What Can Happen If I Don't Renew My LPN License?

Failing to renew timely can lead to complications later.

Failing to renew timely can lead to complications later.

States require licensed practical nurses to have a valid LPN license. It is the LPN's responsibility to keep this license current, including adhering to renewal requirements and paying associated fees. Employers may keep a copy of your current license on file or verify that your license is active using a state or a national database like Nursys, maintained by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

LPN License

LPNs are required to be licensed to practice in their state. The state board of nursing oversees both new licenses and renewals. If you are unsure of the status of your license, you can contact your state board of nursing and inquire directly -- this information may be available online. Some states even list the names of LPNs whose licenses expire that month on their website. Be prepared to provide your name, license number or Social Security number.

License Renewal

Contact your state board of nursing to find out how often your license needs renewed. LPNs are expected to renew their licenses and are not excused from doing so just because they did not receive a renewal notice. Generally, you can renew your license online -- some states may only offer renewal online. For example, Arizona requires LPNs to renew online with the exception of nurses who are on probation, suspended, inactive, have an expired license or do not have a Social Security number. It usually costs about 50 bucks to renew.

Lapse in Licensing

If you miss the renewal deadline, your licensing status reverts to "inactive." Practicing with an inactive license can result in fines -- and possibly job loss. Your employer, and the public, can easily verify that your license has lapsed. An active license is required. Once it becomes inactive, you may have to complete additional requirements to reinstate it. This can cause a delay. If your license remains inactive for an extended time, you may be required to retake the National Council Licensure Exam, meet continuing education requirements and practice requirements to reinstate it.

Be Proactive

Make sure you keep your address updated with your state board of nursing so you receive any correspondence -- including renewal notices -- from the board. Keep in mind that it can take a week to a month to process and issue your renewal. Some states offer a grace period for this reason -- but never assume this will be the case. If you have unique circumstances affecting your ability to pay for the renewal, contact your state board of nursing and ask about payment options.

 

About the Author

Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.

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