Can You Take the NCLEX Without Nursing School? The Truth

Discover if taking the NCLEX sans nursing school graduation stands as a viable path. Learn essential eligibility criteria for the NCLEX exam now.

Thinking about becoming a nurse but haven’t gone to nursing school? We’ve got your back! The NCLEX is the big test every nurse in the country needs to pass. It’s been around for a long time, making sure nurses are ready to care for you and your family. We’ll share what you need to take this exam, and if there’s a way to do it without the usual nursing classes. We’re also looking into something new – taking the NCLEX from home. Join us as we explain all about different ways to get your nursing license!

Eligibility Requirements for the NCLEX

If you’re aiming to become a nurse, the NCLEX is a big deal. It’s the test that checks if you’re ready to work safely as a nurse. We’re here to tell you what you need to do before you can take the NCLEX.

Typical Prerequisites for Taking the NCLEX

Here’s what you need to have before you can take the NCLEX:

  • A degree from a nursing school that’s got the thumbs-up from the right people (like the ACEN or CCNE).
  • All your nursing school classes and work finished up.
  • Your nursing school needs to tell the state nursing board that you did all your work.
  • You need to sign up with the NCSBN and pay for the test.

State Board of Nursing Requirements

Different states might ask for different things before you can take the NCLEX. It’s super important to check with your state’s nursing board to see what they need from you. They might want extra classes or checks done before you’re good to go.

Accredited Nursing Program Completion

Going to a nursing school that’s accredited is a must. It’s like a stamp of approval on your education that says you learned what you need to know. This stamp makes sure you can take the NCLEX and shows future bosses you went to a good school.

So, while most folks take the NCLEX after finishing nursing school, there might be special cases where you can take it without a typical nursing degree. But remember, you still have to show you know your stuff to get your nursing license.

Is Next Gen NCLEX Easier?

Can You Take the NCLEX Without a Nursing Degree?

Can You Take the NCLEX Without a Nursing Degree?

Wondering if you can be a nurse without the usual nursing school? Let’s cut to the chase and see how it might work.

Typical Way to the NCLEX

Most nurses go to nursing school, get a degree, and then take the NCLEX. This test checks if they’ve got what it takes to be a nurse.

Other Ways to Get There

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Some nurses from other countries or with lots of healthcare work under their belts might skip nursing school and still take the NCLEX. They need the green light from the nursing bosses in each state, though.

We’ve seen it happen. Nurses from overseas or former military medics have passed the NCLEX without the usual degree. It’s not the norm, but it’s possible.

Rules Matter

Taking shortcuts can be tricky. You’ve got to play by the rules and make sure you’re not stepping on any legal toes. After all, being a nurse is serious business, and everyone wants a nurse they can trust.

The Process of Taking the NCLEX

If you’re aiming to become a nurse, you’ve got to take the NCLEX test. We’re here to guide you through getting signed up and ready for the big day.

Registration and Scheduling

Here’s how to get set for the NCLEX in a few easy steps:

  1. First up, apply for your nursing license with the state’s nursing board. They’ll ask for some paperwork and a fee.
  2. Once they say you’re good to go, you’ll get an Authorization to Test (ATT). That’s your ticket to book the exam.
  3. Next, sign up with Pearson VUE, the folks who run the test. You can do this online or over the phone.
  4. Pick a test date and place that works for you from Pearson VUE’s options.
  5. Pay the test fee—it’s usually around $200.

Identification and Eligibility Verification

Don’t forget your ID on test day. You’ll need something like a passport or driver’s license with your picture and signature. And make sure your name matches the one you signed up with. The nursing board will check you’ve done everything needed to take the test before they give you the ATT.

Test Center Protocols

When it’s test time, here’s what to expect:

  • Show up 30 minutes early to check in. They’ll want to make sure you are who you say you are with fingerprinting and a photo.
  • Leave your stuff in a locker—no phones or bags allowed where the test happens.
  • You’ll get to practice on the computer before you start for real.
  • You have up to six hours to finish the test, and that includes break time.

Whether you went to nursing school or took a different path, everyone has to go through these steps to take the NCLEX. We’ve got your back, making sure you know what to do and where to go so you can walk into that test center ready to tackle the exam. Just remember, it’s all about showing up prepared and keeping it cool on test day.

Can You Take the NCLEX in Any State?

Can You Take the NCLEX at Home?

Right now, the folks in charge of the NCLEX, the NCSBN, say you can’t take the test at home. They made more places to take the test instead and made sure they were safe. It’s best to look at the NCSBN website to get the latest news.

If the NCLEX was ever given at home, they’d have to make sure it was super honest. They would need top-notch tech to watch you take the test and check your ID. It’s got to be as good as what they do at the test centers.


We believe in keeping high standards for nursing education. It’s key for safe care and trusted practice. But we also see the need for different paths to becoming a nurse. The main goal is always to make sure nurses are ready to give the best care.

NCLEX testing might change more in the future. We think it will keep getting better at checking what nurses need to know. It might even offer more flexible ways to test. As it changes, we’ll be here to keep you updated.