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

Obtaining a registered nurse (RN) license is a popular and lucrative career choice for those interested in the healthcare profession. Having an RN license allows you to practice preventative care, restorative treatment, and trauma care in a wide range of health care settings. You can earn your RN certification in as little as a year, depending on your desired specialty or degree of practice.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019 there were 9,750 RNs employed in the state of North Dakota. The reported annual salary for registered nurses in North Dakota was $65,353 in 2018. Below is a comprehensive list of requirements to earn your RN certification in North Dakota, and apply for your state license.  

North Dakota Board of Nursing

The North Dakota Board of Nursing regulates state licensure for RNs, licensed practical nurses (LPNs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and other nursing license specialties. You can reach out to the North Dakota Board of Nursing by phone at (701) 328-9777, or via email at

Registered Nurse Education Requirements

There are several accredited nursing programs in North Dakota. Programs range from associate level, which can take one to two years to complete, bachelor level, which can take three to five years to complete, and master’s level, which can take three to six years to complete. The North Dakota Board of Nursing offers nursing education loans for current students. You can find more information about these loans on their forms and documents page.

RN Licensure by Examination

All graduates, regardless of program level, will have to take the state board exam to complete their certification and become eligible for a state license. To take the state exam, you will need:

Fingerprinting and Background Checks

A fingerprint card and background check are required to apply for licensure by examination. The North Dakota Nursing Board does not provide fingerprinting services, so you will need to make an appointment with either your local law enforcement or a private fingerprinting agency. For more instructions about how to submit your fingerprint card and background check, refer to the criminal history record check instructions.

Approved Exams

Currently, the only approved exam in the state of North Dakota is the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This exam has 75 questions. Your comprehension of these 75 questions will determine if there will be follow-up questions. The test must be completed within six hours, and the questions are a mixture of:

  • Fill in the blanks;
  • Drag and drop;
  • Multiple choice;
  • Hot spots;
  • Charting.

Taking advantage of study materials and practice exams for the NCLEX-RN can help you prepare for the test.

Applying to Take a Certification Exam

To apply to take the NCLEX-RN, you will need to:

Testing Vendors and Proctors

There are two Pearson VUE testing centers in North Dakota.

Pearson Professional Centers-Bismarck ND
4501 Coleman Street
Suite 201
Capital Square Office Park
Bismarck, North Dakota 58503
United States

Pearson Professional Centers-Fargo ND
3170 43rd Street South
Suite 102
Fargo, North Dakota 58104
United States

Applying for Licensure

Your license will be issued to you by the North Dakota Board of Nursing upon passing the NCLEX-RN. The board usually mails your test score  —  and license if you pass —   within seven days of your testing date. Your scores or license number can not be released by the board phone or email, so if you would like to view your unofficial scores you will need to sign in to your Pearson VUE account.

RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out of State Applicants)

North Dakota is a member of the Nursing License Compact (NLC), which allows for multistate practice between other members within the NLC. You can find a list of states in the NLC on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website. If you received your license in a state outside the NLC and would now like to practice in North Dakota, you will need to apply for endorsement and submit all required supplemental documents.

RN License Renewal

North Dakotan RN licenses expire every two years. In order to be eligible for renewal, license holders must meet or exceed 400 hours of practice in their field, not including continuing education requirements.

Continuing Education Requirements

All RNs, LPNs, and APRNs licensed in North Dakota must complete 12 contact hours of continuing education. You are responsible for completing, keeping track of, and reporting your continuing education hours before the renewal deadline listed on your license. You can find acceptable continuing education activities on the FAQ page.

North Dakota Nursing License Verification

You can verify your license status with your Social Security and license number on the North Dakota Board of Nursing verification search.

quick RN guide links