In order to receive your license as a practical or registered nurse, you must pass the appropriate National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
The NCLEX-PN, for practical nurses, is taken after completion of a yearlong nursing program. The NCLEX-RN, for registered nurses, is taken after you have received a degree or diploma from an approved registered nursing program.
Both exams are administered by state and territorial boards of nursing and measure the knowledge and skills required of either practical or registered nurses. To qualify to take either exam, you must apply for licensure in your state/territory, meet local eligibility requirements, and register for the test.