Ohio Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2023

AKA: NP License in OH, APRN Licensure

Last Reviewed: January 8th, 2023

Ohio is suffering from a healthcare worker shortage that is expected to worsen by 2025. Many workers are primary care physicians (PCPs), a role for which nurse practitioners can assume many responsibilities.

That’s why it’s important to continue your nursing education and receive the certification necessary to become an advanced practice registered nurse. You will be on the front lines assisting the communities that need you most.

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Ohio

Follow below to learn how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Ohio.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?  Skip to the next section

All NPs need a registered nurse (RN) license issued by the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN) to practice in the state. If you do not already hold an RN license to practice in Ohio, you need to apply to the Ohio Board of Nursing for an RN license by Examination or Endorsement, as it applies to you.

RN by Examination

Graduates of Board-approved nursing programs who have never been licensed as registered nurses in Ohio are to apply via this route. The following are the required steps for licensure:

  • Submit the online Application for Licensure by Examination form on the Ohio Board of Nursing website, and include the $75 application fee.
  • Complete a criminal records check (CBC), which includes submitting fingerprints to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The instructions and fingerprinting locations can be found here.
  • If you studied outside Ohio, you must have your nursing program send a copy of your transcript to the Board, showing the kind of degree obtained and your date of graduation. A Credential Evaluation Service (CES) Professional Report by the CGFNS is required for foreign-trained applicants. The report must be sent directly from CGFNS to the Ohio Board of Nursing. Unless you were trained in any of the places mentioned in point 5 of the “application instructions” here, you must complete an English proficiency test. Your results must be sent directly to the Board from the testing service.
  • Upload a photo ID or proof of lawful entry into the US if you’re not a citizen.
  • Write down your application number and get it to your program’s administration team, as they will need it to process the Program Completion Letter.
  • All applicants who opt for this route must take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Applicants are required to register for the test with Pearson Vue for $200. If you fail the NCLEX-RN, you will be able to test again 45 days after your last attempt, but you will be required to re-apply to the Board and re-register at Pearson Vue, all fees included. The Board must notify Pearson Vue of your eligibility to take the exam, at which point the vendor sends you an Authorization to Test (ATT). Ohio also charges a transaction fee of $3.50 for each application.

Please note that all applications are to be completed online, as the samples on the Board’s website are only instructional. After submitting your application and uploading all required documents, you should return to the online portal and verify that the application reflects “Submitted.” If you see the words “Pending” or “Generate Fee,” the application is not complete and will not be reviewed by the Board.

Once it has been determined you meet the qualifications, you will be issued an RN license in Ohio.

RN by Endorsement

Also referred to as “RN by Reciprocity”, this is the process of converting RN licensure from another state or territory to licensure in Ohio. That means applicants who choose this route have been licensed to practice as RNs in another state and hold a valid and unencumbered RN license to practice in a state other than Ohio.

The first step toward licensure is to submit an application with the $75 nonrefundable fee and the $3.50 transaction fee. All applications are completed online.

One of the most important requirements for this route is verification of your original RN licensure by exam. The information can be sent to the Board electronically by Nursys if the program participates in the Nursys program. If not, you must request that the appropriate Board send it by email. The verification document should contain proof of your pre-licensing nursing education. If the information is absent, an original copy of your transcript must be submitted.

All endorsement applicants are required to provide documentation of having completed two contact hours of “Category A” continuing education (CE) that is directly related to the Ohio Nurse Practice Act and the rules of the Board. This course must be approved by the Board, an OBN provider, or offered by an OBN-approved provider unit headquartered in the State of Ohio.

Foreign-trained applicants, except those as specified under point 5 of the “application instructions” here, must provide proof of English proficiency.

All applicants are also required to participate in a BCI and FBI fingerprint-based criminal background check. You can learn more about this here.

You are expected to provide a valid social security number and mailing address for the OBN to send all communication. Your email address is necessary to maintain your nurse portal account and verify payments.

Check your application’s status in the eLicense portal. If additional information is needed for processing, you will be notified. You are given one year to complete the application, after which it is voided if all required documents aren’t supplied.

Advanced Education Requirement

The Ohio Board of Nursing requires applicants for an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Nurse Practitioner (APRN-NP) license to obtain graduate education in line with the national APRN Consensus Model. The program should award successful participants a minimum of a master’s degree (MSN) upon completion and prepare them to practice within a specific specialty.

The program sets the tone for one’s practice as an NP; hence, it must prepare participants to take a national certification examination for their chosen specialty and population focus.

The national consensus requires prospective APRNs to be trained in advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced health assessment. APRNs who need to hold prescriptive authority have to complete a minimum of 45 contact hours in advanced pharmacology within five years.

National Certification

National certification is another requirement for Ohio’s APRN-NPs. The Board recognizes certain national certifying bodies for assessing the quality of your graduate education and your fitness to practice in Ohio. The certification is usually exam-based, which is why prospective applicants should consult the approved agency for the certification of their intended specialty area (for their chosen population foci).

NPs are required to hold and maintain national certification with a recognized agency for their Ohio NP license to remain valid.

Here is a list of approved national certifying agencies for NPs in Ohio:

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner in Ohio

Each candidate for APRN-NPs licensure can apply online for a fee of $150 if they possess a valid Ohio RN license. A transaction fee of $3.50 also applies. You are required to have obtained at least a master’s degree with a major in nursing that equips you to take a national certification examination for NPs by the time you apply.

Master Card, VISA, or Discover credit and debit cards are all acceptable forms of payment. Your application will not be submitted for review by the Board unless all fees are paid.

You will also have to request a copy of your official transcript be sent directly to the Board from the institution you attended. Your transcript needs to show your name as presented on the application, date of graduation, the degree awarded, and proof of completing at least 45 contact hours of advanced pharmacology.

Additionally, you need to request proof of your valid national certification to be sent to the Board.

If you already have a license to practice as an APRN-NP in another state, you can apply for an APRN-NP license in Ohio by reciprocity. The application fee for this route is also $150. The Board will need to review the transcript for your NP preparatory program and proof of continuing education in Ohio Laws and Administrative Rules governing drugs and prescriptive authority.

All email correspondence should be sent to licensureaprn@nursing.ohio.gov. After the Board approves your application, you will be notified and can begin working as an NP in Ohio.