Louisiana RN Requirements and Training Programs

Hospitals and other medical institutions are facing the largest shortage of registered nurses in modern history, and the shortage is expected to get worse in 2020 and beyond. The baby boomer population, comprising of more than 77 million, is the primary contributor to the demand for more health care professionals, especially nurses who will assist with their long-term medical needs. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs nursing as one of the fastest growing profession and projects a 19 percent increase in employment opportunities, which translates to 1 million additional jobs nationally.

In Louisiana, the severity of the shortage is not as critical as other states. However, one study projects the need for an additional 10,249 more RNs by 2030. The state has a current record of approximately 33,500 active RNs. The greatest need for RNs is within the metropolitan areas, according to the Center for Nursing.

The associate’s degree in nursing program represents one means of meeting the nursing crisis. Students can complete the requirements to take the NCLEX-RN and become a registered nurse in just two years. A severe lack of faculty, however, keeps programs from producing the volume of new nurses that will meet health care demands. According to the Center for Nursing, Louisiana’s schools turn away more than 1,300 eligible candidates each year due to the low teacher count. Many qualified nurses are reluctant to leave prominent clinical positions for a low paying position in education. The competitiveness of the admission process means applicants must do their due diligence and obtain some form of health care experience to improve their chances of acceptance.

Louisiana Nursing Programs

Education Requirements

The Associate of Science in Nursing program helps produce registered nurses to meet the health care needs of Louisiana’s population. The curriculum is designed for students to develop the competency to become professionals who are able to think critically and apply their skill in making decisions. Through interprofessional learning opportunities and practical experiences, students will demonstrate the culturally sensitive behaviors, professionalism, integrity, and accountability that are critical to success in the field. They will also be able to organize patient care across the lifespan, use quality measures to improve outcomes, collaborate with the interprofessional team for the patient’s benefit, use technology in the decision-making process, and use research findings in practice. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX for Registered Nurses to qualify for state licensure. They may also transfer their credits to a four-year institution to continue their education and improve the quality of care within the health industry.

The curriculum covers a total of 72-course credits. Topics such as introduction to psychology, human anatomy and physiology, basics in nursing, pharmacology for health careers, microbiology, nursing of the adult, parent child nursing, mental health nursing, nursing of the adult, and trends and issues in nursing will emphasize the importance of the client and a holistic approach to nursing. Another critical area of emphasis is the necessity of collaboration in the delivery of the highest standard of care to protect patients and team members from possible hazards.

Although the associate degree in nursing qualifies graduates to take the NCLEX for RNs and grants speedy access to the profession of nursing, it should be considered a stepping-stone and not the end of study. Nursing is a commitment to lifelong learning. Those who complete the ADN program can transfer to an RN to BSN program to complete their BSN or MSN degree to increase their competitiveness in the sector.

Eligibility Criteria

If you’re interested in enrolling in a nursing program, you must first secure admission to the university. However, admission to the university does not guarantee admittance to the nursing program. Most programs employ a selective admission process to select candidates for enrollment. Prerequisite courses may include college algebra, human anatomy and physiology, psychology, and approved general education courses, all completed with a GPA of 2.5 or above – varies by program. Attendance of a nursing information session and passing scores on a nursing admission exam may also be necessary for admittance.

General requirements include:

  • A completed application and fee submitted before the deadline.
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Completion of the prerequisite courses with a GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Completion of the entrance test
  • Letters of recommendation.

Upon confirmation of the conditional admittance, students will receive instructions regarding the requirements for participation in the clinical experience. These requirements may include documentation of personal health history, a TB skin test, physical exam, up-to-date immunizations, CPR certification, a criminal background check, and urine drug screen. All costs for the additional requirements must be borne by the student.

Duration and Cost

The Associate of Science in Nursing is a 72-credit program that may be completed in 5 or 6 semesters. The ADN is an exceptional program that serves as an investment in your future, but it should not limit you from finding the most value for your money. Tuition and fees will be determined by the type of school (whether private or public) and your transferred credits. Tuition per credit at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is $1184 per credit for resident students. At the LSU Health, the cost of full-time tuition and fees per semester is $3,461.

Louisiana RN Licensure Requirements

Practice as a registered nurse in Louisiana requires registration from the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. To be eligible for registration, you must have completed an approved nursing education program, have no restriction from any nursing or health regulatory board in any state, no civil or criminal charges pending, and no allegations of abuse. Candidates must pass the NCLEX-RN within four attempts and four years of graduation. Applications for licensure by exam must be submitted to the Board at least 60 days prior to graduating from a nursing education program. The educational institution must submit an official transcript verifying RN degree conferred directly to the Board of Nursing.

Graduates of foreign nursing education programs must apply for licensure by endorsement.

Licensure By Examination

Registration in Louisiana is mandatory as a registered nurse. Signing the application is an attestation that you read and understood the Louisiana State Nurse Practice Act and the Rules and Regulations that govern licensure in the state.

To apply for registration, complete the following:

  • Download the application for initial licensure and mail the hard copy to the LSBN. The application must be accurately completed – incomplete applications cannot be processed. The application and accompanying documents will become a part of your permanent record.
  • Attach a 2” x 2” passport photo with your signature and date on the back.
  • Request official transcripts with the degree conferred to be sent from the nursing program directly to the Education Department. Transcripts delivered by the student will not be accepted. The transcripts must indicate the prerequisites and nursing courses with a credit and grade.
  • Request a temporary permit if applicable.
  • Complete a criminal background check packet if you never submitted a criminal background check to LSBN with an application for permission to enroll in clinical courses in Louisiana. If you previously submitted a criminal background check to enroll in clinical courses, you do not need to complete another unless directed by the Board. To initiate a background check, download the license exam fingerprint instructions and Authorization for Criminal Background Check from the Board’s website. Provide the print cards with the Background Check form. You must provide separate and distinct fingerprints on each of the two FBI cards. Make a money order payable to the LSBN in the amount of $40.75 for the fingerprint process.
  • Enclose the application processing fee of $100 payable to the LSBN. Money order or cashier’s check must be made out to LSBN. Both the application fee and fingerprint process fee may be submitted in one money order.
  • Register with Pearson Vue for the NCLEX-RN as soon as you submit an application to the Board. You do not need to wait until you receive a temporary permit to register. The LSBN will grant eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN after receiving your official transcripts with conferred degree. Personal Vue will send the authorization to test within two weeks of the Board’s approval.

The Louisiana Board of Nursing may issue a temporary permit to nursing graduates to facilitate practice while processing applications. Eligible candidates must have graduated from an approved school pending the results of the first licensure exam. The candidate must take the exam within 3 months of graduations, live and practice in Louisiana, have no evidence of violation of LAC46:XLVII:3331, and have no allegations or grounds for disciplinary action.

A temporary permit is valid for 90 days from your graduation date and may be verified on the LSBN website after the Board receives confirmation of satisfactory completion of the nursing program from the Education Department. Temporary permits become null and void 90 days after graduation or when NCLEX results are issued.

NCLEX-RN Registration: Registration for the NCLEX is available online at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex. Registration is also available by phone (1-866-496-2539) using a valid Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card. The registration fee is $200. Once the Board grants eligibility for you to take the exam, you will receive an Authorization to Test from Pearson Vue, which will contain a list of testing sites. Results will be mailed within three weeks of the test date. Quick Results Service is available through Pearson Vue website for an additional fee. If you fail the exam, the LSBN will issue instructions for retaking the exam within three weeks after testing. To retake the test, you must re-register with the Board and Pearson Vue. You may not be employed as a Registered Nurse if you failed the test, and your permit will become null and void. You’ll have up to four attempts to pass the exam including any attempts in other jurisdictions.

If you pass the exam, you may verify your licensure online. The LSBN will mail an official RN license to the address your provided on the application.

Licensure By Endorsement

A duly licensed registered nurse from another state, territory or country may apply to practice as a registered nurse in Louisiana through licensure by endorsement.

To apply for registration, complete the following:

  • Submit a completed application for licensure by endorsement.
  • Enclose the appropriate fee in the form of money order or bank cashier’s check made out the LSBN. The fee options are as follows: $140.75 if you’re requesting RN endorsement by mail without the temporary permit option; $150.75 for in-person delivery of the application and electronically scanned fingerprints conducted by the LSBN staff (no temporary permit); $240.75 for mail application with the temporary permit; and $250.75 for hand delivery with LSBN scanned fingerprints and temporary permit.
  • Provide evidence of initial RN licensure from another state, territory or country and evidence of current RN licensure from the jurisdiction of last employment.
  • Documentation of completing a nursing education program approved by the LSBN, another state board of nursing that meets or exceeds Louisiana’s standards, or a nursing program in another country.
  • Provide documentation of successful completion of the State Board Test Pool Examination with a score of 350 or above in each area or the NCLEX-RN with a passing score of 1600 or pass on a pass/fail scale.
  • Answer the questions relating to the disciplinary actions and criminal charges. Applicants must have not disciplinary actions by another nursing board or health regulatory board and not pending civil or criminal charges.
  • Provide evidence of English language proficiency if the nursing program was completed in a foreign country.
  • Submit to a criminal background check.
  • Submit an official set of transcripts directly to the LSBN from the university that issued course credits. Transcripts submitted by the applicant will not be accepted.

Endorsement candidates may be eligible for a temporary permit if they reside in Louisiana and receive an offer of employment from a facility or institution within the state. The permit lets candidates who hold an active and unencumbered RN license practice until the LSBN receives all the documentation to issue a full RN license. A candidate who does not reside in Louisiana and has a firm offer of employment is not eligible for a temporary permit. Those educated outside the United States or have been previously issued a temporary permit from the Board are also not eligible for the permit. The permit, once issued, will be valid for 90 days only.

Foreign Nurse Graduates

Internationally educated nurses must have written the State Board Test Pool Exam or the NCLEX for RNs and achieved the minimum scores in accordance with the state’s requirements.

  • Provide a letter indicating that you have written either the SBTPE or the NCLEX-RN with your application. The state where you wrote the exam must provide official verification of licensure to the LSBN.
  • Provide documentation of passing the CGFNS Qualifying Exam administered by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools if you have not passed the SBTPE or the NCLEX-RN. The CGFNS must send a certified certificate directly to LSBN. The Board will send notification by mail if you are eligible to sit the NCLEX-RN.
  • Have your school transcripts evaluated by the CGFNS to obtain a Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report and sent directly to LSBN. Internationally educated nurses must also take and achieve a passing score on the TOEFL or the IELTS.

All candidates for licensure must have a US Social Security Number and provide a photocopy of their US Residency Card or Green Card. The LSBN will also accept a certified VisaScreen certificate issued by CGFNS.

Renewal Requirements

Louisiana RN licenses are issued on a calendar year basis and expire on December 31 of each year. All renewals must be completed online. Renewals open on October 1 and close January 31. Renewals initiated after December 31 will be subject to a late renewal fee of $50. The renewal fee is $100 and must be paid using a credit card during the online renewal process. Confirmation of the renewal will be sent to the email you provide during the process. The licensure verification will be updated on the Board’s website within the next business day. The LSBN will not issue a paper license. Candidates can verify their license online using the License Verification tab on the Board’s website.

If your name or address changes, you can request a name or address change during the renewal process. You must upload supporting documentation at the time of the request. If you do not have the document ready for upload, you can submit a written request and mail your documents to the Board’s office or send via fax.

Licenses not renewed by January 31 will become inactive.

Note: October 2017 marks the commencement of biennial licensure renewal for RN licenses. The transition will become effective with the license renewal period beginning October 1, 2017, for the 2018 license. The policy of renewing licenses beginning October 1st of each year and continuing through December 31st will remain in place. January will remain as a grace period for late renewals.

Continuing Education Requirements for Louisiana RNs

Louisiana licensed Registered Nurses must comply with the continuing education requirements to renew their licenses. The CE requirements will be based on practice hours. If you practiced nursing for 1600 hours or more within the calendar year, you are required to complete a minimum of 5 contact hours of ANCC or State BON accredited CE for annual renewal. If you practiced at least 160 hours but less than 1600 hours, you must complete a minimum of 10 contact hours of CEs. If you practiced less than 160 hours during the calendar year, you must complete a minimum of 15 contact hours of CE.

The LSBN conducts random CE audits on 3 percent of all active licenses. You must maintain documentation of your CE to demonstrate compliance if selected for an audit. Keep a copy of your documents for at least 5 years from the date of completion.

Louisiana Salary and Job Outlook

Employment is up for Louisiana’s registered nurses, especially for those seeking employment in metropolitan areas. The Louisiana Center for Nursing projects the rate of employment to trend upward during the next five years. Out of the 33,500 active registered nurses within the state, approximately 57 percent are employment in hospitals. There are over 4,800 unfilled vacancies for registered nurses across the state, which means there are jobs available for new nurse graduates. Over 50 percent of vacant positions can be found in New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge areas. While there’s always room for registered nurses prepared at the associate’s level, a growing number of positions in hospitals are requiring the bachelor’s degree as the minimal educational preparation.

A mass retirement of senior nurses will boost the job outlook for RNs. One report confirmed that as much as 34 percent of practicing nurses would retire in the next decade. However, replacing these experienced nurses will require an influx of nurses who either hold a baccalaureate degree and/or have years of matching experience in the sector.

The timing is also great for new graduates – even those seeking employment in the state’s hospitals. Many secure contracts during their clinical externship. Competition is not so explosive, so new nurses can look forward to competitive pay and bonuses. Although projections are positive all-around, time will tell if the demands for nurses will continue in the long-term.

The annual mean wage for registered nurses in Louisiana is $63,370. The region in which you’re employed will determine your final salary. Nurses employed in New Orleans and Baton Rouge earn slightly more than the annual mean wage while those employed in Shreveport, Monroe, and Alexandria earn slightly less.

Contact the Board of Nursing

Louisiana State Board of Nursing

Physical Address:
17373 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70810
E-mail: lsbn@lsbn.state.la.us

Louisiana Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

ADN Programs Louisiana

Alexandria, LA ADN Programs:
LSU of Alexandria
8100Highway 71 South, Alexandria, LA 71302
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.34%

Baton Rouge, LA ADN Programs:
Baton Rouge Community College
201 Community College Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70806
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.37%

Our Lady of the Lake College
5414 Brittany Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

Bossier City, LA ADN Programs:
Bossier Parish Community College
6220 East Texas Street, Bossier City, LA 71111
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.38%

Eunice, LA ADN Programs:
Louisiana State University- Eunice
2048 Johnson Highway, Eunice, LA 70535-6726
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.36%

Lafayette, LA ADN Programs:
South Louisiana Community College
1101 Bertrand Dr, Lafayette, LA 70506
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.30%

Lake Charles, LA ADN Programs:
McNeese State University
4205 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70609-0415
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.38%

Monroe, LA ADN Programs:
Louisiana Delta Community College
7500 Millhaven Road, Monroe, LA 71203
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

New Orleans, LA ADN Programs:
Delgado Community College
615 City Park Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.73%

Ruston, LA ADN Programs:
Louisiana Tech University
305 Wisteria St, Ruston, LA 71272
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.30%

Schriever, LA ADN Programs:
Fletcher Technical Community College
1407 Highway 311, Schriever, Louisiana-70395
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83.33%

Shreveport, LA ADN Programs:
Northwestern State University
1800 Line Avenue, Shreveport, LA 71101
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.26%

Southern University at Shreveport
3050 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Shreveport, LA 71107
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 71.74%

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.