• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - Oklahoma

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

    Overview

    The Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OKBN) includes 11 members appointed by the Governor. It was established to safeguard the public health and welfare of Oklahoma residents and ensures everyone practicing registered nursing is competent to do so. OBN accomplishes this goal through the regulation of nursing education, licensure, and practice. Just under 51,500 registered nurses held Oklahoma nursing licenses in April 2022.

    About

    Applicants should apply for new Oklahoma nursing licenses or submit Oklahoma RN license renewals on the Optimal Regulatory Board Services (ORBS) Nurse Portal. ORBS also provides a Message Center where licensees can communicate with OBN staff and allows applicants to track the status of their applications.

    New applicants should create a Nurse Portal Account to begin the application process. However, they also may request a paper application by submitting a written request to the OKBN office. To receive a paper application, their request must include a self-addressed, postage-paid ($1.06 postage cost) return envelope measuring 8 ½ inches by 11 inches that OKBN staff will use to return a paper copy of the application.

    All applicants for an Oklahoma RN license must be at least 18 years old. They must also provide verification that they are U.S. citizens, nationals, legal permanent resident aliens, or qualified alien applicants with valid documentary evidence of legal presence in the U.S.

    Renewal

    Oklahoma RN licenses expire the last day of the licensee’s birth month in all even-numbered years. Therefore, Oklahoma RN license renewal must occur every two years. Renewal fees cover application processing and licensure through each renewal period. Fees aren’t pro-rated and are nonrefundable.

    Continuing Education Requirements

    As part of the Oklahoma RN license renewal process, licensees must meet continuing qualifications for practice. They must complete one or more of the following requirements in the two years before each expiration date of their license:

    • Complete a minimum of 24 contact hours of continuing education (CE) applicable to nursing

    • Verification of employment in a registered nursing position with at least 520 practice hours

    • Completion of an OKBN-approved refresher course

    • Current certification in a nursing specialty area

    • Completion of a minimum of six academic semester credit hours of nursing coursework at or above the licensee’s current level of licensure

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    All applicants of an Oklahoma RN license must provide fingerprint images for a state and national criminal history records search through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Criminal background checks (CBCs) must be completed no more than 90 days before the OKBN office receives the licensure candidate’s application. Fingerprinting must be completed at OKBN’s vendor, Idemia, with results usually received within one to two weeks.

    Option 1: Oklahoma Residents

    Applicants with an Oklahoma mailing address must go to an IdentoGO center sponsored by Idemia to provide fingerprints electronically. Schedule an appointment online or call 877-219-0197 to make an appointment, which is required. Electronic fingerprints may only be obtained at an Oklahoma-based IdentoGO center. Applicants are responsible for all costs associated with fingerprinting.

    Option 2: Residents Outside Oklahoma

    Applicants with an out-of-state mailing address will receive coded fingerprint cards through the mail from OKBN staff. They must take these cards to a local law enforcement agency to obtain fingerprints. The law enforcement agency uses the addressed envelope provided to mail the completed fingerprint cards directly to an IdentoGO center sponsored by Idemia. Applicants are responsible for all costs of obtaining fingerprints for CBCs, including postage.

    Contact Information

    Oklahoma Board of Nursing 2501 North Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 207 Oklahoma City, OK 73105 [email protected] (405) 962-1800 or (405) 962-1832

    Multistate

    Oklahoma wasn’t part of the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), but it joined the Enhanced NLC, implemented on January 19, 2018. Following the implementation date, the OKBN began issuing multistate licenses to nurses who applied for multistate licensure, declared Oklahoma as their primary state of residence (PSOR), and met the 11 uniform licensure requirements (URLs). Nurses who currently held an active, unencumbered Oklahoma RN license were also given the opportunity to convert their single-state license into a multistate license. RNs with an eNLC multistate license can practice nursing in other eNLC states without obtaining additional licenses.

    Not all Oklahoma nursing license applicants will be eligible for a multistate/Compact license. Nurses who don’t want or need a multistate license or don’t meet the ULRs may apply for or continue to retain a single-state license valid for practicing in Oklahoma only. Applicants who aren’t sure if they qualify for multistate licensure may check the “Yes” box on their application to automatically convert their multistate license application to a single-state license application. Applicants who check the “No” box to indicate they don’t want their application to convert will lose their application fee.

    Licensure by Endorsement

    Applicants licensed in and originally educated in another state or U.S. territory that’s a member board jurisdiction of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing who haven’t previously held an RN license in Oklahoma and want to endorse their license into Oklahoma must apply for Oklahoma RN licensure by endorsement.

    To qualify, the exam used to earn initial licensure must met one of the following requirements: 

    • Achieved a passing score on the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) after February 1, 1989

    • Passed the NCLEX-RN with a minimum score of 1600 between July 1, 1982, and February 1, 1989

    • Passed the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) for RN licensure in medical nursing, surgical nursing, obstetrical nursing, nursing of children, and psychiatric nursing with a minimum score of 350 in each subject between January 1, 1952, and July 1, 1982

    Endorsement candidates must have completed a Board-approved nursing education program that included theory and clinical experience in the care of children and adults, maternal-newborn nursing, and psychiatric-mental health nursing. Applicants must contact the OKBN before submitting an application for licensure by endorsement if they graduated from Excelsior College or other non-traditional nursing education programs.

    Specific steps endorsement applicants must complete in the application process include:

    • Completing an application for licensure by endorsement

    • Providing a Social Security number

    • Completing the appropriate Evidence of Status form

    • Submitting acceptable documents to establish evidence of citizenship

    • Completing a criminal background check through IdentoGO

    • Submitting a statement describing the circumstances surrounding any “Yes” answers to any criminal charge, discipline, or competency questions on the application

    • Providing a declaration of primary state of residence

    • Paying the applicable fee

    • Requesting a temporary license, if desired

    • Providing verification of licensure status, completion of a board-approved nursing education

    • program, degree received and date of conferral, and completion of the licensure examination from original state of licensure

    • Providing verification of continuing qualifications for practice

    Licensure by Exam

    Graduate nurses needing to apply to take the NCLEX-RN and who aren’t licensed in another state, U.S. territory, or country must apply for Oklahoma RN licensure by exam. To qualify for licensure, they must have been educated in a nursing education program approved by a member board jurisdiction and not previously held an RN license in Oklahoma.

    Multistate licensure also requires that they declare Oklahoma as their PSOR. Applicants may submit an Application for Single-State Licensure by Exam if they don’t want a multistate license or know they won’t qualify for one. The steps are essentially the same for single-state or multistate licensure by exam, except multistate licensure applicants must meet the 11 ULRs and single-state applicants meet OKBN requirements only. In addition to completing the OKBN application form, applicants must complete an NCLEX-RN registration through Pearson VUE.

    It's recommended that applicants submit their OKBN application for licensure at least two months before, but no more than four months before graduation to ensure adequate time for processing. Specific steps endorsement applicants must complete in the application process include:

    • Completing an application for licensure by exam

    • Paying the applicable fee

    • Providing a Social Security number

    • Completing the appropriate Evidence of Status form

    • Submitting acceptable documents to establish evidence of citizenship

    • Completing a criminal background check through IdentoGO

    • Submitting a statement describing the circumstances surrounding any “Yes” answers to any criminal charge, discipline, or competency questions on the application

    • Providing official transcript from their nursing school

    • Many in-state nursing education programs automatically send graduate transcripts to OKBN

    • Graduates of out-of-state programs must request nursing education program to send an official copy of their transcript directly to OKBN

    • Out-of-state graduates also must send course descriptions so OKBN may evaluate the curriculum

    • Providing a declaration of primary state of residence

    • Registering for the NCLEX-RN through Pearson VUE

    Once OKBN deems applicants eligible to test, Pearson VUE sends them an Authorization to Test letter (ATT). Applicants have 90 days to schedule and take the exam after receiving their ATT or they forfeit their $200 exam fee and must re-register and pay another exam fee. OKBN won’t supply test results over the phone. Applicants who pass receive their Oklahoma nursing license. Those who don’t pass must complete the appropriate steps to retake the NCLEX-RN.

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Nurses educated outside the U.S. can apply to endorse their license into Oklahoma as a single-state license or as a multistate license. Foreign educated nurses must follow many of the same steps as those educated within the U.S. They must also provide:

    • Verification of licensure in the country in which they graduated directly from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

    • Verification of licensure status if licensed in another U.S. state or territory through Nursys for participating state or from the State BON if they don’t participate

    • Verification of English language competence provided directly from CGFNS through a passing score on an approved English proficiency test

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

    • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)

    • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)

    Timing

    Overall, it takes approximately 2 to 4 months to process an application for Oklahoma RN licensure by exam based on the timeframe provided for application submission. However, a definitive timeframe isn’t provided for licensure by endorsement or exam. CBC results usually take one to two weeks.

    Temporary Nurse License

    Applicants who currently hold a valid RN license issued by another state may apply for a temporary license to practice nursing in Oklahoma while they await processing of the endorsement application. Temporary licenses are single-state licenses and only valid for practice in Oklahoma only. They’re valid for 90 days and only available to endorsement candidates. To apply, check the box on the application for endorsement indicating request for a temporary license. Requirements to receive a temporary license include:

    • Completed application form

    • Paid fees for endorsement and temporary license

    • Proof of current unrestricted licensure in another state, U.S. territory, or country

    • No history of disciplinary action or arrest requiring further review

    • Completion of a Board-approved nursing education program meeting the educational standards established by the OKBN

    • Evidence of meeting continued qualifications for practice within the last two years

    • Receipt of completed CGFNS report and transcripts for foreign educated nurses

    • Receipt of passing score on English proficiency test for foreign educated nurses

    • Submission of fingerprint images for state and national CBCs

    OKBN won’t issue a temporary license to applicants with a history of disciplinary action, arrest, criminal charges, or judgments of incompetence. The Board also won’t issue a temporary license to applicants required to take the NCLEX-RN or must meet additional requirements for continuing qualifications for practice before licensure in Oklahoma. Issuance of a temporary license doesn’t guarantee an applicant qualifies for permanent licensure in Oklahoma.

    Fees

    Oklahoma RN license candidates who apply and pay online may use a Visa or MasterCard credit card or an electronic fund transfer. Applicants submitting a hard copy application must attach a cashier’s check or money order to the paper application. OKBN doesn’t accept personal checks. All fees submitted are nonrefundable. Applicants who meet military personnel options won’t pay a fee. Current fees for an Oklahoma RN license and related costs include: 

    • Multistate Licensure by Endorsement/Exam: $150

    • Single-State Licensure by Endorsement/Exam: $85

    • Temporary License (Endorsement Only): $10

    • Multistate Licensure by Exam for Foreign Educated Nurses: $190

    • Endorsement $150 plus Education Equivalence Evaluation $40

    • Single-State Licensure by Endorsement for Foreign Educated Nurses: $125

    • Endorsement $85 plus Education Equivalence Evaluation $40

    • NCLEX-RN (Paid to Pearson VUE): $200

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    Frequently asked questions

    How many times can applicant for licensure by exam take the NCLEX in Oklahoma?

    Applicants of an Oklahoma nursing license by exam can take the NCLEX up to 8 times per year with a 45-day waiting period between each attempt. RN applicants must pass the NCLEX within 3 years of their graduation date from nursing school.