An NCLEX Exam Overview for the International Nurse



Of everything required of an international nurse aspiring to work in the United States, the NCLEX is often the biggest barrier. The NCLEX – the National Council Licensure Examination – is the licensure exam for nurses who wish to practice in the United States. This article provides an NCLEX exam overview and details its significance for what you need to do.


What is NCLEX?


Administered by the The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the NCLEX-RN exam tests a nurse’s competency to become an entry-level nurse. Subject matters on the exam include: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance and psychosocial integrity.


What is the State Board of Nursing?


All 50 states have a Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing will determine if you are able to take the NCLEX and get licensed in a state. For more information on any state’s Board of Nursing.


Why Does NCLEX Matter?


It matters because in the United States, the NCLEX stands between you and your nursing license. The test measures the knowledge and safety standards of nurses. The passing standard is the same overseas as in the U.S.

There’s a basic level of knowledge and understanding required to care for the lives of the sick or injured – the NCLEX-RN exam ensures that all practicing RNs have it.


Where Can I Take the NCLEX?


The countries and non-member board territories that currently administer the NCLEX examinations are Australia, Canada, England, Germany (not available), Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Taiwan.


What if I Live in a Country That Doesn’t Offer NCLEX?


For aspiring foreign-trained nurses anticipating a new life and career in the United States, the fact that so few countries offer NCLEX can be yet another barrier. We do acknowledge how inaccessible the NCLEX can really be for some people.


When can I take my NCLEX?


You can apply and register for NCLEX anytime! Then it’s about finding the right date that accommodates you. But there is a 90-day limit from when your application is approved to when you must take the exam.



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