University of Wisconsin–Madison

Undergraduate Licensure

Undergraduate Licensure Information

After a student has completed their nursing degree, the next step is to sit for the NCLEX. Undergraduate students must apply for licensure in a specific state and complete the NCLEX exam to become a Registered Nurse.

Licensure information pertains to current undergraduate students who are in their last semester before graduation. Students should be sure that they have indicated their graduation term in their MyUW account. This will put students “on the list” of those that intend to graduate this Spring or Summer. This list is used for things like graduation ceremony information and final graduation checks at the end of the semester.

If you are uncertain as to whether or not you will be a May graduate, please contact your advisor via email, or run a DARS report through your MyUW account. You can also meet with your advisor to complete a Senior Graduation Check.

Academic Affairs then has to verify all requirements (after final grades are submitted and posted) for all students that have indicated graduation. This process takes about 2 weeks. Academic Affairs then sends final lists the Registrar.

Please note: The School of Nursing will not approve students to take the nursing licensure examination until all degree requirements have been met. This includes all requirements within the 124-credit Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, including the required nursing core curriculum to total at least 53 nursing (N#) credits. Approval occurs after 1) all courses have been completed, 2) final grades have been posted, and 3) the School of Nursing has certified the degree with the UW-Madison Office of the Registrar. This process and its accompanying timeline cannot be waived or expedited except in an extreme situation beyond a student’s control, such as military deployment.

We will send education certification information around the first week of June. It could take 15-20 days (or more) for some states to complete your application after they receive the education certification. If you plan on working right after the semester, we encourage you to speak with your employer about the positions (Student Nurse, etc) that are available to you until you receive your temporary license.

Most state board of nursing offices require you to document your nursing education. Documentation varies by state. The most common methods used for documentation are an official transcript, a degree verification form or by both methods combined.


State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services

Students need to apply for licensure in WI via their online form. For applicants using the Online Licensure Application System (OLAS):

  • Go to the OLAS website at and Create Account.
  • After creating an account, you will log in on the OLAS website using that information.
  • Once logged in, select ‘Start an Application’. After you complete the Application Questionnaire, you will receive further information on how to pay fees online and upload any required additional documentation (if necessary).
  • Once you have completed the questionnaire, paid fee, uploaded addition documents, and your school has submitted your Statement of Graduation  approval through OLAS, (must be after degree is posted) you should allow DSPS up to 14 business days to review the application.
  • After the file has been reviewed, DSPS will send you an email with your application ID # and further instructions on how to check the status of your application online. Each time DSPS updates your application, you will receive that same email.
  • Register and pay for the NCLEX exam as soon as you are able. If you are not registered for the NCLEX at the time DSPS is able to make you eligible to test (after receipt of statement of graduation approval from the school) your registration may be delayed.

Once all required application materials have been received and processed by DSPS, and your school submits your Statement of Graduation (electronically for OLAS applications), DSPS can issue your temporary permit and make you eligible for the NCLEX. PLEASE NOTE: Allow at least 10 business days for processing from the date DSPS receives your Statement of Graduation. By applying six weeks prior to your graduation date, you put your application in line ahead of those who wait until later. This could help you get started in your nursing career much earlier than those who wait to apply until after graduation.

Temporary Work Permits – Wisconsin

A permit is granted for a three month period and is issued upon the following:

  • Completed state board application accompanied by the $90.00 fee
  • Permit fee of $10.00 (therefore a total of $100.00 is required)
  • Official certification of graduation from a state-approved school of nursing. The certification is not acceptable until after the program has been completed.

If your application requires a background check, DSPS cannot issue your temporary permit until the background check is completed (may take an additional 30 business days). However, you may still be made eligible for NCLEX.

If you are granted a temporary permit, you must take the NCLEX exam at least 10 days prior to the expiration of your temporary permit to avoid any lapse in licensure.

Board of Nursing Departments for States other than Wisconsin

Students are responsible for obtaining material from the state they intend to become licensed. A student can see the state boards of nursing listed here. If a degree verification (aka: education verification) form is required to be completed by the School of Nursing, then the student should submit the form to the School of Nursing Academic Affairs Office, 1100 Cooper Hall. Once the form is filled out and signed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs the form will be returned to the appropriate address.

Students seeking licensure outside of Wisconsin may want to check out the following web site:

See the ‘State Education Certification Forms’ tab for individual state forms.

Below are some of the more common state certification forms the school of nursing fills out. For the most up-to-date forms, it’s best to visit the state board websites directly.

Illinois (pdf)

Minnesota (pdf)

Ohio (pdf)

Texas (pdf)

Once you’ve taken the NCLEX and received your nursing license, transferring your license follows a similar process as applying for licensure. Visit the website for the state board of nursing you are transferring to. Rather than a ‘certification by examination’ form, you will look for a ‘certification by endorsement’ form.

Compact States

It is possible to get a multistate license if you apply for licensure in a compact state.

If you live in a compact state, you must have at least one of the following to declare that state your home state of residency:

  • a driver license in that state, or;
  • an address from the state that you hold a voters registration, or;
  • an address in that state by which you file your federal income taxes.

Most compact states require some type of formal declaration. You cannot assume you have the compact privilege just because you have one or more of the items above.