Renewing Your RN License: What are Your State’s Requirements?
You worked hard to become an RN and love what you do; Which is why it’s essential to maintain an active RN license at all times. But what are the requirements to keep your license in good standing? You’ll find that the needs and guidelines for renewal vary from state to state, which can make things seem more complicated. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll take a look at some standard requirements for renewing your RN license and provide direct links to your state’s Board of Registered Nursing for more information.
Just like your driver’s license, your RN license requires regular renewal. By what frequency your license needs updating is determined by your state’s Board of Registered Nursing. You’ll find that frequencies can range from every 2 years to every 2 birthdays, or even every 5 years. You will need to check your state’s individual requirements.
Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) Requirements
Not only do most hospitals and employers have continued nursing education requirements, but they’re also a requirement by most states to renew RN licenses. While many states allow you to choose how you obtain your CNE credits, they also often have requirements for the category of learning, i.e., hygiene or substance abuse.
There are a variety of ways to obtain CNE (many of them free!):
● Programs through your employer
● Academic college courses
● Online courses
Be sure to double-check the methods of CNE that are accepted by your state. Also, ensure any CNE you obtain is properly accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), or Accreditation Council for Pharmacy (ACPE).
How to Store and Provide Continued Education Requirements
It’s not uncommon to feel frustrated in keeping track of your CNE. When you apply to renew your RN license, the state Board of Registered Nursing will require documented proof of your efforts. Nurses often spend an excessive amount of time going through emails, mail, files, and folders in search of documentation – sometimes realizing they’re short in the end. To avoid this issue and save time and frustration, dedicate one file folder or folder on your computer to store everything and consistently log your hours in a spreadsheet. Alternatively, if you choose to take CNE courses online, many websites will store and track your credits for easy use later.
Keeping track of what is needed and where to find the classes can be daunting, and sometimes expensive. Each class fee adds up quickly! We recommend you look into joining an association that has all of your continued education all on one platform. AACN does a great job consolidating all of the requirements and record-keeping for one flat fee. If you can gather a group of friends or a part of a hospital you can get discounts too! Pricing varies based on specialty and discounted rates. Learn more.
Link to State Board of Registered Nursing Websites
To ensure you’re following your state’s guidelines and meeting license requirements, you must check directly with your state’s Board of Registered Nursing. CNE requirements and certification needs differ vastly from state to state – with some states not requiring any CNE, but having other licensing needs. Below, we’ve compiled a list of each state and linked it directly to its corresponding site for easy reference. You can also visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) for more information here.
● Nurse.Org, Continuing Nurse Education
● Nurse.Com, Nursing Continuing Education Courses
● Nurse.Org, Top 15 Free Online Continuing Education Units for Nurses