Having a nursing career may seem overwhelming. After all, you need to consider multiple factors. It may seem like there are so many hoops to jump through.
We won’t lie — you’ll need commitment, time, and effort to have a successful nursing career. However, it’s not an impossible task.
It’s better to have a guide that tells you what to expect and to help you navigate the process.
Well, you’re in luck! That’s what we’re here to do.
We’ve gathered the information you need about how to become an RN in Oklahoma.
It’s a 5-step process:
- Define Your Career Objective
- Declare Your Nursing Program
- Decide on a Nursing School
- Deliver on Your Nursing License Requirements
- Discover Work Opportunities
That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? So, let’s dive into the details. Let’s go!
How to Become an RN in Oklahoma in 5 Steps
The process for nursing licensure varies among states. It might get confusing in the beginning.
Now, you can say goodbye to that. We’ll walk you through each step to having a successful nursing career — everything from having an end goal and all the steps that lead to it.
How to Become an RN in Oklahoma Step #1: Define Your Career Objective
The main goal isn’t just to know how to become a nurse. It’s to understand which direction you want your career to go.
Is your definition of success working in a hospital and providing direct patient care? After all, a hospital setting is where you typically find nurses.
However, some RNs prefer a slower pace. You can go into research or teaching.
Others see themselves in a hospital but in a leadership role someday.
Taking the time to really sit down and think things through can make the process more efficient for you. You’ll have an easier time deciding what nursing program to pursue.
Incidentally, that’s our next step.
How to Become an RN in Oklahoma Step #2: Declare Your Nursing Program
To take the NCLEX, you need to have completed a nursing program. At a minimum, you can finish an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). However, you can also choose to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
There’s no ideal answer to “Which one should I take?” It's a delicate balance between your long-term and short-term objectives.
But here are some questions to consider:
- Do you see yourself in a leadership role someday? A BSN course is better since it’ll be a requirement if it’s a yes.
- How soon do you want to start working? An ADN program allows you to enter the workforce earlier because you can finish it in two years.
- What areas of practice do you prefer? An ADN can get you roles in the Emergency Department or Pediatrics. However, Public Health and Case Management roles require to have a BSN.
- How much tuition can you afford right now? A BSN requires you to stay in school longer, usually costing more. An ADN’s cost may be more manageable unless you can get a student loan or find other means of financial assistance.
Here’s a comparison chart to give you a side-by-side look.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
18 to 24 months
36 to 48 months
Clinical practice and nursing concepts
Everything covered in an ADN program PLUS public health, management, communication, and ethics, among other subjects.
NCLEX Pass Rate
How many are first-time NCLEX passers
Career Advancement Opportunities
How to Become an RN in Oklahoma Step #3: Decide on a Nursing School
Like our previous step, there’s no ideal answer regarding the best nursing school in Oklahoma. Your top option should be the one that fits your needs and preferences.
Even if you already have a particular school in mind, it’s best to be open to other possibilities. You might discover some things that may surprise you.
Try to gather information about the following things when looking for a nursing school:
Does it offer flexible learning options?
A school offering night classes or online courses may provide flexibility that traditional delivery doesn’t. It might be worth looking into if you’re working while completing your nursing degree.
Is the school accredited by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing?
The Oklahoma Board of Nursing accepts any nursing program, regardless of the delivery method, as long as an accredited school delivers it. This criterion may knock a couple of schools off your list, but it’s a way to ensure you get a quality education.
How are its NCLEX Pass Rates?
Oklahoma’s 2020 NCLEX pass rate was 83.63%. That’s a little higher than the national average of 82.48%, which gives you an idea of how well nursing schools prepare their students for the exam. However, each school has its respective pass rate, and it would be good to know what those are.
How’s the faculty?
It is best to go to a school with instructors whose specialties cover multiple nursing areas. Also, look at the student-to-teacher ratio. Smaller class sizes typically mean your professor will have more time for you should you need help with your coursework.
Does it offer support services to students?
A nursing school’s support shouldn’t end once you graduate. Some have placement programs that can help you find a job once the Board issues your license.
How to Become an RN in Oklahoma Step #4: Deliver on Your Nursing License Requirements
There are two ways to get an RN license in Oklahoma. You either undergo the examination or endorsement process.
Licensure by Examination
Aspiring licensees can submit their applications to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing online. You have to ensure you answer everything and that it indicates your Social Security number. However, you can also submit an application on paper.
You also need to submit supporting documents and actions, including the following:
Legal documents supporting your legal name (which should be on your application)
The appropriate Evidence of Status form
A criminal background check
There is an $85 non-refundable application fee.
You can pay it online using a MasterCard, VISA, or EFT. Paper applications must come with a cashier’s check or money order.
Your nursing school must send a copy of your official transcripts directly to the Board. It must show the date they recognized your degree.
Pearson VUE administers the licensure exam in Oklahoma, so you must register with them to receive your Authorization To Test (ATT). It’s a good idea to do this while you’re completing your requirement for the Board. You’ll pay a $200 testing fee.
The ATT contains scheduling instructions, so don’t lose it. It’s best to bring it with you on your exam date. Once licensed, the Board notes it on their website through the License Verification link.
Licensure by Endorsement
If you are already an RN with an active license in another state, then you don’t need to apply for a license by examination.
Oklahoma is a compact state, which means RNs whose permanent state of residence is also part of the Nursing License Compact (NLC) can practice here without applying for a license. Applicants who don’t meet this criterion must undergo the endorsement process.
Licensure by endorsement applicants have additional requirements, such as having their original license verified and showing proof of continuing qualifications for practice.
The application and testing fees are the same, but you can pay an additional $10 if you want a temporary license.
How to Become an RN in Oklahoma Step #5: Discover Work Opportunities
Like other states, most nurses in Oklahoma work in hospitals. They’re usually in popular areas like pediatrics, oncology, or emergency room care. If you don’t want to work in the hospital, you can explore other areas such as research or education.
When finding your first nursing job, don’t just sign with the first facility that offers you a position. Remember, you have to choose them as much as they choose you.
Here’s a shorthand way of increasing the quality of prospective employers:
Research, Review, and Reach Out.
Information is power. The more you know about facilities, the more you can make an informed decision.
Take a look at facilities that interest you within your area. Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to hospitals. Consider your interests and preferences — those are just as important as other aspects such as location and compensation.
Then, reach out to your network and see if they can share insights about these places. It may give you a better understanding of their culture or ways of working.
Look Out for Openings
Most facilities have a website that lists roles that need filling. Check these out and see whether there’s one that suits your skill set and experience.
When you find one, check out their requirements. These may be documents that need to be submitted or qualifications they prefer in applicants.
Send In Your Application
A personalized approach to applying is always preferable. You can customize your CV to highlight areas about you that fit the role.
It's best to send it in with a cover letter and prepare your documents (most facilities will require the same paperwork). Prepare for an interview so you can develop strategies to present yourself and your capabilities in the best possible way.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an RN in Oklahoma
Alright! We’ve covered a lot! You already know the steps to become an RN in Oklahoma.
However, you may still have some questions lingering in your mind.
We’ll try to answer a few of them here.
How much do RNs earn in Oklahoma?
The mean annual salary for Registered Nurses nationwide is $82,750. RNs in Oklahoma, on the other hand, receive $68,180 per year on average. That’s 17% lower.
Remember that these are averages and several factors affect your compensation. These include your degree, experience, and location. For example, those in Enid get $70,070 per year on average, while RNs in Lawton receive $64,020.
When do I need to renew my RN license?
You need to undergo the renewal process biennially. Your license expires on the last day of your birth month in even-numbered years.
Are earning CE hours my only option to meet renewal requirements?
RNs can comply with the renewal requirements in Oklahoma by meeting one of these:
Having 520 hours of practice as a Registered Nurse in a year
Earn 24 contact hours
Verifying your current certification in a specialty area
Complete a board-approved refresher course
Go through six academic semester credit hours of coursework
Helpful Resources for Oklahoma RNs
- Oklahoma Board of Nursing Website (Official)
- Information for RN Applicants (Official)
- Oklahoma RN Continuing Education Requirements (Official)
- Associate Degree Programs (ADNS) Approved by Oklahoma BON
- Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) approved by Oklahoma BON
List of Associate Degree Programs (ADNs) in Oklahoma
Here’s a list of ADN programs approved by the Oklahoma BON:
Carl Albert State College
1507 South McKenna Poteau, OK 74953-5208
Murray State College Tishomingo Campus One Murray Campus Suite
N/AH 105 Tishomingo, OK 73460-9739
Phone: 580-371-2371 ext. 337
Northern Oklahoma College cont.
Enid Campus 100 South University P.O. Box 2300 Enid, OK 73702-2300
Connors State College
Muskogee Campus NSU—Muskogee Synar Bldg. 2404 West Shawnee Bypass Muskogee, OK 74401
Ardmore Campus University Center of Southern OK
2901 Mt. Washington Rd. Ardmore, OK 73401
Oklahoma City Community College School of Nursing South May Avenue Oklahoma City,
Eastern Oklahoma State College
Wilburton Campus 1301 West Main Wilburton,
Phone: 918-465-2361 ext. 796
Northeastern OK A&M College
200 I Street, Northeast Miami, OK 74354
Nurse Science Department 440 North Portland Oklahoma City, OK 73107 Phone: 405-945-3210
OSU Institute of Technology Okmulgee Nursing Program
1801 East 4th Street Okmulgee, OK 74447
Redlands Community College Department of Nursing
1300 South Country Club Road El Reno, Ok 73036 Phone: 405-422-1262
Northern Oklahoma College Division of Nursing Tonkawa Campus
P.O. Box 310 1220 East Grand Tonkawa,
Visit the Oklahoma BON website for updates.
List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Oklahoma
Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the California BON:
East Central University Department of Nursing
1100 E. 14th Ada, OK 74820 Ph: 580-332-8000 Ext 433/434
Langston University School of Nursing Langston Campus P. O. Box 1500 Langston, OK 73050
Marion University Leighton School of Nursing
3817 NW Expressway Suite 450 Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Northwestern OK State Univ. School of Nursing
Alva Campus 709 Oklahoma Blvd. Alva, OK 73717-2799 Ph: 580-327-8489
Oklahoma Baptist University School of Nursing
500 W. University Box 61805 Shawnee, OK 74804
Oklahoma Christian University Oklahoma
P O Box 11000 Oklahoma City, OK 73136-1100
Oklahoma City University Kramer School of Nursing Oklahoma City Campus 2501 N. Blackwelder Oklahoma City, OK 73106 Ph: 405-208-5900
Oklahoma Wesleyan University Division
2201 Silver Lake Road Bartlesville, OK 74006-6299
Oral Roberts University Anna Vaughn School of Nursing 7777 S. Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74171
Rogers State University Department of Nursing Claremore Campus 1701 West Will Rogers Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017-3252 Ph: 918-343-7635
Southern Nazarene University School of Nursing 6729 NW 39th Expressway Bethany, OK 73008
Visit the Oklahoma BON website for updates.
And there you go — a roadmap to becoming an RN in Oklahoma.
Hopefully, you’ll have a clearer picture of your journey. It starts from your idea of a successful nursing career to finding your first nursing job.
You’ll have to put in the work, but we’re sure you can do it. Nursing isn’t easy, but the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
So, keep these steps in mind, and we’re sure you’ll have your license soon.