How To Become a Nurse in Louisiana: Step-by-Step Guide

To become a nurse in Louisiana, you need to complete an approved nursing program, pass the NCLEX exam, and obtain licensure from the Louisiana State Board of Nursing.

Nurses are courageous heroes on the frontlines of healthcare, selflessly providing compassionate care and support to patients. They serve as the very foundation of the medical system, ensuring the well-being and recovery of individuals in need. If you have a deep passion for helping others and dream of pursuing a rewarding nursing career in Louisiana, it’s time to become acquainted with the Louisiana Board of Nursing and unlock the doors to your future as a compassionate caregiver. Read on as we delve deeper into the essential steps you need to take to embark on this fulfilling journey and guide you through the licensing requirements specific to Louisiana.



Nursing, akin to the mighty presence of the Mississippi River, serves as a vital lifeline for the people of Louisiana. Just as the river flows through the heart of the state, nurses lie at the core of the healthcare system, effortlessly linking patients to the vital care they need. Similar to the river’s adaptable currents traversing varied terrains, nurses navigate through diverse medical situations, skillfully adjusting and providing essential care. Both nursing and the Mississippi River are indispensable to Louisiana’s vitality, playing a critical role in promoting community health and resilience.

What Is the Louisiana State Board of Nursing?

The Louisiana State Board of Nursing is a governmental regulatory body tasked with upholding laws that govern the nursing field, monitoring nursing performance, and safeguarding the public against any potential negligence in the execution of nursing duties. The Board serves as a valuable resource for nurses, offering guidance, assistance, and training to help them carry out their responsibilities effectively. 

The board’s main objective is to enhance nursing education, practice, and the workforce within the state. They achieve this by:

  • Collaborating with stakeholders to develop the future nursing workforce.
  • Supporting the Health Policy Consortium, which comprises nursing specialty groups, in educating legislators about nursing initiatives.
  • Taking a leadership role in the creation of a comprehensive statewide strategic plan to address the nursing shortage, which significantly affects the health outcomes of Louisiana citizens.
  • Collaborating with healthcare facilities and employers across the state to establish nursing practice environments that are appealing to and retain nurses, particularly in areas with the greatest need.
  • Expanding outreach efforts to educate individuals who influence nursing-related matters.
  • Strengthening positive relationships with legislative leaders on healthcare issues.
  • Ensuring the prompt processing of licensure applications within designated timeframes.

How To Become a Registered Nurse in Louisiana


Louisiana presents excellent opportunities for healthcare professionals seeking employment in the state. The demand for healthcare services is high, providing a range of options for those interested in pursuing a nursing career. Let’s delve into the steps involved in becoming a nurse in Louisiana.

Earn a degree in nursing

In Louisiana, as an aspiring nurse, you can pursue two main pathways: 

Regardless of the chosen pathway, the first step focuses on education. To become an LPN you need at least a diploma in practical nursing through an approved educational program. However, if you want to become a registered nurse, then you need to complete an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from a board-approved program in order to gain a more comprehensive education in more advanced nursing topics.

Pass the NCLEX-RN

The next crucial step is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). LPNs must complete the NCLEX-PN exam, whereas aspiring RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. In both cases, the purpose of the NCLEX exam is to assess the knowledge and skills of individuals seeking nursing licensure, ensuring they are capable of providing safe and effective patient care. Thus, passing the exam demonstrates readiness to practice nursing and is required for licensure in most states.

Gain experience

Lastly, you need to gain experience as you pursue a nursing career in Louisiana, as it will allow you to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings, develop clinical skills, and understand patient care. Furthermore, the experience will help build your confidence and adaptability working in healthcare.

Getting Your Nursing License in Louisiana


You must apply for licensure through the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. To be eligible for licensure, you must first:

  • Graduate from an approved nursing program.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN exam within four attempts and four years of graduation.
  • Have no pending disciplinary action or charges.
  • Demonstrate English language proficiency.
  • Possess a U.S. Social Security Number.

You can apply online for licensure here, and some of the application requirements include:

  • Completing the application, paying fees, and submitting the required documents.
  • Sending the notarized Affidavit of Verification to the LSBN office.
  • Undergoing a criminal background check (CBC).
  • Providing a valid government-issued photo ID.
  • Registering with Pearson VUE if you haven’t taken the NCLEX-RN exam yet.

Renewing Your Nursing License in Louisiana

Louisiana nursing licenses are initially issued on a calendar year basis, and subsequent renewals occur every two years. You can renew your license through the Nurse Portal account. The renewal fee is $61.08.

It is essential to renew your license before the expiration date in order to keep it active. The renewal period is from October 1st to December 31st. Late renewals after December 31st incur a $50.00 fee. Licenses not renewed online by January 31st automatically expire. If you miss the renewal deadline, your license becomes inactive, and you can apply for reinstatement with a fee of $162.88.

How Long Does It Take To Become an RN in Louisiana?

The duration of becoming a nurse in Louisiana varies based on the chosen educational path. Opting for a diploma or associate degree program typically takes two to three years, while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing generally requires four years of study. After completing the educational program, passing the NCLEX-RN exam is necessary to obtain a registered nurse license, which may take some additional weeks. In total, the process of becoming an RN in Louisiana can span from two to four years, contingent upon the chosen educational route and successful fulfillment of licensing criteria.

Salary and Job Prospects for RNs in Louisiana

RNs in Louisiana can expect competitive salaries and promising job prospects. On average, RNs in the state earn around $86,399 per year, although this can vary depending on factors like experience, specialization, and location. Furthermore, the demand for healthcare services in Louisiana is steady, as data from Long-Term Occupational Projections for 2020-2030 estimate a 1.8% increase in job outlook with 2,270 new job openings per year.

Top-paying cities for RNs in Louisiana


Some areas in Louisiana are known to have higher salary ranges for nurses due to factors such as larger healthcare systems, higher demand for healthcare services, and higher cost of living. Some of the top-paying cities include:

  • New Orleans, with $121,452 per year
  • Lake Charles, with $86,638 per year
  • Covington, with $81,050 per year
  • Monroe, with $80,861 per year
  • West Monroe, with $77,620 per year
  • Alexandria, with $76,014 per year
  • Lafayette, with $74,538 per year
  • Hammond, with $73,976 per year
  • Shreveport, with $73,273 per year

Wrapping Up

All in all, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing plays a vital role in regulating the nursing field, ensuring the safety and competence of nurses while also supporting their professional growth. They are also the ones who can license you as a nurse after you complete the required education and pass the NCLEX exam. Overall, the state offers promising job prospects for nurses, with a steady demand for healthcare services and projected job openings in the coming years.

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