Requirements to Become a Nurse in the US as an International Student

International students have one of the toughest journeys to becoming licensed nurses. Not only are they studying information that can take a long time for anyone to process, but they're usually doing is as ESL (English as a Second Language). For those who speak and read English at a proficient level, there are still challenges.

No matter where they're from, international students must come from an accredited nursing program (more later on how that is determined) and have a license as a Registered Nurse (RN). (LPNs, vocational nurses, and patient care assistants can't transfer their licenses to the US.)

In addition, international students must have experience practicing as an RN for at least two years. If they were a new nurse in their original country and came to the US too soon, they'll have to attend a school here as well and can't practice as a nurse until they go through the whole process again.

Many states also require international students to pass a refresher course (sometimes called a Foreign Educated Nurses course). It consists of 120 hours in the classroom and 120 hours in a clinical setting under supervision as well.

Once they've accomplished all this, international students must also pass their TOFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) unless they're from a few approved countries.

Where are you at in your international nursing journey? Comment below to represent your country!

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