Is it possible to take the NCLEX in one state but receive your RN license from another state?

By | 2022-02-03T17:39:52-05:00 April 22nd, 2008|10 Comments


Dear Nancy,

I will be graduating from an NLN-accredited school in Indiana in several weeks. I am moving to California shortly after graduation. I will not be a practicing RN in Indiana, nor do I need to be licensed here; I will be practicing in California. I would like to take the NCLEX before I move, but I need my RN license from California, not Indiana. Since I never have been licensed previously, I would prefer to avoid the complicated process of receiving an unneeded RN license in Indiana and then becoming licensed through endorsement in California. Is it possible to take the NCLEX in one state but receive your RN license from another state?


Explore Your Higher Education Options at

Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Matt,

The response to your question is somewhat simple and yet not so simple. First of all, it is important for you to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in the state in which you received your nursing education in order for him or her to help you strategize your interest in practicing in a state other than the one in which you attended your nursing program.

Generally, however, it is not possible to take the NCLEX-RN examination upon graduation in one state and have that successful result “transferred” as the sole basis for a license in another state. Each state has its own requirements concerning licensure, and although passing the NCLEX-RN is one of those requirements in each state, other requirements may differ. For example, educational requirements allowing one to sit for the NCLEX-NR or to obtain licensure in the state may vary.

Once you have obtained a license in a state, it is somewhat easier to obtain licensure in another state. This is particularly so if both states belong to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). However, as another example of prerequisites, the individual applying for licensure under the NLC must reside in a Compact state in order to be eligible for multi-state licensure. You can read about the Compact by going to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Website at

You can also review the state’s requirements where you want to practice (as well as in the state where you studied nursing) by visiting the state board of nursing website of that state. The website will list the requisites for sitting for the NCLEX-RN and subsequent licensure, including whether or not it is a member of the NLC. The website will also detail how one can obtain licensure by endorsement or through the NLC (if the initial state of licensure is a member of the Compact) after initial licensure.



Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.


Discover how can help you find your next dream job.
Just sign up and wait to be paired with your perfect match.

About the Author:



  1. Avatar
    Michelle Carbonell October 11, 2019 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Dear Nancy,

    I graduated from nursing school in Ohio. I just took State Boards and did not pass. I am going to be moving to Florida in early December, am I able to take State boards in Florida? If so would I pay for it as I would in Ohio? I have looked extensively online and haven’t been able to find anything on how I should do about this. I could use any guidance you can give me.

    Thank you,

    • Avatar
      ANGELA PRITCHARD March 10, 2021 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      Did you ever get an answer? I am in school in Missouri and plan to move to Florida as soon as I graduate. I want my license in Florida not Missouri. I want to take the NCLEX there as well.

  2. Avatar
    Sheila April 2, 2020 at 1:11 am - Reply

    I have Bachelor degree in nursing but didn’t take my foreign board. Can I take the NCLEX in Michigan even I’m not license in my home country??

    • Sallie Jimenez
      Sallie Jimenez April 2, 2020 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Sheila,

      Thank you for your question. I suggest you visit and ask about qualifications for taking U.S.-based exams without having taken the boards in your country. They may be able to answer this question.


      • Avatar
        Tara September 10, 2020 at 8:29 am - Reply

        I pass Rn exam in California and I want do endorsement for pa . Do I need to take test in pa again ?

    • Avatar
      Ian April 11, 2020 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      If you graduate from the Philippines Yes you can take the Nclex in Michigan. You just Need your credentials to be verified.

  3. Avatar
    Doreen January 3, 2021 at 12:52 am - Reply

    I am an RN with 5 years experience from Ghana. My credentials and documents have been evaluated by cgnfs. I live in Virginia with my husband but his work has transferred him to Oregan which we will be moving soon. If I write the nclex in Virginia and we move to oregan do I rewrite the nclex exam again before I practice???

  4. Avatar
    Dan May 1, 2021 at 1:10 am - Reply

    For all who have questions regarding licensure in outside states, you can easily locate the state’s Board of Nursing contact information via

  5. Avatar
    Brooklyn March 10, 2022 at 12:24 am - Reply

    I am going to school in Utah but I am a California Resident and plan to move back and work there. Can I take my NCLEX in California and get my license there or do I have to get an Utah license since I got my education in Utah. how would that work?

    • Sallie Jimenez
      Sallie Jimenez April 30, 2022 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Brooklyn,
      You do not have to get licensed in Utah first, but you do need to make sure you meet the California State Board of Registered Nursing’s licensure requirements. You can find them here:

      If you have any questions, contact the board directly to make sure you have all the information you need to move forward. Good luck!

Leave A Comment