How to Apply for a Licensed Practical Nurse License in New York

Tips for Applying for a LPN License in NY

LPNs: Process for Applying

If you are a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and wish to practice in the state of New York, it is important to understand the process of applying for an LPN license. The following tips will guide you through the application process, ensuring a smooth and successful application.

What Are the Benefits of Being a LPN?

Pursuing a career advancement as a licensed practical nurse in the United States offers an excellent path for experienced certified nursing assistants (CNAs) looking to advance their practice. The average LPN in the U.S. earns around $48,500 annually. This stable salary allows LPNs to make a positive impact by caring directly for patients in a supportive role. Experienced LPNs can also continue to advance their careers over time through Registered Nurse (RN) bridge programs.

In addition to competitive salaries, LPNs enjoy fulfilling careers where they can make a real difference in patients’ lives by providing basic bedside care under the direction of RNs and doctors. LPNs get to monitor patients, collect samples for testing, measure vital signs, and assist with activities of daily living. By becoming an LPN, CNAs can expand their knowledge base and take on higher-level nursing responsibilities in caring for patients.

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1. Meet the Eligibility Requirements

To apply for an LPN license in NY, you must meet the eligibility requirements set by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). These requirements typically include completing an approved LPN program, passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), and meeting any additional educational or experience requirements specific to NY.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be of good moral character
  • Be at least seventeen years of age
  • Be a high school graduate (or the equivalent)
  • Graduate from a nursing education program acceptable to NYSED
  • Complete New York State required infection control coursework
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) or another license examination acceptable to NYSED
  • Apply for an LPN license with NYSED
Pathways for Licensure

  • New York offers a variety of pathways for applying for licensure as an LPN in New York State. Learn more on NYSED's pathway page.

2. Gather the Required Documents

Before you begin the application process, ensure you have all the required documents readily available. Common documents include your official LPN program transcripts, proof of passing the NCLEX-PN, identification documents, and any necessary fees or application forms. Ensure that all documentation is accurate and up-to-date.

Acceptable Proof of Identity and Address Documents

Accepted photo documents include:

  • U.S. military photo identification card
  • Out-of-state photo driver license
  • U.S. State Department-issued passport or passport card
  • Foreign passport with a valid J-551 stamp or with a statement on the visa
  • Permanent resident card T-551
  • Welfare/medicaid card with photo
  • New York State or New York City pistol permit with photo
  • Photo identification card issued by local government agency
  • U.S. college identification with photo and transcript
  • U.S. high school identification with photo and report card

Accepted non-photo documents include:

  • Credit card
  • Birth certificate/baptismal certificate
  • U.S. social security card
  • U.S. health insurance card/prescription card
  • U.S. utility bill (must include your name and address)
  • U.S. insurance policy (in effect for more than three years)
  • Rent receipt, from building owner or management, showing applicant’s name and address
  • Property tax receipt
  • W-2 yearly income tax form
  • Employment identification card
  • New York State professional license
  • New York State registration document (vehicle/boat)
  • U.S. computer-printed pay stub (must contain your name)
  • U.S. union card
  • Welfare/medicaid card without photo
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3. Complete the Application Forms

NYSED provides an online application portal for LPN license applications. Follow the instructions carefully and provide all the requested information accurately. Pay attention to sections regarding your personal details, educational background, licensure history, and any criminal background disclosures.

Apply for a New York LPN License

  • To apply directly for a Licensed Practical Nurse license, please visit NYSED's application page.

4. Agree to a Background Check

As part of the licensing process, LPNs in NY are typically asked to undergo a criminal background check. To initiate this process, you may be asked to submit your fingerprints to the NYSED-approved vendor. Detailed instructions on how to complete this step will be provided during the application process.

Why may I be asked to submit my fingerprints?

  • State Boards of Nursing are tasked with protecting public health and welfare. They do this by licensing only competent and ethical nurses to practice. One way Boards evaluate nurses' moral character is through criminal background checks using fingerprinting. This practice became widespread in the 1990s, with California as the first state to mandate it. Fingerprint checks cross-reference FBI databases to verify nurse applicants and renewals have no criminal convictions.

  • Fingerprinting has been used in the U.S. since the early 1900s as a means to identify perpetrators and solve crimes. As healthcare is a matter of public protection, Boards of Nursing adopted this process in 1990 to verify that a nurse has not been convicted of a crime. California was the first state to require nurses to be fingerprinted and pass a background check through the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the largest fingerprint database in the world.
What states do not require fingerprinting?

  • The National Council of State Boards of Nursing endorses fingerprinting as the most accurate way to uncover a nurse's criminal convictions. In 2012, the Council of State Governments passed a resolution backing fingerprint-based background checks for all healthcare professionals.

  • Despite this support, six U.S. states still do not mandate fingerprinting before issuing nursing licenses:

  • Despite this support, six U.S. states still do not mandate fingerprinting before issuing nursing licenses:
    • Colorado
    • Wisconsin
    • New York
    • Vermont
    • Maine
    • Hawaii
Is it possible to waive fingerprinting in NY?

  • In New York State, obtaining a nursing license doesn't necessitate fingerprinting. Instead, the Department relies entirely on applicants' honest and complete disclosure of any prior misconduct or criminal convictions for their assessment.

  • If requested, you have the option to waive fingerprinting as a method for conducting a background check.
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5. Wait for Application Processing

Once you have submitted your complete application, including all required documents and fees, you will need to wait for the NYSED to review and process your application. The duration of the processing period may vary, so it is advisable to submit your application well in advance to allow for any potential delays.

How long will it take to receive my LPN license?

  • Receiving your New York nursing license typically requires a processing period of 6 to 8 weeks, though this timeline may fluctuate depending on the current volume of applications being processed.


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