Because of the state's smaller size and population, Rhode Island offers fewer nursing programs than larger states; however, there are still quality options for those interested in this field. Individuals considering a career as a nurse, as well as current RNs who are looking for advancement, can take advantage of a handful of nursing programs that have been approved by Rhode Island’s Department of Health. Review the list of schools and programs below to find an option that meets all your criteria.
Tuition for in-state undergrads at the campus location
|Acceptance Rate||Student Population||School Type||Nursing Programs|
Newport, Rhode Island
Kingston, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Warwick, Rhode Island
East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Licensing of nurses in Rhode Island is handled by the Nurse Registration and Nursing Education Board, which is part of the state’s Department of Health. The Board manages all things related to nursing licenses and is also responsible for setting and evaluating the standards for nursing education programs.
Applying for an RI License
- Complete mandated education requirements, which include graduating from an approved nursing program
- Apply for licensure by exam or by endorsement with the Rhode Island Nurse Registration and Nursing Education Board and send check or money order for $135 to the RI General Treasurer
- Have official transcripts sent directly to the Board by the nursing school (licensure by exam only)
- Apply to NCSBN to take the NCLEX. After the Board has received all application requirements, the applicant will be eligible to take the exam (licensure by exam only).
- Show proof of residency via copies of a driver’s license, tax return or lease
- Submit to a national background check administered by the Department of the Attorney General
- If applying for a multistate license via a state in the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), nurses must obtain a nursing license in that state. If their home state is not an NLC state, they must apply for a single-state license in Rhode Island. License verification is required.
Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements
Registered nurses practicing in Rhode Island must renew their licenses every two years. The process includes showing proof of completing 10 continuing education hours. One continuing education unit is the same as 10 continuing education hours and one CE hour is the same as one contact hour. CE requirements can be taken online or live, but must be approved by the Rhode Island State Nurse Association, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, an approved nursing school, or other recognized professional nursing association. The Board advises renewal applicants to keep record of completed CEs for four years.
If a nurse can show hardship, he or she may be able to request a six-month extension for meeting CE requirements. Licenses may be renewed either online or by mailing in a paper form, although those renewing online are required to pay a small online processing fee. The cost for renewing a license varies by certification type.
License Application for APRNs
In the state of Rhode Island, there are 13 areas of advanced practice nursing that require licensure. In addition to meeting the same requirements of a registered nurse, APRNs must also meet advanced mandates, including:
- Graduate from an approved graduate education program in the specialty of choice
- Submit an application, $145 application fee and a recent passport-type photo
- Have an official transcripts sent directly from the educational program to the Board
- Have a letter of certification sent directly from a professional certifying organization to the Board
- Complete an Affidavit of Applicant and have the form properly notarized
- If the applicant has an active out-of-state APRN license, a photocopy of this license must be attached to the application
- Apply for a Rhode Island Uniformed Controlled Substances Act Registration (CSR) and pay the required $200 fee to the RI General Treasurer
- Request to have a national background check, with fingerprints, and a state background check sent directly to the Board of Nursing
For more information about advanced practice nursing in Rhode Island, including application forms, instructions, and regulations, visit the Rhode Island Department of Health.
In addition to boasting one of the top salaries in the country for nurses, Rhode Island is also in the top rankings for the number of nurses per 100,000 residents. Diver deeper into the state’s registered nursing field by reviewing the salary and employment numbers below.
Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Rhode Island
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|Providence-Fall River-Warwick RI-MA||$36.25||$75,410|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Rhode Island vs. National Numbers
- Rhode Island
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central
This statewide coalition is the coordinating body for implementing the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for creating a safer workforce and environment for nurses.
The Nurse Registration and Nursing Education Board handles all nurse licensing in the state and provides information for those seeking licensure and renewal.
The Organization of Nurse Leaders is a nonprofit that advocates for the advancement of professional nursing, promotes quality patient care, and influences the development of health care polices in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
As a constituent member of the American Nurses Association, RISNA is a professional membership association and advocacy group for nurses in Rhode Island.
The Student Nurses’ Association of Rhode Island is the state branch of the National Student Nurses’ Association and provides networking, community outreach and support services to student nurses in Rhode Island.