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Registered Professional Nurse


A registered professional nurse (RN) is a licensed health care professional who helps patients to achieve optimal health and prevent disease or injury. RNs provide compassionate care that is respectful of each patient's values and wishes. They coordinate and supervise care provided by other personnel, such as licensed practical nurses or home health aides. RNs provide health teaching to patients, families, other care providers and the public. They participate in health research and in making health care policies. A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an RN who has completed advanced nursing education (usually a master's or doctorate degree) and is certified by the New York State Education Department as a "Clinical Nurse Specialist" or "CNS" in a specialty area of practice. The New York State Education Department certifies CNSs in the following specialty practice areas: Adult Health; Pediatrics; Psychiatric/Mental Health; and, Oncology.

Licensing Authority:

In order to provide nursing services as a registered professional nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in New York State, you must by licensed and registered by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

To be licensed and registered as an RN in New York State, you must:

  • be of good moral character;
  • be at least eighteen years of age;
  • meet education requirements;
  • meet examination requirements; and,
  • apply for an RN license with NYSED.

In New York State, some nursing school graduates (who have applied for an RN or LPN license and a limited permit) may qualify to practice nursing before being licensed and registered as an RN or LPN. NYSED issues limited permits to qualified nursing school graduates, allowing them to temporarily practice nursing under RN supervision.

Laws that govern RN licensure are included in Education Law Article 139 and 8 NYCRR Part 64.

Education Requirements:

To meet the education requirements for an RN license, you must graduate from an nursing education program acceptable to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) - and - complete child abuse reporting coursework acceptable to NYSED (or qualify for an exemption). You will also have to complete infection control coursework acceptable to NYSED (or qualify for an exemption).

Examination Requirements:

To meet the examination requirements for licensure as a registered professional nurse, you must successfully complete the NCLEX examination developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and administered by Pearson VUE. For those applicants applying for licensure based upon licensure in another jurisdiction, scores from the State Board Test Pool (SBTP) examination and NCLEX may be accepted for licensure. The licensing authority in the jurisdiction in which you took the examination (see instructions for Form 3) or Nursys (see Verification of Nurse Licensure in Another State) must verify acceptable scores on the examination(s) directly to the Office of the Professions.

Fees (As of November 3, 2016):

The fee for licensure and first registration is $143.
The fee for a limited permit is $35.

Licenses Issued and Active:

In 2014, there were 14,376 licenses issued for this occupation.
In 2015, there were 15,425 licenses issued for this occupation.

As of July 1, 2016, there were 293,271 active licenses for this occupation.

Licensing Authority:

New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Nurse Unit
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234 -1000
Phone: (518) 474-3817 Ext. 280
Fax: (518) 474-3398

Standard Occupational Classification:

29-1141 - Registered Nurses
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).

Additional Information:

American Nurses' Association
8515 Georgia Ave, Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (800) 274-4262

New York State Nurses Association
131 West 33rd Street, 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 785-0157


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 12/22/16.

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