Want to start a career where you can make a difference? In the face of nationwide healthcare staffing shortages, entering the field of nursing is becoming an increasingly lucrative and secure choice. But how can you become licensed to become a nurse in Indiana?
In order to be licensed as a registered nurse (RN), you have to meet the eligibility requirements and follow specific steps to apply. Nursing licensure in The Hoosier State is handled at the state level, and it takes several years to meet the education requirements and complete the license application.
While the required commitment to become an RN may seem high, individuals who become licensed are generally rewarded with a high-paying and secure career. According to BLS statistics from 2018, RNs earned a nationwide median annual wage of more than $75,500, and the field is growing much faster than average. While nurses in Indiana earn slightly less than this, it is still a highly rewarding field with a solid rate of growth.
If you want some advice on becoming an RN in Indiana, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will provide all the information you’ll need to get started. Read on to learn how you can become an RN and begin to make a positive impact.
Indiana State Board of Nursing
As established by Indiana law, nursing licensing in the state is handled by the Indiana State Board of Nursing. There are a few levels of nursing licensure recognized in the state, including registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, and advanced practice registered nurse. This guide will focus on providing guidance for only the first of these, but many of the application steps discussed below will also apply to these other levels.
If you have any questions about becoming a registered nurse in Indiana that aren’t answered in this guide, consider contacting the State Board. You can call (800) 457-8283 or text your questions to (855) 463-5292. You can also submit a question online or send written correspondence to:
Indiana Professional Licensing Agency
Attn: Indiana State Board of Nursing
402 West Washington Street, Room W072
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Existing licensees with questions about their license are advised to contact the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency at (317) 232-2960.
Registered Nurse Education Requirements
Navigating the many schools and training programs for nurses can seem intimidating, but it’s helpful to keep both national and state requirements in mind when choosing your educational pathway. Every state has its own certification criteria, but there are some that all states adhere to when it comes to nurse education requirements.
Generally, prospective RNs are expected to at least have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited school before they may be eligible for licensure. However, it may be prudent for aspiring RNs to pursue a Master’s of Science in Nursing; doing so can open new career pathways down the road.
There are many registered nurse schools in Indiana. Programs must demonstrate that they are adequately preparing students to successfully pass pre-licensure exams.
RN Licensure by Examination
First-time applicants who have never been licensed in Indiana, nor any other jurisdiction, must apply for RN licensure by examination. If you’re already licensed in another state, skip to the “RN Licensure by Endorsement” section below.
To be eligible, you must have graduated from an accredited nursing program and pass a criminal background check. Once you meet these requirements, you’re ready to apply. There are two methods for submitting your application to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency:
- Online: You can create an account and fill out an application on the Indiana Enterprise Licensing website. Enter your birth date and Social Security number on this page to get started. You will be prompted to enter your personal information and create a new user ID/password.
- Paper form: You can download the form here. Complete this and mail it to the address provided above. The address can also be found at the top of the form.
Regardless of which method you apply, there is a $50 application fee. This is payable by debit or credit card for online applications or by check or money order (payable to “Indiana Professional Licensing Agency”) for paper applications. As the application is processed, you can track its progress online.
Fingerprinting and Background Checks
You will receive an email from the State Board once you submit your application informing you that you must complete a criminal background check to qualify. If you submit your background check before receiving this email, it will not be processed — so be sure you’ve received it before proceeding with the steps in this section.
To complete the background check, you need to be fingerprinted. To schedule for this:
- Go to IdentoGO.com and, under “Search for services by state,” select “Indiana”;
- Select “Digital Fingerprinting” and review the information presented on this page;
- Once you’re ready, click “Schedule a New Appointment” and choose “Professional Licensing Agency.” Then choose “Registered Nurse”;
- You can schedule your appointment from your selected testing location on this page.
First-time RN licensees must complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Review the exam candidate bulletin to learn more about how to register to take this exam. Prior to test day, it’s smart to take some practice tests — this will give you a great idea of what to expect when you take the real thing.
Applying to Take a Certification Exam
Once you submit your application to the Indiana State Board of Nursing, they will inform the test provider, Pearson Vue, that you are eligible to take the examination. At this point, you’re ready to register for the NCLEX exam online. There is a separate application fee of $200 to register for the exam, which is payable by credit or debit card.
After registering online, you’ll receive an email from Pearson Vue informing you that you’re authorized to take the test. You can then schedule your exam online or over the phone at (866) 496-2539.
After at least three weeks from the date the exam was administered, you will be informed of your results. Successful applicants will receive an email with their newly issued license number, while unsuccessful applicants will receive an application to retake the exam. Verify your license online by using the tool discussed at the end of this guide.
RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out-of-State Applicants)
Already licensed in another jurisdiction? You may be able to apply for RN licensure by endorsement. As with applications by examination, this can be completed online or with a paper form. Similarly, you must also complete a criminal background check. Read the above guidance on these topics for insight.
In addition to completing these steps, the State Board must receive verification of your current licensure, as well as proof that you have taken and passed the NCLEX or SBTPE examinations. You can get your license verification on the Nursys website (for applicable states) or through your state nurse licensing board.
Note that, starting on July 1, 2020, nurses will be able to apply for a multistate license in Indiana. This means the state will be joining over 30 other states in implementing the Nurse Licensure Compact. If you have an NLC multistate license after this date, your licensure, whether earned in Indiana or any other NLC state, will allow you to work in any of the below states:
RN License Renewal
Registered nurse licenses expire on October 31 of each odd-numbered year; as of the time of this writing, current RNs will need to renew their license by October 31, 2021. There is a fee of $50 to renew, but the fee is $100 if you submit your renewal application after this date. This is payable by credit or debit card for online applications or by check or money order for paper applications.
If your license has been expired for fewer than 18 months, you may renew it online. If you’ve already registered, you can log in using your user ID and password. Otherwise, you will need to register a new account (you’ll need to enter your birth date and Social Security number on that page to be prompted to create an account). When you receive your renewal notice, it may have had a registration code. If so, locate your record using your license number and this registration code. If it did not have a code, log in using your license number and one other field.
If your license has been expired for over 18 months, you must fill out and mail in a Registered Nurse Renewal Form. You must submit it — along with a check or money order for the renewal fee, payable to “Indiana Professional Licensing Agency” — to:
Indiana Professional Licensing Agency
402 West Washington Street, Room W072
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
After submitting your application, allow four weeks for it to be processed.
Continuing Education Requirements
Healthcare practices continue to evolve as new technological innovations are adopted in patient care. In order to stay abreast of new developments in artificial intelligence, telehealth, and other advancements, nursing professionals are often expected to meet continuing education requirements.
Licensed RNs in Indiana, on the other hand, have no continuing education requirements. This contrasts with neighboring states Illinois and Ohio, which have nursing boards that do have such requirements.
However, if you allow your license to lapse for three years, you’ll need to make a personal appearance before the Board to be evaluated for renewal. If you’re in this situation, keeping up-to-date on best practices in healthcare through a refresher course could be a wise investment.
Indiana Nursing License Verification
Once you’ve become licensed as a registered nurse in Indiana, your information will appear in the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency web lookup/verification tool. If you’d like to verify the license of any nurse in the state, all you need to do is:
- Under “Profession,” select “Nursing Board”;
- Under “License Type,” select “Registered Nurse” or “Registered Nurse – Compact”;
- Enter the individual’s name, contact information, and license number. If you do not have some of this information, enter an asterisk (*) into that respective field.
- Click “Search.”
If the individual is in the database, this tool will tell you their license type, number, and current status. Click on a person’s name to see more detailed information about their license.