Getting Smart with NEAC: NCLEX Complete Guide for Foreign Educated Nurses

Getting Smart with NEAC: NCLEX Complete Guide for Foreign Educated Nurses

As the US prepares to hire more nurses by 2030, becoming a certified USRN will give you more leverage to land a job before the hiring spree ends because employers prioritize employing licensed foreign USRNs. Get a license right away and act wisely and proactively. Planning the NCLEX application procedure is necessary before you begin the journey toward achieving your dream of becoming a USRN.

General NCLEX USA information

The NCLEX examinations in the US are administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc., or NCSBN Inc. NCSBN regulates 50 State Boards of Nursing or SBON and US territories such as the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. Each state has different NCLEX processes, requirements, qualifications, and fees. One candidate may qualify for one state while another may not, as it depends on their level of education, work experience, and many other requirements.

What are the steps of the NCLEX exam?

A typical NCLEX RN or NCLEX PN Application process for foreign nurses consists the following phases:

STEP 1: Choosing the best state to apply for NCLEX

Since each state in the US has a different set of requirements, qualifications, and processes for NCLEX, the candidate must undergo a pre qualification process that is used to identify which state the candidate qualifies based on their level of education, work experience, and career goals or objectives before proceeding to the application process.

STEP 2: NCLEX Credential Evaluation Phase

This phase involves the evaluation of the candidates’ documents equivalence in terms of US education. 

NOTE: Not all SBON undergoes Pre Eligibility phase or Credential Evaluation Phase

STEP 3: NCLEX Eligibility Phase

The Nursing regulatory body in the US determines this phase if the candidate is eligible to apply for the NCLEX exam to a specific State Board of Nursing. Additionally, completing the FBI fingerprint cards for fingerprinting and criminal background checks is one requirement for proceeding to the eligibility phase.

A criminal background check (CBC) is a requirement for the majority of US Boards of Nursing (BON) during the NCLEX exam application. Although some BONs don't require CBC, candidates must reveal any information regarding unlawful conduct.

NEAC provides FREE FBI Cards exclusively for NEAC NCLEX applicants. 

STEP 4: NCLEX Authorization to Test/ATT Phase

After the nursing regulatory body declares you eligible, you will receive an Authorization to Test - ATT notification. This will serve as a notification that you are eligible to take the exam. NOTE: ATT validity varies for each state.

STEP 5: NCLEX Exam Scheduling Phase

Once ATT is approved, you are now eligible to choose your preferred NCLEX exam date within the validity dates indicated on your ATT. Make sure that you reviewed enough rationales from your NCLEX RN/PN practice test or NCLEX RN/PN book materials before scheduling your examination.

STEP 6: Take your NCLEX exam

The NCLEX passing rate of foreign nurses was around 46.68% for RNs (First time - Internationally Educated) and 51.49% for PNs (First time - Internationally Educated) last 2021, and no matter which state or testing site you chose, everyone takes the same NCLEX test. 

STEP 7: Claim your NCLEX exam result

Some candidates may access their unofficial NCLEX results two business days after taking their exam. However, the NCLEX results in the Quick Results Service do not authorize you to practice as a licensed/registered nurse, and only the nursing regulatory body to which you applied can release your official results.

STEP 8: Get your license or apply for a license application

Not all BON will grant you a license immediately after you pass the NCLEX exam; some will ask you to complete a license application beforehand. For some states that require a license application, there are options for submitting that you can choose. These include - mail-in or applying online depending on your BON requirement.

However, when we dealt with the COVID-19, the NCSBN made a decision to make certain changes to the NCLEX, and you should be aware of these as you prepare to take the NCLEX soon.

COVID-19 has resulted in five changes to the NCLEX exam.

The following adjustments to the exam have been made due to the limited number of candidates allowed per sitting:

  1. Exam Time: The maximum time permitted to write the exam reduced from 6 to 5 hours.
  1. Question: The minimum number of questions answered correctly has been reduced from 75 to 60. The exam's maximum number of questions answered has decreased from 265 to 130. There were half as many questions on the prior version of the NCLEX RN.
  1. Questions for the pretest: Pretest has been reinstated. In their exam, each candidate will receive 15 pretest items.
  1. Sections: At the end of the exam, there is no longer a research section. NCSBN has collected additional data from candidates at the end of the exam to develop the next version of NCLEX RN.
  1. During the exam, candidates may wear a mask and gloves.

Fortunately, the NCLEX topic hasn't changed. With the shorter exam length and fewer questions, more candidates should take the exam daily. The exam's difficulty level and passing score have not altered. The exam will continue to be delivered through Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT).

And if you're a foreign-trained nurse debating whether now or later is the best time to take the NCLEX, this is the signal you've been waiting for. Because in this blog, our team will outline the 6 main reasons why now is the best time to take your NCLEX rather than later. 

  1. For accreditation

The NCLEX exam ensures that all local and foreign-trained nurses are qualified to work as nurses in the US, including Canada and Australia. The test is also used to ensure that all US-certified nurses have the skills and readiness required to deliver high-quality healthcare for the state. 

  1. Opportunities for immigration

Numerous immigration opportunities will become available to you when you complete your NCLEX. Additionally, keep in mind that options for immigration tend to arise every 5 to 10 years, and often only those with a license have a chance to get recruited or file a petition.

  1. Secure Job Employment

The nursing industry is not in a deep recession and is anticipated to grow in the next few years. The United States needs additional healthcare services due to the aging baby boomer population. By 2060, the number of Americans 65 and up is predicted to quadruple, from 46 million to 98 million, according to the Population Reference Bureau. This role may provide nurses looking for a better life with new doors leading to significant potential.

  1. High demand for Local and Foreign-trained Nurses

In the upcoming weeks, demand for USRN in the US is anticipated to outpace supply. Numerous healthcare organizations already use regulatory latitudes that permit hiring nursing students and recently retired healthcare professionals.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 203,700 new RNs will be needed annually through 2026. These figures are projected to skyrocket in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. NCLEX materials are now publicly accessible.

Millennials are privileged to have access to technology. Unlike ten years ago, you must carry the heaviest, thickest NCLEX RN Practice Test Books to the library or drive kilometers to the nearest review facility. With a single click, we now have NCLEX RN programs for smartphones, tablet computers, and PCs or laptops, as well as an NCLEX review pdf.

  1. More favorable work options with greater pay and benefits

Being a USRN can help you find better-paying jobs both locally and worldwide. In 2022, the mean annual wage of a USRN was $89,010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Aside from that, you will have career development and limitless opportunities to leverage your career as a USRN.

And remember, preparing for the NCLEX application doesn't need to be difficult, as NEAC is here to help you achieve your USRN Dream with zero hassle. NEAC‌ is your expert pioneer medical exams application center that offers easy and fast exam applications for NCLEX exam application. It will do all the work for your NCLEX application for the best price to avoid financial losses and delays that may cause rejections of your application.

For further inquiries about the requirements, qualifications, and fees for the NCLEX USA Exam Application, get in touch with us and talk to one of our consultants through messenger or connect with us via email at


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