Licensing and registration for registered nurses is handled at the state level in Alaska by the Alaska Board of Nursing. In order to become a registered nurse in Alaska, an individual must complete a Board-approved educational program. This will take a minimum of 2 years.
According to the 2017 salary and employment data for Alaska, there were about 5,570 registered nurses in the state. The median hourly income was about $42.07, and the average annual income was about $89,310. This is significantly higher than the average annual income of registered nurses in the United States at large.
The HRSA Health Workforce projects that by 2030, there will be an approximate labor shortage of 23% for registered nurses in the state of Alaska.
Alaska Board of Nursing
The Alaska Board of Nursing handles licensing in the state of Alaska. Types of licensing available in Alaska include: Certified Nurse Aide, Practical Nursing, and Registered Nursing. The Alaska Board of Nursing can be reached at (907) 269-8160 or (907) 465-2550.
Registered Nurse Education Requirements
Alaska is not part of the nurse licensure compact. Certification as a registered nurse in Alaska must be acquired at the state level through a Board-approved educational program. Such programs are approved on an individual basis through the Board. Alaska is home to three schools with accredited programs for registered nursing.
There are three degree pathways that can prepare a prospective RN for their certification exam: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), or an RN diploma program. BSNs are the most widely accepted by accrediting boards, while ADNs are typically quicker and cheaper to acquire. Meanwhile, an RN diploma program offers a lot of in-field experience, but the credibility of these programs is dependent on the institution, and therefore can vary widely. More and more states are leaning toward BSN programs as the standard educational requirement for RN licensure.
Foreign nurses who would like to gain licensure as a registered nurse in the state of Alaska must submit proof of their citizenship, competence in the English language, and their educational and licensure credentials.
RN Licensure by Examination
All aspiring nurses must follow a licensure process which includes a state-approved examination following the fulfillment of their educational credentials. Individuals who are already licensed as an RN in another state or jurisdiction may need to follow the endorsement process detailed below.
Fingerprinting and Background Checks
Those applying for licensure as a registered nurse in Alaska must acquire a fingerprint card from the Board (upon request) or card FD 258 from a third-party agency. These will be submitted as part of the application process. The Board will then use this information to conduct the necessary background check. There is a $75 processing fee.
In Alaska, individuals must pass an NCLEX examination. As of 2020, the exam registration fee was $200, and exams can be scheduled at any NCLEX testing location. Free practice questions are accessible by students to help prepare for the exam.
Applying to Take a Certification Exam
Applications must be submitted to both Pearson and the myAlaska portal. A paper application is also available if preferred. The latter application must include proof of educational experience. The application fee itself is $100, but additional fees, such as fingerprint processing, licensing, and temporary permit request fees must also be included with this form. The total amount for these fees is $475.
Additional Requirements for Certification
Aspiring registered nurses in Alaska must also pass a background check, supply their transcripts, and schedule their exam at an NCLEX-RN testing location.
Applying for Licensure
Applications and other relevant documentation must be submitted through the myAlaska portal or printed out and sent to:
Alaska Board of Nursing
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1500
Anchorage, AK 99501.
RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out of State Applicants)
Licensure by endorsement is an option that is often offered for out-of-state residents to become licensed in any given state. In order to apply for licensure by endorsement in Alaska, out-of-state RNs must:
- Submit proof of licensure;
- Submit a paper application or apply through the myAlaska portal ($475 total);
- Submit proof of citizenship and/or residency;
- Submit proof of proficiency in English (if from a foreign nation);
- Submit proof of continuing education;
- Provide fingerprints for a background check;
- Complete the NCLEX-RN exam.
RN License Renewal
Registered nurses in the state of Alaska must renew their license by November 30th on even-numbered years. The fee is half of the regular licensing fee. Half of the regular licensing fee was $100 as of 2020.
Continuing Education Requirements
Registered nurses in Alaska must complete any two of the following to fulfill their continuing education requirement:
- 30 contact hours with an approved continuing education course;
- 60 hours of Board-approved, voluntary in-field training;
- 320 hours of employment as an RN.
Alternative continuing education options may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Continuing education courses are accepted if they are certified by ANCC, ANA, AMA, a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist certifying body, or are approved by another Board of Nursing.
Alaska Nursing License Verification
Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development offers a professional license search tool to confirm the licensure of registered nurses in the state.