Wisconsin Nursing License
The Wisconsin Board of Nursing is responsible for monitoring the practice of nursing in the state, allowing nurses to earn the necessary associates degree in nursing along with their Wisconsin nursing license, both of which are required to practice in the state
Most of the rules, laws and regulations monitored by the board fall under the auspices of the Department of Safety and Professional Service (DSPS). These laws and regulations are written and voted on by the legislative and executive branches in the state.
To avoid what the Board refers to as the “graduate crunch,” students are advised to file their license application at least six weeks in advance of testing. If requested, a temporary permit will be issued at the same time they receive the notice to test before taking the NCLEX-RN exam. This permit is issued for 90 days, and it allows them to work as a graduate nurse before they pass the exam.
If a retake of the NCLEX-RN is necessary, a period of 45 days is required before retesting can take place.
RNs can also apply for a license by endorsement, which requires applicants to provide license verification from any and all states where they have previously held licenses. Candidates for endorsement include any RN holding a current license in a US state or jurisdiction or in a Canadian province, provided they have also passed the NCLEX or the SBTPE.
Starting in 2013, the DSPS began a pilot program called the Online Licensure Application System (OLAS) to simplify the licensing process and minimize paperwork. Beginning in January 2014, this system was made available to both RNs and LPNs, allowing them to apply for licenses and pay fees online.
Only new nursing graduates who are applying for examination with a degree from a school participating in OLAS are eligible to complete the application process online. OLAS is not designed to renew or reinstate a license previously issued or held in Wisconsin.
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In order to qualify for a license, Wisconsin applicants must be at least 18 and they must have completed at least two years of high school or its equivalent. They must also graduate from an accredited school for LPNs that has been approved by the Wisconsin board.
In addition, they must register for and take the NCLEX-PN exam. The exam is administered by Pearson Vue and costs $200, along with a separate $90 application fee.
Once they complete the exam, they can get a temporary permit that allows them to practice practical nursing under the direct supervision of an RN until their license is granted.
The temporary permit is valid for either three months, or until the holder has received notice of failure of the examination. For hardship cases, a temporary permit may be renewed once for a period of three months.
Like many states, Wisconsin is facing a critical nursing shortage, which means that RNs who have passed the NCLEX-RN and have at least an associates degree in nursing will have solid employment prospects. The average annual salary in the state is just over $64K, though, which is relatively low in the national rankings.
A list of schools that offer an associates degree in nursing includes Blackhawk Technical College, Bryant & Stratton College, Herzing University, and Lakeshore Technical College. A complete list of schools can be found at http://www.bestnursingdegree.com/programs/associate-degree-nursing/#wisconsin.
In addition to the previously described programs, LPNs can access a variety of entry level programs specifically designed for their profession. A partial list of schools offering this option includes Fox Valley Technical College, the College of Menominee Nation, Madison Area Technical College and Milwaukee Area Technical College.
A complete list of schools offering this type of program can be found at http://www.bestnursingdegree.com/programs/practical-vocational-nursing/#wisconsin.
Salary and Career Info
The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of Wisconsin licensed nurse compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Because of the acute nursing shortage in Wisconsin, the RN-to-BSN path is highly encouraged by the state. Over 57 percent of the RNs working in public or community health settings having a BSN, and the state would like to see that percentage grow and see more nurses in other specialty areas earn a BSN.
The state offers a variety of programs. Schools offering the BSN-to-RN path include Carroll University, Columbia College of Nursing, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the University of Wisconsin at multiple locations (Eau Claire, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Oshkosh).
A full list of schools offering this degree can be found at http://www.bestnursingdegree.com/programs/rn-to-bsn/wisconsin/.