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RN/LPN Licensure Information

Obtaining a RN or LPN License

NICU nurse
You can become a nurse (RN or LPN) in Oregon by one of two ways:
  1. by examination (for people who graduate from an approved nursing program and take the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX)) or
  2. by endorsement (for those who have held a nursing license in a state or jurisdiction other than Oregon).
Oregon requires a license to practice nursing and considers that practice to begin as soon as you begin orientation to a nursing position. (In other words, you must have a license in hand before you begin orientation.)
 
You should apply for a license and submit criminal background check documents well in advance of accepting employment in Oregon, as securing the required documents during processing may take several weeks.
 
As of Jan. 1, 2010, the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) ceased issuing plastic license cards.  Employers should verify licenses through our online license verification system, or the national NURSYS system. The Board does not issue temporary licenses.

General Licensure Information
  • Education: Applicants must graduate from a state-approved nursing program with a practical nursing certificate, diploma, or an associate, baccalaureate or master´s degree in nursing; or from an equivalent program in a school of nursing outside of the United States or its jurisdictions.  Eligibility for licensure is based on the basic nursing education that led to your initial licensure.
  • Practice: Endorsement applicants must practice as a nurse, at the level for which they are seeking a license, for at least 960 hours in the last five years.  Graduation within the last five years, from a state approved nursing program, in preparation for the level of license sought, satisfies this requirement.  Completion of an OSBN-approved re-entry program within the last two years, in preparation for the level of license sought, satisfies this requirement. Continuing education cannot be used to meet the practice requirement.
  • Examination: Applicants must have passed the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) before 1988, or the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) after 1988.  Oregon requires written verification from the state in which you took the national licensing exam that you passed it, regardless of how many years have elapsed since taking the examination.  The only examinations accepted for licensure in Oregon are those that have been developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.  No state constructed examination, challenge examination or other method of licensure exam is accepted.
  • License verification: Oregon requires written verification of licensure from:
    1. The state in which you took the licensing examination, and
    2. The state in which you are now practicing or most recently have practiced nursing, if different from the state in which you took the licensing exam.
  • English language proficiency: If your basic nursing education was obtained in a United States school of nursing, your academic transcript serves as documentation of English language proficiency.  If your basic nursing education was obtained in a school of nursing outside of the United States, you must document English language proficiency.
  • Complete a national criminal background check.  (Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about fingerprinting.)

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RN/LPN Licensure Fees

RN/LPN Licensure Fees and Refund Policy
Fees
  • RN or LPN Licensure by Examination:  $160.
  • RN or LPN Licensure by Endorsement:  $195.
  • National Fingerprint-Based Criminal Background Check:  $52.
  • RN or LPN Renewal Fee:  $145.
  • Workforce Data Analysis Fee at Renewal:  $5.
For other fee information, click here.
 
Refund Policy
Fees submitted as part of the application process are not refundable, per ORS 678.410(2). Be certain that you intend to complete the process before submitting your payment. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please call our Customer Service Center at 971-673-0685.

If an error has been made in your payment, contact OSBN Information: 971-673-0685, or e-mail oregon.bn.info@state.or.us to request a review of your account. Allow 10 working days for the refund to be processed as a credit to your credit card account.

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Nurses Educated Outside the US

Nurses Coming to Oregon Who Have Never Been Licensed in the U.S.
If your basic nursing education was obtained in a school of nursing outside of the United States and you have never held a nursing license in a U.S. state or jurisdiction, you must (in addition to completing the Application for RN Licensure by Examination and criminal background check):
  1. Submit a CGFNS Certificate or VISA-Screen®.  If you do not have a CGFNS Certificate or VISA-Screen®, continue to step 2.

  2. A.  Have your nursing school transcripts evaluated by an OSBN-approved independent credentials and language evaluation firm. If your education is determined to be equivalent to a nursing education in the United States, you will meet the OSBN education requirement for licensure, and

    B.  Document your English language proficiency by one of the following methods:

  1. Submit evidence that your nursing education, text books and the preponderance of your clinical experience were in English; or
  2. Submit an original report showing a score of at least 560 for the written exam or 220 for the computer exam on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or
  3. Submit an original report showing a score of at least 780 on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) exam; or
  4. Submit an original report showing an overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 on all modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic Module); or
  5. Submit an original certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Schools of Nursing (CGFNS); or
  6. Provide a VISA-Screen® certificate.


Nurses Coming to Oregon Who Have Been Licensed in Another U.S. State or Jurisdiction
If your basic nursing education was obtained in a school of nursing outside of the United States, and you have been licensed in a U.S. state or jurisdiction other than Oregon, you must (in addition to completing the application for RN Licensure by Endorsement and criminal background check):
  1. Submit a CGFNS Certificate or VISA-Screen®.  If you do not have a CGFNS Certificate or VISA-Screen®, continue to step 2.

  2. A.  Have your nursing school transcripts evaluated by an OSBN-approved independent credentials and language evaluation firm. If your education is determined to be equivalent to a nursing education in the United States, you will meet the OSBN education requirement for licensure, and

    B.  Document your English language proficiency by one of the following methods:

  1. Submit evidence that your nursing education, text books and the preponderance of your clinical experience were in English; or
  2. Document nursing practice in English, at the level of license sought, in the United States for 960 hours in the last two years; or
  3. Submit an original report showing a score of at least 560 for the written exam or 220 for the computer exam on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or
  4. Submit an original report showing a score of at least 780 on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) exam; or
  5. Submit an original certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Schools of Nursing (CGFNS); or
  6. Submit an original report showing an overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 on all modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic Module); or
  7. Provide a VISA-Screen® certificate; or
  8. Provide proof of a passing score on the NCLEX in another state; or
  9. Provide proof of graduation from a nursing education program in the United States with an advanced degree.


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RN/LPN Endorsement into Oregon

School nurse
Endorsement Eligibility
Endorsement: The process of obtaining a nursing license in Oregon when you are, or have been, previously licensed in another U.S. state or territory.
 
Generally, you are eligible for endorsement if you are currently or formerly licensed in good standing in a U.S. state or territory, provided you are otherwise qualified. Specifically, you must meet the OSBN´s education, practice and legal requirements:
  • You must have graduated from an OSBN-approved nursing program with a PN certificate, RN diploma, or an associate, baccalaureate, or master´s degree. (You will need to arrange for your official transcript to be sent to us--see the Endorsement Application Packet for details.)
  • You must have worked as a nurse, at the level for which you are seeking license or above, for at least 960 hours during the last five years. Exceptions: If you graduated from an OSBN-approved nursing program with a degree appropriate for the licensure level you seek within the last five years, you are eligible for Endorsement. If you completed an OSBN-approved re-entry program appropriate for the licensure level you seek within the last two years, you are eligible for Endorsement. Please note: Continuing education cannot be used to meet the practice requirement.
  • You must undergo a national criminal background check.  (Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about fingerprinting.)  Your application also may be run through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Information Systems and Disciplinary Databank. Including false or misleading information on your application may result in denial of licensure, disciplinary action, and/or a civil penalty ranging from $100 to $5,000.
 
Additionally, all sections of the Endorsement Application Packet must be completed before licensure can be granted. In addition to the general application, the packet includes:
  • Examination verification. Oregon requires written verification from the state in which you passed a national examination, regardless of how many years have elapsed since you took the exam. Oregon only accepts licensure exams developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. No state constructed examination, challenge examination or other method of licensure examination is accepted.
  • License verification. If the license you are currently using or most recently used for practice is from a state other than the initial state of licensure, Oregon requires written verification from that state as well.
  • English language proficiency. If your basic nursing education was in a United States school of nursing, your academic transcript serves as documentation of English language proficiency. If your basic nursing education was in a school of nursing outside of the United States you must provide evidence of English language proficiency (more information follows).
 
To apply for RN or LPN Licensure by Endorsement, click here.
 
 

An Oregon Nursing License is Required to Practice Here
  • You must have a current valid Oregon license before practicing as a Registered Nurse or a Practical Nurse in Oregon. Oregon has not yet entered into the compact for interstate licensure, so if you want to practice here, you need to be licensed here.
  • You may not sign your name as, or use a card, initials or device indicating you are a nurse unless you hold a current license from the Oregon State Board of Nursing.
  • Practicing before you are licensed is a violation of Oregon law and may result in a civil penalty up to $5,000 under ORS 678.117. 

If You Graduated from a U.S. School of Nursing
You must have your school of nursing send us an official transcript from the basic nursing education program you attended. (A form for this is included in the Endorsement Application packet.) The transcript must:
  • be imprinted with an official school seal;
  • bear the appropriate registrar's signature; and,
  • show the date you completed the program and degree granted to you.

If You Graduated from a School of Nursing Outside the U.S. (& Have Never Been Licensed in the U.S.)
If your basic nursing education was obtained in a school of nursing outside of the United States and you have never held a nursing license in a U.S. state or jurisdiction, you must (in addition to completing the Application for RN Licensure by Examination and criminal background check):
  1. Submit a CGFNS Certificate or VISA-Screen®.  If you do not have a CGFNS Certificate or VISA-Screen®, continue to step 2.

  2. A.  Have your nursing school transcripts evaluated by an OSBN-approved independent credentials and language evaluation firm. If your education is determined to be equivalent to a nursing education in the United States, you will meet the OSBN education requirement for licensure, and

    B.  Document your English language proficiency by one of the following methods:

  1. Submit evidence that your nursing education, text books and the preponderance of your clinical experience were in English; or
  2. Submit an original report showing a score of at least 560 for the written exam or 220 for the computer exam on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or
  3. Submit an original report showing a score of at least 780 on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) exam; or
  4. Submit an original report showing an overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 on all modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic Module); or
  5. Submit an original certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Schools of Nursing (CGFNS); or
  6. Provide a VISA-Screen® certificate.


If You Graduated from a School of Nursing Outside the U.S. (and Have Been Licensed in the U.S.)
If your basic nursing education was obtained in a school of nursing outside of the United States, and you have been licensed in a U.S. state or jurisdiction other than Oregon, you must (in addition to completing the application for RN Licensure by Endorsement and criminal background check):
  1. Submit a CGFNS Certificate or VISA-Screen®.  If you do not have a CGFNS Certificate or VISA-Screen®, continue to step 2.

  2. A.  Have your nursing school transcripts evaluated by an OSBN-approved independent credentials and language evaluation firm. If your education is determined to be equivalent to a nursing education in the United States, you will meet the OSBN education requirement for licensure, and

    B.  Document your English language proficiency by one of the following methods:

  1. Submit evidence that your nursing education, text books and the preponderance of your clinical experience were in English; or
  2. Document nursing practice in English, at the level of license sought, in the United States for 960 hours in the last two years; or
  3. Submit an original report showing a score of at least 560 for the written exam or 220 for the computer exam on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or
  4. Submit an original report showing a score of at least 780 on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) exam; or
  5. Submit an original certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Schools of Nursing (CGFNS); or
  6. Submit an original report showing an overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 on all modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic Module); or
  7. Provide a VISA-Screen® certificate; or
  8. Provide proof of a passing score on the NCLEX in another state; or
  9. Provide proof of graduation from a nursing education program in the United States with an advanced degree.

Verification of Licensure from Your Original and Current States
  • License Verification.  Check to see if electronic verification for your original or current state of licensure is provided by Nursys®, using this link:  www.nursys.com
  • Original State Verification form (part of the Endorsement Application packet). If your original state of licensure verification is NOT provided by Nursys®, then use this form. Mail the form to the state in which you passed the examination. You must submit the Original State Verification form, regardless of whether or not you ever held a license or practiced in that state and regardless of how long it has been since you were examined for that state.
  • Current State Verification form (part of the Endorsement Application packet). If your current state of licensure verification is NOT provided by Nursys®, then use this form.  If you are now licensed and working as a nurse (or last worked as a nurse) in a state other than where you were examined, mail this form to that state’s Board of Nursing.
  • Most states charge a fee to complete a verification form. To reduce waiting time, call the appropriate Board of Nursing, inquire about the fee and send it with the verification request form. 
  • The OSBN must receive the verification directly from the other state or must receive it in a secured state envelope with an official seal from the other state Board of Nursing.

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Credential Evaluation Services

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RN/LPN Renewal Information

blood pressure nurse
When Will My License/Certificate Expire?
Nursing licenses and certificates are good for two years and expire at midnight the day before your birthday--in even years if you were born in an even year, or in odd years if you were born in an odd year.
 
You should receive a renewal notification from the OSBN approximately six-to-eight weeks before your license expires, assuming you have kept your e-mail address up-to-date with the OSBN office. Failure to receive this courtesy notice, however, does not relieve you of your responsibility to maintain a current license.

RN/LPN Renewal Requirements
To renew your RN or LPN license, you also must meet the practice requirement for Oregon in one of these ways:
  • Practice nursing for a minimum of 960 hours during the previous five years.
  • Successfully complete an approved re-entry program within the two years preceding renewal.
  • Graduate from an OSBN-approved nursing program within the past five years.
 
If you are unable to meet the practice requirement, you will be required to complete an approved re-entry program before licensure. See "Re-Entry" below.

What Happens if My License Expires?
If you allow your license to expire, you may have it reinstated by submitting a renewal form to the OSBN office with the appropriate late fees. If you do not renew your license within 60 days of its expiration date, it will need to be Reactivated (with additional fees) and undergo a national criminal background check. If you practice nursing without a current license or certificate, you could be subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
 
If you need to renew your license, you may do so online (click here).

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Reactivating a RN/LPN License

maternity nurse
Reactivation Eligibility
Reactivation: The process of reactivating an Oregon nursing license that has been expired more than 60 days.
 
Generally, you are eligible for reactivation if your Oregon nursing license has been expired for more than 60 days, provided you are otherwise qualified. Specifically, you must meet the OSBN's education, practice and legal requirements:
  • You must have worked as a nurse, at the level for which you are seeking license or above, for at least 960 hours during the last five years. Exceptions: If you graduated from an approved nursing program with a degree appropriate for the licensure level you seek within the last five years, you are eligible for Reactivation. Please note: Continuing education cannot be used to meet the practice requirement.
  • All licensure and renewal applications are run through the Oregon Law Enforcement Data System and may be run through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Information Systems and Disciplinary Databank. Including false or misleading information on your application may result in a denial of licensure, disciplinary action, and/or a civil penalty ranging from $100 to $5,000.
  • Complete a national criminal background check.  (Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about fingerprinting.)
Additionally, all sections of the Reactivation Application Packet must be completed before licensure can be granted.

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Background Checks

The OSBN conducts a criminal records check through the Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) on every application.  A national fingerprint-based criminal records check is required for every applicant applying for a new license or certification, and for late Renewals that are 61 or more days past expiration date.  You are required to work with an OSBN investigator/advisor if you have a criminal record.  Providing details of your criminal history (if any) or previous disciplinary actions taken against your license or certificate by another state´s Board of Nursing (if any) is part of the application process and must be completed before your license will be issued.  Some individuals may be denied licensure based on their criminal or disciplinary histories.
 
Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about fingerprinting.
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Re-Entry into Nursing

Re-Entry Program Description
A re-entry program is an update of knowledge and skills in nursing, and includes all of the following:
  • 120 hours of instruction in current nursing practice including pharmacology (available through distance education).
  • A minimum of 160 hours of supervised clinical practice. Clinical experience shall be in a student role and unpaid.  (Contact the OSBN Education Consultant at 971-673-0685 for more information.)
  • Complete a national criminal background check.  (Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about fingerprinting.)

Individualized Re-Entry Plans
A nurse may submit an individualized plan for re-entry for approval by the OSBN.  These must include 120 hours of instruction and a minimum of 160 hours of supervised clinical practice.  
Click here for information on individualized re-entry plans.

Steps for Completion of Re-Entry
  • Submit an OSBN Re-Entry with Limited License application and an application for licensure (either by endorsement, examination, renewal, delinquent renewal, reactivation, or reinstatement). The limited license is to be used for the clinical component of your re-entry program only. It does not entitle you to practice nursing in any other capacity. At least one week notice prior to clinical start date is needed to allow time for issue of limited license. Contact the OSBN office at 971-673-0685 for assistance.
  • Select an approved re-entry program from the OSBN list or develop an individualized plan for OSBN approval.
  • Complete 120 hours of instruction in current nursing practice (including pharmacology), and a minimum of 160 hours of clinical practice according to re-entry program directions.

Documentation of Completion of Re-Entry Program
When you complete all the requirements, your Re-Entry Program Director will submit the following documentation to the OSBN office:
  • Verification that you have completed the 120 hours of instruction in current nursing practice (including pharmacology), and required number of hours of clinical practice.
  • Completed and signed preceptor evaluation.

Documentation of Completion of Individualized OSBN-Approved Plan
When you complete an individualized OSBN-approved re-entry plan, submit the following to the OSBN office:
  • Completion of objectives/outcomes and required supervised clinical practice hours.
  • Achievement of predetermined competencies.
  • Recommendation for licensure by clinical preceptor and nurse manager.

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Retired Nurse Status

Retired Nurse status allows nurses at the end of their nursing career to retire their nursing license, instead of merely letting it expire. If your RN, LPN or advanced practice (NP, CNS, CRNA) license is in good standing (or was in good standing when it expired), you are eligible for Retired Nurse status.
 
Retired Nurse status does not need to be renewed. You will remain in retired status unless you decide to return to nursing practice. Please note this is an honorary title and you should not practice nursing, even in a volunteer capacity.
 
Retired Nurse status allows you to use the term, "Retired," after your signature; for example: "Jane Doe, RN, Retired." Call the OSBN office at 971-673-0685 to request an application.

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Primary Source Verification

The OSBN verifies only the initial prelicensure education that led to a person´s eligibility for licensure, such as a BSN, AD or nursing diploma program. In many cases, a nurse has additional education (such as a master´s degree), but that is not verified since it is a person´s initial entry-level education that determines her/his eligibility for licensure.
 
The OSBN has always required an official transcript for graduates of U.S. schools of nursing applying for licensure by examination. For graduates of schools of nursing outside of the U.S. applying for licensure by examination, the requirements have changed over the years. Currently, we require a credentials evaluation by an OSBN-approved credentials evaluation service, but do not require a transcript, as the credentials evaluation service requires one.
 
For nurses from another state applying for licensure by endorsement, we have done primary source verification of the person´s initial education leading to her/his eligibility for licensure since Sept. 1, 1994. Nurses licensed by endorsement prior to that date were not required to submit transcripts and education was not verified except as reported by another state board of nursing.
 
All nurse practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists certified by the Oregon State Board of Nursing have had initial transcript review and primary source verification to determine they meet eligibility requirements. CRNAs must provide additional proof of national board certification.
 
Some verification information is available on our website. The fee for written verification of licensure is $12 per license verified.

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New Nurse Graduate Information

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