An image of a nurse in her bedroom petting her dog before heading off to work.

In the fast-paced world of healthcare, nurses are the unsung heroes, tirelessly dedicating themselves to the well-being of others. Yet, amidst the demanding schedules and life-saving responsibilities, a crucial task lurks in the shadows: nurse license renewal.

And it's not just another administrative hurdle to jump; it's a pivotal moment that demands your attention and foresight. The renewal process varies from state to state, with each Board of Nursing (BON) crafting unique rules and timelines. From Texas to Alabama and beyond, the intricacies of renewal intervals can leave even the most seasoned nurses perplexed.

Take, for instance, the Lone Star State, nurses renew their licenses based on birth dates. Nurses born on even-numbered years renew their licenses every two years on even-numbered years, and likewise with odd years. On the other hand, Alabama nurses also run on a two-year cycle, but the renewal period begins September 1 and ends December 31. Registered nurses renew their licenses on even years, and licensed practical nurses renew on odd years.

Do you know your next renewal date? It's not just a piece of trivia to stash away; it's the lifeline that ensures you stay afloat in the turbulent sea of healthcare regulation.

However, before you dive headfirst into renewal paperwork, another vital consideration lurks beneath the surface: continuing education. Many BONs mandate completion of courses before the renewal cutoff, adding another layer of urgency to an already time-sensitive process.

An image of a notebook sitting on a desk next to a cup of tea and a cell phone. The notebook lists five steps of the nurse license renewal process.

5 Steps for a Seamless Nurse License Renewal Process

Nurse license renewal is the process BONs use to ensure that all nurses working under their jurisdiction continue to deliver safe and competent care after receiving their initial licensure. And you're responsible for your nurse license renewal. Therefore, planning is vital for a seamless renewal experience!

Here's a five-step checklist to help you navigate the process:

1. Find Your State BON Website.

Start by using a search engine like Google. Type in the name of your state followed by "Board of Nursing" or "Nurse Licensing Board." For example, in Texas, you would search for "Texas Board of Nursing." You can also visit your state's official government website and look for a section related to healthcare, professions, or licensing. From there, you should be able to navigate to the Board of Nursing page.

2. Determine Your Nurse License Renewal Deadline.

Mark your next renewal date and set reminders! Don't risk your career—some states offer no grace period, like Idaho, where lapsed licenses mean a background check redo. Alabama and Georgia are unforgiving, too. Set your phone to alert you three months before renewal to avoid any last-minute scrambles.

You can also sign up for Nursys to get a renewal reminder by email. Nursys is a national database containing records of every nurse's license in the United States.

3. Fulfill Any Nursing License Renewal Requirements.

Each state BON has unique renewal requirements, such as continuing education (CE) contact hours, undergoing the fingerprinting process again, and completing additional courses. Find out what your state's requirements are and complete them in advance of your renewal date.

4. Complete Your Nurse Renewal Application Online.

When completing your nursing license renewal application online, update your contact information if anything has changed. Also, be ready to answer a series of questions and pay a license renewal fee.

Many BONs, such as the Texas BON, will ask if you've been investigated or are under discipline relating to your nursing practice. You'll also be asked if you've committed a criminal offense or taken street drugs since your last renewal. If your answer is yes, the BON will investigate before responding—which may include revoking your license, denying your license renewal, or putting you on probation.

5. Keep a Copy of Your Nurse License On Hand.

Print out a copy of your license to keep in your wallet or take a screenshot and save it to your phone favorites to get discounts from your local scrub shops and other places that offer discounts for nurses.

An image of a nurse smiling as she takes public transportation to work, with text that says, "Your nursing license isn't just a piece of paper. It's your passport to healing, your ticket to making a difference.

How to Find Approved Continuing Education for Nurses

Since you must complete a specified number of certified continuing education contact hours for nurse license renewal, why not choose one or two courses that pique your interest from one of these sites?

You can also search for accredited CE courses on your state BON site, universities, or other nursing associations to which you belong—or check with your BON to see if these ANCC-accredited courses from private companies meet their approval.

What if You Hold a Multi-State Nursing License

To hold a multi-state nursing license, you must first live and have a nursing license in a state that belongs to the Nurse Licensure Compact.

After you receive your initial nursing license, called a single-state license—you may apply for a multi-state license through your state BON. If approved, you can work in other states belonging to the Nurse Licensure Compact.

When you renew your nursing license in your home state, your multi-state license is automatically renewed.


Nursing license renewal is a critical aspect of maintaining your healthcare career. Each state has unique requirements and renewal timelines, emphasizing the importance of staying informed and proactive about practicing the profession in your state.

By following a structured approach, you can navigate the renewal process seamlessly, ensuring you meet all necessary criteria and deadlines. Additionally, continuing education plays a vital role, allowing you to stay updated on the latest advancements and practices in the field.

With careful planning and attention to detail, you can ensure your nurse license remains valid, enabling you to continue providing safe and competent care to those in need.

Are you a licensed RN, LPN, or CNA? Download the ShiftMed app to start working when, where, and how often you want!

Alice Blackmore, MN, RN, Content Writer

Alice is a registered nurse and healthcare writer. She has more than 20 years of nursing experience, which ranges from labor and delivery to long-term care, with pediatrics, community nursing, and critical care sandwiched in the middle.

Related Content: