College of Science and Health > Academics > School of Nursing > Student Resources > Applying to Take the NCLEX
As you are probably aware, in order to find employment as a registered nurse, you will first need to obtain a license to practice in the field. Licensure by Examination is the process of applying to become a registered nurse via a national exam, otherwise known as "taking the NCLEX." Upon passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), the state to which you applied will grant you licensure to practice as a registered nurse in that state.
The information on this page is designed to help current students and upcoming graduates navigate the process of applying to take the NCLEX. If at any time you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to
email@example.com for assistance.
RN licensure is granted on a state-by-state basis, and you may only sit for one state examination at a time. So, the first thing you should do is consider where it is that you would like to work immediately upon graduation. For some, this is an easy question, but others may feel divided. You are welcome to reach out to us for guidance.
Once you obtain RN licensure in one state, there is a process to receive licensure in another state, called Licensure by Endorsement. This typically requires the completion of paperwork and a small processing fee, but does not require sitting for another examination. It is important to understand, however, that there can be a significant time-delay between obtaining licensure in your first and second state, which is why we caution students to think carefully about which state they want to apply for.
Finally, it is also important to note that 25 states are currently part of the
Nurse Licensure Compact. For all practical purposes, a nurse with licensure in one of those 25 states would automatically be able to practice in the other 24 states. At this time, Illinois is not part of the compact (see here for a map of states). To obtain a compact (multi-state) license, you must legally reside in a NLC state and declare that state as your primary state of residence. So, again, you do need to determine the appropriate state for which to sit for your NCLEX examination.
In the documentation below, you will note that we divide the process into two tracks: in-state vs. out-of-state.
In general, students do not need to begin the process of applying to take the NCLEX until the final quarter of their program.
We recommend that in-state testers submit a fully completed application two weeks prior to graduation. For out-of-state testers, because an official transcript is needed, most will aim to complete all application paperwork by one month following graduation.
To determine an appropriate timeline, please read over processes below carefully.
All students must apply for degree conferral by the deadline listed below. Make sure that you apply for the last quarter in which you will take courses (e.g. if you graduate in mid-June, you are graduating at the end of Spring Quarter, and should apply for degree conferral by February 1).
If you need assistance applying for degree conferral, contact CSHGraduation@depaul.edu.
The School of Nursing requires that all IL test-takers sign a release form giving us permission to release your name and social security number to the IL state board of nursing. Please submit this form as a PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than week eight of your final quarter.
The School of Nursing asks that all test-takers confirm their desire to test out-of-state by submitting this form to email@example.com. Based on this information, the SON will not send program completion info to the state of Illinois.
Licensure by Examination is the process of applying to becoming a registered nurse, otherwise known as taking the NCLEX. Upon passing the NCLEX, the state to which you applied will grant licensure. Licensure by Endorsement is reserved for those who already hold RN licensure in one state, but wish to practice in a second state. Licensure by Endorsement requires the completion of paperwork and a small fee (usually around $50), but does not require the completion of a second NCLEX. All states have different requirements that must be completed for both forms of application.
Absolutely! Candidates are able to take the NCLEX at any Pearson Professional Testing location, regardless of the board they are applying to for licensure. In other words, if you apply to test for New York, you can sit for the exam in Arizona or Maine.
There is no one answer to this question, as there are many factors that could affect your decision. In general, the most important question you should ask yourself is which state are you most likely to work in or begin applying to jobs? You should strongly consider testing in whichever state you most want to work in, as there will be a significant time delay before you are able to receive licensure in a second state. The exception to this would be for states in the Nurse Licensure Compact.
No. You may only register to sit for one state examination at a time. Once you are licensed in one state, it is much easier (and cheaper) to apply for licensure by endorsement if you want licensure in a second state. Simply search for that state’s board of nursing and look for information on licensure by endorsement. You may also want to look into the Nurse Licensure Compact.
Some states are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which gives nurses the ability to practice across state lines without needing additional state licenses. Illinois is not currently a compact state but legislation is pending. See here for more info: https://www.ncsbn.org/nlc.htm.
Yes, but you will incur a $50 change fee. We recommend calling the state board of nursing to which you originally applied to seek help with the change.
The most likely explanation has to do with timing. Most states (including Illinois), will not send an Authorization-to-Test until 30 days after your completed application is received. Before you panic, first check to see when you submitted your application. If you are sure you applied on time, contact a representative at the state board of nursing. For IL, this is Shirley Dzik, firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 354-9911, ext. 112.
Assuming that you complete all of the steps outlined above in a timely fashion, Illinois test-takers can often test as early as three weeks after graduation (about 50% of our graduates test within one month). Out-of-state test times are dependent on the state in question, but graduates will often receive their Authorization-To-Test about one month after submission of all materials.
You must test within the validity dates of the ATT. Validity dates vary from state to state. Illinois = 90 days. Look on your state board of nursing website for others. If you do not test within the validity dates, you will have to re-register and pay all exam fees again.
Research shows that students who take the NCLEX early perform significantly better than those who wait. Our own data supports this research.
According to the NCSBN website, "All NCLEX registrations will remain open for a 365-day time period during which a board of nursing can determine a candidate's eligibility." What this means is that if you graduate at a later time, your application should still be valid (up to 365 days).
Schools in the U.S. are required to confer degrees within one month of the last day of the quarter or semester in which the student graduated (consult the academic calendar for exact dates). Typically, degrees are conferred in about 3 weeks.
Some fingerprint vendors are set up to automatically send your fingerprints to Continental Testing on your behalf. The best way to figure out which vendors do this is to look on their website or give them a call. Even if a vendor sends your fingerprints, it’s a good idea to save your receipt! For vendors that do not send your fingerprints, you will need to mail a copy of your receipt directly to Continental Testing at this address:Continental Testing ServicesP.O. Box 100LaGrange, IL 60525
All students should choose US49501000 as their school code. The other code is a legacy code. Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to remove the old code.
Ed Nur was one of the founding fathers of Illinois. Just kidding, it’s a silly name for a form. Illinois uses this form to confirm that graduates have completed all program requirements. The School of Nursing completes a version of this form for all of our graduates (except those that test out of state). You do not need to complete this form!
Reach out to the School of Nursing to set up an appointment with one of our student services representatives. These requirements are confusing, we agree! We’re happy to review and figure it out with you!
Send any forms to email@example.com with clear instructions. Keep in mind that we cannot confirm your degree until after you graduate. Also note that the requirement of a school seal can delay the processing of your form. Try to ensure that we have your form early so that we can process it quickly and effectively.
All transcript requests must be submitted through Campus Connect. If you’re not sure where, simply search the internet for “DePaul transcripts” to find the appropriate portal. You can order transcripts be sent either electronically or as hard-copy (check the instructions for your particular state). Please note: if you order an official transcript before your degree has been conferred, the transcript will not show your degree! You will receive a notification once from DePaul University once your degree has been conferred. The university must process degrees within one month of the last day of the quarter in which you graduate.