How to Reinstate an Expired RN License

Reinstate your RN license with this comprehensive guide. Learn about essential steps like completing continuing education, paying fees, and understanding NCLEX-RN retake criteria.
How to Reinstate an Expired RN License

Upon receiving your RN license, it's understandable to assume lifelong validity. However, RN licenses require maintenance to prevent expiration. The specific requirements vary by state. If your RN license has expired, fret not, as reinstatement is typically straightforward.

Contact Your State Board of Nursing

Since reinstatement procedures vary by state, the first step is to contact your state board of nursing for specific instructions. Check the board's website, as this information is often readily available. Many state nursing boards provide downloadable forms and instructions online. Depending on your state, reinstating your RN license may involve completing continuing education courses, retaking the NCLEX-RN, or simply paying applicable fees.

Pay Fees for Briefly Expired RN Licenses

In many states, the reinstatement process depends on the duration of expiration. If your license lapsed recently, you may only need to pay applicable fees to bring it current. Your continuing education requirements are likely still valid, but you may need to provide proof to reactivate your license. The fees typically include a renewal fee and a delinquency fee.

Provide Your RN License from Another State

If your RN license has expired in one state but remains active in another, you may be able to reinstate the expired license by providing information about your out-of-state RN license. Not all states allow this, so check with your state board of nursing beforehand. If permitted, you will likely need to provide details about your out-of-state RN license and proof of updated continuing education. Renewal and delinquency fees may apply in this case as well.

Catch Up with Your Continuing Education Requirements

To ensure nurses maintain their skills in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, most states require RNs to complete continuing education courses periodically. If your RN license expires and you delay reinstatement, you may fall behind on these requirements. In such cases, completing the necessary courses is mandatory for license reinstatement. Your state board of nursing should provide a list of approved continuing education providers and eligible courses. Ensure you complete the required courses through an approved provider to avoid any issues with license renewal.

Retake the NCLEX-RN Examination

While most RNs would prefer to avoid retaking the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, it may become necessary if your RN license has been expired for an extended period. The length of time that triggers this requirement varies by state. If you must retake the NCLEX-RN, allocate sufficient time for thorough preparation. This is especially crucial if you have been away from nursing practice or continuing education for a while. Similar to the initial attempt, you can retake the NCLEX-RN up to two additional times if necessary.

Get Your Reinstated RN License

Whether you need to pay fees, complete continuing education courses, or even retake the NCLEX-RN, promptly address the necessary requirements to get your RN license reinstated. Once you meet the requirements, typically, you only need to submit a renewal application and provide proof of compliance. The state board of nursing will process your information and notify you once your RN license is officially reinstated. Often, this process is handled conveniently online.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Maintaining an RN license is undoubtedly preferable to letting it expire and requiring reinstatement. However, life happens, and it's reassuring to know how to proceed should your license lapse. Keep this information handy for future reference.

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