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Registered Nurse Certification in North Carolina

Registered nurse certification in North Carolina turns aspirants into healthcare contributors who analyze and help the patients by offering the best care to them. The certification is issued by the North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON), which aspires to provide various measures for safeguarding and protecting the well-being of the citizens of the state.

Requirements for Obtaining RN Certification

1. Examination

All applicants are required to successfully complete an RN nursing education program approved by the Board. After completion of the nursing program, in- or out-of-state applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Submit online application for examination.
  • Pay the non-refundable fee of $75 via credit or debit card: MasterCard or Visa, electronic check, money order, or certified check.
  • Provide the NCBON ID document.
  • Register with Pearson VUE.
  • All out-of-state graduates must provide official transcript, including legal name (first & last), degree awarded, and date of conferral or completion.The official transcript must be mailed from your educational school to the following address:
    Exam Department
    PO Box 2506
    Raleigh, North Carolina- 27602-2506

2. Endorsement

Candidates applying for licensure by endorsement must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a nursing education program accredited by the jurisdiction of original licensure.
  • Submit non-refundable application fees of $150.00.
  • Provide self-certification of physical and mental health essential for proficient nursing practice.
  • If the nurse has been listed as a Nurse Aide with verdict(s), then submit written explanation with all other related documents.
  • Present evidence of unencumbered certification or license in all jurisdictions in which the certificate is or has ever been held, which also includes any professional licensing board.
  • Hold a current and active license in a jurisdiction. If your license has remained lapsed or inactive for 5 or more years, then the applicant is required to complete a refresher course approved by the Board.
  • Complete all court conditions which arise due to felony convictions or misconduct.
  • Some requirements (VI-VIII) are similar to those mentioned above. (Refer requirements of RN license by examination).

Procedure to Obtain RN License by Examination

The sequential procedure to procure licensure in North Carolina is explained below.

Step 1: Submit the examination application online. You may use the following link-

Step 2: Register with the testing vendor, Pearson VUE, to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). You may use any of the following ways to register.

  • Online – Click this link and select “Register” option. Payment of the registration fees can be made through Visa, MasterCard, or American Express or
  • By mail – You may get in touch with the Board of Nursing office to send the NCLEX registration form. Complete the form and send it via money order or cashier’s check of requisite amount made payable to the NCSBN to the following address:
    NCLEX Operations
    Post Office Box 64950,
    St. Paul, Minnesota- 55164-0950.

Step 3: Once your documents are approved, the Board will inform the Pearson VUE, making you eligible for the examination.

Step 4: After getting the notification, the Pearson VUE will send you an ATT (Authorization to Test) on the address or via email provided by you during the registration procedure.

Step 5: Once you obtain the ATT, schedule the licensure exam by contacting the testing agency. The North Carolina Board of Nursing does not impose any restrictions on the candidates taking the exam, i.e. the applicants may take the test as many times as they want.

Step 6: Appear to take the examination and hand over your ATT letter and identification (ID).

Step 7: The results will be received from the NCBON in approximately 4 weeks after giving the test.

Procedure to Obtain RN License by Endorsement

For obtaining an RN license by endorsement in North Carolina, follow the below procedure.

  • Complete endorsement application online by using the following link:
    While applying online, you will need the following details:

    • Name and location of your nursing school and year of graduation.
    • Year, state, and License Number of original licensure obtained initially by examination.
    • U.S. Social Security number.
    • State and License Number of current licensure.
    • Position(s) and dates of employment held for the past 2 nursing employers.
    • All State Member Boards of US where you have been licensed including dates of license held and License Number.
    • Mother’s maiden name (Last Name only) for the sake of security.
    • Valid Debit or Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard) or Checking Account. A processing fee of $25 will be charged for an e-check declined by the bank authorities due to closed account or inadequate funds.
    • Verification from your original state of licensure or last state practiced. You may verify your license using Nursys website ( If your state is not mentioned on this website, use the verification form provided on the confirmation page of the online application.
  • After submission of the application, take a print out of all the required forms as directed on the confirmation page.
  • The process will take about 6-8 weeks to complete.
  • If the process does not complete within 1 year, you will have to submit another application with the requisite fee.
  • You will be issued a one-time, non-renewable temporary license in the state with a validity of 6 months in the application process.
  • Upon approval of all the documents, a license and a certificate of registration will be issued by the Board.

Internationally Graduated Applicants

All applicants who were educated outside the U.S. and other member board jurisdictions must meet the following requirements:

  • Education documents
  • Pass any English proficiency exam
  • Social Security Number which must be valid
  • Criminal background check

Steps to Follow for Obtaining the License

Step 1: Education Documentation (Choose one agency)

Send all the official transcripts to any of the following education evaluation agencies:

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

    • Credentials Evaluation Service (CES Professional Report)
    • VisaScreen or CGFNS Certificate is acceptable
  • International Education Research Foundation (IERF)
    6133 Bristol Parkway, Suite 300
    Culver City, California- 90230
    Phone: 310-258-9451

Step 2: Give Any One of the Following English Proficiency Exams

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):
    The passing score of TOEFL is 560 in written, 220 in CBT, and 83 in iBT.
  • International English Language Testing Service IELTS (academic):
    The passing score of IELTS is 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 on all modules.


  • These exams generally expire in every 2 years after giving the exam.
  • To take the English proficiency test, VisaScreen or a CGFNS certificate is also acceptable.
  • The applicant is not required to take the English proficiency exams, if s/he has accomplished his/her entry-level professional education nursing program in the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Canada (except Quebec), New Zealand Australia, or the U.S. Territories of Guam, Samoa, Virgin Islands and Mariana Islands.
  • Copies of English proficiency exam or/and education evaluation will be accepted only from the official agencies.

Step 3: After passing the English Proficiency Exam, complete and submit the Application for Licensure to the NCBON with the required non-refundable fees.

Step 4: Register yourself for the NCLEX Examination with the testing agency, Pearson VUE, using the following link:

Step 5: Pearson VUE will email an ATT (Authorization to Test), if you have provided email address during your registration, or else, it will be sent via mail. After receiving your ATT, schedule and take the exam as soon as possible.

Renewal of RN License

All RNs of North Carolina need to renew their license after every 2 years. In order to renew or reinstate their license, they are required to fulfill any one of the following continuing education requirements in the specified time period of two years:

  • Fifteen (15) contact hours of CE (continuing education) and 640 active practice hours during the last 2 years; or
  • National level certification or re-certification by a board-approved national credentialing body; or
  • Complete thirty (30) contact hours of continuing education; or
  • Complete a Board accredited refresher course; or
  • Complete at least 2 semester hours of post-licensure academic education associated to nursing practice; or
  • Complete fifteen (15) contact hours of CE requirements and a nursing project as a co-investigator or principal investigator to incorporate project methods, objectives, statement of problem, completion date and summary of findings; or
  • Completed 15 contact hours of continuing education requirements and authoring or co-authoring an article, paper, book or book chapter related to nursing field; or
  • Completion of 15 contact hours of CE and developing and conducting a presentation or presentations on nursing continuing education adding up a minimum of five (5) contact hours, comprising the objectives, course syllabi or program brochure, estimated number of attendees, and date and place of presentation.

Renewal Requirements

An applicant who wants to renew his/her license must fulfill the following renewal requirements:

  • Submit renewal fee of $92 through credit card, debit card, or electronic check.
  • Possess a current and active license in North Carolina.
  • The RN license expiration date should be within 3 months.
  • Successfully fulfill continuing competence requirements.
  • You should not hold a current license or have declared another compact state as your primary state of residence. You may use the following link to see the instructions for multi-state compact information:
  • You may be required to submit additional documents before the renewal of your license, if you have been convicted or charged of a crime or misbehavior, or if you have any accusation pending, or if you have been accused against any professional license.

Online Method of Renewal

If you meet all the renewal requirements, you may use the following link to renew your license:

You must have the below information beforehand to complete the renewal process:

  • Social Security Number
  • NC nursing license number
  • Birth month
  • A valid credit or debit card- Visa or MasterCard, or Savings or Checking Account, in order to pay the renewal fees.

Reinstatement/Reactivation of RN License

You may apply for reinstatement of the license, if :

  • You were licensed earlier in North Carolina and wish to acquire the licensure again in the state; or
  • Your license has lapsed recently because you failed to renew on or prior to the license expiry date and you require a current and active license in the state.

Requirements to Reinstate/Reactivate your NC Nursing License

  • Complete the reinstatement on-line application including the submission of the application fee. Fees can be paid through Visa or MasterCard, or Savings or Checking Account.
    If license is in inactive status: $92
    If license is in expired status: $180
  • Meet all the continuing competence requirements.  Refer “Renewal of RN License” section of this article to see the complete list of these requirements.
  • If your North Carolina nursing license has expired for six or more months, you will be required to complete a criminal background check (CBC). If you are a resident of North Carolina, you can use LiveScan for CBC. The residents of another country or state will be mailed the CBC packet after they submit the application for reinstatement.
  • If your North Carolina license has lapsed for 5 or more years, then you must take a Board-recognized refresher course or provide proof of active licensure in another jurisdiction or state in the last 5 years.
  • Your primary sate of residence and the state where you hold a current should not be another compact state.
  • All licenses in the state expire on your birth month. In order to reinstate your license, certification may be for less than 2 years to set the expiration on the birth month.

Method to Reinstate

All North Carolina licenses may be reinstated online using the following link:

You must have the following information in advance to complete the reinstatement process:

  • Social Security Number
  • NC nursing license number
  • A valid credit or debit card- Visa or MasterCard, or Checking or Savings account

Verification of RN Certificate

To verify your license, you may use any of the following online methods:

Retired/Inactive Nurse Status Request

You may request for inactive status or retired nurse status in North Carolina, if you want to permanently or temporarily discontinue your nursing practice.

Information Related to Retired/Inactive Status
All nurses may request for retired/inactive status at the time when the license is up for renewal, keeping in mind that the license has not expired.  You may change your inactive status to an active one by meeting the following requirements:

  • Complete the online reinstatement application with the payment of the requisite fees.
  • Before completing the reinstatement application, complete a criminal background check, if you have not held a North Carolina license for 6 months or more.
  • Provide attested proof of completion of a learning plan, self assessment, and any 1 of the approved learning activity options completed within the 2 years.
  • If your NC license has remained inactive or in retired status for 5 or more years, you must enroll yourself into a Board-approved refresher course or present proof of active licensure in another jurisdiction or state for the period of 5 years prior to reinstatement. This refresher course will satisfy all the Continuing Competence requirements.
    Once all the required information and applications are received, a current license will be issued, in order to resume the nursing practice.
    You are required to reactivate your license within 1 year after completing the refresher course so as to be considered eligible for current license status.

You may use the following online link to complete the request:

In order to complete the request, you will have to furnish the following information:

  • North Carolina nursing license number
  • Social Security Number
  • Payment of the required fees via debit or credit card (Visa or MasterCard), or electronic check
    Retired nurse status fee: $30
    Inactive status fee: No charge


If any applicant fails to pass the licensure exam, s/he may re-take the test, after 45 days of the last exam date. The nursing board in North Carolina does not impose any restriction. Thus, the applicants may take the test as many times as they want. The frequency of test is determined by the NCSBN (National Council State Boards of Nursing).

Before taking each re-examination, applicants must have their Authorization to Test (ATT) which may be obtained by completing:

  • NCBON (North Carolina Board of Nursing) Online Application
  • NCBON ID Document (necessary once every year)
  • Register and pay the required fees to Pearson VUE

Re-exam applicants of international programs are required to submit a valid English Proficiency Report including the required scores which must be equivalent to the NCBON requirements.

Application Status Check

You may use the following link to check the status of your submitted application for licensure by examination, endorsement, or renewal application:

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