How to Become an RN in Indiana (A Complete 2023 Guide)

How to Become an RN in Indiana (A Complete Guide)

Since every state has its own RN requirements, it can get quite confusing. 

This is why we made this guide focus solely on Indiana. 

So if you want to know how to become an RN in Indiana, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here, we’re going to give you all the steps, plus all the details of each step. This way, you’ll know exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. 

So are you ready?

Let’s dive in! 

5 Steps to Becoming an RN in Indiana

For the 5 steps, we’ll be answering 5 questions. These are: 

As we go through each question, you’ll see what you need to do to become an RN in Indiana. 

So let’s get into the details. 

What’s Your Ideal Scenario?

Before anything else, you need to plan your nursing career goal. This means deciding what kind of nurse you want to be.

Sure, you’ll always be part of a healthcare setting, but that doesn’t automatically mean a hospital. You can be a travel nurse, forensic nurse, or do case management.

Not only that, but if you have a future plan, you can start taking up subjects that qualify you to attend nursing school, asking for advice, and all that. 

Plus, this is a crucial step as it will help you answer the 2nd question. 

Which Degree Do You Want to Take?

In Indiana, there are 2 degrees that aspiring RNs can take. These are:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

More nurses in the state have ADNs rather than BSNs. According to the 2019 Registered Nurse License and Supplemental Survey Data, 43% of RNs have baccalaureates, while 49.2% have Associate Degrees.

That said, it’s up to you to decide which nursing program to pursue. 

Here’s a table to show you a side-by-side comparison.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Program Duration:18 to 24 months36 to 48 months
Focus Competencies:Clinical skillsClinical skills, Leadership skills, nursing research skills, and management skills.
Curriculum:Nursing competencies and clinical practiceManagement, leadership, public health, social sciences, critical thinking, and communication. Some schools also delve into nursing theory and nursing informatics.
Short-Term Opportunities:Side-by-side caring for patients
Medicine administration
Chart monitoring and updating
Long-Term Advancements:LessMore
Practice Areas:Intensive care, emergency department, pediatrics, mental healthIntensive care, emergency department, pediatrics, mental health, nursing forensics, teaching, case management, public health, research

Some hospitals prefer to have BSN nurses because it leads to better patient outcomes. The extra time BSN nurses spend in school results in better-prepared professionals who make more proficient diagnoses and interventions.

However, they say timing is everything. You’ll need to consider practicalities such as how much funds you have and how soon you need to start earning. 

Your answer to the first question we posed also comes into play. You need to have a BSN if you plan to specialize in public health or forensics. It’s the same if you want to someday work for one of the 25 Magnet hospitals in the state.

So keep all these things in mind before you pick which degree to take. 

Where are You Going to Study? ranked various nursing schools in Indiana. Here are their top 5 for 2023:

  • Purdue University
  • Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana
  • University of Southern Indiana, Evansville
  • Indiana State University, Terre Haute
  • Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion

If you don’t want to follow their list, then you can search for your own approved nursing school. 

Here are the things you should consider: 

Tuition fees and financial assistance

If you decide to get a BSN, you should know that it is going to be expensive. This is why it’s a good idea to check whether the school has financial support programs.

Even if you’re taking an ADN, expenses can quickly pile up when you’re in college. Any help when it comes to funding is an advantage.

Delivery options

Some schools offer online programs. If you have a busy schedule or have a side job, then this delivery format will be your best choice. 

Plus, it can lower your expenses since you won’t have to spend on transportation or housing.

However, if you feel you’ll thrive in a more traditional setting, then go for it! 

It’s good, though, to have a school that offers both options.

Teacher-student ratios

Smaller classes can result in a more personalized experience for nursing students. Teachers who deal with many students won’t be able to focus on all their students’ needs. 

NCLEX pass rates

What is the NCELX passing rate of that particular nursing school? 

Is it high?

Although success rates aren’t a make-or-break factor, it’s a confidence boost if graduates tend to pass on their first try. It tells you how well a school prepares nursing applicants for the NCLEX.

Post-graduation placement support

Eventually, we’ll all want to find a job. It’s possible to do the job searching independently, but if your school has a career placement program, it gives you a head start.

How Do You Get Your RN License?

We’re now in question #4. That means we’re almost there!

When you finish your ADN or BSN, you can now apply for an RN license. 

For first-timers, you need to undergo the NCLEX exam. 

But for those that already have a license from another state, you can get your RN license through endorsement.

Let’s go through each of them one by one. 

Licensure by Examination

First, you need to submit your license application. You can do this online or use a downloadable form

There is a $50 application fee. You can also request a multistate license at this point, but it’ll cost you an additional $25.

Now, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA) must receive several supporting documents to process your application. 

  • Name Change Documentation: To be submitted if any of your documents bear a different name. If you changed your name because you got married or divorced, include the necessary files proving it.
  • Positive Response Documentation: The application form has several questions about your background and disciplinary history. A yes on any of these means you’ll have to explain the surrounding circumstances.
  • Education: Indicate your high school on your application. If you have a GED, you must include a copy of your scores. What’s more, your nursing schools must submit a Certificate of Completion or your official transcripts directly to IPLA.
  • CGFNS Certification Program: Only applies if you completed your nursing education outside the United States. They will take care of sending your certificate and CES report to the Board.
  • Criminal Background Check: Whether you submitted an online or paper application, wait until you receive a prompt. For online applications, it’s after you see the receipt screen; for paper applications, you’ll receive an email.
  • Verification of Licensure: The IPLA must receive verification for all licenses you’ve held connected to the health profession. It applies if you were a CNA, an EMT, or had a similar role.

Note: if you apply with the paper application, mail all documents to Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Attn: Nursing Board, 402 West Washington Street, Room W072, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

You also need to register for the NCLEX exam with Pearson Vue. The exam fee is $200. 

Once your license and NCLEX application is reviewed and approved, you’ll receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) from Pearson Vue.

Make sure to keep your ATT — it will contain your exam schedule and other instructions. 

Exam results are released 3 to 4 weeks after you take it. 

If you passed, you’ll receive your license number through email. If not, you will receive a notice letter and an application to retake the exam. 

So yes, if you complete all these steps, you’ll be able to hold your RN license in your hands. 

Licensure by Endorsement

The process for licensure by endorsement is almost identical, except applicants don’t need to take the NCLEX. Only RNs licensed in non-compact states or outside the country go through this process.

Also, when you complete the license application validation step, it will include your current nursing license, plus all previous ones associated with a healthcare profession.

Where Can You Work?

Now that you have your license, it’s time to look for work. 

Hospitals are the primary work setting for nurses — and it’s no different in Indiana. 55.9% of RNs in the state are employed in a hospital. However, there are other facilities where you can kickstart your nursing career. 

Here are just some things you can do when looking for a place to work:

Explore your environment

Check out potential facilities in your area. Finding a job should NOT be a shot-in-the-dark kind of thing. 

Consider your experience, preferences, and interests, then narrow the possibilities.

Use your connections

No, we’re not telling you to ask people to give you a job — you’ll experience a higher level of satisfaction if you got it on your own. However,  you can ask for help to know more about your shortlisted facilities.

And make no mistake — you have the connections! Leverage your network from nursing school or people you met during your clinical practice.

You can speak with your former professors or pick the brains of your physician. Remember, the more information you have, the better off you’ll be.

Search for opportunities

The next step involves doing some online research. Now is the time to check job postings on their websites. Find out what roles are available, the requirements, and whether you’re a potential fit.


Lastly, send in your application. Come up with a cover letter along with your CV. 

However, your resume can only bring you so far. You’ll need to prepare for an interview and sell yourself. Remember, you’ve studied this facility in-depth — use what you’ve researched to present yourself as an ideal candidate.

Frequently Asked Questions

So that is how to become an RN in Indiana. 

But what if you still have some questions? Then let’s take the time to answer some of the most frequently asked ones. 

What roles do RNs typically hold in Indiana?

Most nurses in Indiana work as staff (65.8%). Other notable roles are as follows:

  • 9.2% — Nurse Manager
  • 8.8% — Advanced Practice Nurse
  • 1.9% — Nurse Executive
  • 1.6% — Nurse Educator (as part of faculty)
  • 1.4% — Nurse Educator (as part of patient educator)
  • 1.3% — Nurse Educator (as part of staff development)
  • 1.3% — Consultant / Nurse Researcher

Besides hospitals, where else do nurses work in Indiana?

The most common facilities that employ nurses are outpatient clinics, nursing homes, assisted living, and extended care facilities.

How much do RNs earn in Indiana?

On average, Registered Nurses in the United States earn $89,432. As of April 2023, Indiana’s average salary for RNs fell 5% below this at $84,634.

Of course, how much you earn is affected by several factors such as years of experience and type of degree. In Indianapolis, ADNs make an average of $65,818 per year. In comparison, BSN nurses get $81,834.

How often do I need to renew my RN license in Indiana?

RNs in Indiana renew their licenses biennially. It expires on October 31st on even-numbered years. 

Although there are no CE requirements, you need to pay a $50 renewal fee. It’s crucial to complete the renewal process before your license’s expiration. 

You pay another $50 for a late renewal.

Helpful Resources for Indiana RNs

List of Associate Degree Programs (ADNs) in Indiana

Here’s a list of ADN programs approved by the Indiana PLA:

Ancilla Domini College
P.O. Box 1, 9601 Union Road,
Donaldson, Indiana 46513

Bethel College
1001 Bethel Circle,
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
+1 574-807-7000

Fortis College
9001 N. Wesleyan Road, Suite 101
Indianapolis, Indiana 46268+1 317-808-4800

Ivy Tech Community College – Anderson
104 West 53rdStreet
Anderson, Indiana 46013

Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington
200 Daniels Way Bloomington, Indiana 47404
+1 812-330-6013

Ivy Tech Community College – Columbus
4475 Central Avenue
Columbus, Indiana 47203
+1 812-372-9925

Ivy Tech Community College – Evansville
3501 First Avenue
Evansville, Indiana 47710
+1 812-426-2865

Ivy Tech Community College – Fort Wayne
3800 North Anthony Blvd Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
+1 260-482-9171

Ivy Tech Community College – Greencastle
915 So. Zinc Mill Road Greencastle, Indiana 46135
+1 765-653-7410

Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis
9301 E. 59thStreet
Indianapolis, Indiana 46216
+1 888-489-5463

Ivy Tech Community College – Kokomo
1901 East Morgan Street Kokomo, Indiana 46903
+1 765-459-0561

Ivy Tech Community College – Lafayette
3101 South Creasy Lane, Box 6299
Lafayette, Indiana 47903
+1 765-269-5000

Ivy Tech Community College – Lake County (Crown Point)
9900 Connecticut Drive
Crown Point, In. 46307
+1 219-392-3600

Ivy Tech Community College – Lawrenceburg
50 Walnut St.
Lawrenceburg, In. 47025
+1 812-537-4010

Ivy Tech Community College – Madison
590 Ivy Tech Drive
Madison, Indiana 47250
+1 812-265-2580

Ivy Tech Community College – Marion
261 S. Commerce Drive
Marion, IN. 46953
+1 765-651-3100

Ivy Tech Community College – Muncie
4301 South Cowan Road
Muncie, Indiana 47303
+1 765-289-2291

Ivy Tech Community College – Richmond
2357 Chester Blvd.
Richmond, In. 47374
 +1 765-966-2656

Ivy Tech Community College – Sellersburg
8204 Highway 311
Sellersburg, Indiana 47172
+1 812-246-3301

Ivy Tech Community College – South Bend
220 Dean Johnson Boulevard
South Bend, Indiana 46601
+1 574-289-7001

Ivy Tech Community College – Terre Haute
8000 Education Drive
Terre Haute, Indiana 47802
+1 812-299-1121

Ivy Tech Community College – Valparaiso
3100 Ivy Tech Drive
Valparaiso, Indiana 46383
+1 219-464-8514

Medtech College – Fort Wayne
7230 Engle Road Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804
+1 260-436-3272

Medtech College-Greenwood
1500 American Way
Greenwood, Indiana 46142
+1 317-534-0322

University of Indianapolis
1400 East Hanna Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46227
+1 317-788-3368

University of Saint Francis
2701 Spring Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808
+1 260-399-7999

University of Saint Francis – Crown Point
12800 Mississippi Pkway, Pavilion U
Crown Point, Indiana 46307
+1 219-488-8888

Vincennes University
1002 North First Street
Vincennes, Indiana 47591
+1 812-888-8888

Vincennes University Jasper
850 College Avenue
Jasper, Indiana 47546
+1 812-482-3030

Visit the Indiana PLA website for updates.

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Indiana

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the Indiana PLA:

Anderson University
1100 East 5thStreet,
Anderson, Indiana 46012
+1 765-649-9071

Ball State University
2000 West University Avenue,
Muncie, Indiana 47306
+1 765-289-1241

Bethel College
1001 Bethel Circle
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
+1 574-807-7000

Goshen College
1700 South Main Street
Goshen, Indiana 46526
+1 574-535-7000

Huntington University
2303 College Avenue
Huntington, Indiana 46750
+1 260-356-6000

Indiana State University
749 Chestnut Street
Terre Haute, Indiana 47809
+1 812-237-3773

Indiana University Kokomo
2300 South Washington
Kokomo, Indiana 46904
+1 765-453-2000

Indiana University Northwest
3400 Broadway Avenue
Gary, Indiana 46408
+1 888-968-7486

Indiana University East
2325 Chester Blvd
Richmond, Indiana 47374
+1 765-973-8200

Indiana University Purdue University Columbus
4601 Central Avenue CC156F
Columbus, In. 47203
+1 812-348-7311

Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)
2101 E. Coliseum Blvd
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805

Indiana University South Bend (IUSB)
1700 Mishawaka Avenue
South Bend, Indiana 46634
+1 574-520-4872

Indiana University Southeast
4201 Grant Line Road
New Albany, Indiana 47150
+1 812-941-2333

Indiana Wesleyan University
4201 South Washington
Marion, Indiana 46953
+1 765-674-6901

Indiana University at IUPUI
1111 Middle Drive
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
+1 317-274-5555

Marian University
3200 Cold Springs Road
Indianapolis, Indiana 46222
+1 317-955-6000

Purdue University
502 N. University Street
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
+1 765-494-4600

Purdue University Northwest
2200 169th
St. Hammond, In. 46323
+1 219-989-2400

St. Elizabeth School of Nursing
1508 Tippecanoe Street
Lafayette, Indiana 47904
+1 765-423-6400

St. Mary of the Woods College
1 St. Mary of the Woods
Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana 47876
+1 812-535-5151

University of Indianapolis
1400 East Hanna Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46227
+1 317-788-3368

University of Saint Francis
2701 Spring Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808
+1 260-399-7999

St. Mary’s College
6 Havican Hall Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
+1 574-284-4000

University of Evansville
1800 Lincoln Avenue
Evansville, Indiana 47722
+1 812-488-2000

University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd
Evansville, Indiana 47712
+1 812-464-8600

Valparaiso University
836 LaPorte Avenue
Valparaiso, Indiana 46383
+1 219-464-5000

Western Governors University
10 West Market Street, Suite 1020
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Visit the Indiana BON website for updates.

In Conclusion

Whew! Those 5 steps are extensive!

Not to mention, the time, dedication, and investment it takes to complete each step. 

But, at least now you have a blueprint of what to do as you go through your nursing journey. 

Remember, begin with the end in mind. Envision your ideal career because every decision you make afterward should bring you closer to it.

That includes what degree to pursue, which school to pick, and where to work. 

So think about these questions and YOUR answers to them. 

And pretty soon, you’ll be able to practice your profession in the state. 

Good luck!

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