How to Become a Nurse in Ohio


Pre-exam education for RN nursing must be from a Ohio Nursing Board approved program. The Ohio Nursing Board has approved programs with at least 12 months of clinical course work. Student must be a graduate of either a 2 year associate nursing degree or a 4 year bachelor nursing degree. Currently there are 70 accredited associate programs, and 31 Bachelor degree programs in Ohio.

Exam Application:

To register for the RN examination in Ohio the applicant must fill in the Ohio application (see below for link). Include with the application a 2 inch by 2 inch photograph that is less than 12 months old. This is the same size photo as a passport, so go to you local passport office to get a picture. The fee for the exam is $75 and payment should be made payable to “Treasurer, State of Ohio” and included with your application. Ohio applicants need to provide certification letter from the director of the program and must submitted directly to the Board. A program completion letter certifies the following: the applicant completed all program curriculum requirements and all other requirements of the controlling agency; the date the applicant entered the program; the date of program completion (not graduation); and the type of certificate/diploma awarded. A BCI (civilian) and FBI (federal) criminal records check is required for all applicants who entered a pre-licensure nursing education program on or after June 1, 2003. Refer to the on-line instructions regarding criminal records checks if you have not already had them done and submit them to the Board.


Once your application has been approved the state will send a list of approved exam sites, you will need to call schedule to take the exam. The current cost for taking the exam is $200 in Ohio. The state of Ohio uses the NCLEX- RN exam. This is the exam that is used by every state in the US. The NCLEX-RN exam must be passed to obtain a license to practice. The exam is designed to ensure public safety by testing the basic knowledge of future healthcare practicing professionals.The NCLEX-RN exam consists of a maximum of 265 questions out of which a candidate must answer a minimum of 75. Sometimes the test ends after the 75th question and sometimes it may continue for all of the 265 questions. The NCLEX-RN exam is taken using Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT). Each NCLEX test is different. The questions on the exam are pulled from a database and the difficulty level of each question depends on the correctness of the answer for the previous question asked. For example if your first exam question was answered correctly then the computer retrieves a second question of greater difficulty. If the question is answered incorrectly then the next question is of less difficulty. This is called adaptive testing because the computer administers questions such that it can determine a candidate’s level of knowledge. Depending on the correctness of one’s answers and on the difficulty of the questions, the computer program may be able to determine with certainty that your knowledge is sufficient after the minimum number of questions 75 for RN or it might need to continue asking questions up to the maximum 265 questions.The results of the NCLEX test are not given immediately. The wait period for the official NCLEX results in Ohio is usually a couple of weeks. Unofficial NCLEX results may be found online within a couple of days but a fee is required. Those who do not pass the NCLEX exam receive a report of their performance pointing out the topics where one did well and those that need improvement.

Continuing Education:

Any person licenses in the state of Ohio as and RN must complete 24 contact hours of approved education in 2 year cycles. As well at least 1 hour must qualify as “Category A”, this is continuing education from an Ohio Board of Nursing approved provider. This education must cover Ohio nursing law. For those in their first year as a licensed RN the continuing education requirement is 12 hours of continuing education. As part of your renewal process you are not required to provide proof of continuing education, but random audits are performed by the the Ohio Board of Nursing to confirm compliance. Each credit hour in an approved college course counts towards 10 hours of continuing education under the quarter system and 15 hours of continuing education for each semester hour.


For questions or more information about RN licensing, contact the Ohio Board of Nursing:
17 South High Street, Suite 400
Columbus, OH 43215-3413
614-466-3947 phone
614-466-0388 fax

Ohio Board of Nursing- RN Application

Ohio Board of Nursing-RN approved education programs

Category: Ohio

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