How to Reinstate an Expired RN License
When you finally receive your RN license for the first time, it's easy to assume that you are all set for the remainder of your career. However, RN licenses must be maintained or else they expire. The conditions that you must meet to maintain an RN license vary from state to state. If you have allowed your RN license to expire, don't worry. There are steps that you can take to have it reinstated, and it is usually fairly easy to do.
- Contact Your State Board of Nursing - Because the process behind reinstating an RN license varies from one state to the next, the first step is to contact your state board of nursing to see what you have to do. First, you might check the board of nursing's website, as this information is often included online. In fact, many state nursing boards have all of the paperwork that you need to complete available on their websites. Depending on the state where you work as an RN, reinstating your RN license might mean catching up with continuing education courses, retaking the NCLEX-RN or, in some instances, simply paying a few fees.
- Pay Fees for Briefly Expired RN Licenses - In many states, the steps that you must take to reinstate an RN license depend on how long your license has been expired. If it only lapsed a short while ago, odds are that you will just have to pay some fees to bring it current. You are more than likely still all set with your continuing education requirements, but you may have to show proof that you are in order to get your license back. As for the fees, you will probably have to pay a renewal fee as well as a delinquency fee.
- Provide Your RN License from Another State - If your RN license has expired in one state but you still have a current license in a different state, you may be able to have the expired one reinstated simply by providing information about your out-of-stat RN license. Not all states allow this, however, so be sure to check with your state board of nursing first. If it is allowed, you will most likely have to provide information about the RN license that you hold in another state as well as provide proof that you are up to date with your continuing education requirements. If you are able to reinstate your RN license this way, renewal fees and delinquency fees may apply.
- Catch Up with Your Continuing Education Requirements - To ensure that nurses maintain their skills in today's fast-paced, ever-evolving world, most states require RNs to occasionally complete continuing education courses. If you allow your RN license to expire and wait a while before trying to have it reinstated, you may fall behind with your continuing education requirements. If this happens, you will have to complete the necessary courses before your license will be reinstated. Your state board of nursing should be able to give you a list of the types of courses that fulfill this requirement. Make sure to complete the necessary courses through an approved provider. Otherwise, they may not count, and you may be unable to renew your RN license.
- Retake the NCLEX-RN Examination - If there's one thing that most RNs agree about, it's that taking the NCLEX-RN licensing examination once is enough. However, if you allow too much time to pass after your RN license expires, you may have to sit for the exam again to get your license reinstated. The length of time that must pass before this requirement kicks in varies from state to state. If it turns out that you must take the NCLEX-RN again, set aside some time to study for it. This is especially important if it has been a long time since you worked as an RN or since you have taken any continuing education courses. Just like when you took it the first time, you can retake it up to two additional times if necessary.
- Get Your Reinstated RN License - Whether you have to just pay some fees, must catch up with continuing education requirements or even have to retake the NCLEX-RN, complete the necessary steps to get your RN license reinstated as quickly as possible. In most cases, once the requirements have been met, you just have to complete a renewal application and provide proof that you have met the requirements. The state board of nursing will process your information and inform you when your RN license has been officially reinstated. Many times, this part of the process is handled online and is quick and easy.
Needless to say, it is far better to keep an RN license current than to let it lapse and have to have it reinstated. Things happen, however, and it is good to know how to proceed if your license lapses at any time, so keep this information in mind.