Can I Take The NCLEX Without Any Hospital Experience?

Can I Take The NCLEX Without Any Hospital Experience?

If you are looking to take the NCLEX, you need to understand the requirements for this exam. The NCLEX, which stands for the National Council Licensure Examination, is the standardized test nurses need to pass to become certified in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The NCLEX can refer to two separate tests. One of these tests certifies nurses as licensed practical nurses (LPN), and the other certifies test takers as registered nurses (RN).

One of the central questions regarding this exam is: Can I take the NCLEX without hospital experience? The answer is it depends. In some states, you can take this exam without hospital experience as long as you’ve completed a nursing program. However, other states require recent nursing experience. We recommend reaching out to your home state’s board of nursing to identify the requirements. 

Why Do You Not Need Hospital Experience?

You don’t need real-world hospital experience to take the NCLEX but you do need a completed nursing degree. Before receiving your nursing degree, you’ll be required to attend and pass nursing school clinicals. Both the degree and clinicals are part of the NCLEX requirements.

  • What are Nursing School Clincals? - Nursing school clinicals are supervised periods where nursing students can practice and observe care under the direction of a nursing educator, instructor, or registered nurse. These clinical hours allow students to observe general bedside care and gain experience interacting with patients in the nursing field. Although clinicals differ from gaining hospital experience, these sessions are an excellent way for students to practice hands-on care in a safe and secure environment. While school and classes are important for nurses, observing real clinical work is a great way to learn more about your chosen career path and day-to-day work.

Real-world experience is also essential for international nurses looking to work in the U.S. If you are a registered international nurse who passed the NCLEX but has never worked in the U.S., Health Carousel International can help. We have an online residency program available to registered international nurses looking to prepare for work in the U.S. Our online program includes 6 months of offshore virtual learning followed by 6 months of onshore virtual learning after the candidate has worked for 6 months in the U.S. at an assignment location.

The HCI Clinical Residency Program is a great opportunity for international nurses with completed education from foreign nursing schools looking to gain U.S. experience. This program helps nurses enhance their skills, learn more about their future workplace, and work toward achieving their goals.

Do Clinicals Count as Work Experience?

If you are considering nursing school or are a current student, it’s important not to confuse clinicals with real work experience. While clinicals provide a comprehensive look into daily work as a nurse, they do not count as work experience. Clinicals are an educational requirement for students to prepare them for a successful nursing career.

How Do I Register for the NCLEX?

If you’ve completed your nursing license education and are ready to take the next step, it’s time to register for the NCLEX. To do so, test takers can register online through the Pearson VUE website. You’ll need to create a username and password on the website before registering. Be prepared to pay your testing fee and provide information about your nursing education.

If you prefer to register on the phone, you can contact Pearson VUE candidate services to set up your exam date. Whichever way you register, take note of your testing date and location, so you’re fully prepared for the exam. If you cannot make your test date, you must give proper cancellation notice at least 24 hours before the scheduled time. 

About Health Carousel International

Health Carousel International is committed to helping healthcare organizations find remedies to understaffing by placing qualified international candidates in suitable nursing jobs. In addition to our work with healthcare organizations, we invest significantly in healthcare professionals and guide them to find suitable work in the U.S. 

We understand that finding work in the U.S. as an international nurse can feel overwhelming, which is why we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about taking the next step in your nursing career.


Do you need a nursing degree to take the NCLEX exam?

To take the NCLEX-RN, you’ll need a four-year nursing degree from an accredited program. To take the NCLEX-PN, you’ll need to complete a related diploma program or certificate course. Some of these course options are only one year long.

How many times can you take NCLEX examinations?

You can take the NCLEX up to 8 times a year. This number accounts for a 45-day waiting period between each test date.

How soon can you register for the NCLEX if you don’t pass?

If you fail the NCLEX, you’ll need to wait 45 days before registering again. 

January 30, 2023
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