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How Do I Renew an Expired Nursing License?

A nursing license typically is renewed biennially. Renewing an expired license is possible in most states, but it may mean taking continuing education courses and the NCLEX exam again. Additionally, extra fees may also be required. Each state has a nursing board, so contact the board in your state to find out how to reactivate your expired nursing license. For instance, the renewal fee in Arizona is $160, then the late fee is another $50. Nurses may not apply by endorsement, but only by renewal.

As an example, Arizona has typical nursing licensure renewal requirements, which include:

  • Practicing for 960 hours in a five year period
  • Graduating from a nursing program with a degree within the past five years
  • Completing an Arizona Board approved fresher course within the past five year
  • Obtaining an advanced nursing degree within the past five years


Do not start taking courses until you know exactly what is required of you. Your state of residence is whatever is on your drivers license.

If you are an advanced practice nurse, then your license expires when your RN license expires.

Basically the longer you have an expired license the longer it will take to get in renewed.

Some states, such as Colorado have a tiered system where the number of required educational classes is based on the number of years your license has been expired.

Renewing an expired registered nursing license can be a complex procedure if it is from another compact license state and you live in a different state. Another problem may occur if you have not completed the required continuing education courses for that state; it is essential that you meet those requirements. Additionally, if you have been arrested, convicted of a felony or convicted of any other violation of the law you may not be eligible for renewal.

You must also inform the nursing license bureau in most states if you have been diagnosed or treated with a psychiatric disorder, such as bipolar disease, paranoid personality disorder or other psychiatric disorders. If you are addicted to alcohol or other drugs, this may also cause a problem, particularly if you have not had treatment.

Your first best step is to check with your state nursing board for their specific license renewal criteria.

In California you may renew your license for up to eight years if you pay the appropriate delinquent fees and complete 30 approved hours of continuing education. For a nurse with a nursing license that is expired longer than eight years that nurse must also provide proof of competency to practice by having a nursing license in another state or a verification by repeating the NCLEX.

You may not be able to renew your license online in some states, such as Arkansas, if it has been expired for more than five years. If you are not in the military and live outside the USA, then you may not renew your license online in Arkansas and in several other states.

Required continuing education requirement hours may include:

  • Pain management
  • Domestic Abuse
  • HIV/AIDS
  • End of Life or Palliative Care
  • Prevention of Medical Errors


License renewal requirement periods, fees snd contact education hours that are specifically required by the board of nursing in your state may vary from other states. The number of practice related hours will also vary. That is why it is so important to contact your board of nursing when attempting to renew an expired license.