June 4, 2024

New Hampshire Nursing License Guide for RNs

Two nurses chat as they exit an elevator in a hospital.

Being a registered nurse (RN) is not just a profession; it's a commitment to care, compassion, and continual learning. Whether you're a newly graduated nurse or a seasoned professional, obtaining and renewing your nursing license is a crucial aspect of your career. In the beautiful state of New Hampshire, navigating the licensing process is essential to practice legally and ethically. In this blog, we’ll dive into how RNs can obtain and renew their licenses in the Granite State.

Obtaining your New Hampshire nursing license by examination

The two most common methods to licensure in New Hampshire are licensure by examination and licensure by endorsement. If you’re a new nursing graduate, you will likely need to apply for license by examination. Here are the general steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Meet Educational Requirements: The first step towards obtaining your RN license in New Hampshire is completing an approved nursing education program. This typically involves earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited institution.
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Examination: Once you've completed your education, you'll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This standardized exam assesses your knowledge and competency to practice safely and effectively as an entry-level RN.
  3. Submit an Application: After passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you can apply for licensure through the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. The application will require you to provide various documents, including official transcripts, proof of passing the NCLEX-RN exam, and any additional requirements specified by the board.
  4. Background Check: As part of the application process, you'll need to undergo a criminal background check. This is standard procedure to ensure the safety of patients and the public.
  5. Pay the Application Fee: Be prepared to pay the required application fee when submitting your application. Fees may vary, so it's essential to check the current fee schedule on the board's website.
  6. Receive Your License: Once your application is reviewed and approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing, you'll receive your RN license, enabling you to practice nursing in the state.

Licensure by endorsement in New Hampshire

Licensure by endorsement offers experienced registered nurses the opportunity to transition smoothly into practice in New Hampshire, leveraging their skills and expertise to contribute to the healthcare community. Check New Hampshire’s licensure by endorsement checklist to prepare for your application. 

Renewing your New Hampshire nursing license

Maintaining an active RN license requires periodic renewal to ensure that you remain compliant with state regulations and standards of practice. Here's what you need to know about renewing your nursing license in New Hampshire:

  • Renewal Period: RN licenses in New Hampshire must be renewed biennially. The renewal cycle typically occurs every two years, with licenses expiring on the last day of the licensee's birth month.
  • Continuing Education Requirements: As part of the renewal process, RNs in New Hampshire are required to complete continuing education (CE) hours. The exact number of CE hours may vary, so it's crucial to check the current requirements with the Board of Nursing. Continuing education ensures that nurses stay updated on advancements in healthcare and maintain their competence in the field.
  • Renewal Application: Approximately two to three months before your license expiration date, the Board of Nursing will send you a renewal notice with instructions on how to renew your license. You can typically renew your license online through the board's website.
  • Pay the Renewal Fee: Along with your renewal application, you'll need to pay the required renewal fee. The fee amount and payment methods will be outlined in the renewal notice.
  • Submit Required Documentation: Depending on any changes in your circumstances, you may need to submit additional documentation along with your renewal application. This could include proof of completed continuing education hours or updates to your contact information.
  • Keep Your Information Updated: Throughout your licensure period, it's essential to keep your contact information current with the Board of Nursing. This ensures that you receive important communications regarding your license status and renewal reminders.

By following these steps, registered nurses in New Hampshire can navigate the licensing process with ease, ensuring that they remain licensed to practice safely and effectively in the state. Remember, staying informed and proactive about your licensure obligations is key to maintaining a successful nursing career.

Is New Hampshire a Compact Nursing License State?

Yes, New Hampshire is one of the jurisdictions currently part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). That means nurses in the state can apply for a multi-state license, which allows them to practice across NLC state lines. 

Securing your New Hampshire RN license

For the most up-to-date information and specific requirements regarding nursing licensure in New Hampshire, always refer to the official website of the New Hampshire Board of Nursing or consult with a licensing specialist. Your dedication to maintaining licensure reflects your commitment to providing high-quality care to patients and upholding the integrity of the nursing profession in the Granite State.

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