Idaho RN Requirements and Training Programs

The decade-long debate over which degree should be the credential for entry into nursing has not slowed enrollment in the associate degree in nursing (ADN) program. Reports show steady enrolment in the baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN) program as the American Association of College of Nursing and other associations make plain the benefits of the advanced degree. But in spite of their recommendations in a draft position, “The Baccalaureate Degree as Entry-Level Preparation for Professional Nursing Practice” many prospective nurses are choosing the shorter and more affordable ADN program.

The general belief that graduates of the BSN program are better prepared to meet challenges in healthcare does not say that ADN graduates are ill-prepared. Evidence suggests that those who choose the route of the associate degree should embrace academic progression to keep up.

The ADN program is an affordable and credible solution to producing nurses to meet demands for healthcare workers. The Idaho Board of Nursing and other state boards recognize this fact and license graduates of both the ADN and BSN programs, placing no distinction between the two. However, since BSN graduates typically see faster growth in their salary, higher lifetime earnings, and better opportunities, more ADN graduates are going back for bachelor and master’s degree in nursing. A recommendation from the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) for increasing the percentage of nurses with a BSN to 80 percent by 2020 has also influenced the decision of many nurses to go back to school.

The American Association of Community Colleges has come out in support of the associate degree in nursing, noting that the degree helps states meet the critical shortage of nurses in rural communities. Approximately 39 percent of registered nurses practicing in rural and urban health care facilities are prepared at the associate’s level.

If your geographic location or finances prevent you from enrolling in the BSN program, the ADN degree is an excellent choice for entry into the profession. The demand for registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The complexities of healthcare, population needs, and mass retirement among the aging workforce will increase reliance on the associate degree pipeline. But as many hospitals are requiring the BSN for employment, academic progression for ADN graduates is essential. Fortunately, articulation agreements between community colleges and four-year universities, online learning, and RN to BSN programs that facilitate a seamless transition from the ADN to BSN degree make it simple for registered nurses to continue learning.

Idaho Nursing Programs

Education Requirements

Registered nurses care for patients and provide counsel to patients, families, and communities on the promotion of health and disease prevention. They are pillars of strength, providing emotional support, performing diagnostic tests, administering medications and treatments, recording patients’ health histories, and working tirelessly round the clock to ensure patients are comfortable and informed throughout their restoration and rehabilitation.

The associate degree in nursing program includes classroom instruction, hands-on laboratory, and supervised clinical practicum that gives students the eligibility to sit the NCLEX for registered nursing licensure. Graduates are also prepared to provide competent care in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, correctional facilities, and other health care facilities.

The ADN curriculum centers on knowledge of nursing and incorporates the biological and social sciences and the humanities to provide a foundation for academic progression. It will deliver content that prepares students to meet the unique needs of their communities and reflect current trends in practice. In addition to extensive classroom theory, students will have opportunities to work at various clinical sites for a practical application of the lessons learned and to gain exposure to patient care in multiple settings.

Eligibility Criteria

Due to the limited enrollment policy in most nursing programs, completion of the admission requirements will not guarantee acceptance into the program. The program administrator may employ a point-based system to select from a pool of qualified candidates. Check with your program of choice for specific information on the selection of candidates.

Nursing courses are delivered in sequence, so make sure you complete the prerequisite courses – if any- before applying for admission.

If you have completed a sequence of courses at another college, you’ll need to submit your college transcripts for evaluation to determine if credit will be granted.

Licensed practical nurses will qualify for advanced placement in the registered nursing program. All programs require a criminal background check for participation in the clinical practicum. Violations on your record will result in denied access to the clinical site.

General entry requirements include:

  • A high school diploma or GED. Submit final HS transcript or GED certificate
  • Take and obtain a passing score on the TEAS
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • A minimum grade C or above on prerequisite courses – English, psychology, biology, math, and anatomy and physiology
  • An active CNA license – Idaho State University requires an active LPN license
  • Current CPR certification from the American Heart Associate or the American Red Cross
  • Completion of a background check or drug screen
  • Up-to-date immunization and good health
  • Attend a mandatory information session

Duration and Cost

Tuition for a full-time student enrolled in an associate degree in nursing program is approximately $15,900. Books and supplies will cost an additional $7,600. You may be eligible for financial aid through grants, scholarships, and loans. Visit the school’s financial aid office to learn about financial aid options.

Idaho RN Licensure Requirements

All applicants for licensure must submit to a fingerprint-based criminal background by the Idaho Central Criminal Database and the Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal history database.

Licensure By Examination

Submit the following to the Idaho Board of Nursing to confirm your eligibility for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and licensure as a nurse in the state of Idaho:

  • A completed application for licensure. Provide answers to all the information requested or an explanation for any omission.
  • Provide a photograph of approximately 2” x 2” or 2 x 3” showing your head and shoulders only. Indicate the date the photograph was taken – it must have been taken within the last year.
  • Submit the licensure fee of $90 using a check or money order made out to Idaho Board of Nursing. The licensure fee is non-refundable.
  • Complete and submit the Census Questionnaire Form.
  • Request an Affidavit of Graduation from the nursing program. It must be notarized and sent directly to the Board of Nursing from the nursing program after you’ve completed all the requirements for the program.
  • Complete the required fingerprint card and submit to the Board for processing. All applications must submit to a fingerprint-based criminal background check by the Idaho central criminal database and the federal bureau of investigation criminal history database. The processing fee for the background check is $42. The total fee to be submitted to the Board is $132 (90 + 42). Complete and return the Non-Criminal Justice Applicant Privacy Statement to the Board.

Temporary Permit

The temporary permit is optional. If you need to practice as a graduate nurse in Idaho, submit the following to the Idaho Board of Nursing:

  • A completed licensure application
  • An affidavit of graduation
  • Licensure fees including the temporary licensure of $25 – a total of $157.

A temporary permit is valid for 90 days, which gives the candidate sufficient time to take and obtain the NCLEX and results. Once the permit is issued, the candidate must use the title “Graduate Nurse” and work under the direct supervision of a registered nurse. The temporary permit cannot be extended. You will not qualify for a temporary permit if you took and failed the licensing exam.

NCLEX- Authorization to Test

Request a copy of the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin from the Board of Nursing or access the form at The bulletin contains information on registering for the NCLEX. You may register by phone or online. Do not send registration form or payment to the Board – send directly to Pearson Vue. Pearson Vue will send acknowledgment of your registration upon receipt and later send the Authorization to Test (ATT) once the Board grants approval.

The ATT is valid for 90 days only so register only when you’re ready to take the exam.

The Board of Nursing will mail your results approximately ten days after testing.

Licensure By Endorsement

To qualify for licensure by endorsement in Idaho, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A completed application for licensure. Provide answers to all the information requested or an explanation for any omission.
  • Provide a photograph of approximately 2” x 2” or 2 x 3” showing your head and shoulders only. Indicate the date the photograph was taken – it must have been taken within the last year.
  • Submit the licensure endorsement fee of $110 using a check or money order made out to Idaho Board of Nursing. The licensure fee is non-refundable.
  • Complete and submit the Census Questionnaire Form.
  • Send the Verification of Licensure form to the state of original licensure and request that the form be returned directly to the Board of Nursing. As an alternative to the licensure form, you can complete the NURSYS form (if you were licensed in a state on the Notice to Nurses Seeking Licensure in Idaho). Do not request both verifications.
  • Obtain a satisfactory nursing employment reference from a three-year period preceding the application date. The reference may be faxed or mailed directly to the Board of Nursing by the employer.
  • Complete and submit the Declaration of the State of Residence attesting to your primary state of residence. Supporting documentation may be required.
  • Complete the affidavit and have it notarized to validate your application.
  • Sign the Noncriminal Justice Applicant Privacy Statement and return to the Board’s office.
  • Complete the required fingerprint card and submit to the Board for processing. All applications must submit to a fingerprint-based criminal background check by the Idaho central criminal database and the federal bureau of investigation criminal history database. The processing fee for the background check is $30. The total fee to be submitted to the Board is $140 (110 + 30).

Temporary Permit

The temporary permit is optional. Submit the application with the following additional documents to request a temporary permit:

  • The licensure fee and an additional $25 for the temporary permit fee
  • Proof of good and active standing as a registered nurse in another state. A photocopy of your current licensure certificate with a completed Affidavit Attesting to the Validity of Copies will suffice as acceptable proof of licensure. The certificate must indicate the license expiration date.

The Board will download verification of your license from the issuing Board’s website if the state does not issue paper certificates.

The temporary permit will not be issued if your license is expired, inactive, or non-practicing. A conditional temporary license will be issued if you have not been in practice within the last three years.

Renewal Requirements

You must use the online Idaho Nurse Portal to renew your RN license. Online renewal is available from May 1 to August 31 on odd-numbered years.

You must log-in or create a Nurse Portal account to renew. You’ll need to input your name or Idaho RN license number, a valid email address, birth year and last 4 digits of your social security number, and a valid credit or debit card for payment. Keep documents for a name change on hand if you need to change your name. Upload the supporting documents in the appropriate fields.

Complete the renewal application, providing responses to all questions, and pay the renewal fee of $90 to renew your RN license. Payment may be submitted using a MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover credit card. Print a copy of your receipt at the end of the submission.

If you do not renew your license before midnight on August 31, you will need to pay a late fee of $35. It is illegal to practice without a current license. If your license has lapsed for more than one year or your primary state of residence is not Idaho, you should not renew your license online.

Registered nurses licenses expire on biennially on August 31 of odd-numbered years.

Continuing Education Requirements for Idaho RNs

Effective 2019 Idaho RNs will be required to meet the new continuing competency requirements to renew a license. Renewal requires completion of at least two of the following activities listed below:

  • Complete for at least 100 hours (simulation practice included)
  • Have current nursing specialty certification
  • Complete at least 15 contact hours of continuing education
  • Complete at least one semester credit of post-licensure academic education
  • Complete a refresher course that is approved by the Board
  • Participate in the presentation of a workshop, conference, or seminar
  • Contribute to the publication of a nursing-related article
  • Teach or develop a course of instruction related to nursing
  • Participate in activities related to the profession

All continuing education activities must be completed within the two-year renewal period.

Idaho Salary and Job Outlook

The nursing shortage in Idaho is a bit more complex than other states. Population demands for healthcare and low production of new nurses to meet the needs of communities are primary factors that affect the nursing workforce in other states. In Idaho, the shortage results from a continuous loss of nurse graduates to surrounding states where the salary and compensation are more competitive. According to a report from the Idaho Department of Labor, the southwestern part of the state is the most affected as it stands as the area where the aging population is growing at the faster rate than other regions. The northern part of the state faces a completely different challenge – loss of workers to Washington and other nearby states where the workforce deficit is alarming.

In sharp contrast to the northern and southern ends of the state, central Idaho has been experiencing a surplus of nurses as registered nursing programs produce more nurses than the healthcare system needs. The shortage in some areas affect the entire healthcare system, but the greatest challenge has been in home health care. Low Medicaid payments leave seniors and people with disabilities devoid of the round-the-clock they desperately need.

What does the Department of Labor’s report mean for new nurse graduates? There’s an abundance of jobs in the north and south Idaho, but the salary won’t be on par with surrounding states. Those willing to take a pay-cut to pursue a dream of caring for elderly or disabled persons in the comfort of their homes will also find jobs soon after graduation. The job outlook improves for nurses who are willing to continue their education to pursue faculty and advanced practice positions. Although nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists earn salaries upwards of $94,400 per year, they are still not as competitive as the surrounding states.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 report, registered nurses in Idaho earned an annual mean wage of $64,520.

Contact the Board of Nursing

Idaho Board of Nursing
PO Box 83720
280 N 8th Street, Suite 210
Boise, Idaho 83720-0061
Phone – (208) 577-2476
TDD Phone – (800) 377-3529
Fax – (208) 334-3262
E-mail –

Idaho Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

Boise, ID ADN Programs:
Boise State University
1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.5%

Boise, ID LPN-ADN Programs:
Stevens- Henager College
1444 South Entertainment Avenue, Boise, ID
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 76.9%

Coeur d’Alene, ID ADN Programs:
North Idaho College
1000 West Garden Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%

Idaho Falls, ID LPN-ADN Programs:
Eastern Idaho Technical College
1600 South 25th East, Idaho Falls, ID 83404
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Rexburg, ID ADN Programs:
Brigham Young University- Idaho
525 South Center Street, Rexburg, ID 83460
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.3%

Twin Falls, ID ADN Programs:
College of Southern Idaho
315 Falls Avenue, Twin Falls, ID – 83303
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87.5%

Crystal is a certified Registered Nurse (RN) with a passion for writing about nursing education. Through her articles, Crystal shares insights and tips to help fellow nurses enhance their skills and stay updated with the latest developments in the field. With a focus on practical advice and relevant topics, Crystal's writing is a valuable resource for nursing professionals seeking to advance their careers.

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