Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Louisiana

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Nursing schools have been scrambling to find solutions to the state’s nursing shortage since Hurricane Katrina. After that disaster, several hospitals shut down and some healthcare workers relocated across the border. Although Louisiana is rebuilding its infrastructure and attracting people to move back into the state, applications to the state’s RN programs dropped by eight percent from 2010 to 2014 (a time when more nursing jobs were becoming available), according to a report by the Louisiana Center for Nursing. In the following guide, prospective nursing students can learn the steps to licensure, compare nursing programs head to head, and find out what RNs and advanced practice nurses can earn in Louisiana.

Top 10 Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Louisiana

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  • Methodology


    To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:

    Accredited at the institutional level
    Private nonprofit or public school
    Minimum of 1 bachelor’s or master’s degree in subject area for 4-year schools
    Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools

    Schools were then scored on factors such as:

    Cost & Financial Aid
    Number and variety of program offerings
    Student-teacher ratios
    Graduation rates (4-year schools only)
    Placement and support services offered
    Academic/Career counseling services
    Employment services
    Loan default rates

    These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or “bang for your buck” of a college or degree program.

Top Nursing Schools in Louisiana

4 – Year Colleges

  1. McNeese State University
    Location

    Lake Charles, LA

  2. Southern University and A & M College
    Location

    Baton Rouge, LA

  3. Grambling State University
    Location

    Grambling, LA

  4. University of Louisiana at Lafayette
    Location

    Lafayette, LA

  5. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
    Location

    Natchitoches, LA

  6. Nicholls State University
    Location

    Thibodaux, LA

  7. Southeastern Louisiana University
    Location

    Hammond, LA

  8. Louisiana College
    Location

    Pineville, LA

  9. Louisiana State University-Alexandria
    Location

    Alexandria, LA

  10. Our Lady of the Lake College
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

2 – Year Colleges

  1. Northshore Technical Community College
    Location

    Bogalusa, LA

  2. South Louisiana Community College
    Location

    Lafayette, LA

  3. Fletcher Technical Community College
    Location

    Schriever, LA

  4. Southern University Shreveport
    Location

    Shreveport, LA

  5. Delgado Community College
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

  6. Bossier Parish Community College
    Location

    Bossier City, LA

  7. Baton Rouge Community College
    Location

    Baton Rouge, LA

Applying for a Louisiana Nursing License

Registered nurses who wish to work and practice in the state of Louisiana must apply for licensure through the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. The Board also regulates compliance of nursing and healthcare professionals and ensures that nursing degree programs adhere to high standards. An overview of the state’s licensure process is provided below:

Who Is Eligible for a License?

To be eligible for a nursing license in Louisiana, applicants must graduate from a nursing program approved by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. After earning a degree, nurses must do the following to apply:

  • Mail a notarized application along with a passport photo and $100 for licensure by examination to the board at least 60 days prior to graduating
  • Arrange for official transcripts to be sent directly from the Board-approved school after graduation
  • Register with Pearson VUE, pay the $200 fee to take the NCLEX-RN, and wait for authorization to test (ATT)
  • Undergo a criminal background check by paying $40.75 to be fingerprinted
  • Pass the NCLEX

Those who pass will receive their Louisiana nursing license. Those who fail to pass on the first try have three additional attempts and must pass within four years of graduation to be licensed. However, they must reapply and pay additional testing fees each time.

Practicing RNs who are moving into the state may apply for licensure by endorsement. To receive a license in this manner, nurses must have:

  • A current RN license from another state
  • A diploma or degree from a nursing program that either is approved by the state’s nursing board or meets the state’s educational requirements for nursing programs
  • No disciplinary actions by another state’s regulatory agency

The applicant can then fill out the application and send it with a passport photo and $140.75 to $250.75, depending on whether a temporary permit and quicker fingerprints are needed, to the state board. Forms verifying the information above — licensure, degree status, criminal record and employment status — must also be returned to the board.

How Louisiana Nurses Renew a License

Nursing licenses must be renewed online every year between October and December. The cost is $100 for RNs and $200 for advanced practice RNs (as they must renew both their RN and APRN license). A late fee of 50 percent is levied against January renewals.

Continuing education requirements are updated and published annually. For 2016, full-time nurses are expected to do at least five contact hours. It is the responsibility of individual nurse to meet the requisite contact hours, and the state audits three percent of nurses annually at random to show proof of continuing education. The Board therefore advises nurses to keep records of contact hours for five years.

How to Earn an APRN License in Louisiana

Nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives and registered nurse anesthetists must all be certified as advanced practice registered nurses in Louisiana. APRNs can get a license in the same way as RNs: either by examination or by endorsement.

Licensure by examination includes the following steps:

  • Holding a Louisiana RN license
  • Earning a graduate degree with a concentration in an advanced practice specialty
  • Becoming nationally certified
  • Submitting a notarized application, which also verifies the above information
  • Paying $140.75 fee to apply and have a criminal background check run

Licensure by endorsement is available for APRNs who have already received a license in another state. In addition to the steps above, nurses applying for licensure by endorsement must verify their original and/or current APRN licensure.

Up-to-date details can be found at the Louisiana State Board of Nursing.

LA Nursing Salaries: A Statistical Overview

Registered nursing was the third-most popular job in Louisiana in 2014, with over 40,000 people employed. Due to higher education requirements, there are naturally far fewer APRNs, but the state of Louisiana compensates them highly, with some APRNs — nurse anesthetists, in particular — earning almost as much as certain types of doctors. Take a look at the figures below:

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Louisiana

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner$30.54$63,520
Lake Charles$28.36$58,990
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux$28.02$58,270
Alexandria$28.01$58,250
Baton Rouge$27.50$57,200
Shreveport-Bossier City$27.48$57,160
Natchitoches nonmetropolitan area$27.17$56,510
New Iberia nonmetropolitan area$27.13$56,430
Lafayette$27.11$56,390
Winnsboro nonmetropolitan area$26.44$54,980

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Louisiana vs. National Numbers

YearAnnual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)Annual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)
Registered Nurse$49,440$58,850$70,400$0$54,620$66,640$81,080
Certified Nurse Midwife$0$0$0$0$82,580$96,970$114,090
Nurse Anesthetist$127,820$143,880$162,820$0$132,380$153,780$181,860
Nurse Practitioner$80,500$93,250$110,800$0$82,720$95,350$113,470
TypeLouisianaNational
Registered Nurse40,4602,687,310
Certified Nurse Midwife05,110
Nurse Anesthetist99036,590
Nurse Practitioner1,250122,050
TypeLouisianaNational
Registered Nurse48,6903,238,400
Certified Nurse Midwife407,700
Nurse Anesthetist1,65043,900
Nurse Practitioner2,230147,300
TypeLouisianaNational
Registered Nurse1,820105,260
Certified Nurse Midwife0290
Nurse Anesthetist501,560
Nurse Practitioner805,850

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Louisiana RN Resources

Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners

An affiliate of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, LANP works to support and promote nurse practitioners around the state. The membership, which is comprised of both practicing nurses and students, provides access to workshops, continuing education and financial awards.

Louisiana Association of Student Nurses

Twenty-one schools are members of the Louisiana Association of Student Nurses, which provides scholarships based on both academic success and financial need. LASN also puts several events on its annual calendar, including community fundraisers and a convention.

Louisiana Emergency Nurses Association

The Louisiana Emergency Nurses Association, or LENA, puts out timely topic briefs on illness outbreaks, conducts review sessions for certified emergency nurses and gives out annual scholarships and research grants.

Louisiana State Board of Nursing

In addition to facilitating licensure, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, through its Louisiana Center for Nursing wing publishes comprehensive statistics on the state’s workforce and student body. It also links new nurses to an online career center.

Louisiana State Nurses Association

The American Nurses Association’s branch in Lousiana, LSNA provides its members with continuing education opportunities. Members’ fees go in part to funding LSNA’s legislative advocacy work — the association even has its own political action committee to fund local and state candidates.

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