Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

New Nursing Graduates

Welcome to Nursing

Congratulations on completing (or nearing the end of) your journey to become a nurse!  Licensure of nurses is a process defined by the Board of Nursing for each state.  This web page provides specific information for those who graduated from a nursing program in the United States and are seeking their first license to practice nursing in Oregon.  If you have further questions, please e-mail the OSBN at oregon.bn.info@state.or.us so we can provide assistance.        

Back to Top

Licensing Step-by-Step

Step 1:  Complete and Submit Application to the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN)

  • Locate the application for Licensure by Examination (online version) on the OSBN website.
  • Read all instructions carefully so that the application process isn’t delayed due to missing information. 
  • Enclose the required payment.  Applications submitted without payment are not processed.
  • The last page of the application form is the Photo Identification Verification form.  Follow the instructions provided by your nursing program for obtaining the signature of the nursing program dean/director.
  • The application form is a fillable pdf (except the Photo Identification Verification page) which allows you to type in your information, print out the form, and mail it to the OSBN.  The address is provided on the form.

Step 2:  Obtain Fingerprints Through Accepted Vendor

Once the application has been received by the OSBN, an e-mail will be sent to the applicant with specific instructions on how to pay for and set up an appointment to have fingerprints taken.  Fingerprinting is the first step in the criminal background check process and must be completed through an accepted vendor.   Learn more about fingerprinting here.

Step 3:  Register to Take the National Licensing Examination Through Pearson VUE

Registration to take the NCLEX® is required before the OSBN can make the applicant eligible to test.  Registration may be completed before the applicant has finished the final nursing term. Testing is completed through Pearson VUE, the recognized testing vendor.  Registration for testing involves providing required information to Pearson VUE and paying the testing fee. 

Registration is not the same as scheduling the examination appointment.  Setting a testing appointment is done after all requirements to graduate from the nursing program have been completed.  Registration to test is completed through the Pearson VUE website and payment must be made electronically: https://home.pearsonvue.com/        

Step 4:  Complete All Nursing Program Requirements

No one can be made eligible to test until all program requirements are completed.  Validation that all program requirements have been completed may be submitted to the OSBN by the nursing education program using a Candidate List.  The Candidate List cannot be submitted to the OSBN until after all final grades are recorded at the educational institution.  This is done by the nursing program – not the license applicant.  

Step 5:  Order the Final Official Transcript from the Nursing Program

Follow the process defined at the educational institution to request a final, official transcript be sent to the OSBN.  This must be the final transcript that shows the program has been completed and a degree or certificate has been granted. 

Step 6:  Watch For the Authorization to Test E-mail from Pearson VUE

Keep watch for any e-mails from Pearson VUE.  Those who have a completed application file with the OSBN, have registered with Pearson VUE, and have their name on the Candidate List from the educational institution will be released to test.  An e-mail from Pearson VUE will come to the applicant shortly after the OSBN has released the individual to test.  This e-mail is the “Authorization to Test.” 

Step 7: Set A Testing Appointment

In most cases, it is best to schedule a testing appointment fairly soon after graduation from the nursing program.  When the e-mail with the Authorization to Test is sent, the applicant will be able to set the actual testing appointment date and time.  Remember, the NCLEX® is a national test, so the applicant can take the examination at any of the designated Pearson VUE testing centers in any state.  There is no need to take the examination in Oregon to license here.

The Authorization to Test is in effect for 90 days from the time the applicant is made eligible to test.  If the test is not completed in that time, the applicant will have to re-register with Pearson VUE and pay the examination fee again.

Step 8: Await Results

In most cases, the OSBN is notified of candidate results within five business days of the testing appointment.  Applicants will receive an e-mail from the OSBN with the results and the applicant will be able to see that the license has been issued by checking the OSBN website under “Look Up A Nurse or Nursing Assistant” accessed from the main OSBN webpage:  www.oregon.gov/OSBN/pages/index.aspx.

Some testing circumstances can lead to results being held until any issues are resolved.  Sometimes there will be an irregularity related to testing that causes the results to be “flagged” and held until the irregularity has been researched.  While this is not common, anyone who has waited for more than two weeks for results may contact the OSBN to determine the reason for the delay.  Contact should be made via e-mail to: oregon.bn.info@state.or.us.

Step 9: Celebrate Being a Licensed Nurse!

Note that no license will be issued until the final, official school transcript has been received by the OSBN.

Step 10: Plan to Re-Take the Examination, If Needed

While the pass rate for graduates from Oregon programs is high, there are those who do not pass NCLEX® on the first attempt.  Those applicants who do not pass the exam will be provided a notice and a Candidate Performance Report with information on those sections of the NCLEX® Test Plan where more study is needed.

It is always advisable to re-connect with the nursing program if there is a need to re-take the NCLEX®.  In many cases, the nursing program may be able to assist with study resources and guidance on preparing to re-take the exam.  The notification you receive from the OSBN will include instructions on how to apply to re-take the NCLEX®.

Back to Top

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I make sure the testing appointment goes smoothly?
    Make sure to read all information provided by Pearson VUE on what may or may not be brought to the testing center.

  2. I tested three weeks ago but I haven’t received my results.  What should I do?
    First, check the Application Status Wizard accessed from the OSBN website.  This will allow the applicant to see what is still missing (shows on the Application Status Wizard as “open”).  If something is listed as “open” that the applicant knows has been completed, contact the OSBN via e-mail.

    Check to make sure arrangements have been completed to have the final, official transcript sent to the OSBN.  No licenses are issued until the final, official transcript is on file.

  3. My school has a secure system to send transcripts electronically.  Is this accepted?
    Yes, as long as this is a secure system for transfer of documents.  A scanned copy of a transcript from the applicant or the nursing program is not acceptable.          
  4. How soon after program completion may I test?
    Pearson VUE is required to offer a testing appointment within 30 days of when the applicant is made eligible to test.  Note that at especially busy times of the year (such as May, June, July) testing appointments will likely be about 30 days out.  If testing accommodations are needed, the time to an appointment may be longer than 30 days.          

  5. May I call the OSBN to get my test results?              
    No testing results are given out over the phone.            

  6. I checked the Application Status Wizard and it shows my background check is still “open” but I did my fingerprints several weeks back.
    If this section of the application is showing “open” for an extended time, it is likely some finding on the criminal background check needs further investigation.  The applicant will be contacted to assist, if this is the case.

Back to Top