• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - Ohio

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

    Overview

    The Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN) licenses and regulates registered nurses (RNs) along with other Ohio nursing license holders and licensed or certified medical professionals in the state. The OBN consists of 13 members appointed by the Governor and prioritizes protecting Ohio patients by efficiently licensing Ohio’s nursing workforce and quickly removing dangerous practitioners. Over 226,000 nurses held Ohio RN licenses in April 2022.

    About

    OBN approves prelicensure nursing education programs to ensure these programs maintain the academic and clinical standards necessary to prepare students as entry-level RNs. It doesn’t approve out-of-state nursing education programs.

    OBN is part of a comprehensive licensing system, known as the eLicense Ohio Professional Licensure System, used by most of Ohio’s licensing boards. All Ohio nursing license applications must be completed online. The eLicense system is designed to license qualified applicants quickly, while helping OBN satisfy its goal to verify that Ohio RN license applicants meet the statutory and regulatory requirements to practice in Ohio.

    Renewal

    All Ohio licenses and certificates must be renewed every two years. Ohio RN license renewal occurs in odd-numbered years between July 1 and October 31. OBN emails renewal notifications from late May through June to the email address on record. It won’t send renewal notices through the mail.

    RNs who renew on or after September 16 in a renewal year must pay a $50 late processing fee in addition to the renewal fee. Licensees with current, valid RN licenses who don’t intend to practice nursing may request their licenses be placed in inactive status by submitting an electronic request or written statement to OBN. RNs who don’t renew before October 31 in a renewal year and haven’t requested that their Ohio nursing license be placed in inactive status shall have their RN license lapse.

    Licensees applying for Ohio RN license renewal aren’t required to submit documentation of their continuing education (CE) when they renew their license, but they must complete CE each licensure period. Applicants with questions about renewing their Ohio nursing license may send an email to [email protected].

    Continuing Education Requirements

    Registered nurses in Ohio must complete 24 contact hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year licensure period. RNs licensed by reciprocity for one year or less before their first Ohio RN license renewal must complete a minimum of 12 contact hours of CE, instead of the regularly required 24 hours. Nurses issued their first Ohio RN license after passing the NCLEX-RN aren’t required to complete any contact hours of CE for their first Ohio RN license renewal. All subsequent renewals require a minimum of 24 hours to qualify for renewal.

    At least one contact hour of CE must be from Category A during each renewal cycle. Category A is directly related to the administrative rules of the OBN and the Ohio Nurse Practice Act. To qualify as Category A, the CE must be offered by an OBN-approved provider headquartered in Ohio or be approved by an OBN approver.

    OBN may conduct random audits to confirm compliance of CE requirements. It notifies RNs if they’re chosen for an audit. RNs must maintain CE documentation for six years and submit documentation to OBN upon its request or for an audit.

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    Ohio law requires all applicants of an Ohio nursing license to submit fingerprints for criminal record checks through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). BCI completes all fingerprint processing. OBN doesn’t process fingerprints. Don’t submit fingerprint cards to OBN. These must be sent to BCI.

    Option 1: Electronic Fingerprint Services in Ohio

    Processing times are much shorter when submitting prints electronically, which is only available in Ohio. Applicants must submit electronic prints through the national Webcheck Program. Applicants must: 

    • Schedule an appointment and verify requirements for fingerprinting at their chosen location

    • Bring a valid, government-issued photo ID to their appointment

    • Provide their reason for fingerprinting

      • Put “ORC 4723.091” in this field

    • Submit an appropriate form of payment

      • Fees for capturing fingerprints vary by provider

    • Have the Webcheck facility select “direct copy” from the dropdown box for OBN

    Option 2: Out of State Fingerprint Services

    If it’s not possible for an applicant to travel to Ohio for electronic fingerprinting through Webcheck, applicants must obtain inked fingerprints. Applicants must:

    • Contact an entity that can perform inked fingerprinting and verify the entity’s requirements for fingerprinting

      • Most local law enforcement agencies will complete inked fingerprinting

    • Bring a valid, government-issued photo ID to their appointment

    • Submit an appropriate form of payment

      • Fees for capturing fingerprints vary by provider

    • Print two BCI fingerprint cards

    • Print two FBI fingerprint cards

    • Complete inked fingerprinting on the four cards at the fingerprinting location

    • Complete the top portion of all four cards

    • Mail one BCI and one FBI fingerprinted card to Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, PO Box 365, London, Ohio 43140

      • Include a personal check, business check, or money order for $47.25 made payable Treasurer, State of Ohio

    • Keep the other two fingerprinted cards in case BCI rejects the first set sent

    • Mail the remaining two cards to BCI if they receive a rejection notification

      • Include the rejection notice so there’s no additional fingerprint processing charge

    After receiving an applicant’s electronically sent fingerprints or inked fingerprint cards, BCI processes their fingerprints, completes an initial review, and sends the results to OBN. BCI may determine that no further review is necessary and send results to OBN within a few days or determine a more in-depth review is necessary and send results to OBN in four weeks or more. For questions about criminal record checks, applicants must contact BCI directly at 877-224-0043.

    Contact Information

    Ohio Board of Nursing 17 South High Street, Suite 660 Columbus, Ohio 43215-3466 [email protected] (614) 466-3947

    Multistate

    The Ohio Legislature just passed the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which the Governor signed on July 1, 2021. It goes into effect on January 1, 2023. Ohio wasn’t part of the original NLC, so it’s the first opportunity local nurses will have to apply for a multistate license once the state fully implements the new NLC regulations.

    Although multistate licensing becomes effective on January 1, 2023 in Ohio, OBN expects to begin issuing multistate licenses beginning January 3, 2023. It won’t be able to answer questions about multistate licensing until closer to the implementation date as NLC implementation is dependent on integration and upgrades in the eLicense system. As additional information becomes available, OBN will post details on the Board’s website and social media. Once fully implemented, the Compact allows RNs to practice in other Compact states if they’re issued a multistate license by their primary state of residence (PSOR).

    Licensure by Endorsement

    RNs who hold a current, valid nursing license in another state and have never held an Ohio nursing license must apply for licensure by endorsement, also called reciprocity. Applicants must complete an online Ohio Nursing Licensure by Endorsement Application and required application fee. Endorsement applicants also must: 

    • Have completed an RN education program approved by a National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) jurisdiction at the time they completed the program

    • Submit evidence of successful completion of an RN nursing education program

    • Request verification of licensure by exam be submitted directly from the jurisdiction of their original licensure by exam or electronically from the NCSBN

    • Request verification of current, valid licensure as an RN be submitted directly from any NCSBN jurisdiction or electronically by the NCSBN

    • Submit to a criminal records check completed by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)

    • Have been originally licensed by exam to practice as an RN based on one of the following requirements:

      • Provide evidence of having passed an exam if originally licensed before January 1, 1953

      • Achieved a minimum score of 350 on each subject in the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) if originally licensed between January 1, 1953, and July 1, 1982

      • Achieved a minimum score of 1,600 on the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) if originally licensed between July 1, 1982, and October 1, 1988

      • Achieved a passing score on the NCLEX-RN if originally licensed on or after October 1, 1988

    • Complete two contact hours of Category A continuing education (CE) directly related to Chapter 4723 of the Revised Code or rules adopted by OBN

    • Submit any other documentation required by OBN

    Applications for Ohio RN licensure by endorsement that remain incomplete for one year shall be considered void and the applicant forfeits their application fee. Applicants with questions about applying for licensure by endorsement may send an email to [email protected]

    Licensure by Exam

    Graduate nurses who have never been licensed as a nurse in the U.S. seeking to become initially licensed as an RN after completing an approved nursing education program in Ohio or another state must complete an online Ohio Nursing Licensure by Examination Application and pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

    Before finishing their nursing education program, exam applicants must: 

    • Complete and submit their online application and pay the application fee

    • Upload court documents or other information required by the application, if applicable

    • Verify application reflects that it’s submitted to confirm they completed all required information

    • Provide their application number to their nursing program’s administration

    • Respond to any requests by OBN staff for additional information, if applicable

    • Submit their fingerprints for criminal records check no later than 60 days before they complete their nursing education program

    • Register for the NCLEX-RN through PearsonVUE on the date they complete their nursing education program

    After completing their nursing education program, the applicant’s program administrator or designee submits their Program Completion Letter (PCL) to OBN. Out-of-state applicants must request their nursing education program to submit final transcripts directly to OBN. Applicants should: 

    • Log into their eLicense dashboard to verify submission of their PCL

    • Watch for their Authorization to Test (ATT) email from PearsonVUE

    • Schedule and take the NCLEX-RN promptly

    Applicants who fail the NCLEX must become eligible to retake the exam by reapplying with OBN for licensure and reregistering with PearsonVUE to take the NCLEX. They must submit a new application fee to OBN and exam fee to PearsonVUE.

    Applicants with questions about applying for Ohio licensure by exam may send an email to [email protected].

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Foreign educated nurse graduates never licensed as a nurse in the U.S. must use the Ohio Nursing Licensure by Examination Application and pay the license application fee. They must:

    • Upload the front and back of document proving their lawful entry to the U.S. if they’re not a U.S. citizen

    • Provide a full education course-by-course report from the credentialing evaluation service (CES) of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

    • Provide evidence of earning a minimum passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-Based Test

      • Exemption applies to foreign educated nurses who graduated from professional nursing education program in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Barbados, Jamaica, or Canada (except Quebec)

      • Exemption applies to Quebec applicants who graduated from Dawson College in Montreal, McGill University, John Abbot College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Vanier College in St. Laurent, or Heritage College in Gatineau

    • Submit to a criminal records check completed by the BCI

    • Complete the registration process for the NCLEX-RN through PearsonVUE

    • Pass the NCLEX-RN

    Foreign educated nurse graduates applying for licensure by endorsement must have been originally licensed by exam to practice as an RN in an NCSBN jurisdiction and meet one of the following requirements:

    • Provide evidence of having passed an exam if originally licensed before January 1, 1953

    • Achieved a minimum score of 350 on each subject in the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) if originally licensed between January 1, 1953, and July 1, 1982

    • Achieved a minimum score of 1,600 on the NCLEX-RN if originally licensed between July 1, 1982, and October 1, 1988

    • Achieved a passing score on the NCLEX-RN if originally licensed on/after October 1, 1988

    Timing

    Applicants for an Ohio nursing license should allow up to 30 days for initial review of their applications once OBN receives their Program Completion Letter from the nursing education program administrator. Typically, processing time is 7 to 10 business days from the time OBN receives all required documents and information, including criminal records checks.

    Temporary Nurse License

    OBN may issue a temporary permit to endorsement applicants authorizing them to practice in Ohio. Temporary permits are valid for 180 days or until the applicant finishes the remaining requirements necessary for OBN to issue their permanent Ohio nursing license. If qualified, OBN also may issue nonrenewable temporary permits to RNs educated outside the U.S. seeking licensure by endorsement.

    Fees

    OBN’s Nurse practice Act or administrative rules establish Ohio nursing license fees. For each application submitted, applicants also must pay a $3.50 transaction fee to the State of Ohio. All fees must be paid at the time of application submission with a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit or debit card. If the applicant doesn’t pay the required fees when submitting their application, the application is considered incomplete and won’t be processed until they pay the required fees. All fees are nonrefundable. Current Ohio RN licensure fees and related costs include:

    • Initial Licensure by Exam/Reciprocity: $75

    • Ohio RN License Renewal:

      • July 1 – September 15 odd years: $65

      • September 16 – October 31 odd years: $115

    • Reactivation of RN License:

      • Even/non-renewal years: $0

      • Odd/renewal years

      • January 1 – June 30: $0

      • July 1 – September 15: $65

      • September 16 – October 31: $115

      • November 1 – December 31: $0

    • Reinstatement of RN License:

      • Even/non-renewal years: $100

      • Odd/renewal years

      • January 1 – June 30: $100

      • July 1 – September 15: $165

      • September 16 – October 31: $215

      • November 1 – December 31: $100

    Besides fees paid directly to OBN, applicants for initial licensure by exam must pay a $200 exam fee to PearsonVUE for taking the NCLEX-RN. All applicants also pay $47.25 to the State of Ohio for processing criminal records checks.

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    Frequently asked questions

    May nurses apply hours worked as a volunteer towards CE for Ohio RN license renewal?

    Yes, Ohio RNs who serve as volunteers for uninsured or indigent patients without compensation may count up to 8 hours of volunteer services toward their CE requirement for renewal. OBN awards one hour of CE for each 60 minutes of documented time spent providing uncompensated healthcare services as a volunteer. To qualify, licensees must provide a signed statement from a person at the healthcare facility or location where they provided healthcare services that includes the date and time that they provided healthcare services and attests that the recipient of the healthcare services was uninsured and indigent and the licensee provided their services as a volunteer.

    May Ohio RNs obtain their contact hours of CE through independent study by mail or on the Internet?

    Yes, and there’s no limit to the number of contact hours an Ohio RN may obtain through independent studies taken through mail order courses or over the Internet.