Each state in the U.S. is responsible for the licensure of nurses within that state. Variations exist among the states. State specific licensure information is available on board of nursing websites.
To ensure public protection, all boards of nursing require a candidate for licensure to pass an examination that measures the competencies needed to perform safely and effectively. All U.S. boards of nursing use the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).