North Carolina Board of Nursing


Retired / Inactive Nurse Status

Retired Nurse Status Information

A nurse who has retired has the option of placing his/her license on the retired nurse status when the license is up for renewal. The request for retired status MUST be made before the expiration of your current license. Once a license is inactive or expired, it cannot be placed on retired nurse status. Renewal postcard notifications are mailed out approximately 90 days prior to the expiration of your license.

NOTE: There is a one-time $30 fee for the retired nurse status.

The retired nurse status allows you to use the designation of either Registered Nurse - Retired or Licensed Practical Nurse – Retired. With the retired nurse status, you will receive a frameable certificate with this designation as well as a two-year subscription to the Bulletin. This certificate will be mailed to you after the expiration date of your current license.

The retired nurse status does not permit the practice of nursing in North Carolina.

You may request a change from retired nurse status to active status by:

  1. Completing the online reinstatement application. A valid credit or debit card (VISA or MasterCard) or checking account is accepted for payment of the renewal fee.
  2. Prior to reinstatement, a criminal background check is required for all applicants who have not held a NC license for six (6) months or more. The criminal background check packet is mailed to the nurse upon receipt of the online reinstatement application. The fingerprinting must be performed by a law enforcement official. The fee for the background check is submitted to the Board along with the completed fingerprint card.
  3. In addition, upon application for reinstatement, all applicants are required to attest to completion of a self assessment, learning plan, and one of the approved learning activity options during the two year period prior to reinstatement. Additional information is available here: Continuing Competence.
  4. If your license is inactive for five (5) years or longer, you will be required to take a Board-approved refresher course or provide evidence of active licensure in another state or jurisdiction within the five years prior to reinstatement. Upon completion of the online reinstatement application, you will be instructed to submit evidence of licensure in another state or jurisdiction or evidence of successful completion of a Board-approved refresher course.

If your North Carolina license has been on retired nurse status for over five years and you have not been licensed in another state during the last five years, successful completion of a Board-approved refresher course is required prior to reinstating your license. The refresher course will satisfy the Continuing Competence requirement. When all required information and applications are received from you, a current license to resume the practice of nursing will be issued. Your license must be reactivated within one year of completing the refresher course in order to be considered for current license status. The Board may decline to reactivate a license if a determination of unsatisfactory ability to practice nursing is evident.

Once the Board receives all materials for reactivation of a license, a minimum of six weeks processing time may be required.