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The Ultimate Guide to Nursing License Renewal and CEUs (everything you need to keep your RN up to date)

So you’ve gotten your registered nurse licensure… Now what?

When you become licensed as a registered nurse, you will need to have your licensure renewed. How often you need it to be renewed and what is required to renew it depends on the state you hold your licensure in.

Some states require you to renew every year, most states require every other year or more. Some states require you to complete a certain amount of continuing education for every licensure renewal.

If you hold a licensure in more than one state, you will need to meet the requirements for each state you hold a licensure in.

What are Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

APWA.net explains Continuing Education Units as the following:

Definition: The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent in the classroom during non-credit learning. Ten hours of instruction equal one (1) CEU.

Purpose: The primary purpose of the CEU is to provide a permanent record of the educational accomplishments of an individual who has completed significant non-credit educational and career enhancement experiences.

CEUs can be referred to as Continuing Education credits (CEC), Continuing Professional Competency (CPC), Professional Development Hours (PDH), or just plain CEs to name a few. Also, sometimes states will place “contact hours” after CEs and this does not change the meaning either, it still mean CEUs and is the same measurement.

The only difference each state occasionally makes is when they specify what topic is covered and how many hours or credits needs to be covered.

This is a lot of information to keep straight so one of the ways you can get reminders and make sure you have what you need is by signing up for the NURSYS database.

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Nursing License Renewal and CEU Requirement by State

Alabama

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: 24 hours
  • Special situations: Newly licensed by examination nurses need to complete 4 contact hours of board-provided continuing education classes about the following:
    • Board functions
    • the Nurse Practice Act
    • Regulations
    • Professional conduct

Alaska

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on November 30th of even numbered years
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 contact hours
  • Special situations: can also be 30 hours of professional nursing activities OR 320 hours of employment

Arizona

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 4 years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: None specified

Arkansas

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: 15 contact hours
  • Special situations: 15 hours OR certification or recertification during the renewal period by a nation certifying body or completion of a recognized academic course in nursing or related field

California

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 contact hours
  • Special situations: None specified

Colorado

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: None specified

Connecticut

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every year
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: None specified

Delaware

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on either February 28th, May 31st, or September 30th of odd years
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 contact hours
  • Special situations: None specified

District of Columbia

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on June 30th of even numbered years
  • How many CE hours are due: 24 contact hours
  • Special situations: 3 contact hours must be on HIV/AIDS

Florida

  • When is the licensure renewal due:  Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: 24 contact hours
  • Special situations:
    • 2 must be on laws and rules that govern the practice of nursing in florida
    • 2 hours related to prevention of medical errors
    • Every 3rd renewal 2 hours of domestic violence (in addition to the 24 hours) for a total of 26 hours
    • If newly licensed the CE hours must contain:
      • 2 hours of medical errors
      • 2 hours in Florida laws and rules
      • 2 hours of recognizing impairment in the workplace
      • 1 hour of HIV/AIDS

Georgia

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 contact hours**
  • Special situations: **5 options, pick one from the following list:
  1. 30 hours
  2. certification or recertification by national certifying board
  3. Completion of an accredited academic program of study in nursing or related field
  4. verification of competency by a health care facility or licensed under O.C.G.A. 31-7 or by a physicians office that is part of a health system AND at least 500 hours practiced as evidenced by employer
  5. Completion of board approved reentry program or graduation from a nursing education program

Hawaii

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on June 30th of the odd years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: None specified

Idaho

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on August 31st
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: None specified

Illinois

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on October 31st
  • How many CE hours are due: 20 Contact hours
  • Special situations: None specified

Indiana

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: None specified

Iowa

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 3 years by the end of your birth month
  • How many CE hours are due:
    • 36 contact hours for a three year license
    • 24contact hours for less than 3 years
    • 12 contact hours for reactivation
  • Special situations: None specified

Kansas

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on birthday
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 Contact hours
  • Special situations: None specified

Kentucky

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every year on October 31st
  • How many CE hours are due: 14 hours every year
  • Special situations:
    • Every 3 years 1.5 hours on pediatric abusive head trauma (Shaken baby syndrome)
    • Every 10 years 2 hours on HIV/AIDS
    • If licensed outside of the state must complete a one time 3 hours domestic violence
    • If a SANE credentialed nurse then every year 5 hours of Sexual assault courses

Louisiana

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every year on january 31st
  • How many CE hours are due: **See below
  • Special situations:**
    • Full time: 5 hours
    • Part time: 10 hours
    • Not employed or worked less than 160 hours: 15 hours

Maine

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on birthday
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations:  None specified

Maryland

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Eveyr year in the birth month
  • How many CE hours are due: No CE required but a refresher course is needed
  • Special situations:  None specified

Massachusetts

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on your birthday of even years
  • How many CE hours are due: 15 contact hours
  • Special situations:  None specified

Michigan

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on March 31st
  • How many CE hours are due: 25 hours of board approved CEs
  • Special situations: one contact hour in pain and symptom management

Minnesota

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years by end of birth month
  • How many CE hours are due: 24 contact hours
  • Special situations:  None specified

Mississippi

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on December 31st of even years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations:  None specified

Missouri

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on April 30th
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: None specified

Montana

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on December 31st
  • How many CE hours are due: 24 Contact hours
  • Special situations: None specified

Nebraska

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on October 31st on even numbered years
  • How many CE hours are due: 20 Contact hours
  • Special situations: 10 of the 20 hours must be formally peer reviewed. Up to 4 hours may be CPR or BLS courses

Nevada

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on your birthday
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 hours
  • Special situations: Must complete the bioterrorism course

New Hampshire

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on your birthday
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 Contact hours
  • Special situations: None specified

New Jersey

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on May 31st, RN is assigned either an odd year or an even year
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 Contact hours
  • Special situations: 1 hour related to organ tissue donation and recovery

New Mexico

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 Contact hours
  • Special situations: None specified

New York

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 3 years
  • How many CE hours are due: **See below
  • Special situations:3 contact hours in infection control every 4 years and 2 contact hours on child abuse (one time requirement for initial license)

North Carolina

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every year by the end of RN birth month
  • How many CE hours are due: **See below
  • Special situations:**Pick from the following list:
    • National certification or re-certification by a national credentialing body recognized by the Board.
    • 30 contact hours of continued education.
    • Completion of a Board approved refresher course.
    • Completion of a minimum of two semester hours of post-licensure academic education related to nursing practice.

OR:

  • 15 contact hours of continued education and one of the following:
    • Completion of a nursing project as principal investigator or co-investigator to include statement of problem, project objectives, methods, date of completion and summary of findings.
    • Authoring or co-authoring a nursing related article, paper, book or book chapter.
    • Developing and conducting a nursing continuing education presentation or presentations totaling a minimum of five contact hours, including program brochure or course syllabi, objectives, date and location of presentation, and approximate number of attendees.
    • 640 hours of active practice within previous 2 years.

 

North Dakota

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years between October 1st and December 31st. If licensed in an odd year, renewal will be in odd years, if licensed in even years, renewal will be in even years
  • How many CE hours are due: 12 Contact hours
  • Special situations: If this is the first year of being licensed, then CE courses are not required. If licensure is from another state, then 6 hours of contact hours are required.

Ohio

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years from September 1st of odd numbered years to August 31st of odd numbered years.
  • How many CE hours are due: 24 Contact hours of CEs
  • Special situations:
    • One of the contact hours must be related to chapter 4723 of the Ohio nurse practice codes and rules
    • If licensed by endorsement:
      • 2 contact hours of CEs directly related to chapter 4723 of the Ohio nurse practice code and rules

Oklahoma

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years at the end of RN birth month and is every even year
  • How many CE hours are due: **See below
  • Special situations:**Complete one or more of the following requirements:
    1. Employment in a position that requires a registered nurse/practical nurse license with verification of at least 520 work hours
    2. Completion of at least twenty-four (24) contact hours of continuing education applicable to nursing practice
    3. Current certification in a nursing specialty area
    4. Completion of a Board-approved refresher course
    5. Completion of at least six (6) academic semester credit hours of nursing coursework at the licensee’s current level of licensure or higher.

Oregon

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years and expire at midnight the day before your birthday – in even years if you were born in an even year, or in odd years if you were born in an odd year.
  • How many CE hours are due: **See below
  • Special situations:**
    • One-time requirement for seven hours of pain management-related CE
    • One hour must be a course to be provided by the Oregon Pain Management Commission
    • The remaining six hours can be your choice of pain management topics
    • Once this requirement is fulfilled, there is no additional CE requirements for renewal

Pennsylvania

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years. RN will be assigned a renewal date of either April 30th or October 31st and either every even year or every other odd year
  • How many CE hours are due: 30 Contact hours
  • Special situations: Must complete 2 hours of DPW-approved CE in child abuse and reporting

Rhode Island

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: 10 Contact hours
  • Special situations:

South Carolina

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on April 30th
  • How many CE hours are due: **See below
  • Special situations:**
    • requires documented evidence of at least one of the following requirements during the licensure period:
      1. Completion of thirty contact hours from a continuing education provider recognized by the board
      2. Maintenance of certification or re-certification by a national certifying body recognized by the board
      3. Completion of an academic program of study in nursing or a related field recognized by the board; OR
      4. Verification of competency and the number of hours practiced as evidenced by employer certification on a form approved by the Board

South Dakota

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: the number of hours you worked in the nursing profession (at least 140 hours in any 12-month period, or an accumulated total of at least 480 hours within the preceding 6 years) for renewal

Tennessee

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: However, mandatory continuing competency is required. In order to maintain continued competence, the board requires the nurse to have practiced in nursing in the last five (5) years and additionally, the Board sets out standards of competence and requirements to maintain competence.

Texas

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years
  • How many CE hours are due: 20 contact hours every 2 years in their area of practice
  • Special situations:
    • CE content areas specified in the Texas nurse practice act include:
      • Two contact hours related to forensic evidence collection for any RN practicing in an emergency room setting (one-time requirement)
      • Two contact hours related to older adults and geriatric populations for RNs working with this population
      • Content related to tick-borne diseases for RNs working with this population
      • Two contact hours of continuing education relating to nursing jurisprudence and nursing ethics before the end of every third two-year licensing period

Utah

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on January 31st of odd numbered years
  • How many CE hours are due: **See below
  • Special situations:**
    • Every 2 years one of the following must be complete:
      • 30 contact hours
      • 200 practice hours and 15 contact hours
      • 400 practice hours

Vermont

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years in January of the odd numbered years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: CEs are highly encouraged

Virginia

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years on your birthday, if born in an even year, renewal will be in even years, if born in an odd year, renewal will be in the odd years.
  • How many CE hours are due: **See below
  • Special situations:**
    • Complete at a minimum one of the following activities:
      • Current specialty certification by a national certifying organization, as defined in 18VAC90-20-10
      • Completion of a minimum of three credit hours of post-licensure academic education relevant to nursing practice, offered by a regionally-accredited college or university
      • A board-approved refresher course in nursing
      • Completion of nursing-related, evidence-based practice project or research study
      • Completion of publication as the author or co-author during a renewal cycle
      • Teaching a nursing-related course resulting in no less than three semester hours of college credit or specialty certification
      • Teaching nursing-related continuing education courses for up to 30 contact hours
      • 15 contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing and 640 hours of active practice as a nurse
      • 30 contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing

Virgin Islands

  • When is the licensure renewal due:  Every 2 years on December 31st. However application for renewal must be received before October 31st of odd years
  • How many CE hours are due:  **See below
  • Special situations:  **Completion of 2 of the following:
    1. 15 contact hours of continuing education
      • 1.5 hours of these hours are recommended to be related to HIV/AIDS
    2. 320 hours of active nursing practice in the previous biennium which must be certified by the supervisor or designee on the Employer Verification form provided by the Board
    3. Participation in 15 hours of approved professional activities documented and certified by supervisor, client or manager of the activity, or organization on the Professional Activity Form obtainable from the VIBNL
  • New Graduates: Nurses who graduated and received their initial license during the prior biennium are not required to complete the continuing education requirements for the renewal and must list classes taken during this period on the CEU form

Washington

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every year on your birthday
  • How many CE hours are due: 45 Contact hours
  • Special situations: 531 hours of nursing practice

West Virginia

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every year by October 31st
  • How many CE hours are due: 12 Contact hours
  • Special situations:
    • 2 contact hours related to mental health conditions common to veterans and family members of veterans
    • 1 contact hour related to drug diversion and safe preescribing practices

Wisconsin

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years February 28th or February 29th of even years
  • How many CE hours are due: Not required
  • Special situations: None specified

Wyoming

  • When is the licensure renewal due: Every 2 years between October 1st and December 31st of every even year.
  • How many CE hours are due: 20 Contact hours**
  • Special situations: **No CEs required if:
    • worked 500 hours in the past 2 years or 1600 hours in the past 5 years
    • Passed the NCLEX within the last 5 years
    • National certification in a specialty area in the past 5 years
    • Completion of a refresher/orientation program in the last 5 years

Where Can I Find Nursing CEUs?

Nursing CEUs by Category (click for more info):

 

What do I need to know about audits?

They can be called continuing competency audits and depending on your states board of nursing and the laws for your state, the disciplinary actions will vary. Some are as extreme as not renewing your license!

You worked way to hard for that! So make sure you complete what is required and keep records for every CEU you do!

It is important that you look into and contact your state BON prior to taking any action.  This post is meant simply as a guide.

Do you have any other questions about CEUs?  Leave a comment!

Date Published - May 22, 2016
Date Modified - May 22, 2016

Susan DuPont, RN BSN

Written by Susan DuPont, RN BSN

Susan DuPont, RN, BSN works as an Emergency Department nurse in Michigan. Her true passion is the pediatric population. When she is not nursing she is buffing up on her outdoor survival skills or lifting weights.