Each state has unique laws and regulations for Registered Nurses (RNs). Differences are apparent between states in requirements for foreign educated nurses. Most states require that a foreign educated nurse have passed the CGFNS exam in order to apply for NCLEX exam. As best as we can determine based on a variety of sources, 42 states appear to require foreign educated nurses seeking RN licensure in their respective state to have CGFNS certification. The other eight states (Arizona, California, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Utah) either require some, but not all, aspects of the CGFNS program, such as a credentials review, or nothing related to CGFNS programs.
In Connecticut, an applicant for RN licensure educated in a foreign country must successfully complete the CGFNS exam prior to being accepted for examination and licensure in the state.
Arizona. As of August 1, 2002, The Arizona Board of Nursing will accept applications from foreign educated nurses who have not completed the CGFNS exam. These nurses will only need the TOEFL or similar English exam, if their nursing education was not in English. Additionally, nurses must have their nursing program transcripts evaluated for equivalency to U. S. nursing educational standards and validation of unrestricted licensure in their country of origin.
California. California does not require CGFNS certification or require the foreign educated nurse applicant to pass the CGFNS qualifying exam. It does require that the nurse undergo a credentials review by specialists within the state licensing agency, not through CGFNS. California will review a copy of a credential certificate from another source, but the state must complete its own review of the transcript.
Maryland. Maryland apparently has relatively flexible requirements relative to CGFNS certification. A course-by-course evaluation from CGFNS for foreign educated nurses is required. A CGFNS exam may be required after the Maryland Board of Nursing evaluates the applicant's credentials.
New Mexico. New Mexico does not require CGFNS certification. It does require evaluation of nursing education credentials sent to the state board of nursing directly from a board-recognized credentialing agency or CGFNS.
New York. New York does not require CGFNS certification. It does require a credentials verification process by an independent organization such as CGFNS. (CGFNS certification is required for RN limited permit applicants; a limited permit authorizes the practice of registered nursing under the immediate and direct supervision of a licensed, currently registered RN, with the endorsement of the employer. )
Ohio. Ohio does not require CGFNS certification, but does require a credentials evaluation.
Oregon. Oregon does not require CGFNS certification, but applicants must have their credentials evaluated and prove proficiency in English.
Utah. Utah requires applicants to undergo only the CGFNS credentials evaluation. That evaluation, in turn, will determine if the nurse applicant must obtain CGFNS certification before taking the NCLEX.
The following are the other states that require nurses to take the CGFNS Examination:
District of Columbia
Nurses who have passed the NCLEX-RN in states that do not require CGFNS may acquire the license of another state through endorsements. Each state's Board of Nursing has its web site that lists the requirement on endorsement.
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