Registered Nurse Certification in How to Become an RN in New Hampshire: Nursing License Application and Renewal Guide

If you wish to become a registered nurse in New Hampshire, you will have to complete the education requirements and pass the NCLEX. Like many state-level nursing certifications, you will also need to meet certain requirements and complete a background check. The New Hampshire Board of Nursing administers a statewide certification for New Hampshire. Applicants have 180 days to complete all aspects of the process from the date that the application is received by the board.

There are many steps to complete in the process of becoming a nurse, but there are many nursing job benefits that make the career worth it. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for registered nurses is projected to grow at 12% from 2018 to 2028, much higher than the national average for occupations. This is in part due to the impact of healthcare staff shortages. Nursing salaries and wages may vary by state, but in 2018, the national average income for nurses was $75,510. In the same year of 2018, the average salary for nurses in New Hampshire was very close, at $70,040 per year.  Becoming a nurse in the Granite State may result in fulfilling employment in a growing industry, but first, you must complete and consider the following necessities.

New Hampshire Board of Nursing

The Office of Professional Licensure and Certification, New Hampshire Board of Nursing is the governing body for nurse licenses in the state. There are different levels of nursing licensure in New Hampshire which include: registered nurses (RNs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), licensed nursing assistants (LNAs), and licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

Applications and written responses can be sent to the board at:

Office of Professional Licensure and Certification
Board of Nursing
121 South Fruit Street
Concord, NH 03301

You may also contact the board by calling (603)-271-2152, by faxing (603)-271-6605, or by emailing

Registered Nurse Education Requirements

You must attend an accredited nursing school approved by the state board to become an RN in New Hampshire. The accrediting bodies include the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

There are many registered nursing programs of study available. You may elect to pursue an associates degree in nursing, a bachelor of science degree in nursing, a bridge program that may include: LPN to RN, LVN to RN, or paramedic to RN. Once you complete a program, you may also choose to pursue higher levels of education such as a graduate in nursing or a doctoral program.

There are various nursing scholarships and grants available that will help you meet the educational requirements for registered nurses. You may even elect to take online nursing classes, but it is vital that you attend a program or New Hampshire registered nursing school or equivalent that meets the accreditation requirements of the state.

RN Licensure by Examination

Licensure by examination is typically for recent graduates and all new applicants. To apply for licensure by examination, graduates of nursing programs must:

  • Preregister and take the NCLEX-RN exam.
  • Complete and file a criminal record release authorization form.
  • Complete the Declaration of the Primary State of Residency form.
  • Obtain an official copy of your transcript.
  • Obtain a notarized fingerprint card.
  • Complete the Declaration of Primary State of Residency form with an attached copy of your driver’s license.
  • Pay the application fee of $120.

All license-by-examination applicants must submit forms, fees, and applications to the New Hampshire Board of Nursing through the online portal, or by mail.

If you already hold a license from another state and wish to apply by endorsement, or are interested in obtaining a compact nurse license — read more on this process later in this guide.

Fingerprinting and Background Checks

Applicants must complete an FBI fingerprint and New Hampshire background check. The Board must receive criminal records reports sent directly from the NH Division of State Police. To obtain your criminal history record information you must pay a $25 fee and apply in person, or mail in a Criminal History Record Information Authorization Release Form DSSP 256 application to:

New Hampshire State Police
James H. Hayes Building
Room 106A
33 Hazen Drive
Concord New Hampshire 03301

Applicants must also obtain fingerprints to include in their application. Both ink and livescan fingerprints are acceptable. To schedule a fingerprinting appointment at any of the following locations, contact the NH State Police in Concord at (603)-223-3867. There are seven locations available for fingerprinting services in NH:

  1. Department of Safety Building
    33 Hazen Drive
    Concord, NH 03305
  2. Manchester DMV Substation
    377 South Willow Street
    Manchester, NH 03103
  3. Dover Point DMV Substation
    50 Boston Harbor Road
    Dover, NH 03820
  4. State Police Barracks Troop C
    15 Ash Brook Court
    Keene, NH 03431
  5. State Police Barracks Troop E
    1884 Route 16
    Tamworth, NH 03886
  6. State Police Barracks Troop F
    549 Route 302
    Twin Mountain, NH 03595
  7. Salem DMV Substation
    154 Mainstreet
    Salem, NH 03079

Fingerprinting will require payment of a $48.25 fee. You should also arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment and expect your appointment to take 15-20 minutes. Tardiness of 15 minutes to an appointment results in the appointment’s cancelation.

Applying to Take a Certification Exam

To receive your Authorization to Test (ATT), you must pre-register for the test and your Application for License by Examination must be fully completed and submitted. Once your application is completed and you have pre-registered, you will become eligible for testing and Pearson Vue will issue you an ATT. You will receive instructions on how to schedule your exam with your ATT from Pearson Vue — not from the Board. You may view the fees associated with the test online. You may also access practice questions online to help you prepare for your certification exam.

RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out-of-State Applicants)

If you already hold a nursing license from another state, you may apply for licensure by endorsement. To apply for licensure by endorsement you must complete the Endorsement (reciprocity) Application. Your complete application must include:

  • Verification of at least 400 hours of work as a nurse within 4 years.
  • Proof of either passing the NCLEX within two years, or verification of 30 education contact hours within the last two years.
  • A criminal background check and fingerprinting.
  • A Declaration of Primary State of Residency form.
  • A copy of your driver’s license.
  • A NURSYS Verification. If your primary state does not participate in NURSYS, you must provide a paper verification of licensure.
  • Foreign Educated Nurses licensed in another country must provide CGFNS or a Credentialing Report that was submitted to the state of initial licensure.
  • Payment of the necessary $120 fee.

Nurse Licensure Compact

If you are a resident of New Hampshire and hold a current New Hampshire nursing license, your New Hampshire nursing license automatically becomes a multi-state Nurse Licensure Compact License. A nurse compact license allows you to travel and practice in other compact states. However, if you move and change residencies to another compact state, you will need to apply for a nursing license in that state.

RN License Renewal

Nursing licenses in the state of New Hampshire must be renewed every two years before midnight of the date of your birth. Renewals may not be made more than 45 days prior to your day of birth. Renewals are encouraged to be submitted through the online portal as printed renewal applications may take more than 45 days to process.

To renew your license you must have completed 200 hours of active nursing practice in the last two years, with 12 continuing education hours per year and/or the completion of a written and clinical competency test within the last two years.

Continuing Education Requirements

Nurses in New Hampshire must meet requirements for continuing education and remaining active in practice. RN’s must meet a minimum of 400 hours of active practice in four years, or 200 hours of active practice in two years. Nurses must also meet a minimum of 30 contact hours of continuing education in two years. Continuing competence education includes workshops, conferences, lectures, or in-service educational offerings. Approved courses and activities may be viewed online.

New Hampshire Nursing License Verification

You may view the status of a nursing license by utilizing the state licensing verification page. You may perform this search by including the profession, license type, first and last name, as well as license number.


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