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Licensure by Examination

The examination application is not optimized for mobile devices. As a result, we recommend using a desktop or laptop computer.

Submitting this online examination application does not guarantee approval for taking NCLEX. You must meet all eligibility requirements as outlined in the application, and the North Carolina Board of Nursing must declare you eligible to test with the testing service (Pearson VUE).

The North Carolina Board of Nursing does not provide examination results by phone; however, you can pay for “Quick Results” through Pearson Vue, which grants you access to your results within 2 business days of the examination. Telephone inquiries and letters requesting information will not accelerate the process.

The initial application for Licensure by Examination, and the Criminal Background Check will be held active for one (1) year from the date the candidate is determined to be eligible to test. The Authorization to Test is valid for 180 days from the date of eligibility. If you do not take NCLEX prior to the expiration date, you will be responsible for repayment of fees.

A multi-state North Carolina license is not issued when another state is claimed as the primary state of residence, however, a single state license will be issued until proof of North Carolina residency is provided to the North Carolina Board of Nursing.

The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) uses the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®) prepared by National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to measure competence for entry-level practice for graduates of Board-approved nursing education programs. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has contracted with Pearson VUE to administer NCLEX®.


NCSBN developed the NCLEX Practice Exam™ to provide a look and feel of the NCLEX® exam you will take on your test day. It is comprised of previously used NCLEX exam questions and is presented in a similar format of the actual NCLEX. More information about the NCLEX Practice Exam can be found in this informational flyer . Additionally, the NCLEX Practice Exam products can be purchased by visiting NCLEX Practice Exam™ .

Educational Eligibility Requirements

All graduates must complete a member Board approved Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse nursing education program.

Testing Restrictions

North Carolina Board of Nursing does not restrict the number of times a candidate can test for NCLEX Registered Nurse or Practical Nurse. If you have completed a nursing program but have never been licensed, current laws and regulations grant you with the opportunity to become licensed upon successful completion of the NCLEX without restriction or mandatory refresher courses.

Licensure by Examination
Access the Nurse Gateway
  • Create a Username and Password to access your information and applications. If you have already created a Username and Password, you will only need to log in to your profile. Please keep your Username and Password in a secure location as you will need this information to access your Nurse Gateway profile.
Complete Online Application
  • Apply for licensure by examination ($75.00) with the North Carolina Board of Nursing 4-6 weeks prior to program completion.
  • To apply for licensure by examination, access your Nurse Gateway profile and select 'EXAM APPLICATION' under the 'Licenses/Certificates' menu item.
Valid Forms of Payment
  • Credit or Debit Card; MasterCard or Visa only
  • Electronic Check (E-Check)*
    • *Per N.C.G.S. 25-3-506, a $25.00 processing fee will be charged for a Electronic Check (E-Check) refused by the bank due to insufficient funds or closed account.
  • Third-Party Payments require a Certified Check or Money Order
    • Money order and certified checks must be made out to the North Carolina Board of Nursing and we request that candidates provide a copy of the confirmation page to decrease processing delays.
    • Once your payment has been received, allow 3-5 banking days for your payment to clear and then your application will be processed.
    • You WILL NOT be declared eligible until required documents and payment are received by the Board of Nursing.



Registered Nurse

Licensed Practical Nurse

Your Examination application. 

Your submittal of the North Carolina Board of Nursing Identification Document 

Print, complete and mail your Identification Document immediately following the submission of your Examination application. Allow up to 10 business days for processing of your Identification Document.

You can reprint your prefilled Identification Document by completing the steps below upon submission of your Examination application.

  • Access-Log in to your Nurse Gateway portal
  • Select the tile labeled 'RN or LPN NCLEX CANDIDATE'
  • Select the 'Exam Status' tab on the next page, then select 'View/Reprint Application' to access your prefilled Identification Document

Your Electronic School Verification or Official Transcript Copies 

  • North Carolina graduates program verification will be provided to the North Carolina Board of Nursing by your Program Director within 30 days of program completion.
  • Out-of-State graduates are required to provide a "FINAL" official transcript, the transcript must include your legal name (first & last), degree awarded and date of completion or conferral. Mail to: NCBONExam Department, P.O. Box 2506, Raleigh, NC 27602-2506 Transcripts must be delivered directly from the university or an approved transcript vendor. No other forms or documents are required from the school. Active-in-program transcripts will not be accepted.
  • Graduates of International nursing education programs must complete a Credentials Evaluation Service (CES Professional Report) or provide a CGFNS Certificate or VisaScreen. English proficiency testing is required for many Internationally educated nurse applicants.

Your registration and payment of fees to Pearson Vue

Pearson VUE

  • Register and pay at Pearson VUE Testing Centers ($200.00) at least two (2) weeks prior to program completion.
  • Visit Pearson VUE for more information on the Testing Centers
    • This site includes information about registering, Authorization to Test (ATT) letters, scheduling and rescheduling and acceptable Identification Documents.
    • Questions? Email:

Receive eligibility:

Once the application is submitted, the Identification Document is mailed in and marked as RECEIVED, your North Carolina program is verified by your Program Director and Pearson VUE registration are complete then allow up to 10 business days to receive Authorization to Test (ATT) via e-mail.

The Authorization to Test (ATT) is valid for 180 days from the date of eligibility. If you miss your NCLEX appointment or the ATT expires, you are required to re-register and pay at Pearson Vue Testing Centers.

Examination Appointment


Schedule your examination appointment with Pearson VUE. Arrive for your examination appointment and present your Authorization to Test (ATT) letter and acceptable identification.

Receive your official results from the North Carolina Board of Nursing approximately four (4) weeks after your examination.

Criminal Background Check

All applicants must provide their fingerprints and the appropriate forms and fee to facilitate a Criminal Background Check prior to the issuance of a license.

North Carolina Residents:

If you reside in North Carolina, complete the Live Scan application and follow instructions to have your digital fingerprints electronically transmitted to the SBI/FBI. Most North Carolina Sheriff office's will provide this service.

Out-of-State Residents:

If you reside in another state or country, North Carolina Board of Nursing issued fingerprint cards and instructions will be mailed directly to you the following week after submission of your application for licensure. Fingerprinting must be performed by trained law enforcement personnel. Contact your local Sheriff or Police office for assistance and additional details.

** The Criminal Background Check is required for licensure only, it does not affect an applicant’s ability to test. To avoid delays in the issuance of a license, we recommend completing this prior to testing.

Nurse Licensure Compact

Learn more about the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact

Application Status


  • Upon successful completion of the online application, you may check your application status via Nurse Gateway. Licensure information can be verified on the Board's website. The Board of Nursing’s electronic database serves the primary source of licensure information for nurses in North Carolina.
  • The Application Confirmation which serves as your official receipt will be available on your Nurse Gateway profile upon successful completion of the application process. To access, select the appropriate tile under the 'Licenses/Approval to Practice/Certifications' tab on the Home screen, then select the 'Files' tab on the License Information screen.
  • If your email address is listed with the North Carolina Board of Nursing, you will receive a confirmation via email verifying receipt of your online application.



Any applicant that is unsuccessful with NCLEX may take subsequent examinations. The frequency of testing is determined by National Council State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). There is a 45-day waiting period to retest. Applicants can schedule an examination, but will be unable to reserve a test date earlier than the 46th day after the last examination date.

Prior to each re-examination, candidates are required to obtain an Authorization to Test (ATT). To obtain an authorization, the following must be completed:

  • Examination Application ($75.00)
  • Identification Document (required once annually)
  • Registration and Payment of Fees to Pearson Vue ($200.00)

Re-examination applicants of International programs must provide a valid English Proficiency Report that includes scores equivalent to North Carolina Board of Nursing requirements.

Registered Nurse testing for Practical Nurse

Candidates that are unsuccessful with the first NCLEX-RN attempt are eligible to test for NCLEX-PN.  Candidates interested in this testing option must complete the North Carolina Board of Nursing online sponsored workshop, Understanding the Scope of Practice and Role of the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

Registered Nurse candidates testing for the NCLEX-PN are not required to wait 45 days prior to testing on the first Practical Nurse attempt. All Registered Nurse candidates testing for NCLEX-PN will need to enter US19909900 as the Program Code for both North Carolina Board of Nursing and Pearson Vue.

Nurse Gateway

Last Changed 1-Feb-2019

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