Registered Nurse Career in USA Step by Step Guide

Registered Nurse Career in USA. When you learn how to become a nurse you’ll find the first step is getting a solid education, whether you hope to be an LPN, RN, or administrator. Every state and the District of Columbia require students to graduate from an accredited nursing program in order to become licensed. There are seven key steps foreign-educated nurses will need to take in order to obtain a position as an RN in a U.S. hospital. Below steps does not cover visa.

  1. Meet the educational requirements

  2. Take and pass an English language proficiency test, if mandated.

  3. Obtain credential evaluation  

  4. Pass your National Council Licensing Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX – RN)

  5. Procure License

  6. Find a nursing recruiting agency or US-based employer

  7. Accept an RN position


  • Choose the State to practice and Register in the State Board of Nursing.

  • Check if the State requires CES or CP Evaluation in CGFNS.

  • For New York State alone it is Credential Verification Service for New York State (CVS)

  • Register in CGFNS as CGFNS Connect (For Applicants) and start the credential evaluation process. The applicant needs to get the transcript form completed by the College/University where they are accredited. It also is expected to send the completed transcript form directly to CGFNS from college. This is one of the lengthy process.

  • After the above step is completed, the Applicant is eligible to take NCLEX Exam.

  • NCLEX Exam is conducted through Pearson VUE.

  • The NCLEX is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) and it uses an algorithm to produce each new question based on your performance on previous questions.

  • A test-taker must have answered the minimum number of required test questions to be eligible to pass. For examinees taking the NCLEX-RN, at least 75 questions must be answered. A minimum of 85 questions must be completed on the NCLEX-PN exam. Test-takers who do not answer the minimum number of questions within the time limit automatically fail the test.

  • Those who fail are permitted to retake it after 45 days from their original test date. Candidates may retest as many as 8 times in a year. 

  • Exams scores are not required to be submitted to CGFNS for CES.

  • There are currently nine states in the United States that require an English Language Proficiency Report be attached to the Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) Professional Report: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

  • Accepted English Language Proficiency Test and Passing Exam Scores:

        TOEFL Overall Score: 83; Speaking Score: 26
        IELTS Overall Score: 6.5; Speaking Score: 7.0

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