You need to take the NCLEX to get your nursing licensure and work as a nurse.
The road to the NCLEX is long and difficult. But does that always have to begin with a nursing degree? Here’s the answer.
Can I Take the NCLEX Without a Nursing Degree?
You can take the NCLEX without passing a nursing program if you challenge the NCLEX. Other than that, you must either pass an LPN program, get an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN, ASN, AAS), a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), or pass one of the few remaining diploma programs in the country.
What is Challenging the NCLEX?
Challenging the NCLEX is an option a handful of states have that allow you to take the NCLEX-PN exam part ways through your RN program.
As far as I know there’s a handful of states that have this option and it’s actually something I did when I was in nursing school.
I wrote more about it in the article “Can You Take the NCLEX-PN Exam During Your RN Program?“
I also talk about it on my YouTube channel in the video below.
You Have to Get a nursing Degree to Take the NCLEX
There’s no way around it. Unless you’re in a handful of states, you have to graduate from an accredited nursing program to sit for the NCLEX.
If you want to sit for the NCLEX-PN, you must pass an accredited LPN nursing school.
If you want to sit for the NCLEX-RN, you have to pass an accredited RN nursing school. Plain and simple.
There is one exception to this, and I don’t really think it’s that much of an exception.
There are a handful of diploma nursing programs in the country. If you get into one of those diploma programs and complete the program, you can sit for the NCLEX.
I say it’s not much of an exception because you would still have to pass a nursing program.
The only difference is that you’re not really earning any college credits in a diploma program.
Therefore if you decide to go back and become an advanced practice registered nurse, you wouldn’t have any college credits to apply to that degree.
Have You Read These Yet?
- Can I Take the NCLEX Without Studying?
- Is it a Bad Sign to Get an NCLEX with No Math Questions?
- I Failed the NCLEX 10 Times: Now What?
- What Does the Bad Pop Up On NCLEX Mean?
- Can I Apply For the NCLEX During Nursing School?
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions related to can you take the NCLEX without a nursing degree.
How can I register to take the Nclex for lvn in California. I have completed the nursing school, but I didn’t pass the exit exam. The school want 10,000 up front to take my exit exam again. That’s just too much money and I’m paying for my student loan. I thought that was messed up. What step should I take to register for NCLEX for lvn nursing in California?
Hey MA, I’m sorry to hear about your situation.
Unfortunately, you might have to pay the money since, as far as I know, the school has to release your information to the board of nursing for you to be eligible to sit for boards.
I could be mistaken. I would reach out to the California Board of Nursing and see what they say.
I wish you the best of luck.
Your answer to that question was incorrect. You can sit for your boards without a degree. There are several states in the country that will let you challenge Your LPN boards. Florida Massachusetts and Vermont are few. If you attended an accredited BSN program and you completed up to the third semester, that would be prior to going into your last semester of your senior year in a BSN program, you would be eligible to sit for your LPN boards and a handful of states in the country. I know because that’s how I achieved my LPN License. I have been a license practical nurse for 26 years.
This is technically true. I already have an article about the topic of challenging the NCLEX. I didn’t think about this when I was writing this particular article since so few states even have this as an option, and the few that do can make it hard to find the information on their website. Thank you for bringing up this discrepancy. It has been noted in the article.
I am an RN student that completed the whole LPN to RN bridge program, but did not graduate due to failing medsurge 3 by one point. Can I challenge the NCLEX? I did take the NCLEX class, along with Medsurge 3, and passed at 96% (instead of the 93% that was required). I hate to start all over again.
Normally when the conversation of challenging the NCLEX comes up, it usually refers to someone who’s in an RN program. After taking and passing certain courses, those students can sit for the NCLEX-PN.
Considering you’re already an LPN (hence the LPN to RN program), as far as I know, there’s no other way to take the NCLEX-RN without passing an accredited RN program (or diploma program).
If I am already an LVN can I challenge the RN nclex?
Hey Ryan, as far as I know, there’s not state that allows an LPN to sit for the NCLEX-RN without some form of extra education or training.
I could be wrong, but I’ve yet to hear about a nurse that’s been able to do that.
Check with your state board of nursing and see what they say about being able to take the NCLEX without RN training.
It says on google there are 5 states that allow lvns to challenge the RN nclex Georgia, penn, HI, florida. Missouri. Is this true?
Please look at your other comment.