Becoming a Nurse in Idaho
To become a nurse in Idaho, you must graduate from an accredited nursing degree program. Your program can range from an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) all the way to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), depending on what type of nurse you're trying to become. Once you have a diploma, you need to pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for your level of education in order to get licensed to practice in Idaho.
The Idaho Board of Nursing governs the profession. This agency awards three types of Idaho nursing licenses: licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurses (RN), and advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). You can also become a certified nurse aide (CNA) in Idaho. The state participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact, or NLC. This means that nurses who are licensed through this program are eligible to practice in all participating states, including Idaho.
There are significant nursing shortages in certain regions of Idaho, made worse by the stresses of COVID-19. This could lead to career growth opportunities but also the prospect of healthcare staffs being spread too thin in the short term.
You can find application requirements for each type of nurse below. When you're ready, you can apply on the Idaho Board of Nursing Licensure Application Portal.
To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:
Nursing Degrees by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
How To Get Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) Certification in Idaho
In Idaho, a certified nursing assistant is referred to as a certified nurse aide. The job duties are the same despite the slightly different title. CNAs in Idaho assist in diagnostic procedures, technical treatments, patient charting, and patient care documentation. They are also responsible for helping patients with routine activities like dressing, bathing and eating.
There is no Idaho nursing license for CNAs, but they are still required to pass a written knowledge exam. A company called Prometric administers this test. CNA applicants are eligibility to take it once they complete a 120-hour, state-approved nurse aide training program and a manual skills test. These requirements exist in order to ensure that professional CNAs have the knowledge and skills they need.
When a nurse has passed the CNA examination, they will be placed on the Idaho Nurse Aide Registry. There are no certification costs or renewal fees because there is no formal licensure process for CNAs. The Nurse Aide Registry will even replace a misplaced CNA card at no charge.
How To Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in Idaho
There are two ways to obtain an LPN license in the state of Idaho. The first is to apply for licensure by examination. This entails completing a state-approved practical nursing program and then passing the industry-standard NCLEX-PN. Community colleges and vocational schools most commonly offer LPN programs.
The second licensure route is licensure by equivalency. This is for LPNs who are already licensed in another state. Even with this credential, they'll still need to submit an application in order to practice in Idaho. Both applications require aspiring LPNs to demonstrate the appropriate level of education.
LPN candidates need to provide some additional information when applying. This includes employment references, an affidavit of graduation, a release of confidential information, and a disclosure of any prior criminal history. A criminal history doesn't necessarily disqualify someone from getting licensure in Idaho, but the nursing board will need to evaluate the circumstances surrounding any charges before making a decision.
An Idaho LPN license is valid for two years. The deadline for renewal is August 31 in even-numbered years, although the renewal system itself is available beginning May 1. Renewal fees are $90. For a renewal application to be processed successfully, applicants must demonstrate that they have satisfied the state's continuing education requirements.
This education can take one of the following forms:
15 hours of approved continuing education courses or modules
At least one credit hour of university-based coursework
Completion of a board-approved refresher course
How To Get an RN License in Idaho
RN candidates must hold an ADN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) diploma. In most cases, they will need to receive a passing score on the NCLEX-RN. There is also a licensure by equivalency option for RNs who are already licensed in another state. Either method requires candidates to submit an application through the state's online Nurse Portal.
Candidates will need to include several pieces of personal information, including their criminal history. As with LPNs, a criminal record isn't necessarily a bar to licensure. But the Idaho Board of Nursing will need to determine whether any charges would represent an obstacle to the safe and effective performance of the applicant's nursing duties.
Once properly licensed, nurses will be authorized to work in clinical settings, care for patients, and serve their community in a wide variety of roles.
An Idaho RN license is valid for two years. Registered nurses in Idaho must apply to have their licenses renewed in odd-numbered years. The application deadline is August 31. There is an application fee of $90. Renewing a valid RN license will also require applicants to demonstrate that they have met the state's continuing education standards, which are identical to the standards for LPNs.
How To Get an APRN License in Idaho
APRN licensure requirements are more stringent than those for LPNs and RNs. To start, candidates must earn a graduate degree either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to be eligible. Fortunately, there are many board-approved nursing programs at colleges and universities throughout Idaho where candidates can earn such degrees.
Idaho APRNs must also hold a valid RN license and be certified in their specialty area by the appropriate national certification board. The state recognizes four types of APRNs:
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Idaho APRN licenses are granted for two years at a time, and the expiration date for this type of license falls on August 31 in every odd-numbered year. To renew an Idaho advanced practice registered nurse license, current APRNs must apply on the state's online Nurse Portal. They must also submit proof of 30 hours of continuing education along with a $90 application fee.
Read through our How To Become a Nurse Anesthetist, Guide to Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees, or 2023 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs pages to learn about nurse anesthetist and nurse practitioner education.
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