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How to Get a Nursing License from the Maryland Nursing Board

There are two ways to get a nurse license in Maryland: licensure by examination, and licensure by endorsement.

Licensure by Examination:

Licensure by examination means you obtain a license by taking the nursing boards exam, also known as the NCLEX. Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Graduate nursing school - Graduate either from a Maryland nursing program or a **program from out of state that is recognized by the Maryland board of nursing. You'll need a copy of your degree or diploma. If you are from out of state you must send an official transcript as well.
  2. Get a Criminal Background Check - This should be done before applying to take the NCLEX. The background check is only valid for 90 days. If you are in Maryland, you can use Livescan to have your fingerprints scanned electronically. If you're out of state, then you must request a fingerprint card and have your fingerprints taken at an official fingerprinting site. More info here.
  3. Register Online - Both RN nurses and LPN nurses must create an account at the board's website and Apply Online. The application fee is $100.
  4. Declare your state of residence - Submit a Declaration of Primary State of Residence. This is required because in Maryland, you are not allowed to take the NCLEX if you live in another state which is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). In that case you must take the NCLEX in your home state.
  5. Register with Pearson Vue - Register with Pearson Vue to take the licensing exam (NCLEX). The fee is $200.
  6. Receive your ATT (Authorization To Test) - The nursing board will send you the ATT within 7-14 business days after all requirements have been met.
  7. Take the NCLEX - Your test results will be received by the nursing board within 5 business days. The board will mail you a certificate, however you must verify your identity online in order to receive it. You will also gain access to a printout as proof of your nurse licensure in the meantime.

* You do need a social security number to apply for a nurse license and take the NCLEX in Maryland.

Foreign Educated Nurses Who Want to Take the Maryland NCLEX

Nurses whose nursing education took place outside the USA cannot apply online and must request an application from the Maryland BON, see contact info at the bottom of the page. You will also need these additional items to be eligible to take the NCLEX:

  • An English proficiency exam. Either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). However, you can skip the English exam if your nursing program was in English for at least 3 years in one of the following countries: United Kingdom, Australia, Canada except Quebec, Guyana, New Zealand, or Ireland.
  • A report on your nursing credentials by a Credential Evaluation Service such as CGFNS, the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools.

Foreign applicants should apply first and then send the supporting documents. The entire application process must be completed within one year.

Licensure By Endorsement

Licensure by endorsement means you obtain a nurse license by transferring your existing license. Since Maryland is a compact state, you'd only need to do this process if transferring your license from a non-compact state, or you plan to make Maryland your primary residence, or if for some reason you don't have a multistate license.

To be eligible to transfer your license, you must have:

  1. Never held a Maryland nurse license previously.
  2. An active license in another state.
  3. **Completed a board approved nursing program.

To apply for a Maryland Nurse License by Endorsement:

  1. Complete a criminal background check. More info here.
  2. Fill out the online application. This should be done within 48 hours of your background check.
  3. Pay the license fee of $100. For a 90 day temporary license it's $40.
  4. Have your nursing school send your official transcript to the MD BON.
  5. Request verification from Nursys of your previous license(s), $30 per license.
    If your state does not participate in Nursys, you must request license verification directly from their BON.

Nurse License Renewal in the State of Maryland

License renewals are done online. Renewal typically takes 5-10 days.

Nurse License Lookup at the Maryland Nurse Portal

To lookup or verify a nurse license, visit the Maryland License Verification Portal. This can also be helpful if you applied for a license and want to see if it's been issued yet.

You can also verify a nurse license using the Nursys QuickConfirm License Verification. The advantage of using Nursys is you can verify a license in any state, instead of just one state. However, not as many license types may be verified at Nursys. If you're just looking up registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, that should work for all states. For information on other types of nurses, such as advanced practice nurses, it will depend on the state.

Temporary Nursing Licenses in Maryland

You can get a temporary license when transferring your existing license to Maryland. On the licensure by endorsement application, you will have an option to select that you'd like a temporary license. This license is valid for 90 days and takes 3-5 business days to be issued.

** If you graduated from a non-approved nursing program, you still have a chance! The board considers other programs on a case-by-case basis. See here.

Contact the Maryland Board of Nursing

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Wednesday from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Registered Nursing & Licensed Practical Nursing:

Main Line: 410-585-1900

Toll Free: 888-202-9861

Renewals: 410-585-1900

Exam applicants: MDBON.NBEXAM@maryland.gov

Endorsement applicants: MDBON.NETS@maryland.gov

License Renewals: MBON.NurseLicenseRenewal@maryland.gov

Maryland Board of Nursing
4140 Patterson Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland, 21215-2254

Need More Information?
Access the site for the Maryland Board of Nursing here: Maryland Board of Nursing