The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a crucial step for African nurses who wish to practice nursing in the United States. It is a standardized examination that assesses the competencies required to provide safe and effective nursing care. Understanding the NCLEX process for African nurses is essential to achieving success in launching a nursing career in the US.

Foreign-educated nurses must go through a series of steps before becoming eligible to take the NCLEX exam. This includes determining eligibility, applying to a State Board of Nursing (BON), and obtaining a credential evaluation. Additionally, proper examination preparation is essential, as passing the NCLEX is a requirement for obtaining a nursing license to practice in the US.

Key Takeaways

  • African nurses must understand the NCLEX process to practice nursing in the US
  • Steps include determining eligibility, applying to a State BON, and obtaining a credential evaluation
  • Proper exam preparation is vital for passing the NCLEX and obtaining a nursing license.

Overview of the NCLEX Process

The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a standardized exam taken by nurses to obtain their nursing license in the United States, Canada, or Australia. For African nurses seeking to work abroad, the NCLEX process involves several steps, which include determining eligibility, registering, and preparing for the test.

The first step in the process is determining eligibility. Nurses must have graduated from an approved nursing program and meet the requirements of the specific state’s Board of Nursing (BON) they are applying to. It is essential to research the requirements and gather necessary documentation, such as educational transcripts and proof of licensure or registration in their home country.

Next, nurses should register for the NCLEX through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website. The registration process typically includes:

  1. Creating an account on the NCSBN website
  2. Filling out the necessary personal and professional information
  3. Paying the exam fee (approximately $200)

After registering, nurses need to apply for licensure or registration with their chosen state’s BON. This process includes submitting an application and supporting documentation, such as fingerprints, a criminal background check, and an English language proficiency test result. Nurses should contact the BON for specific requirements and application timelines as these may vary between states.

Once the BON approves the application, nurses will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) email, which allows them to schedule their NCLEX exam with Pearson VUE, the testing agency. The examination can be anywhere from 85 to 150 items, depending on the candidate’s performance and the selected test plan.

To maximize success, it is vital that nurses prepare for the NCLEX. Numerous resources are available, including online review courses, practice exams, and study materials. A well-rounded preparation plan should include:

  • Content review (medical-surgical nursing, pharmacology, maternity nursing, etc)
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Time management tips
  • Practice questions and exams

In summary, the NCLEX process for African nurses involves determining eligibility, registering with the NCSBN, applying for licensure or registration with their chosen state’s BON, preparing for the exam, and finally, taking the NCLEX test. Understanding and following this process will ensure a smoother journey towards a nursing career in the United States, Canada, or Australia.

Eligibility Criteria for African Nurses

Education Requirements

African nurses aspiring to take the NCLEX must ensure that their nursing education meets the standards set by the chosen State Board of Nursing. This typically involves completing an approved nursing program and being a graduate of a nursing school that is equivalent to those in the United States, including meeting clinical practice requirements. Individual state boards may have specific educational requirements, so it’s essential to research and verify the requirements for the desired state.

Licensure and Registration

Before applying for the NCLEX, African nurses must submit an application for licensure to their chosen state’s Board of Nursing. The application form and fee will vary from state to state. The purpose of this application is to determine eligibility for the NCLEX-RN examination. After submitting the application, nurses should wait for the eligibility letter from the state board before proceeding to the next steps.

It is important to note that some states may require additional examinations, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), to demonstrate English proficiency.

Visa and Immigration Requirements

African nurses intending to work in the United States must fulfill visa and immigration requirements. The most common visa for nursing professionals is the H-1B visa, but other options include the TN visa (for eligible Canadian and Mexican nationals) and the E-3 visa (for eligible Australian nationals). To obtain a visa, candidates might need to prepare documentation, such as:

  • A valid passport
  • Completed visa application form
  • Visa application fee payment receipt
  • Recent passport-sized photograph

Additionally, an employer in the United States must file a petition on their behalf. Once the petition is approved, the nurse can apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. It is essential to check the U.S. embassy or consulate website in one’s home country for specific visa requirements and processes.

Application Procedure

Submitting Credentials

For African nurses entering the NCLEX process, the first step is to check their eligibility based on their educational background. The nursing education must meet the standards set by the chosen State Board of Nursing, typically involving the completion of an approved nursing program. Foreign nurses must also meet English language proficiency requirements. Applicants should begin the application process at least six months in advance to address any potential issues during the process.

Once the eligibility requirements are confirmed, nurses need to submit required documents, including their nursing diplomas, nursing licenses or certificates, and English language proficiency test scores, if applicable. It is essential to ensure that all documents are accurate and up-to-date to prevent delays in the application process.

Scheduling the Examination

Upon approval from the State Board of Nursing, applicants will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) code. This code allows them to schedule the NCLEX examination, which is administered through Pearson VUE testing centers. Applicants must schedule their exam within the validity dates of the ATT, typically within 90 days. Below is a list of key steps for scheduling the NCLEX:

  1. Create a Pearson VUE account
  2. Receive ATT code via email
  3. Choose a testing center and select a preferred exam date
  4. Confirm the exam date within the ATT validity period

Fee Payment

The NCLEX examination requires payment of an application fee, which varies depending on the specific State Board of Nursing. Some boards may also require additional fees for the licensure registration and international processing. Below are the potential fees involved in the NCLEX application process:

  • NCLEX examination fee: Typically around $200
  • Licensure registration fee: Dependent on the chosen State Board of Nursing
  • International processing and evaluation fee: May be required for foreign-educated nurses

Applicants should verify the exact fees and payment methods required by the chosen State Board of Nursing and ensure that all payments are submitted promptly to avoid delays in the application process.

Examination Preparation

Study Resources

It is essential for African nurses to plan their NCLEX preparation thoroughly. Utilize online resources and study guides designed for the Next Gen NCLEX-RN Exam, as these will help you become familiar with the exam format and content. Some options to consider include NCLEX-RN Exam Prep & Practice and Nclex Test Prep – Master the Next Gen NCLEX, which offer practice tests, courses, and video tutorials.

In addition to online resources, seek out books and printed materials specifically tailored for the NCLEX exam. These will help you strengthen your nursing knowledge and assist in identifying areas that require improvement. Creating a study plan and committing to a study schedule is crucial for staying organized and ensuring you cover all the necessary topics before the exam.

  • Online Resources
    • NCLEX-RN Exam Prep & Practice
    • Nclex Test Prep – Master the Next Gen NCLEX
  • Books and Printed Materials
    • Study guides
    • Test-prep books

Test-Taking Strategies

Developing effective test-taking strategies is just as important as studying the content. Here are some tips to help you excel during the examination:

  1. Understand the format: The Next Gen NCLEX-RN Exam uses a mix of multiple-choice questions and alternate-format items. Ensure that you are familiar with the question types and know how to answer them appropriately.
  2. Time management: Properly allocate your time during the exam to answer all questions. It is advisable to spend no more than a minute on each question, so you can complete the exam within the allotted timeframe.
  3. Practice questions: Regularly attempt practice questions to sharpen your problem-solving skills and increase your confidence in tackling various question types.
  4. Elimination technique: Use the process of elimination when unsure of an answer. Rule out the clearly incorrect options first, then analyze the remaining choices.
  5. Stay calm: Maintain composure during the exam and avoid panicking. Anxiety can hinder your ability to think clearly and recall information, so practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing if needed.

By combining a thorough understanding of study resources with effective test-taking strategies, African nurses will be better prepared for the NCLEX exam. Dedication, consistency, and effort are key to achieving success in this important examination.

Taking the NCLEX Exam

Exam Format

The NCLEX Exam is a computer-adaptive testing (CAT) format, which tailors the test to each candidate’s abilities. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions with four possible answers. There are also alternate item types such as multiple response, fill-in-the-blank, and hot spot questions. The minimum number of questions is 75, and the maximum is 145. The time allowed for completing the exam is 6 hours, including breaks.

On The Day of the Test

On the day of the test, it is essential to arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment time. Bring a valid, government-issued identification card with a recent photograph and signature. Electronic devices, personal belongings, and study materials are not allowed in the test center.

Before starting the exam, candidates are given a brief tutorial to familiarize themselves with the test format. It is recommended to take advantage of this tutorial, as it helps answer questions efficiently. During the exam, candidates can use the provided earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if they find the testing environment too noisy.

It is crucial to manage time effectively during the test since there is a maximum of 6 hours for answering questions. Candidates should pace themselves, answer questions confidently, and not spend too much time on any single question. Breaks are allowed but will count against the total test time.

Results and Licensure

Receiving Scores

After taking the NCLEX, every candidate’s exam is scored twice for quality control: once by the computer at the test center and again after the exam record has been transmitted to Pearson VUE1. The official results are sent to candidates only through their respective nursing regulatory body (NRB) within six weeks1. It is important to note that unofficial results from Quick Result Service do not authorize a candidate to practice as a licensed nurse2.

Licensure Issuance

The process of obtaining a nursing license in the United States for foreign nurses requires passing the NCLEX. However, the State Board of Nursing (BON) to which a candidate applies can impact the timing of their journey3.

Please consider the following steps for African nurses seeking licensure:

  1. Apply to the desired State Board of Nursing (BON).
  2. Register and pay for the NCLEX with Pearson VUE3.
  3. Pass the NCLEX.
  4. Complete any additional requirements as requested by the BON2.

It is essential to know that not all Nursing Boards will grant a license immediately after passing the NCLEX exam. Some states may ask candidates to complete a license application before they issue a license2.


  1. Results | NCLEX. Accessed from  2
  2. How to apply for NCLEX Exam if you are a Registered Nurse located in Africa. Accessed from  2 3
  3. NCLEX Process, Preparation and Requirements for Foreign Nurses. Accessed from  2

Employment Opportunities in the US

Job Search Strategies

For African nurses seeking employment opportunities in the US, it is essential to be familiar with the requirements and processes involved. Firstly, foreign nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) exam, which is a standardized test used to assess their competence and ensure patient safety. To begin the process, candidates must have their credentials evaluated by organizations such as the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

Once the NCLEX requirements are met, there are various job search strategies that can be employed. Some key strategies include:

  • Networking: Connect with fellow nurses, healthcare professionals, and alumni through social media platforms and professional organizations.
  • Job Boards: Utilize specialized healthcare job boards as well as general job boards like Indeed or Glassdoor.
  • Recruitment Agencies: Several agencies specialize in assisting foreign nurses in finding employment in the US. Examples include SWA Nursing Recruitment, ASMCI USA, CareerKnacks International Nursing Recruiters, and Cross Country Nurses.

Workplace Integration

Successfully transitioning into the US workforce as a foreign nurse might appear daunting. However, there are steps that can be taken to ease the process and promote a smooth workplace integration:

  1. Licensing and Certifications: Ensure all necessary licenses and certifications, such as the NCLEX and language proficiency exams (IELTS or TOEFL), are up to date.
  2. Cultural Competence: Familiarizing oneself with the American healthcare system, policies, procedures, and cultural norms will aid in a smoother workplace experience.
  3. Continuing Education: Pursue further education and training, which can lead to professional development, networking opportunities, and a deeper understanding of the US nursing landscape.
  4. Communication Skills: Having strong communication skills is vital in the nursing field. Developing these skills will significantly impact work relationships and patient care quality.
  5. Support Networks: Build connections with fellow African nurses and seek out mentors in the profession to share experiences, provide guidance, and assist throughout the adaptation process.

In summary, finding employment and integrating into the US nursing workforce involves a combination of meeting necessary requirements and employing proactive job search strategies. By focusing on critical factors such as professional certifications and networking, African nurses can facilitate their entry into the American nursing landscape while fostering workplace integration and long-term success.

Continuing Education and Career Growth

After passing the NCLEX, African nurses often seek opportunities for further education and career advancementContinuing education is crucial for professional growth, as it helps nurses to stay updated with the latest practices and advances in the healthcare industry. In addition, obtaining higher qualifications not only improves their skill set but also increases their potential for a successful and fulfilling career in nursing.

There are various ways for African nurses to pursue continuing education:

  1. NCLEX Review Courses: Institutions such as Vamos NCLEX and NCLEX Nairobi provide online NCLEX preparation programs dedicated to African nursing aspirants. These courses equip nurses with valuable knowledge and resources to excel in their field.
  2. Advanced degree programs: Nurses can choose to pursue higher education in specialized nursing fields, such as Critical Care, Pediatrics, or Family Nurse Practitioner. Earning a Master’s or Doctorate degree in nursing can lead to increased career growth opportunities.
  3. Certifications: Earning professional certifications in niche areas, such as Oncology Nursing, Geriatric Nursing, or Informatics Nursing, can help nurses stand out in the job market and advance their careers.
  4. Professional associations and conferences: Joining nursing organizations and attending workshops or conferences allows professionals to network, seek mentorship, and gain insights into the latest trends and best practices within the industry.

In addition to the above opportunities, nurses can also consider participating in research projects, publishing articles in nursing journals, and volunteering in underprivileged communities to enrich their experience and strengthen their resumes.

In conclusion, a diverse range of continuing education options are available to African nurses with the determination and passion to further their careers after passing the NCLEX. By leveraging these resources, nurses can not only advance their skill sets but also contribute to the growth and development of the healthcare industry on a global scale.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


© 2024 Nurse Penpal. All rights Reserved.


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account