Requirements for New England States - Gold Certificate Over New England States

Healthcare professionals interested in obtaining a registered nursing license in New England will find that the States share some common requirements. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont also have some unique stipulations. Some of the differences include education levels, standardized examinations, application fees and on-the-job experience.

Maine and New Hampshire are also members of the enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact, which allows licensed nurses in those states to work across state lines. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont all have pending legislation to join the eNLC.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the similarities and differences between different New England states. Aspiring healthcare professionals will then be better prepared to enter the workforce and start their careers as registered nurses (RNs).


All six New England states require registered nurses to pass an approved educational program in professional nursing from a local university or a community college.

An approved program can include earning a diploma, an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Many RNs begin by taking the ADN route because it takes two years or less to complete through a local community or junior college. This enables students to join the workforce sooner.

Click for a list of approved nursing programs each state requires students to complete before applying for a nursing license.


Each state requires all nurse candidates to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN). The fee to take the exam is $200.

The NCLEX-RN covers four different categories of client needs:

  • A safe and effective care environment
  • Health promotion and maintenance
  • Psychosocial integrity
  • Physiological integrity

In addition to your degree program, there are several companies that offer NCLEX-RN exam preparation for a fee, including Kaplan and the National Council’s Learning Extension.

The test is a multiple-choice format that uses a system called computerized adaptive testing to measure competency level. RN candidates will answer anywhere between 75 to 265 questions, depending on competency level, which must be completed in five hours or less.

Students typically learn their scores from their state’s board of nursing about a month after taking the exam.

Experience and Fees

Each state also has different experience requirements and each New England state sets its own license application fees. They are listed below. Let’s take a closer look.

Demanding the Best from New England’s Nurses: Requirements for the RN License 


  • A student must graduate from a professional nursing program that is approved by the Connecticut board, or meet similar requirements.
  • $180 application fee.

 Requirements for the RN License - Maine


  • No prior experience is required to take the exam.
  • $75 application fee.

Demanding the Best from New England’s Nurses: Requirements for the RN License


Demanding the Best from New England’s Nurses: Requirements for the RN License

New Hampshire

  • A temporary license may be issued once the candidate has completed 1,080 hours of nursing education. A fingerprint-based criminal background check is among the requirements for licensure.
  • $120 application fee, plus $47 for a criminal background check.

Demanding the Best from New England’s Nurses: Requirements for the RN License

Rhode Island

  • A candidate must apply for a background check before taking the exam.
  • $135 application fee.

Demanding the Best from New England’s Nurses: Requirements for the RN License


  • After graduation, a candidate must have his or her school fill out a verification of education form.
  • $60 application fee.

For the states that require background checks, nurse candidates must pay those fees and need to budget extra money in addition to application fees.

Once your application is accepted, you’ll receive your nursing license, and you can start your nursing career. Be sure to note that each state has different requirements for license renewal. Check with your state’s nursing board for information.

Follow Your Passion

You have your license and now you’re ready for the next step in your career. Let Husson University get you there, with our fully online RN-to-BSN nursing program. Our flexible online format is designed to meet the needs of working nurses. You’ll learn key skills necessary to take the next step to a leadership or management role in the field of nursing.

Husson University has been educating nurses for more than half a century, and we hope you’ll join us as you work to advance your career.