Delaware RN Requirements and Training Programs

The shortage of nurses has a direct impact on the health care system. While an aging population and nursing workforce contribute heavily to the shortage of nurses, other career opportunities, dissatisfaction with work environments, and more competitive wages in other professions are some other factors that plague the workforce. In 2014, there were approximately 500 vacancies for registered nurses in private hospitals and long-term care facilities across Delaware. However, numerous vacancies in hospice centers, home health care, and the public sector pushed the total vacancies to over 1100. Nurses are critical members of the healthcare team, so a shortage of these caregivers will impact the entire spectrum of health care. Over the next decade, the demand for RNs will continue to grow in all employment settings. However, hospitals will provide the major source of employment for RNs in Delaware for bachelor degree nurses. Associate degree nurses still benefit from employment opportunities in Delaware’s hospitals, but the majority fill the demands for competent providers of care in nursing homes.

Education Requirements

The mission of the associate’s degree in nursing program is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to practice safe and effective nursing, emphasize the core values of the profession, and promote lifelong learning and a sense of inquiry. The curriculum covers didactic and practical nursing experiences for graduates to work as entry-level nurses in a variety of settings, such as long-term, acute care, and transitional care facilities. Depending on the school and program, graduates will receive an associate’s of applied science degree that will make them eligible to sit the NCLEX-RN for registered nurse licensure.

Courses such as fitness and wellness, medical terminology, growth and development, health assessment, and introduction to nursing practice will form the foundation for the core nursing courses which must be followed in sequence. Core nursing cores include mental health nursing, maternal newborn nursing, nursing leadership, contemporary issues in nursing, transition to professional practice, geriatric nursing, and medical-surgical nursing. These courses set the stage for the clinical experience which takes place under the direct guidance of nursing faculty.

The college will have prearranged agreements for students to complete the practical aspect of the training at several different health care facilities. A criminal background check will be necessary for participation in the practical experience. State and federal law prohibit persons with specific convictions from obtaining a license to practice as a registered nurse.

As a prospective nursing student, you should ensure that the program is accredited by a recognized institution, such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and approved by the Delaware Board of Nursing. The Board requires nursing students to complete at least 1000 hours of clinical training in a healthcare setting.

Upon successful completion of the program, you should be able to implement safe and effective patient care in various settings, use critical thinking to improve the quality of patient care, work collaboratively with other health care professionals, demonstrate oral and written communication, advocate for patients, and understand the principles of lifelong learning and its relation to excellence in practice.

Eligibility Criteria

Delaware is home to three associate’s degree program and one prestigious diploma program. Enrollment becomes competitive as more students seek to enroll to start a career in a field where there are abundant opportunities and excellent pay. Licensed practical nurses may qualify for advanced placement in the program.

Requirements for admission include:

  • Official high school transcripts
  • Transcripts of college-level courses completed with a grade C or above
  • Passing scores on the admissions exam
  • A criminal background check
  • A complete physical exam with laboratory tests
  • Health insurance
  • Drug screen and TB test
  • CPR certification for Health Care Providers.

Contact the school’s admissions department for a complete listing of requirements.

Duration and Cost

In-state students enrolled on a full-time basis (12 credits or more) will pay approximately $139.75 per credit hour for up to 15 credit hours per semester at Delaware Technical Community College. Registration fees, student service fees, lab fee, technology fee, and other miscellaneous fees will apply. Nursing students should expect additional expenses for uniforms, criminal background check, physical exam, drug screen, TB test, state licensure, and NCLEX-RN fee.

Delaware RN Licensure Requirements

To meet its objective of protecting the public, health, safety, and welfare, the Delaware Board of Nursing develops standards for professional competency, adjudicates complaints against professionals and imposes disciplinary sanctions when necessary, and promulgates rules and regulations.

The Board is responsible for issuing licenses to licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and advanced practice registered nurses.

Licensure By Examination

Submit the application for licensure by examination only if your primary state of residence is Delaware or a non-compact state. Your primary state of residence is your permanent and principal home for legal purposes.

Guidelines for licensure by examination:

  • Initiate a request for a criminal background check by completing the Authorization for Release of Information form. Follow the instructions and make arrangements for fingerprinting.
  • Complete the Application for Licensure as a Registered Nurse by Examination. Fill out the form completely. Do not leave blank spaces. Instead, use “none” for questions that do not apply. Sign the application in front of a notary public. Forms that are not notarized and signed will be rejected.
  • Enclose a check or money order made out the “State of Delaware” for the processing fee. The application fee for registered nurses is $141.
  • Enclose a copy of your DMV identification – driver’s license or official identification card- to confirm your address. The state on the identification will be considered your home state of residence. A federal tax return, voter registration card, military form 2058, or a W-2 showing your home state of residence will be accepted in place of the DMV identification.
  • Request the nursing school to send an official transcript of your nursing education, showing your degree and completion date, directly to the Board’s office. The Board will not authorize you to take the NCLEX until it receives a copy of your final transcript. The program must have at least 400 hours of clinical experience to be acceptable to the Board.
  • Submit a completed Petition for Permission to Take the NCLEX form if you graduated more than 12 months before submitting the application to take the exam. If you graduated more than 24 months before your application, submit documentation of completing an NCLEX review course. You are not eligible to take the NCLEX if more than 5 years have elapsed since your graduation.
  • Send the Nursing Reference Form to your school for completion after you fill out the applicant section. The school must send the completed form to the Board of Nursing.
  • Include your U.S. Social Security Number or submit a Request for Exemption from Social Security Number Requirement if you do not have one.

Temporary permits

After filing an application for a Delaware RN license, you may apply for a temporary permit if you receive a job offer and your start work date is before the exam.

  • Submit an Application for Temporary Permit for Registered Nurse.
  • Enclose a check or money order in the amount of $41 and made out to the “State of Delaware.”
  • Enclose a copy of your job offer. The employer’s signature must be on the offer.

The Board will issue a permit only after reviewing your official transcript or Nursing Reference Form and State of Delaware and FBI criminal history report. The process normally takes 7 business days after submitting all the necessary documents. The permit will expire 90 days after your graduation date – licensure by exam candidates. You must not begin working until you receive confirmation of your temporary permit number in the mail.

Foreign Trained Graduates

  • Submit documentation of CGFNS International Certification. The CGFNS must send documents directly to the Board’s office.

NCLEX-RN Registration:  As soon as you’re ready to take the NCLEX, you should register online at Pearson Vue’s website. The Board will communicate your authorization to take the test after reviewing your submitted documents. Pearson Vue will send the Authorization to Test by email if you’re eligible. If you’re not eligible, the Board will mail a letter outlining the reasons. Schedule an appointment to take the exam. If you pass the exam and meet the requirements, the Board will send your license by mail. If you did not pass the exam, the Board would email your exam results and a form to reapply for the exam.

Licensure By Endorsement

The application for licensure by endorsement only applies if you have a current, active registered nursing license in another jurisdiction. Your primary state of residence must be Delaware or another non-compact state at the time of application. You may also apply if you plan to move to Delaware or a non-compact state.

You will only be eligible for endorsement after:

  • Graduating from an approved nursing education program comprising of at least 400 hours of clinical practice, or
  • Completing at least 1000 hours of nursing practice during the five years leading up to the application, or
  • Completing at least 400 hours of nursing practice during the two years leading up to the application, or
  • Completing a Board-approved refresher program.

Contact the Board to work out an alternate supervised practice plan if you cannot meet any of the practice requirements listed above.

Guidelines for licensure by endorsement:

  • Initiate a request for a criminal background check by completing the Authorization for Release of Information form. Follow the instructions and make arrangements for fingerprinting.
  • Complete the Application for Licensure as a Registered Nurse by Examination. Fill out the form completely. Do not leave blank spaces. Instead, use “none” for questions that do not apply. Sign the application in front of a notary public. Forms that are not notarized and signed will be rejected.
  • Enclose a check or money order made out the “State of Delaware” for the processing fee. The application fee for registered nurses is $141.
  • Enclose a copy of your DMV identification – driver’s license or official identification card- to confirm your address. The state on the identification will be considered your home state of residence. A federal tax return, voter registration card, military form 2058, or a W-2 showing your home state of residence will be accepted in place of the DMV identification.
  • Include your U.S. Social Security Number or submit a Request for Exemption from Social Security Number Requirement if you do not have one.
  • Arrange for previous employers to fill out the Nursing Reference form(s) as confirmation of your practice. Employers must send the forms directly to the Board’s office.
  • Arrange for the nursing education program to provide documentation that you graduated within the past two years if you did not work in the last six months.
  • Submit verification of original licensure b exam using the NURSYS database – if the licensing state participates – or the Verification of Original Licensure form.

If you submitted an application for licensure by endorsement and receive an offer of employment from a Delaware employer, you may apply for a temporary permit if you are a Delaware resident.

For endorsement candidates, the temporary permit expires 90 days after issue.

Renewal Requirements

The Board of Nursing will mail a renewal reminder to your address on record a few weeks before your registered nursing license is set to expire. The notice will contain vital information for renewing online. It will also indicate your renewal fee, which you must pay using a credit card during the online renewal process.

Keep your records up-to-date to receive notices from the Board when they’re available.

All RN licenses expire on February 28, May 31, or September 30 of odd years. Your actual expiration month will depend on when you received your initial license. All new RN licenses expire on September 30 during odd-numbered years.

To be eligible for renewal, you must complete the continuing education requirements and practice at least 1000 hours in the past five years or 400 hours in the past two years.

Continuing Education Requirements for Delaware RNs

Registered nurses must complete 30 hours of continuing education units at an approved provider for every full 24-month period. At least three hours must be in the area of substance abuse and the balance may be on any topic of your choosing. Do not send CE reporting forms to the Board’s office unless you receive an Audit Notice.

Delaware Salary and Job Outlook

The Delaware Nurses Association in collaboration with the Delaware Board of Nursing conducted a study in 2014 to examine the composition of practicing RNs in the state. Of the 14,750 registered nurses licensed to practice, only 4,265 responded to the survey. The responses indicated that 77.07% were practicing in the state and 74.78% were above the age of 40. The general summary is that Delaware, like other states, is experiencing a shortage of nurses, which could become a crisis for the health care sector. The aging workforce only seems to complicate the issue as the state will not only need to add new nurses to meet population demands but also replace retiring nurses. The growing population, an increase in chronic health conditions, an aging baby boomer generation, and the influx of newly insured persons covered under the Affordable Care Act all contribute to a rise in demands on the health care sector.

If you’re able to secure a spot in Delaware’s nursing program, you’ll reap the rewards of immediate employment and an attractive compensation package after graduating and acquiring state licensure. The majority of registered nurses in Delaware are educated at the baccalaureate degree level. According to the Health and Resource Service Administration, 22.74% of registered nurses in Delaware hold an associate’s degree.

The annual mean wage for registered nurses in Delaware is $71,410.

Contact the Board of Nursing

Division of Professional Regulation
Cannon Building, Suite 203
861 Silver Lake Blvd.
Dover, Delaware 19904
Phone: (302) 744-4500
Fax: (302) 739-2711

Delaware Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

Lewes, DE RN Diploma Program:
Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing at Beebe Healthcare
424 Savannah Road, Lewes, DE 19958
302-645-3300
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.75%

Dover, DE ADN Programs:
Delaware Technical Community College
100 Campus Drive, Dover, DE 19904-1383
302-857-1000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.00%

Georgetown, DE ADN Programs:
Delaware Technical Community College- Jack F. Owens Campus
21179 College Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947
302-259-6000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.12%

Newark, DE ADN Programs:
Delaware Technical Community College
400 Stanton Christiana Road, Newark, DE 19713
302-283-3100
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.09%

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