Nursing is one of the most essential areas in the healthcare system.
Nurses provide direct and constant care and attention to a large variety of patients regardless of their medical condition.
They are usually the healthcare professionals that have greater contact with patients and their families, sometimes serving as a link between them and doctors.
In the nursing field, there are several positions, such as LPNs, LVNs, and RNs.
In the next few sections, we’ll focus on the main characteristics of the NCLEX exam, including when it’s needed, how to apply, and how much it costs.
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What Is the NCLEX Exam?
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is an exam developed to ensure that a person that has obtained a diploma or degree in nursing, has the knowledge and skills to safely enter the job market and start working as a nurse.
This exam is administered using the Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) method, which assesses your true ability level every time you provide an answer, thus reducing the number of easy or difficult questions -according to your own level- you receive.
What Is the Difference Between the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN?
There are two types of the NCLEX exam, the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN, depending on the educational background the person has.
The NCLEX-PN is directed to those who have previously gained a diploma in nursing and wish to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).
The only difference between these two titles is their name.
In California and Texas, the title is LVNs, whereas, in the rest of the country, it’s used LPN.
Regardless of this distinction, the NCLEX-PN exam can be taken to become licensed and start working as a Practical Nurse.
The NCLEX-RN is meant for those who have studied an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and aspire to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
An ADN is a short-term undergraduate degree that usually lasts between a year and a half and two years.
On the other hand, a BSN degree is a long-term undergraduate degree that takes four years to complete studying full-time, and it offers a more detailed and profound understanding of nursing.
As a result, the NCLEX-RN exam is a more extensive test that covers different areas that are not addressed in the NCLEX-PN exam.
What Is the NCSBN?
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a not-for-profit independent organization that develops the NCLEX exams for those who wish to become LPNs or RNs.
It involves diverse nursing regulatory bodies with the aim of supporting them, nurses, and the general public.
What Are the Requirements to Take the NCLEX Exam?
Besides having one of the previously mentioned undergraduate degrees or diplomas, you’ll have to apply first for licensure or registration with the Nursing Regulatory Body (NRB) of the state where you want to work.
Once the NRB has checked your information, you can register to take the NCLEX exam.
In a short time, an Authorization to Take the Test (ATT) will be sent to you by mail, which contains the available centers to take the exam and how to register.
How Do I Prepare for the NCLEX Exam?
One of the best things you can do before graduating is to start practicing for the NCLEX exam.
There are practice tests you can take on the NCSBN website, which can help you become familiar with the overall content and format of the exam.
How Much Does the NCLEX Exam Cost?
The cost of the NCLEX exam is the same for both types of tests, for the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN.
You’ll have to pay a $200 registration fee for candidates seeking a U.S. Licensure.
Other fees might apply depending on your specific case.
If you want to change the exam type or the NRB, you must pay an extra $50, and for international scheduling, there’s an additional fee of $150.
The licensure or registration fee of the NRB is going to vary according to the state where you register.