Nurses are in a unique position to make a difference in the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities.
To become a nurse in Wisconsin, you must complete an approved nursing education program and pass the licensing examination before obtaining a license.
As a nurse in Wisconsin, you may choose to pursue a nursing specialty or earn an advanced degree. The following sections include more information about Wisconsin nursing licenses and nursing jobs in Wisconsin.
How to Apply for a Nursing License in Wisconsin
To apply for a nursing license in Wisconsin by examination, you must complete and submit an application. The application requires the following:
- Completed application: Fill out and submit the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Application for Registered Nurse (RN)/Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), plus any necessary documentation and fees.
- Statement of graduation and/or official transcripts: If you attend an in-state and Wisconsin Board-approved school, your school of nursing must submit a statement of graduation or completion. If you graduated from a nursing program outside of Wisconsin but within the United States, your school of nursing must send your official transcripts to the Wisconsin Board of Nursing.
- NCLEX-RN® registration: Register for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). It’s recommended that you register for the NCLEX-RN exam before your school sends your statement of graduation or official transcripts.
- Temporary permit: Exam applicants must submit a temporary permit request application and $10 fee. Your temporary permit will be valid for 3 months or until you are notified of failing the NCLEX-RN exam.
- Authorization for release of FBI information: Applicants must pass a criminal background check. The Authorization for Release of FBI Information must be submitted if you’re applying for a multistate license.
- Fingerprints: You’ll receive instructions regarding how to get digital fingerprints after the Wisconsin DSPS has received your Authorization for Release of FBI information.
If you attend an in-state or out-of-state nursing school approved by the Wisconsin Board of Nursing, you can use the Online Licensure Application System (OLAS) to submit your Wisconsin nursing license application. Otherwise, you can mail your application to the Wisconsin State Board of Nursing.
Note that applicants who did not graduate from a U.S. nursing program have different requirements. For more information about how to apply for a Wisconsin nursing license, visit the Wisconsin DSPS page.
See Notes and Conditions below for important information.