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Licensure by Examination (NCLEX®)

Licensure by Examination

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®.

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.

How to submit...

  1. Access the Nurse Gateway to complete the Examination application
  2. 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.
  3. Select 'Exam Application' in the Licenses/Certificates dropdown
  4. Complete application

Fee Information: $75.00

FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE

Valid Forms of Payment

  • Credit or Debit Card; MasterCard or Visa
  • Third-Party Payment – Credit Card or Business Check
    • To pay by credit card, please visit this page: https://portal.ncbon.com/ThirdParty/payment.aspx
      • The confirmation number provided on the applicant confirmation page will be required for payment.
    • Business 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 reduce processing delays. Mail your business check to North Carolina Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 2129 Raleigh NC 27602-2129.
    • Once your payment has been received, allow five banking days for your payment to clear, and then your application will be processed.
    • You will not be declared eligible until the Board of Nursing receives the required documents and fees.

Your Examination application

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: NCBON, Exam Department, P.O. Box 2506, Raleigh, NC 27602-2506
    • Transcripts must be delivered directly from the institution or an approved transcript vendor. No other forms or documents are required from the school. Active-in-program transcripts will not be accepted.

Your registration and payment of fees to 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: pvamericascustomerservice@pearson.com
  • Pearson Vue will send an AUTHORIZATION TO TEST (ATT), by email if you have provided an email address on your registration, otherwise, it will be sent by mail. Your Authorization to Test will provide instructions on scheduling your examination. You must have your Authorization to Test prior to scheduling an appointment to take NCLEX examination.

Once the application is submitted, your North Carolina program (NC Program Verified) is verified by your Program Director or your Out-of-State Program is verified via transcript 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.

This site includes the candidate bulletin and information that is necessary to review for the NCLEX® examination.

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.

In accordance with the Nursing Practice Act, all candidates applying for Licensure by Examination are required to undergo a fingerprint-based State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history check.

The Board of Nursing may deny an applicant on the basis of a conviction of a crime only if the board finds that the applicant's criminal conviction history is directly related to the duties and responsibilities for the licensed occupation or the conviction is for a crime that is violent or sexual in nature. The Board of Nursing must specifically consider the following factors by law when denying an applicant for licensure due to a criminal conviction:

  1. The level and seriousness of the crime.
  2. The date of the crime.
  3. The age of the person at the time of the crime.
  4. The circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime, if known.
  5. The nexus between the criminal conduct and the prospective duties of the applicant as a licensee.
  6. The prison, jail, probation, parole, rehabilitation, and employment records of the applicant since the date the crime was committed.
    1. The completion of, or active participation in, rehabilitative drug or alcohol treatment.
    2. A Certificate of Relief granted pursuant to G.S. 15A-173.2.
  7. The subsequent commission of a crime by the applicant.
  8. Any affidavits or other written documents, including character references.

Applicant’s denied licensure in whole or in part because of a criminal conviction have the right to appeal the decision of the Board within 30 days after receipt of the Board’s decision to the superior court located in the county where the applicant resides or where the Board is located pursuant to NC. Gen. Stat §90-171.37B(a) and §150B-43 et al.

In order to complete the criminal history check, please follow these instructions:

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.

Re-Examination

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)
  • 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

Internationally Educated Applicant

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®.

Non-negotiable requirements for licensure by examination for applicants who were educated outside of the United States and other member board jurisdictions include:

  • Documentation of Education
  • English Proficiency Examination
  • *Valid Social Security Number/Card - required prior to issuance of a license 
  • *Satisfactory Criminal Background Check - required prior to issuance of a license 

*NCLEX may be taken prior to completion of (a) Valid Social Security Number/Card and (b) Satisfactory Criminal Background Check requirements

*A Social Security Number is Required

Individuals or foreign graduates, who are seeking Licensure by Examination, must have a valid Social Security number to be issued a license to practice nursing. While submitting an application for a Social Security number, you may take the NCLEX. No license will be issued until proof of the Social Security number is submitted to North Carolina Board of Nursing.

English Proficiency Examination (Choose either TOEFL or IELTS)

TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language
Passing score: TOEFL- written overall score of 560, CBT overall score of 220, iBT overall score of 83. NCBON code: 3236

IELTS (Academic) - International English Language Testing Service
Passing score: IELTS-overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 on all modules.

The English Proficiency examination expires two (2) years after the date the examination was taken. A CGFNS certificate or VisaScreen is also accepted to meet the English proficiency examination.

For applicants to be EXEMPT from the English Proficiency requirement, the applicant must have completed their entry-level professional nursing education program in the United States, Canada (except Quebec), the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or the U.S. Territories of Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is not eligible for exemption.

Copies of the education evaluation and/or English Proficiency examination will not be accepted from the applicant, but only from the official agencies.

Even if your nursing courses were taught in English and/or English textbooks, the applicant will still need an English proficiency examination.
 
There are no exceptions for this requirement.

Documentation of Education (Choose one agency)

Do not send transcripts to the North Carolina Board of Nursing. All official transcripts must be sent to the Education Evaluation Agency.

International Education Evaluations, Inc. (IEE)
7900 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd., Suite 300
Charlotte, NC 28227
Phone: (704) 772-0109

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools CGFNS)
3600 Market St., Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
Phone: (215) 222-8454

  • Credentials Evaluation Service (CES Professional Report), or
  • CGFNS Certificate or VisaScreen is accepted

Once the education evaluation has been completed and a passing score received on the English Proficiency examination, then the applicant becomes eligible for licensure by examination.

Assure eligibility requirements have been met, or all fees will be forfeited.

How to submit...

  1. Access the Nurse Gateway to complete the Examination application
  2. 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.
  3. Select 'Exam Application' in the Licenses/Certificates dropdown
  4. Complete application

Fee Information: $75.00

FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE

Valid Forms of Payment

  • Credit or Debit Card; MasterCard or Visa only
  • Third-Party Payments require a Certified Check or Money Order
    • Money orders 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.
    • For payments via credit card, access the Credit Card Payment Form. Mail this form or your Certified Check or Money Order to the Board at North Carolina Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 2129, Raleigh, NC 27602-2129, Attn. Finance Department.
    • 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.

Your Examination application

Your Electronic School Verification or Official Transcript Copies 

  • 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

  • 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: pvamericascustomerservice@pearson.com
  • Pearson Vue will send an AUTHORIZATION TO TEST (ATT), by email if you have provided an email address on your registration, otherwise, it will be sent by mail. Your Authorization to Test will provide instructions on scheduling your examination. You must have your Authorization to Test prior to scheduling an appointment to take NCLEX examination.

Once the application is submitted, your North Carolina program (NC Program Verified) is verified by your Program Director or your Out-of-State Program is verified via transcript 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.

This site includes the candidate bulletin and information that is necessary to review for the NCLEX® examination.

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.

In accordance with the Nursing Practice Act, all candidates applying for Licensure by Examination are required to undergo a fingerprint-based State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history check.

The Board of Nursing may deny an applicant on the basis of a conviction of a crime only if the board finds that the applicant's criminal conviction history is directly related to the duties and responsibilities for the licensed occupation or the conviction is for a crime that is violent or sexual in nature. The Board of Nursing must specifically consider the following factors by law when denying an applicant for licensure due to a criminal conviction:

  1. The level and seriousness of the crime.
  2. The date of the crime.
  3. The age of the person at the time of the crime.
  4. The circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime, if known.
  5. The nexus between the criminal conduct and the prospective duties of the applicant as a licensee.
  6. The prison, jail, probation, parole, rehabilitation, and employment records of the applicant since the date the crime was committed.
    1. The completion of, or active participation in, rehabilitative drug or alcohol treatment.
    2. A Certificate of Relief granted pursuant to G.S. 15A-173.2.
  7. The subsequent commission of a crime by the applicant.
  8. Any affidavits or other written documents, including character references.

Applicant’s denied licensure in whole or in part because of a criminal conviction have the right to appeal the decision of the Board within 30 days after receipt of the Board’s decision to the superior court located in the county where the applicant resides or where the Board is located pursuant to NC. Gen. Stat §90-171.37B(a) and §150B-43 et al .

In order to complete the criminal history check, please follow these instructions:

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.

Within North Carolina:

If you live within 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.

Outside of North Carolina:

If you are outside of North Carolina, 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 authorized fingerprinting personnel. Contact your local fingerprinting agency 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 Gateway

Request Testing Accommodations

Requirements
  • Candidates should request testing accommodations at the time of application for licensure.
  • The accommodation must be approved by North Carolina Board of Nursing before a candidate can schedule the NCLEX.
  • Mental impairment includes any mental or psychological disorder, such as organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness and specific learning disabilities, which are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Test anxiety and English as a second language is not protected under the ADA.
Items Required for an Accommodation
  1. Documentation from a qualified professional with expertise in the area of the diagnosed disability which must include:
    • Recognized diagnosis found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
    • Identification of the specific standardized and professionally recognized test-assessments given (e.g., Woodcock-Johnson, Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale)
    • The scores resulting from testing interpretation of the scores and evaluations
    • Recommendations for testing accommodations with a stated rationale as to why the requested accommodation is necessary and appropriate for the diagnosed disability
  2. Letter from candidate defining the disability and specific testing accommodations desired
  3. Letter from Program Director defining what accommodations the candidate was given during the nursing education program

Submit Required Documents to:

Licensure Department Attn: Accommodations
North Carolina Board of Nursing
P.O. Box 2129
Raleigh, NC 27602-2506

: nclexaccommodations@ncbon.com 

U.S. Military Graduate Requirements

Approved U.S. Military Programs

The North Carolina Board of Nursing supports military personnel and veterans experiencing career transitions. Currently, the graduates of three military practical nursing programs meet North Carolina requirements to take the NCLEX-PN® national examination and be considered for licensure if a passing score is achieved:

  1. Army Practical Nursing (68WM6)
  2. Army MOS 68C Practical Nursing
  3. Air Force Practical Nursing Technology Associate Degree (7GAL)
  4. Medical Corpsman to Practical Nurse (Joliet Junior College)

These three programs are the only military nursing education programs currently approved in North Carolina for practical nurse licensure by examination. These programs meet both the academic and practicum criteria required by the North Carolina Nursing Practice Act and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) education standards.

Non-Approved U.S. Military Courses-Programs

The Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard Medical Education and Training Programs do not currently offer education programs that meet North Carolina nursing licensure requirements. In addition, North Carolina has no provision to allow challenge of the practical nurse or registered nurse licensure examination based on experience. The military programs not meeting the education requirements are:

  • Basic Medical Technician Corpsman Program (Navy HM0000)
  • Basic Medical Technician Corpsman Program (Air Force BMTCP 4NOX1)
  • Air Force Independent Duty Medical Technician (IDMT 4NOX1C)
  • Army Health Care Specialist (68W Army Medic)

Although the courses offered in these military programs are extensive and rigorous to meet the needs of the military. A veteran who has been a Healthcare Specialist (Medic), Corpsman, or Medical Technician has not been educated and experienced in the role of the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), the nursing process, and the science of nursing care.

In addition, individuals seeking Licensed Practical Nurse licensure must learn the scope of Licensed Practical Nurse practice, the principles of delegation, the performance of age-appropriate care-delivery skills based on scientific data and best practices, and be able  to practice competently and safety. This is acquired through formal education, both clinical and didactic, and must be integrated throughout the course of study. The military occupation programs listed above lack:

  • Content in the nursing process
  • Health promotion and prevention
  • Care of the pediatric patient
  • Care of the obstetric patient
  • Care of the older adult/geriatric patient
  • Chronic care management 

The North Carolina Community College System developed a concept-based practical nursing curriculum , fully implemented in 2015. This curriculum provides the knowledge and skills needed to integrate safety and quality into nursing care and to meet the needs of the holistic individual which impact health, quality of life, and achievement of potential.

If a veteran believes their education is equivalent to the published concept-based practical nursing curriculum, the North Carolina Board of Nursing conducts an individualized review of previous courses/programs/transcripts. Due to the variation of military educational and training programs a thorough review of course syllabi is required to ensure compliance with North Carolina’s law and rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

Last Changed 21-Dec-2021

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