The procedure for becoming a licensed registered nurse (RN) in Oregon is facilitated at the state level. The licensure process generally spans between one to two months to complete (excluding educational requirements). Like other state RN certification requirements, the licensing process is implemented in order to verify that you meet all of the necessary criteria for licensure. This typically consists of education requirements, fingerprinting/background checks, as well as examination verification.
Drawing information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 RN occupation employment and wages, the national average RN salary was much lower than the average RN salary in Oregon, the latter of which came out to around $89,000 per year, or $43 an hour. Where you work, how much experience you have, the license you hold, and where you live can all change what you are paid as an RN, so these numbers do not represent a guarantee.
Due to the impact of healthcare staff shortages, many are choosing to seek out careers in nursing. Others choose to use this as a segue into the fruitful medical field. No matter the reason, when you are attempting to become licensed as an RN in Oregon, it is important to be aware of the various steps you should take to make the process as smooth as possible.
Oregon State Board of Nursing
The Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) is responsible for all things nursing within the state. According to the Oregon Nurse Practice Act, they establish the criteria necessary for licensure, and they facilitate the application and renewal process. Similar to most other states, there are three levels of nursing licenses within the state of Oregon: registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), and advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Each tier of licensure has varying license requirements.
When you are going through the licensing process, any required documentation or payments should be sent via mail to:
Oregon State Board of Nursing
17938 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd.
Portland, Oregon 97224
In case any additional questions arise, the contact information below are the two best ways to gain clarity:
Phone: (971) 673-0685
Registered Nurse Education Requirements
Oregon state nursing requirements mandate that those who are seeking licenses must graduate from an accredited RN school. This school must be approved by the OSBN as well as national accreditation requirements. There are multiple accredited RN schools in Oregon. Like the majority of other states, there are three types of RN programs available that can each be broken down into specific specialties or practices when employed.
- Associate’s degree (ADN): ADN programs are expected to take 2 years to complete (sometimes longer). They are designed to help provide the framework for entry-level RN careers. They require half the amount of credits as a BSN degree;
- Bachelor’s degree (BSN): BSN programs are expected to take 4 years to complete (sometimes longer). They are designed to help provide more comprehensive training for students seeking non-entry-level RN careers. These programs expand on advanced nursing theory and clinical practice;
- Accelerated BSN program: Accelerated BSN programs are expedited BSN programs that are specifically designed for people who possess a bachelor’s degree outside of nursing. They generally take a year.
General requirements for applying to nursing school include:
- Being 18 years of age;
- Submitting to a criminal background check and drug screening;
- Earning your high school diploma or GED;
- English fluency;
- Taking and passing the Test of Essential Academic Skill (TEAS).
RN Licensure by Examination
After you have completed an accredited nursing program, you must apply for licensure by examination. If you currently hold a license within another state and you are looking to work in the state of Oregon, you will need to complete the licensure by endorsement instructions below.
Fingerprinting and Background Checks
Oregon fingerprint requirements are processed through the Oregon State Police (OSP). You can apply online through Fieldprint Inc. The test costs $52 to take and it needs to be paid via check to the OSBN. The process generally takes between two and four weeks, so you should complete this step early in the license application process.
There is one required test for licensure by examination in Oregon. The NCLEX is responsible for developing the national examination to align with standards throughout the states. The test can be taken online, or you can find a testing center near you if you prefer to take the test proctored in-person.
The exam is two separate computerized tests that are each 125 questions. The test consists of multiple-choice, multiple-response, fill-in-the-blank, and drag-and-drop questions. Take advantage of online study guides and NCLEX practice exams to help you prepare for the final, actual exam. If you fail the test on your first attempt, you can re-apply online and pay a $25 retake fee.
It is important to be aware that you cannot get access to the national exam without applying for licensure first. Once your application has been approved, you will get information on how and where to apply for the exam. If you are unsure about the process still, the OSBN has created an online tutorial to walk you through the process.
Applying to Take a Certification Exam
The application and registration process for the NCLEX can all be done online. You can register on the Pearson VUE website, or you can register via phone using NCLEX candidate services. There is a $200 registration fee for candidates seeking U.S. licensure. Acceptable payments include credit, debit cards from American Express, MasterCard, or VISA.
Additional Requirements for Certification
If you obtained your nursing credentials, or you tested outside of the U.S. you must apply online to an approved credential equivalency evaluation agency.
Applying for Licensure
In order to apply for licensure, you need to send your background check, official transcript, exam registration, and the $160 fee (if you choose not to pay online) to the OSBN address listed above.
RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out of State Applicants)
Out of state applications must apply for licensure by endorsement. The application and $204 application fee need to be sent to the OSBN address listed above. The endorsement process generally takes one to two months, but once you start the process, you have six months to finish. You need to undergo the fingerprinting and license verification process, and you must have your licensing state verify your educational credentials. Be ready to provide exact dates of when you last practiced nursing.
RN License Renewal
The renewal process varies depending on if your license is currently expired or not, and how long it has been expired if it is. You can apply online or apply using a physical form. The renewal application costs $145. Credit cards and checks are acceptable forms of payment. They can be sent to the physical address listed above, or paid through the online portal when applying to renew. If you have been out of practice for over two years, you are expected to take continuing education requirements the year you are renewing.
Continuing Education Requirements
Oregon Nurse continuing education (CE) requirements mandate that license holders must complete a one-time six hour pain management, or terminally ill patient management course. You must also complete a one hour training course provided by the Pain Management Commission of the Department of Human Services.
Oregon Nursing License Verification
In order for you to check on the status of your license, you need to utilize the Oregon open application search. In order for employers to verify your license, you need to utilize the OSBN license verification search online.