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Become a Registered Nurse in Washington, D.C.

How to Become an RN in Washington, D.C.

Registered nurses in the District of Columbia are subject to the rules and regulations set forth by the District of Columbia Board of Nursing.  There are two means by which to apply for licensure in the District of Columbia.  The first is by examination, while the second is by endorsement.  Both routes will require an initial licensure fee. 

The endorsement route is used by nurses who have previously been practicing in another jurisdiction and now with to practice in the District of Columbia.  While no transcript is required when applying for licensure by endorsement, the applicant must submit his/her previous license with a verification of a passing score on the NCLEX or SBTPE examinations.

When applying for licensure by examination, the applicant must submit a completed application, along with transcripts from one of the approved online or campus based Washington, DC RN programs.  The applicant must then complete and pass the state licensure examination.  If the applicant does not pass the examination on the first try, the applicant may retake the examination.  While less than the initial application, there is still a cost associated with a retake of the exam.

Department of Health
Health Professional Licensing Administration
Board of Nursing
717 14th Street, NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 1-877-672-2174
Fax: (202) 727-8471
Email: hpla.doh@dc.gov

Professional Associations for Nurses in the District of Columbia

American Nurses Association (ANA) – The American Nurses Association is a national organization that focuses on several areas of the nursing profession.  The first area of concentration is advancing the nursing profession.  Another area of focus is the betterment of the nursing profession through continuing education in order to improve the health care of the nation.  In addition, the ANA also offers various networking and career opportunities.

Black Nurses Association of Greater Washington – A chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, the BNA of GWDCA was chartered in 1975, and continues to thrive today.  The mission of this organization is “Empowering the Community through Education, Service and Caring.”  Benefits of membership in this organization include networking opportunities, subscription to the national newsletter and the national journal, DC area community service, and scholarship opportunities, among others.


According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, registered nurses are the single largest group of healthcare providers in the nation, totaling over 2.5 million as of May 2008.  In the District of Columbia alone, with a population of approximately 600,000 people, there are over 9,000 nurses.  Despite this large number, the BLS reports a 22% projected growth in the number of jobs over the next ten years, much higher than projected growth in all industries.
Though 60% of nurses are employed in the hospital setting, registered nurses are involved in very diverse roles and in very diverse settings.  Nurses work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, school districts, health departments, and the list goes on and on.  They are involved in such activities as taking patient medical histories, educating patients on their diseases and how to manage them, developing infection control policies and other educational programming, as well as other patient care activities.

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