Certification & Licensure

Undergraduate 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 and will graduate in May. 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.

What can delay your education verification?

One of the most frequent reasons that might delay a student’s education verification is the posting of credits to their record. Students should make sure that all off campus (Transfer, Study Abroad, Extension) credits have been posted to their record. All courses must be completed and posted to your record before we can verify graduation.

We recommend that students meet with an Advisor to make sure the credits are posted. If they are not posted, they need to be posted to the student’s record through the Office of Admissions. It can take 4-6 weeks to finalize getting your credits posted.

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.

Applicants applying to:

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 https://olas.wi.gov/ 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, you should allow DSPS up to 10 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.

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.

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.

Board of Nursing Departments for States other than Wisconsin

Students are responsible for obtaining material from the state they intend to become licensed. 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 Programs Student Services Office, 1124 Cooper Hall. Once the form is filled out and signed by the Associate Dean for Academic Programs the form will be returned to the appropriate address.

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


Application & Registration

The process to take the NCLEX begins with two steps:

  • Submit an application for licensure to the board of nursing where you wish to be licensed. This is in order to be made eligible to take the NCLEX. Be sure to meet the board of nursing’s application deadline.
  • Register for the NCLEX with Pearson VUE.

State Board Applications

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.

Undergraduates who have completed the first year in the Traditional BSN curriculum are eligible to sit for the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination and practice as nurse aides in the state of Wisconsin.  The first step is to have the School of Nursing verify your education and eligibility via the Student Nurse/Graduate Nurse Training Verification form, which is available on the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services website.  Students should complete the top “Personal Information” section and submit that form to the Office of Academic Affairs (Cooper Hall, suite 1100), where the “Education” section of the form will be completed and the school signature applied.  Students will be notified that the completed form is available for pickup from Academic Affairs within 5-7 days.

Policy for Education Validation

While the credentialing center may authorize a candidate to sit for an advanced practice certification examination after all coursework is complete and prior to degree conferral, the center will retain the exam results and will not issue certification until two additional documents are submitted. These are the 1) final official transcript with degree-conferral date received directly from the university, and 2) the validation of education form signed by the DNP Faculty Program Director.

Upon request, the School of Nursing will complete the validation of education form prior to degree-conferral, thus confirming eligibility to test. This service will be available only for students who have:

  1. Successfully completed all advanced nursing coursework and clinical practice hours required for the DNP program,
  2. Enrolled in their final semester of the program,
  3. Reached the midpoint of that final semester and course professor(s) have verified that they are on track to graduate as anticipated

Once these criteria are met, students may submit their request for education validation via email directly to the Graduate Academic Services Coordinator.  The coordinator will confirm appropriate course completion and final semester progression and submit the form, as appropriate. The School of Nursing will not validate education for students who have not completed these eligibility requirements.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the world’s largest nurse credentialing organization and a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.  For more information on NP/CNS licensing, click here.  The ANCC offers certification in the following disciplines:

Nurse Practitioner Certifications

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP
  • Pediatric Primary Care NP
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health NP

Clinical Nurse Specialist Certifications

  • Adult-Gerontology CNS

The PNCB is the largest independent pediatric nursing certification organization in the country, with over 95% of all pediatric nurses who certify choosing the PNCB (according to PNCB exam brochure).

Licensure in the State of Wisconsin as an Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber


Darby Sugar

Position title: Director of Advising and Student Services

Email: darby.sugar@wisc.edu

Phone: 608-263-5248

1145 Signe Skott Cooper Hall

Mariah Allen

Position title: DNP & PhD Program Coordinator

Email: mkallen@nursing.wisc.edu

Phone: 608-263-5258

1131 Signe Skott Cooper Hall

Kelli Richards

Position title: Career Development & Learning Support Manager

Email: kelli.richards@wisc.edu

Phone: 608-263-5163

1138A Signe Skott Cooper Hall