Nevada’s nursing shortage is the worst in the country. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, there were 18,430 registered nurses employed in the state in May 2014. As the shortage of nurses is expected to grow by 19% by 2020, the healthcare sector will face some definite challenges. With just a few schools accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN), hundreds of eligible students are turned away each year. A lack of nurse educators and available space at clinical sites, lead to long wait lists. Some students, initially drawn to the prospect of immediate employment, pursue a degree in another field where admission is not as competitive. With some effort on the part of state agencies and nursing educators, the state manages to produce approximately 700 graduates each year. However, 40 percent of new nurses, eligible for employment, move away to other states or work in other fields. As the industry struggles to attract and retain trained nurses, it’s a good time for prospective nurses, who have a genuine desire to care for others, to start a rewarding career in Nevada and earn an above average salary with bonuses and other incredible incentives.
Nursing education programs in Nevada focus on the role and function of nurses in the context of a caring-based framework. Individuals with no experience in nursing can complete an associate’s degree in nursing and launch an exciting career in just two years. Experienced nurse faculty, who are actively involved in practice, will provide plenty of support when you need it. The sequenced nursing curriculum will progress from simple to complex, integrating knowledge from biological and social sciences and humanities to prepare students for success on the NCLEX-RN. Nurse graduates who successfully pass the exam and meet the Board’s requirements will be eligible to practice in various health care settings.
The ADN program combines innovative classroom sessions with hands-on learning in the lab and clinical hours in a hospital and long-term care facilities to provide students with a well-rounded education. Nursing students receive education in microbiology, fundamentals of nursing, anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, maternal child nursing, medical-surgical nursing, nursing leadership and management, mental health nursing, trends and issues in nursing, and transition to practice. Most schools will also include an NCLEX review to prepare students for success.
There are seven Board-approved registered nursing programs in Nevada. As you compare schools, it is essential that you confirm that the school is recognized by the Nevada Board of Nursing. The Board will not grant authorization to take the NCLEX to graduate nurses who completed a program that falls short of the state requirements. Consider the school’s accreditation with national agencies, especially if you plan to receive credit when pursuing a BSN, MSN or DNP degree. The current state of nursing in Nevada bodes well for ADN graduates who find employment shortly after licensure. However, as the calls for increasing the education for registered nursing mount, you may want to pursue an advanced degree to increase your job prospects and salary.
Each school has its policies for enrolling students into the nursing degree. The minimum requirements are a high school diploma or GED equivalent. College preparatory courses and an acceptable score on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam are some other standard requirements. The shortage of accredited programs in Nevada makes for competitive admission, so make sure you review and meet all the school’s requirements before submitting your application.
- A completed application to the main college and the nursing department.
- College preparatory courses in chemistry, human anatomy, microbiology, sociology, psychology, writing, and algebra.
- Students accepted into the program will need to show proof of immunization for MMR, tetanus, and Diphtheria.
- Health insurance.
- CPR certification.
- A negative TB skin test.
- A physical exam and negative drug screen.
- Criminal background clearance.
Duration and Cost
The appeal of ADN programs for many prospective nurses is the cost, which is significantly lower than the costs of completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The shortage of schools in Nevada leads to higher costs of tuition, which can range from $38,000 to $45,000 for the two-year degree. The advertised cost cover tuition alone, so students must factor in costs for textbooks, uniform, fees, clinical supplies, transport, and other associated fees. Enrollment requirements can also increase the cost as students must cover expenses for criminal background checks, insurance, physical exam, TB test, and immunization. Fortunately, the associate’s degree will qualify for financial aid. Some students can further reduce their costs with scholarships and grants and state incentives used to boost the nursing workforce in Nevada.
Nevada RN Licensure Requirements
All applicants for licensure in Nevada must apply for a permanent license. According to regulations, candidates can apply for licensure by exam (for first-time nurses) or by endorsement (for nurses with an active permanent license in another state). The Nevada State Board of Nursing will issue an interim permit to graduate nurses to practice for a period of 90 days while waiting for the results of the NCLEX. Registered nurses with a license to practice in another state can apply for a temporary permit to work for a period of 6 months.
Candidates for licensure must undergo a criminal background check to determine their eligibility for practice. Fingerprints may be submitted using a livescan service (for faster processing) or fingerprint cards (hard cards available at the Board of Nursing).
Licensure By Examination
Nurse graduates must apply for a permanent license by exam to practice in Nevada. As a courtesy, the State Board of Nursing issues a temporary (Interim Permit) to qualified applicants who submit an application for a permanent license.
Submit the following documents for the Board of Nursing to determine your eligibility to take the exam:
- A completed and signed application form. Include your social security number to avoid delays in the issuance of your license.
- The non-refundable license ($100) and fingerprinting fees ($50) payable to the Nevada State Board of Nursing. The Board accepts payments via money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card.
- Official transcript of your nursing education sent directly from the school to the Board of Nursing. If you graduated from a Nevada program, the school would send the Board an affidavit of graduation, which you can use to obtain an interim permit. The school will need to send official transcripts for processing of your permanent license.
- A completed fingerprint card. The Board will not issue a permanent license until it receives your fingerprint report from the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Board will mail a fingerprint card to your address upon receipt of your completed application. Complete the fingerprint card, get fingerprinted, and have the agency mail the completed form to the Board of Nursing.
- Documents or letters explaining any “yes” responses to the criminal convictions disciplinary action questions.
- Your registration for the NCLEX. The application is available online at Pearson VUE.
Graduates of nursing programs from another country must:
- Provide evidence of graduating from a nursing education program that meets Nevada’s legal requirements.
- Have their professional credentials evaluated by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). This is applicable if the graduate has never been licensed in the US.
- Pass an English proficiency exam if English is not the primary language.
Guidelines for the Interim Permit
An interim permit is available upon request and payment of the applicable fee. The permit is available only to a candidate taking the NCLEX for the first time. It allows the candidate to practice as a Graduate Nurse in Nevada for a period of 90 days. The permit will expire immediately upon notification of failure of the exam, regardless of the time remaining on the permit. Interim permits are non-renewable.
The application for licensure is valid for one year from the date of receipt. It is the candidate’s responsibility to follow up with the Board to determine the status of the application. The address you provide on the application will become the address on the Board’s records. Inform the Board, in writing, within 30 days of changing your name or address. Visit the Verification Section of the Board’s website to determine if your license has been issued. The Board does not issue hard card licenses.
NCLEX-RN Registration: The NCLEX-RN is a Computer Adaptive Test that determines a graduate nurse’s eligibility for licensure as a registered nurse. Only graduates of an approved nursing education program will be eligible to take the exam with the Board of Nursing’s approval. You can register for the exam online at Pearson Vue online. Once you register with Pearson VUE and submit an application, fee, and fingerprint card to the Board, you’ll receive an Authorization to Test from Pearson VUE. Use the information provided on the ATT to schedule a test date within 90 days of receiving the ATT. The testing centers are open year-round giving you the opportunity to schedule a time and place that’s most convenient. After the Board receives official results of the exam, you will receive notification of your permanent license, providing you meet all other requirements for licensure. You must pay a registration fee of $200 each time you take the NCLEX.
Licensure By Endorsement
A registered nurse who is licensed to practice in another state can apply for licensure by endorsement to work in Nevada. The nurse’s license should be unencumbered and active.
Submit the following to the Board’s office:
- A completed and signed application for licensure by endorsement. Include your social security number to avoid delays in the issuance of your license.
- The non-refundable license ($105) and fingerprinting fees ($50) payable to the Nevada State Board of Nursing. The Board accepts payments via money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card.
- Official transcript of your nursing education sent directly from the school to the Board of Nursing. The transcript should indicate your nursing degree and graduation date. International graduates should submit a copy of their transcript and proof of English proficiency. Demonstration of English proficiency is only required if you’ve been licensed to practice in the U.S. less than 5 years before the application submission date.
- A completed fingerprint card. The Board will not issue a permanent until it receives your fingerprint report from the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Board will mail a fingerprint card to your address upon receipt of your completed application. Complete the fingerprint card, get fingerprinted, and have the agency mail the completed form to the Board of Nursing.
- Documents or letters explaining any “yes” responses to the criminal convictions disciplinary action questions.
- Official verification of licensure by exam from the original state. If the state is enrolled in the Nursys, you can submit the verification online at nursys.com. Otherwise, you’ll have to complete and send the NSBN Endorsement Form and applicable fee to the original state of licensure. The licensing agency should complete the form and return to the Nevada Board of Nursing.
Applicants meeting the Board’s requirements may receive a temporary permit. Once issued, the permit will remain valid for 6 months and cannot be renewed. If you do not complete the licensure process within the one-year timeframe, you will not qualify for a temporary permit in future. The approximate time for processing applications is one week from the receipt of the completed application and all required documents. You can check the status of your license online; the Board does not issue hard card licenses.
Registered nursing licenses expire biennially. If you wish to continue practicing, you must renew your application on time as there is no grace period. If the Board receives your application for renewal after the expiration date, you must pay a late fee of $100. All fees are non-refundable. The renewal form is available online. To use the online renewal, you must pay the $100 renewal fee using a credit card. Payment via money order, personal check, or cashier’s check is available using the paper renewal form.
To qualify for renewal, you must:
- Practice nursing in the U.S. within a five-year period before the submitting the renewal. Paid or volunteer work are acceptable.
- Complete 30 hours of continuing education units within the 24-month renewal period.
- Complete the bioterrorism course that is a minimum of 4 hours. The course counts towards the 30-hour CEU requirement.
- Submit your fingerprints for processing if you did not practice within the last five years.
Renewal requests are processed within one to two business days. Online processing is faster than paper submissions. You can verify the updated status of your application online.
Continuing Education Requirements for Nevada RNs
Registered nurses are exempt from the continuing education requirements for the first biennial period after graduation. Therefore, you won’t need to earn 30 CEUs for your first renewal. However, you must complete the 4-hour course in bioterrorism.
For the subsequent renewals, you must complete 30 hours of nursing-related CEUs. On the renewal application, you must affirm that you complied with the continuing education requirement and retain a copy of your certification for four years in the event of an audit. The Board selects candidates randomly for an audit to ensure compliance. If you fail to complete the continuing education requirements within the renewal period, you may be subject to disciplinary action taken against your license. Make sure to complete the CEU requirements at an approved provider.
Nevada Salary and Job Outlook
The personal finance website, WalletHub, in a 2015 report, ranked Nevada last in the number of nurses per capita. The report surveyed the best and worst states for nurses. State officials have been bemoaning the shortage of health care professionals, which they see as a weakness in the medical workforce, and the report serves to reinforce their concerns. WalletHub’s analysis may seem gloomy for the health care sector, but it indicates good news for prospective nurses.
On a national scale, Nevada ranks 26th in the country for nurses. Registered nurses in the state earn salaries that are twice as much as those in Connecticut and a few other states – even after making adjustments for cost of living. Experienced nurses earn $78,976 on average. The shortage of nurses per capita may be due to a population boom. Efforts to double the number of nursing graduates over the last decade has not helped to reduce the shortage. In 2014, approximately 88 percent of nurse graduates passed the NCLEX and found immediate employment in the healthcare sector. The state hopes to use GAP Training for RNs to recruit more nurses. With a positive job outlook and a higher than average salary, it’s a great time to become a registered nurse in Nevada.
Contact the Board of Nursing
Nevada State Board of Nursing
Las Vegas Office
4220 S. Maryland Pkwy., Building B, Suite 300
Las Vegas, NV 89119-7533
(888) 590-6726 (Toll-free)
(702) 486-5803 – General Fax line
5011 Meadowood Mall Way, Suite 300
Reno, NV 89502-6547
(888) 590-6726 (Toll-free)
(775) 687-7707 – General Fax line
Nevada Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:
Carson City, NV ADN Programs
Western Nevada College
2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89703
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%
Elko, NV ADN Programs
Great Basin College
1500 College Parkway, Elko, NV 89801
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%
Henderson, NV ADN Programs
170 North Stephanie Street, Henderson, NV 89074
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.66%
Las Vegas, NV ADN Programs
Carrington College – Las Vegas Campus
5740 South Eastern Avenue, Suite 140, Las Vegas, NV 89119
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.40%
College of Southern Nevada
6375 West Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89146
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.02%
3535 West Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89102
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 66.88%
Reno, NV ADN Programs
Truckee Meadows Community College
7000 Dandini Boulevard, RDMT 417, Reno, NV 89512-3999
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.87%