How to Become a Nurse in Alabama

Nurses in the state of Alabama practice under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Board of Nursing. There are currently 80,380 registered nurses in the state of Alabama. The board grants three types of license: registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) and advanced practice nurse (APN). Students can also be certified as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). There are several ways to obtain a nursing license. Applicants begin by attending one of the many nursing schools in Alabama, where they will complete the proper program or degree necessary for their chosen license. When this educational requirement has been satisfied, nursing candidates can take a standardized exam and apply for licensure. Applicants who have been licensed in another state may apply for licensure by endorsement. Additional routes to licensure are available for nurses who have been previously licensed but have allowed their licensure to lapse.

How to Get a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certificate in Alabama

CNAs are known as certified nurse aides in the state of Alabama. CNAs are authorized to assist other medical professionals in a wide variety of settings, such as community mental health centers, home health agencies, hospices, and hospitals. Interested candidates should enroll in a nursing aide program in order to acquire the knowledge and training necessary to work in this field. However, an Alabama nursing license is not required to work as a CNA.

Although there is no formal Alabama CNA license, this doesn’t mean that CNAs are free from regulation in the state. After completing an appropriate nursing assistant program, CNA candidates must sit for the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam. This nationally recognized test is administered by a company called Pearson Vue, and it’s used by the state of Alabama to ensure that CNAs are practicing at an adequate level of competency. When a CNA candidate has successfully passed this test, he or she can become certified through the Alabama Nurse Aide Registry.

In order to keep an Alabama CNA certificate active, a nurse aide is required to complete at least 12 hours of mandatory continuing education from their place of work, such as a skilled nursing facility. In the event that a CNA does not work in the field for a period greater than two years, he or she will be required to complete a new nurse aide training program in order to become recertified. The state of Alabama does not issue CNA certifications by reciprocity.

How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in Alabama

LPN candidates in the state of Alabama should begin pursuing this career by enrolling in a practical nursing program that will prepare them for entry-level positions as staff nurses in hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices and other medical facilities. This program must be completed at a school that is accredited by the nursing board where it is located. When a prospective LPN has acquired his or her practical nursing certificate, the licensure process can begin.

An Alabama nursing license can be acquired in three different ways. First, applicants can take the NCLEX-PN exam. If they receive a passing score, they will be eligible to apply for licensure by exam. If applicants have been previously licensed as an LPN in another state or even another country, they can apply for licensure by endorsement. Alabama does not grant immediate reciprocity, but the nursing board will evaluate applications and determine whether an equivalent license can be granted. Finally, nurses who have formerly worked as LPNs in the state but who have allowed their licenses to lapse may apply for licensure by reinstatement.

Regardless of which application is being submitted, candidates will need to provide the board with certain additional documentation. This includes proof of citizenship or legal presence, proof of graduation and the disclosure of any previous criminal charges. As with RN licensure, an Alabama LPN license is valid for a period of two years. LPNs are required to renew their licenses by Dec. 31 on every odd-numbered year.

How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in Alabama

RNs in the state of Alabama begin by earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. A reputable nursing program will provide aspiring RNs with the educational foundation and hands-on experience that will help them achieve licensure.

Nursing candidates have several options when it comes to applying for an Alabama nursing license. The first step is to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN. This is an industry-standard test that is recognized across the country. Passing this exam will qualify candidates to apply for licensure by examination. Another option exists for nurses who have already been licensed in another state or country: licensure by endorsement. At its discretion, the Alabama Board of Nursing will grant an equivalent license under these parameters. Finally, nurses who have allowed their Alabama RN license to expire can apply for license by reinstatement.

Each type of application must be accompanied by personal, identifying information. This includes proof of education, proof of citizenship or legal residency, and disclosure of any prior criminal history. Once granted, an RN license in the state is valid for two years. Renewal requests must be submitted by Dec. 31 on every even-numbered year.

How to Get an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) License in Alabama

To become an advanced practice nurse in Alabama, candidates must first possess valid RN licensure. This means that all the education requirements for that type of license also apply to APN-level work. Second, a potential APN must choose a field of specialization.

The Alabama Board of Nursing recognizes four such concentrations: certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP), certified nurse midwife (CNM), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and clinical nurse specialist (CNS). In order to develop their specialization, candidates are generally required to earn at least a master’s degree in that field. When they have achieved this level of education, graduates can apply for an Alabama nursing license directly online. They must be prepared to submit official transcripts at the time of application.

Because an Alabama APN license is contingent upon having an RN license, licensure expires when a nurse’s RN license expires. In effect, this means that APNs should apply to renew their licenses by Dec. 31 on even-numbered years. In addition to these renewal requirements, APNs must complete 24 continuing education contact hours. Six of these hours must be in the field of pharmacology.