• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - Rhode Island

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

    Overview

    The Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education (RI BON) is part of the State of Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). It oversees the education and licensure of nurses in the state. Over 26,000 registered nurses held Rhode Island nursing licenses in April 2022.

    About

    Applicants for a Rhode Island RN license by endorsement or exam must apply online using the Rhode Island Department of Health Online Services portal and pay their application fees when they submit their applications. Any documents an applicant must provide may be emailed to [email protected]  or mailed to the RI BON.

    Renewal

    Rhode Island RN licenses expire on March 1 every two years following the date of issuance of the original license. Nurses must sign a statement attesting to completion of RI BON’s continuing education (CE) requirements. RI BON sends out Rhode Island RN license renewal notices 60 days before nurses’ current expiration dates.

    Continuing Education Requirements

    Nurses applying for a Rhode Island RN license renewal must complete 10 hours of CE as a requirement of renewal for every two-year licensing cycle. Two CE hours each cycle must be related to substance abuse and one hour must cover Alzheimer’s Disease training.

    RI BON must approve CE courses. Approved training includes courses approved by: 

    • American Nurses Credentialing Center or its local chapter

    • Other recognized professional nursing organizations

    • Any department or school of nursing approved by a State BON

    • Other professional, labor organization, or accrediting agency approved by the BON

    After attesting to completion of required CE during the renewal process, RNs should retain documentation of CE course completions for four years. RI BON may grant a six-month extension for CE requirements if an RN suffers a hardship.

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    All applicants must apply to the Department of Attorney General to complete a national background check supported by fingerprints. All adult background checks are completed at the Customer Service Center at 4 Howard Avenue in Cranston. The cost for a national background is $35 with a processing fee of 2% plus 50 cents charged per credit card transaction. The office only accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit cards for in-person transactions. 

    • Schedule a fingerprint appointment

    • Complete a Fingerprint Form

    • Bring valid ID to fingerprinting appointment

    A certified fingerprint technician captures fingerprints using a Live Scan fingerprint machine and sends them electronically to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Office of Attorney General receives an FBI-generated criminal background report. The fingerprint technician reviews the information and sends an email to the RI BON indicating whether the Rhode Island RN licensure candidate is qualified or disqualified. Technicians don’t send any record information to the RI BON. Disqualified applicants may pick up a copy of their record in person only. Email questions to [email protected]

    Out-of-state applicants must complete and mail the following forms to the Office of Attorney General along with their fingerprints captured by a technician at a local law enforcement agency. They also must include a check or money order for $35 made payable to BCI.

    • BCI Fingerprint Release/Disclaimer

    • BCI Certification of Fingerprints

    • Fingerprint Form

    • BCI Notice 

    Contact Information

    Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education 105 Cannon Building, Three Capitol Hill Providence, RI 02908 [email protected] (401) 222-5700

    Multistate

    Rhode Island was part of the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) but so far hasn’t enacted legislation to join the enhanced NLC. Therefore, on January 19, 2018, Rhode Island was no longer an NLC member and couldn’t issue multistate RN licenses. RNs whose primary state of residence (PSOR) is Rhode Island and previously held multistate licenses reverted to single-state licenses only valid for practice in Rhode Island. Out-of-state RNs working in Rhode Island on their Compact licenses had to apply for licensure by endorsement to continue working in the state. The state has legislation pending to join the eNLC.

    Licensure by Endorsement

    Applicants for a Rhode Island RN license who have already passed the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and are licensed in another state, must apply for licensure by endorsement. Candidates for endorsement aren’t required to supply for official nursing school transcripts. To apply, they must: 

    • Provide proof of Rhode Island residency of their PSOR is going to be Rhode Island

      • Submit a copy of driver's license, tax return, or lease with a Rhode Island address

    • Apply to the Department of Attorney General for a national background check supported by fingerprints

      • Call 401-274-4400 for assistance

      • Don’t send fingerprint cards to the Rhode Island Board of Nursing

    • Request verification from all other State BONs that issued them a license

    Licensure by Exam

    Applicants who still need to take the NCLEX-RN, have never been licensed in another state, and want Rhode Island to be their PSOR should apply for RN licensure by exam. To apply, they must:

    • Provide proof of Rhode Island residency of their PSOR is going to be Rhode Island

      • Submit a copy of driver's license, tax return, or lease with a Rhode Island address

    • Request their nursing school to send official transcripts directly to RI BON

      • Must include degree conferred and graduation date

      • RI BON doesn’t accept electronic transcripts

    • Apply to the Department of Attorney General for a national background check supported by fingerprints

      • Call 401-274-4400 for assistance

      • Don’t send fingerprint cards to the Rhode Island Board of Nursing

    • Apply to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to take the NCLEX-RN administered by PearsonVUE

      • Register online or call 866-293-9600

      • RI BON must make the applicant eligible to take the NCLEX-RN after it receives official transcripts

      • Applicants must pass the NCLEX-RN to earn their Rhode Island RN license

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Applicants who graduated from a nursing school outside the U.S. and aren’t licensed in any other state must apply for licensure by exam. They must:

    • Provide a Social Security Number

      • Required for all foreign trained graduates

    • Provide proof of Rhode Island residency of their PSOR is going to be Rhode Island

      • Submit a copy of driver's license, tax return, or lease with a Rhode Island address

    • Apply to the Department of Attorney General for a national background check supported by fingerprints

      • Call 401-274-4400 for assistance

      • Don’t send fingerprint cards to the Rhode Island Board of Nursing

    • Apply to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to take the NCLEX-RN administered by PearsonVUE

      • Register online or call 866-293-9600

      • RI BON must make the applicant eligible to take the NCLEX-RN after it receives official transcripts

      • Applicants must pass the NCLEX-RN to earn their Rhode Island RN license

    •  Complete the requirements of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

    Timing

    The overall timeframe for completing the RN licensure process in Rhode Island can vary but takes an average of 4 to 8 weeks.

    Temporary Nurse License

    The Rhode Island Governor’s 20-02 Executive Order declared a statewide emergency and gave RIDOH authority to issue emergency temporary licenses for all healthcare workers, including registered nurses, licensed in other states. This Executive Order has been extended several times and is currently set to expire on May 11, 2022, unless it’s renewed again. Should the Order expire, no emergency temporary licenses may be issued or extended before the expiration date stated on the license.

    Under this order, RNs may receive an emergency 90-day temporary license. RNs holding valid licenses in good standing in another state and who will be working in a Rhode Island hospital or nursing, emergency, or urgent care facility may apply for 90-day Emergency Reciprocal Licenses. Application requirements include: 

    • Completed and signed application

    • Verification of active out-of-state license

    • Verification of employment in Rhode Island

      • Applications won’t be processed without verifications

    Graduate nurses may also apply for an emergency temporary license. Application requirements include:

    • Completed and signed application

    • Copy of transcript with the degree obtained and graduation date

    • Verification of employment in Rhode Island

    • Apply for Rhode Island RN license

    • Register to take the NCLEX-RN

      • Emergency licenses won’t be issued to graduate nurses who’ve previously failed the NCLEX-RN

    There’s no cost to obtain an emergency temporary license or for a one-time renewal. RNs practicing under an emergency temporary license may renew it once for an additional 90 days. Nurses wanting to practice beyond the 180 days must complete all requirements to obtain a Rhode Island nursing license.

    Completed applications may be:

    Emailed to: [email protected] Faxed to: 401-222-1272 Mailed to: Center for Professional Licensing Room 104 - 3 Capitol Hill Providence, RI 02908-5097

    Fees

    All application fees are nonreturnable and nonrefundable.

    • Licensure by Endorsement/Exam: $135

    • Rhode Island RN License Renewal: $135

    • National Background Check (Payable BCI): $35

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

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    Frequently asked questions

    How can a nurse complete a Rhode Island RN license renewal if they’ve misplaced the online renewal notification with the website address and renewal ID on it?

    The renewal web address ishttps://healthri.mylicense.com. RNs may contact the Licensing Data Entry Unit by calling 401-222-1800 or sending an email to [email protected] on Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and a staff member will look up their renewal ID for them.

    How do RNs know when their Rhode Island nursing license has been renewed?

    RNs may check the status and expiration date of their Rhode Island RN license any time on the Rhode Island Department of Health Online Services portal.

    Do Rhode Island RNs receive a license card and/or certificate?

    No, as a result of the RI BON’s LEAN initiative for online Rhode Island RN license applications, it was decided that all RNs applying online receive an electronic copy of their license card and/or wall certificate. Both are formatted for printing on 8 ½ x 11 paper and licensees may choose the quality and color of the paper used.