial licensure

    Within the past four years, applicants for a North Dakota RN license by endorsement also must meet one of the following requirements:

    • Completed 400 hours of licensed practice as an RN

      • Submit a Verification of Employment form if practice occurred outside the U.S.

    • Completed their nursing program

    • Completed a Board-approved refresher course

    To receive a full license, licensed RNs must submit: 

    • The online Initial RN Endorsement Application and fee

    • Official transcripts

    • Verification of licensure

    • Fingerprints leading to a clear or an approved criminal history record check

    Provide official transcripts from their basic nursing education program:

    • Request college to send official transcript directly to the NDBON office

      • May use the Request for Release of Transcript form for paper copies

    • Preferred method of transmission is electronically through E-Script, Parchment, National Clearing House, or another secure transcript service to [email protected]

    • Transcripts sent as email attachments or PDFs won’t be accepted

    • Copies sent by applicants or fax won’t be accepted

    Submit verification of licensure from their original state of licensure by exam

    • Will also need verification of licensure from the state in which they hold an active license and were most recently employed, if they no longer hold an active license in their original state of license by exam

    • Obtain verification online through Nursys

    • Print the Verification of Licensure form for states that don’t participate in Nursys

    • Complete the top section of the form and send it to the appropriate State BON

    • Most BONs charge a fee for verifications

    Once endorsement applicants submit all required documentation and the NDBON approves it, the Board issues full licensure in approximately seven business days. The initial North Dakota RN license by endorsement expires on December 31 of the following year. Applicants with questions on licensure by endorsement may call (701) 400-0483 or send an email to [email protected].

    Licensure by Exam

    Graduate nurses who have not taken an RN licensing exam and want North Dakota to be their original state of licensure should complete an online Application for Licensure by Examination (https://www.ndbon.org/app/exam/login.asp). To qualify for a North Dakota RN license by exam applicants must have:

    • A U.S. Social Security number

    • Completed a nursing program that prepared them for RN licensure

      • In-state applicants must have completed a board-approved nursing education program

      • Out-of-state applicants must have completed a nursing education program that’s approved by another State BON

        • Included supervised clinical experience across the life span

        • Equivalent in time and amount to the NDBON approved programs

    To receive a full license, applicants must submit:

    • The online Initial RN Exam Application and fee

    • Official transcripts

    • Passing Results from NCLEX

    • Fingerprints leading to a clear or an approved criminal history record check

    Upon completion of their nursing education program, applicants for licensure by exam must request their college to send official transcripts of their grades with the degree listed directly to the NDBON office. 

    • May use the Request for Release of Transcript form for paper copies

    • Preferred method of transmission is electronically through E-Script, Parchment, National Clearing House, or another secure transcript service to [email protected]

    • Transcripts sent as email attachments or PDFs won’t be accepted

    • Copies sent by applicants or fax won’t be accepted

    Register for the NCLEX-RN through PearsonVUE online or by calling 866-496-2539 and pay the $200 exam fee. PearsonVUE notifies the NDBON when applicants register with them. Once the Board deems a candidate eligible to test, it notifies PearsonVUE and it sends an Authorization to Test (ATT) that allows applicants to schedule their licensure exam. The ATT is only valid for 90 days.

    Applicants who fail the NCLEX-RN receive an email from the NDBON with a Candidate Performance Report and instructions on applying to retest. Licensure candidates may retest 45 days from the date of their last attempt. To apply for a NCLEX-RN retest, applicants must:

    • Complete the online Request for Eligibility to Retest Application

    • Register with PearsonVUE at the same time

    • Receive a new ATT from PearsonVUE

    • Complete a criminal history record check, if it’s been more than one year since their initial eligibility test date or most recent reapplication fee

    Applicants for retesting won’t pay a retest fee to NDBON if it’s been one year or less since their initial eligibility test date or most recent reapplication fee. They must still pay another $200 exam fee to PearsonVUE. If it’s been longer than one year, applicants must pay NDBON the $125 license by exam fee and $20 processing fee.

    Once exam applicants complete all requirements and the NDBON approves their applications, it issues full licensure in approximately three business days. The initial North Dakota RN license by exam expires on December 31 of the following year. Applicants with questions on licensure by exam may call (701) 391-8790 or send an email to [email protected]

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Foreign educated nurses must submit additional documentation sent directly to the NDBON from the agency verifying credentials. Graduates of nursing education programs that weren’t taught in English or whose native language isn’t English must submit official verification that they passed an English proficiency exam that includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening components.

    Applicants with a Certification Program (CP) Certificate or an active Visa4Nurses or VisaScreen Certificate must request a CP Verification Letter or a Visa4Nurses or VisaScreen Verification Letter. If they have one of these verifications, they’re not required to submit any additional documentation. If they don’t have one of these certificates or their Visa4Nurses or VisaScreen Certificate has expired, they must submit an official credentials evaluation report from an approved credentials verification agency. NDBON accepts reports from:

    • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

    • International Consultants of Delaware (ICD)

    • Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)

    • International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF)

    • Educational Records Evaluation Service, Inc. (ERES)

    • Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. (JS&A)

    • Foundation for International Services (FIS)

    • World Education Services (WES)

    Timing

    Once the NDBON receives all of an applicant’s completed paperwork, including the Criminal History Record Check (CHRC) report, it takes 7 to 10 business days for full licensure to occur. The CHRC process takes 10 to 14 business days to complete.

    Temporary Nurse License

    The NDBON may issue first-time applicants for a North Dakota RN licensure by exam a Work Authorization that allows them to attend orientation and practice as a graduate nurse. Work Authorizations are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance or upon notification of the results of the NCLEX-RN, whichever comes first. Work Authorizations remain effective if the applicant passes the NCLEX-RN but is still awaiting results of the CHRC. Work Authorizations are:

    • Nonrenewable

    • Only valid for employment in North Dakota

    • Available only to graduate nurses who completed an application for licensure within 60 days of their graduation date

    • Expire immediately if the applicant fails the NCLEX-RN

    • Aren’t issued for retesting when an applicant must retake the NCLEX-RN after failing the exam

    The NSBON may issue initial applicants for a North Dakota RN licensure by endorsement temporary permits to be used while awaiting results of a CHRC. To qualify, they must have submitted the online application and fee and their verification of licensure or official transcripts. Temporary permits for endorsement candidates expire in 90 days and are nonrenewable.

    Fees

    After completing an online application, the system prompts applicants to pay applicable application and processing fees. All fees are nonrefundable and must be paid via a credit or debit card. After application submission, a receipt appears. Applicants should print and/or save this receipt electronically as proof of payment.

    • Licensure by Endorsement: $170

    • Licensure by Exam: $145

    • Criminal History Background Check (Payable to BCI): $41.25

    • NCLEX-RN Testing (Payable to PearsonVUE per attempt): $200

    • NCLEX-RN Retest (NBON): $0 or $145

    • North Dakota RN License Renewal: $140

    • Late RN License Renewal: $280

    • RN License Reactivation: $210

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    Frequently asked questions

    How long does the fingerprinting process take for RNs in North Dakota?

    Processing time for fingerprinting takes an average of 10 to 14 business days from the time the NDBON receives the applicant’s completed fingerprint cards and fees if the first set of fingerprints is adequate. NDBON requires state and federal checks to be performed. If fingerprints aren’t adequate for the BCI, applicants must submit a second set of prints. If the second set is also inadequate, it performs a name search.

    Can applicants complete any orientation before receiving their North Dakota nursing license, permit, or work authorization?

    No, applicants can’t complete any type of orientation before they receive their nursing license, temporary permit, or work authorization. The NDBON reaffirmed its position in 2018 that orientation for a position that requires a nursing license, permit, or work authorization is considered nursing practice. As nursing practice, applicants must be properly licensed and authorized to practice for the nursing position they’re taking orientation for.