Oregon RN Licensing Guide

  • Not a Compact State
  • Participates in NURSYS
  • Renewal every 2 years

Overview

The Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) consists of nine board members appointed by the Governor. The OSBN and its staff evaluates and approves nursing education programs and issues Oregon nursing licenses and license renewals. Oregon reported over 84,700 registered nurses licensed in April 2024.

About

Applicants should use the OSBN Licensing Portal to apply for Oregon RN licenses by endorsement or examination or reactivate an expired Oregon RN license. Licensees can also use the portal to complete the biennial Oregon RN license renewal process. Applicants can also track the status of a submitted Oregon nursing license application.

Renewal

RNs in Oregon must renew their licenses every two years online. They must complete their Oregon RN license renewals before midnight on the anniversary of their birthdate. Applicants born in odd-numbered years renew in odd-numbered years and applicants born in even-numbered years renew in even-numbered years.

To qualify for renewal, applicants must continue to meet the general requirements of nurse licensure in Oregon. To complete their Oregon RN license renewal, licensees also must attest to having completed at least 400 hours of RN practice in the two years preceding their renewal. Licensees who can’t attest to 400 hours must:

  • Have at least 600 practice hours in the last three years and submit documentation of 20 hours of continuing education (CE)

  • Have at least 800 practice hours in the last four years and submit documentation of 30 hours of CE

  • Apply for practice re-entry if they have less than 960 practice hours in the last five years

There isn’t a grace period for RN licensure renewal. The OSBN charges licensees a $100 delinquent fee in addition to the renewal fee if they submit their application for Oregon RN license renewal one day or more past their expiration date. Licenses of RNs who don’t complete an application for renewal within 30 days of the expiration date are considered void. They must apply for license reactivation before they can continue practicing.

Oregon RN license renewal applicants must complete and pay for a national fingerprint-based criminal background check every other renewal. During the renewals in between, OSBN staff conducts a non-fingerprint background check at no cost to the renewal applicant.

The OSBN conducts random audits for validation of attested practice. All renewal applicants are potentially subject to these audits each renewal period.

Continuing Education Requirements

During an initial renewal, RNs must have documentation of completion of Pain Management Education through the Oregon Pain Management Commission or an equivalent pain management education program, as determined by the board. Unless they graduated from an Oregon RN education program after January 1, 2009, they must also complete an additional 6 hours of CE. After this date, their education program includes the additional 6 hours.

Effective January 1, 2022, all licensees must show evidence of taking the current Oregon Pain Management online pain management course during every subsequent Oregon RN license renewal.

Effective July 1, 2021, Oregon RN license renewal applicants must attest to having at least two hours of cultural competency CE in the current licensure period. Cultural competency education doesn’t need to be accredited or result in CE unit hours and can be provided by the applicant’s employer. The Oregon Health Authority maintains a list of approved cultural competency CE for applicants whose employers don’t provide it.

Requirements

Fingerprinting Requirements

The OSBN completes criminal background checks (CBCs) on all license applications, including license renewal applications. CBCs include fingerprint and/or Oregon Law Enforcement Data Systems checks. OSBN sends all “positive hits” to the investigation department for further review as positive hits imply the applicant has been arrested or convicted of a crime.

Applicants for a new Oregon nursing license by endorsement or exam or reactivation of previously issued Oregon RN license must have their fingerprints captured via Live Scan. Oregon contracts with Fieldprint, Inc. to handle its fingerprint collection services, which has the largest network of Live Scan sites nationwide. To complete Live Scan fingerprinting for background checks, applicants must: 

  • Submit their application for licensure

  • Watch for the Next Steps email from the OSBN with instructions to get fingerprinted

  • Go to the OSBN section of Fieldprint’s website using the unique link included in their email

  • Schedule an appointment after creating a secure user account

  • Pay Fieldprint’s CBC fee of $70.50

  • Print the Confirmation Page to take the fingerprint appointment with two of ID

  • Have fingerprints captured electronically through Live Scan during appointment

  • Contact Fieldprint’s customer service team at 877-614- 4364 or [email protected] with any questions

The Oregon State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation processes CBCs. The OSP and FBI sends the results to the OSBN where its licensing staff either completes the licensure process or contact the applicant for more information based on these results.

Applicants who live outside the U.S. or more than 75 miles from a Fieldprint office must complete ink-based fingerprint cards completed by a local agency authorized to capture fingerprints. Applicants must: 

  • Complete the OSBN Fingerprinting Identification Verification form

  • Schedule an appointment with a local provider

  • Have fingerprints inked and rolled onto an FD-258 fingerprint card only

  • Have the fingerprinting agent place the completed FD-258 card and fingerprinting verification form into a sealed envelope

  • Mail envelope to the OSBN office with a check or money order made out to OSBN for $58

  • Submit one additional fingerprint card for processing if the first card is rejected

If fingerprint cards are rejected twice, OSBN initiates an internal process to complete the applicant's CBC.

Contact Information

Oregon State Board of Nursing
17938 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road
Portland, OR 97224
[email protected]
(971) 673-0685

Multistate

Oregon isn’t currently a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and doesn’t have any current legislature in play to join the NLC. The Oregon Nurses Association has previously been against the idea of joining the NLC. The state’s most recent attempt, House Bill 2335, failed on June 26, 2021.

Licensure by Endorsement

Applicants currently or previously licensed as an RN seeking Oregon licensure, must apply for RN licensure by endorsement. To be eligible for licensure, endorsement applicants must have completed at least 400 hours of verifiable practice as an RN or have graduated from their initial nursing program within the past two years. Nursing programs must include a clinical component if the applicant enrolled in the program on or after January 1, 2022. To obtain an Oregon RN license by endorsement, applicants must:

  • Request the U.S. jurisdiction or original licensing state to submit verification showing completion of the licensure exam

  • Request submission of transcript documenting graduation from a prelicensure nursing education program used to originally qualify applicant for nurse licensure

  • Submit to a national fingerprint- based criminal background check

The OSBN must review applications of RNs licensed before 1989 without verification they passed the State Pool Test Board (SPTB) or of other entry-level competency exam to determine whether their documents qualify them for Oregon nurse licensure.

Applications for licensure by endorsement not completed within one calendar year of the applicant’s payment posting are considered void.

Licensure by Exam

New graduate nurses who have never been licensed in any U.S. state or jurisdictions must take the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and apply for Oregon RN licensure by exam. Graduates must: 

  • Have graduated from an approved nursing education program within the two years immediately preceding their application for licensure

    • Nursing education programs must include a clinical component for applicants enrolled in the program after January 1, 2022

  • Submit to a national fingerprint- based criminal background check

  • Register and pay for the NCLEX-RN exam through Pearson VUE

The OSBN doesn’t issue temporary practice permits to nurse graduates. All exam applicants must pass the NCLEX before being issued an Oregon RN license. The OSBN grants applicants who pass the NCLEX a license to practice nursing in Oregon after they’ve met all other requirements for licensure.

Applicants who fail the NCLEX-RN must submit a re-examination application and fee with the OSBN and reregister and pay a new exam fee to Pearson VUE before their eligible to take the exam again. They must do this each time they apply to retest. Applicants can retake the NCLEX as many times as needed, but they can’t retake it until 45 days have passed since their previous attempt. Applicants who haven’t passed the NCLEX within two years of their graduation date won’t be eligible to reapply for licensure by exam until they graduate from an additional nursing education program.

Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

Applicants who graduated from a nursing education program outside the U.S. and have never been licensed in any U.S. state or jurisdiction must take the NCLEX as part of the licensure process. They must complete the same steps as applicants educated in the U.S. but have additional steps to complete. International applicants without any nursing experience who turn in their completed application more than two years after they graduate from nursing school aren’t eligible for Oregon nurse licensure. Foreign educated applicants must: 

  • Have graduated from a nursing education program approved by the applicable approval body in the country/jurisdiction in which the program was located

  • Must order a credentials evaluation from an OSBN-approved credential evaluation service

    • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

    • Educational Records Evaluation Service, Inc. (ERES)

    • Educational Perspectives (EP)

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

  • Provide proof of English proficiency through a minimum score on an OSBN-approved language proficiency exam taken within two years of application

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

      • Internet-based Test (iBT) with a score of 83 or better

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

      • Academic Module with an overall score of 6.5 and a minimum of 6.0 in all modules

    • Occupational English Test (OET)

      • Minimum score of “B” in all categories

Foreign-educated applicants must pass the English version of the NCLEX-RN within two years of graduation. Should they fail the exam, they’re held to the same re-examination requirements as applicants educated in the U.S.

Applicants from Canada qualify for licensure by endorsement if they graduated after January 1, 2015, and meet all the standard requirements for Oregon nursing licensure by endorsement. They don’t need to order a credential evaluation and if they graduated from any province besides Quebec, they don’t need to pass an English language proficiency exam.

Timing

OSBN doesn’t provide a definitive timeline for licensure because it’s dependent on various factors. However, it generally takes approximately 3 to 6 weeks. Applicants can track the status of their applications on the online portal. Once the OSBN receives all documents required for an Oregon nursing license application by endorsement or exam, applicants should either receive their license or be contacted by OSBN staff for more information within 5 to 7 business days after the OSBN office receives their CBC results.

Temporary Nurse License

Certain employers may apply for a 90-day exception for temporary staffing shortages. These exceptions apply to non-Oregon RNs in temporary staffing situations but staffing agencies and nurse applicants can’t initiate the request for licensure exception. Only the Chief Nursing Officer or Director of Nursing Services at the healthcare facility requesting the exception may apply. To be eligible for a 90-day exception, RNs must submit a completed endorsement application to the OSBN before it approves the employer’s request. Once approved, the employer may request an additional 30 days.

The OSBN issues temporary licenses to practice registered nursing to spouses and domestic partners of active-duty armed forces personnel stationed in Oregon. To qualify, applicants must:

  • Complete the application and pay the fee

  • Submit a copy of the military orders assigning their active-duty spouse/domestic partner to an assignment in Oregon

  • Hold a current, unencumbered license in another state to practice registered nursing

Temporary licenses aren’t renewable. These licenses expire on whichever date occurs first: 

  • Oregon is no longer the active-duty armed forces member’s duty station

  • The spouse’s/domestic partner’s state license used to obtain the temporary license expires

  • The applicant is no longer the spouse/domestic partner of the active-duty armed forces member

  • Two years after the OSBN issues the temporary license

Fees

All fees paid to the OSBN are nonrefundable. Licensing fees pay for the processing of the application. Applicants for Oregon nursing licenses may pay for fees by credit card only. Current fees related Oregon RN licensure include:

  • License by Endorsement: $195

  • Licensure by Examination: $160

  • Reexamination for Licensure: $25

  • CBC Fingerprinting (Fieldprint Live Scan): $70.50

  • CBC Fingerprinting (OSBN Inked): $58

  • NCLEX-RN (Pearson VUE, each attempt): $200

  • Oregon RN License Renewal: $145

  • Delinquent Fee: $100

  • License Reentry: $95

  • Extension of Reentry: $25

  • License Reactivation/Reinstatement: $160

  • Temporary License for Active Armed Forces Military Spouse/Domestic Partner: $50

  • Surcharge to Support the Workforce Data Analysis Fund (at Renewal): $4

  • Surcharge to Support the Oregon Nursing Advancement Fund (on Licensure by Examination, Licensure by Endorsement, and License Renewal applications): $9

  • Written Verification of License: $12

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Frequently asked questions

What happens if I fail the NCLEX-RN in Oregon?

If you fail the NCLEX-RN in Oregon, you must submit a re-examination application and fee with the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN), and reregister and pay the $200 exam fee to Pearson VUE. You must 45 days between exam attempts.

Does RN licensure renewal in Oregon require continuing education?

Yes RN licensure renewal in Oregon requires continuing education. All RNs must show evidence of completing the Pain Management Education through the Oregon Pain Management Commission or an equivalent pain management education program every two years. All RNs must complete two hours of cultural competency every two years. RNs that have not graduated from an Oregon RN program after January 1, 2009, must complete six hours of continuing education (CE).

Is Oregon a Nurse Licensure Compact state?

Yes Oregon is a Nurse Licensure Compact state.

Does Oregon require fingerprinting for a background check?

Yes Oregon requires fingerprinting for a background check.

How often do you need to renew your RN license in Oregon?

You must renew your RN license in Oregon every two years on your birthday.