Are you interested in becoming a registered nurse (RN) in Wyoming? States in the U.S. have differing nursing certification requirements, and prospective RNs in Wyoming must meet certain education requirements and follow the steps to apply for licensure before they will be eligible to work in the state.
Is Wyoming a good state for those looking to become an RN? Nursing licensure is regulated at the state level, and it can take several years to achieve the education requirements and obtain the credentials necessary to work as an RN. Nevertheless, the current national healthcare staffing shortage has made nursing an incredibly secure field with competitive wages.
Indeed, RNs earned an average of $33.40 per hour as of July 21, 2019, which is higher than most career fields. This holds true when it comes to salaries for nurses in Wyoming. While BLS statistics indicate RNs in Wyoming earn an average of $32.38 per hour — lower than the national average — this is still a solid $9 higher than the average wage across all occupations.
It’s clear that entering the nursing field is a smart career move, but you need to follow the right steps to do so smoothly. This article will provide the guidance you’ll need to get licensed to work as an RN in Wyoming.
Wyoming State Board of Nursing
Licensing for nurses is regulated and enforced by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing. As explained in state law, the purpose of the board is to adopt rules and regulations, take disciplinary action against violations of the standards of nursing practice, and establish and regulate requirements and procedures regarding nursing licensure.
There are different levels of nursing licensing in the state. This includes practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, registered nurses, and advanced practice registered nurses. Note, however, that this guide will only provide advice to those looking to become an RN, though some aspects will apply to all levels.
If you have any questions about nursing licensure in Wyoming, the Board can be contacted by phone at (307) 777-7601, by email at [email protected], or by mail at:
Wyoming State Board of Nursing
130 Hobbs Avenue, Suite B
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002
Registered Nurse Education Requirements
Nurses in the U.S. generally must have at least an Associate’s Degree in Nursing in order to qualify for licensure. However, some states, such as New York, have begun to push for a Bachelor’s in Nursing as a mandatory minimum. While an associate’s degree is more affordable and quickly attained, a bachelor’s degree will make you more highly qualified and potentially open new doors for career advancement down the road. Determining which is right for you depends on your individual circumstances.
Nursing programs that are accredited by widely accepted commissions, such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, are viable for those seeking licensure in Wyoming. There are many nursing programs in the U.S. and many suitable nursing schools in Wyoming.
RN Licensure by Examination
All recent graduates or first-time nursing applicants will need to apply for RN licensure by examination. To do so, you must create an account on the Wyoming Nurse Portal, which works best on a desktop computer. When you create an account, you’ll need to follow the prompts to be guided to the appropriate application for first-time applicants. There is an application fee of $130 and a processing fee of $5, both of which are payable by credit card. A breakdown of nursing licensure fees can be found online.
If you are already licensed in another jurisdiction, however, be aware that you may need to apply by endorsement instead — read more on this later in this guide.
The application process includes steps such as submitting your information for a criminal background check, taking an approved certification exam, and meeting any other requirements. Read more on each of these below.
Fingerprinting and Background Checks
As part of your application, you will need to disclose any past convictions or disciplinary actions taken against you. For any incidents, you’ll need to provide a personal statement and supporting documentation. Applications are reviewed on an individual basis, and factors such as the severity of the issue and how recently it occurred will play a role in whether your application will move forward.
Further, a background check by the Department of Criminal Investigation is mandatory for all licensure applicants. This is completed as part of the online application and requires a fee of $60. Once you pay your application and background check fees, you’ll be sent fingerprint cards. You’ll need to submit these for the background check before your application can be processed.
The Wyoming State Board of Nursing uses the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to assess candidates seeking to become licensed RNs. The test is administered by Pearson Vue.
Applying to Take a Certification Exam
You must submit your application to the Board and pay a $200 registration fee (payable by credit, debit, or prepaid card) to Pearson Vue before you’ll be sent an authorization to test via email. Allow up to 10 days after paying to receive this authorization. Once you do, you can schedule your exam on the Pearson Vue website or via phone at (866) 496-2539.
Note that there are limitations on re-taking the exam (as well as additional fees), so it pays to use a practice exam to prepare.
Review the 2020 NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin for more information. If you have any questions during this process, you can contact Pearson Vue at the number above or via email at [email protected].
Applying for Licensure
Once you take the NCLEX-RN, the Board will send you the exam results within six weeks via mail. If you pass, your application will be processed and you will be able to verify your license online (see below). If you fail, you will need to fill out a retake application on the Wyoming Nurse Portal.
RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out-of-State Applicants)
If you are already licensed in another state, you can apply to become an RN in Wyoming by endorsement. It’s important to note, however, that licensed nurses from many states do not need to apply. This is because the state of Wyoming participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This is an agreement among 34 states that allows licensed nurses to work in any of these jurisdictions without having to obtain additional licensure.
If you’re already licensed as an RN in one of the below states, you may not need to apply for licensure prior to working in Wyoming:
If you are not licensed from one of the above states, you may need to apply by endorsement. If you are uncertain whether you need to apply in Wyoming, consult the NLC endorsement flowchart.
The process for application by endorsement is largely the same as applying by examination. Create an account on the Wyoming Nurse Portal and follow the prompts to be guided to the appropriate application. You’ll need to follow the guidance provided above in regard to seeking a background check.
Note that the application fee for RN licensure by endorsement is $135, and there is a $5 processing fee. These are payable by credit card.
RN License Renewal
Every two years, RNs in Wyoming must renew their license to continue working in the state. Renewal applications are also handled on the Wyoming Nurse Portal. There is a $110 fee for renewing your RN license, as well as a $5 processing fee; both are payable by credit card.
Continuing Education Requirements
Continuing education is not required for most RNs. You are eligible to renew your license as long as you’ve been employed for at least 400 hours in the past two years. However, if you’ve worked only 200 hours, you’ll need 15 hours of nursing education. If you have not been employed, you’ll need 30 hours of nursing education.
The state does not provide a list of approved programs. If your circumstances demand continued education before you can renew your license, be sure that the program(s) you enroll in adhere to the nursing educational standards established in Chapter 6 of the Wyoming Administrative Rules and Regulations.
Wyoming Nursing License Verification
Do you need to check an individual’s licensing status? Just like neighboring states Idaho and Montana, Wyoming also uses Nursys for license verification purposes. To verify a nurse’s license, enter their name into the QuickConfirm License Verification tool. It will let you know the person’s license type/number, whether their license is active, when the license was issued, when it will expire, and more at no cost.
If you become licensed as an RN in Wyoming, your information will appear in this tool for employers and individuals who need to verify your licensure.