How to Become an RN in Alabama – A Simple Guide

How to Become an RN in Alabama - A Simple Guide

So you’re wondering what steps you need to take to become a registered nurse in Alabama. 

After all, nursing is one of the most popular professions in this state!

You’ve probably read this guide to becoming a nurse and are 100% sure that the RN path is the best fit for you.

But you’re still asking yourself: “What do I do now?”

Don’t worry; we’ve got your back!

Follow these three simple steps on how to become an RN in Alabama, and you’ll get that license without breaking a sweat!

How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN) in 3 Simple Steps

Becoming an RN is not an easy task, but we’re giving the process to you in three simple steps to help you along the way.

Here are the steps:

  1. Finish an ABN-Approved Nursing Program
  2. Pass the State Boards (a.k.a. the NCLEX-RN)
  3. Find your First Job as a Registered Nurse in Alabama 

Let’s go through each step, one by one. 

How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN) Step # 1:  Finish an ABN-Approved Nursing Program

The Alabama Board of Nursing (ABN) is the state’s government regulatory body that oversees all nursing education and practice. 

It’s their job to approve nursing programs and institutions, issue licenses, and enforce relevant legal standards.

So if you’re considering which RN program to choose, it’s best to make sure that the ABN approves your nursing program of choice and your school.

It’s up to you whether to go with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Either path can get you to your goal of becoming an RN in Alabama.

What are the basic differences between the two, you ask?

Here’s a nifty table for quick reference:

Admission RequirementsHigh school diplomaHigh school diploma +more
CompetenciesNursing concepts + clinical skillsNursing concepts + clinical skills + leadership, management + more
Completion TimeUsually two yearsUsually four years
SalaryMay range from $60,000-$70,000 average annual income, varies by state and cityMay range from $80,000-$85,000 average annual income, varies by state and city
Career AdvancementLess variety and opportunityMore variety and opportunity


Whichever program you choose to take, the Alabama Board of Nursing outlines some specific requirements that should be included in your nursing course. You can find those specific requirements here.

You should also check out their list of accredited institutions and programs.

How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN) Step # 2: Pass the State Boards (a.k.a. The NCLEX-RN)

Congratulations on graduating with your chosen RN degree! Now it’s time to take – and pass – the NCLEX-RN examination, which all RNs need to do to get their license.

Okay, that’s all great. How do you register?

There are two ways to apply for a license: examination or endorsement.

Licensure by Endorsement 

Endorsement is for applicants who have already passed the NCLEX-RN in some other U.S. state or territory but wish to obtain their license in Alabama. 

You can learn more about how to obtain an RN license by endorsement through the ABN website.

Licensure by Examination

If you haven’t taken the NCLEX-RN yet, you’ll want to apply for licensure by examination. According to the Board’s checklist, you’ll need the following:

  • Your SSN or Social Security Number
  • Your Nursing Program Transcript
  • Documentation for Citizenship/Legal Presence
  • Registration with PearsonVUE
  • Application Fees ($103.50 for Single-State, $203.50 for Compact)

PearsonVUE is the entity that administers the NCLEX, so it’s important to register the correct information. In fact, the ABN requires their nursing graduates to also enter their middle name and Social Security Number (SSN), so the processing would be more accurate. The examination fee costs $200.

Some regulatory questions in the exam application might require you to submit your application by mail if you answered “yes” to one or more of them. 

Once you’re done applying and have paid the corresponding fees, check your inbox after 2-3 weeks to get your authorization to test (ATT) from Pearson VUE. 

After passing the NCLEX-RN, you can get your license from the ABN within just 24-72 hours!

For further details and to avoid any wrinkles that might pop up during this examination step, you might want to watch this informational video from the ABN. If you’re also wondering what exactly the Regulatory Questions are, that’s also discussed in the video.

How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN) Step # 3: Find Your First Job as a Registered Nurse in Alabama

Excited to take your first steps as one of the 80,000 strong registered nurses in Alabama?

Time to find your first RN job!

Alabama is one of the top 20 states with the most nurses, so it’s important that you stand out from that crowd. 

Suppose you’re looking at immediately starting as an RN in Alabama… In that case, you might want to consider getting a Temporary Permit as part of your licensure by examination application.

That would cost you $50, but it’s good for 90 days, and what’s that compared to starting in the dream job you’ve worked so hard to achieve, right?

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Registered Nurse in Alabama

After reading about these three steps, you might still have questions in your mind. 

We sifted through the glut for you and identified some common questions other people have asked about becoming an RN in Alabama.

How long does it take to become a registered nurse in Alabama?

While it was mentioned above how long an ADN or BSN program usually takes, there are accelerated programs available to shorten the time it takes to complete a course. 

Using a combination of online classes, distance learning, and more summer sessions, you can shorten a typical BSN completion from 4 years to 2 years. Some universities also offer accelerated programs that enable you to complete a BSN program in just one year of continuous learning throughout the year.

How much do new registered nurses make in Alabama?

According to some sources, new RNs earn an average of $66,431 annually or $31.13 per hour. 

This figure may vary depending on the nursing degree program you’ve chosen to take. 

BSN graduates tend to get paid higher, as noted above. The city you work in Alabama may also influence this figure positively or negatively.

Is Alabama a compact nursing state?


The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), and licensed vocational nurses (LVN) to easily practice across borders in other participating states. 

Effective January 1, 2020, Alabama has issued multi-state licenses to nurses and applicants residing within its borders. As noted in the table above, the Compact license costs a bit more than the single-state license.

For more information about the NLC, visit their website.

How often do I need to renew my Alabama RN license?

All RNs are required to renew their license every 2 years.

To do this, you must have at least 24 contact hours of continuing education in the field. 

Helpful Resources for Alabama RNs

List of Associate Degree Programs (ADNs) in Alabama

Here’s a list of ADN programs approved by the Alabama BON:

Bevill State Community College
1411 Indiana Ave, Jasper, AL 35501, United States
+1 800-648-3271

Herzing University
280 W Valley Ave, Birmingham, AL 35209, United States
+1 205-791-5860

Southern Union Community College
750 Roberts Street
Wadley, AL 36276

Snead State Community College
20 N Walnut St, Boaz, AL 35957, United States
+1 256-593-5120

Bishop State Community College
351 N Broad St
Mobile, AL 36603
(251) 405-7000

Jefferson State Community College
4600 Valleydale Rd, Birmingham, AL 35242, United States

Trenholm State Community College
1225 Air Base Blvd, Montgomery, AL 36108, United States
+1 334-420-4200

Gadsden State Community College
1001 George Wallace Drive
Gadsden, AL 35903
+1 256-549-8200

Calhoun State Community College
6250 Hwy. 31 North Tanner, AL, 35671

Lawson State Community College
3060 Wilson Road, SW
Birmingham, AL 35221

Troy University
600 University Ave, Troy, AL 36082, United States
+1 800-414-5756

G.C. Wallace State Community College – Selma
3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway
Selma, Alabama 36702
(334) 876-9227

Central Alabama Community College
(256) 234-6346

Lurleen B Wallace Community College
1000 Dannelly Boulevard, Andalusia, AL 36420, United States
+1 334-222-6591

University of West Alabama
100 US-11, Livingston, AL 35470, United States
+1 888-636-8800

Shelton State Community College
Martin Campus
9500 Old Greensboro Rd
Tuscaloosa, AL 35405

Chattahoochee Valley State Community College
2602 College Drive
Phenix City, AL 36869
(334) 291-4900

Northeast Alabama State Community College
138 AL-35, Rainsville, AL 35986, United States
+1 256-638-4418

Wallace State Community College – Dothan
1141 Wallace Drive, Dothan, AL 36303

JF Drake State Community & Technical College
3421 Meridian Street North
Huntsville, AL 35811

Coastal Alabama Community College
1900 US-31, Bay Minette, AL 36507, United States
(800) 381-3722

Northwest Shoals Community College
800 George Wallace Blvd.
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661

Wallace State Community College – Hanceville
801 Main Street NW | P.O. Box 2000
Hanceville AL, 35077-2000
(866) 350-9722

Visit the Alabama BON website for updates.

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Alabama

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the Alabama BON:

Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849, United States
+1 334-844-4000

Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229

Tuskegee University
1200 W. Montgomery Rd.
Tuskegee, AL 36088

University of Mobile
5735 College Pkwy, Mobile, AL 36613, United States
+1 251-442-2222

Auburn University – Montgomery
7400 East Dr, Montgomery, AL 36117, United States
+1 334-244-3000

South University
5355 Vaughn Road
Montgomery, AL 36116-1120

University of Alabama at Birmingham
1701 University Boulevard
Birmingham, AL 35294

University of North Alabama
1 Harrison Plaza, Florence, AL 35632
(256) 765-4100

Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Rd N Jacksonville, AL 36265
1-800-231-5291 or 1-256-782-5781

Spring Hill College
4000 Dauphin St.
Mobile, Alabama 36608
800-742-6704 or

University of Alabama (Capstone)
650 University Blvd
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

University of South Alabama
307 N University Blvd, Mobile, AL 36688, United States
(251) 460-6101

Oakwood University
7000 Adventist Blvd NW, Huntsville, AL 35896, United States
+1 256-726-7000

Troy University – Troy
600 University Ave, Troy, AL 36082, United States
+1 800-414-5756

University of Alabama in Huntsville
1610 Ben Graves Dr NW, Huntsville, AL 35816, United States
+1 256-824-6742

Visit the Alabama BON website for updates.

All Set? Let’s Go!

Becoming an RN in Alabama is no small thing, but you should be golden if you follow the steps above.

What are you waiting for? Work on those steps now and get that much-coveted RN license!

We hope this article helped. If you have any further questions, leave us a message.

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