Nurses at all levels are in demand across Idaho, in cities like Boise and in rural areas. Some communities are experiencing severe shortages of nurses, which means more opportunities, and often more money, for recent graduates. Due to the state’s aging population, and nurses leaving to pursue work in neighboring states, jobs for graduates with online nursing degrees are plentiful.
According to recent studies by the Idaho Department of Labor, the situation isn’t going to change soon. The department listed nursing as one of its “hot jobs” in a recent survey, with growth expected to outpace most other industries in the state. The state also has a need for nursing instructors. Nursing schools in Idaho offer many opportunities, whether you’re interested in LPN work or a doctor of nursing practice.
How to Become a Nurse in Idaho
Nurses in Idaho go through a conventional training process. LPNs in Idaho can become licensed with a year of schooling and hands-on practice. Registered nurses must have a bachelor’s degree, which takes about two years to earn through one of the nursing programs in Idaho. Once nurses have completed their education, they must pass their licensing exam, and the state requires a few extra steps compared to other state requirements.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
Graduates from nursing schools in Idaho are prepared to work in nursing homes, as teachers, in an emergency room, or to serve as a DNP. One of the first decisions that students working toward an online nursing degree must make is to determine what level of nursing to pursue. Becoming an RN is considered entry-level and requires at least an associate degree. Nurses have the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree through online RN to BSN programs in Idaho. Master’s and doctoral programs are also available.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
Earning a diploma is the quickest route to becoming a nurse. Some programs require students to complete a clinical experience or internship. Learners should check if these requirements can be completed locally. The length of time it takes to earn an online nursing degree varies, depending upon your education level and whether or not you enroll in one of the accelerated nursing programs in Idaho.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
All graduates must pass a licensing exam in order to practice in Idaho. Many nursing schools in Idaho provide preparation for licensure tests. Graduates must pay a testing and fingerprint fee. Obtaining licensure does not guarantee future employment. Nurses must renew their license every few years; the exact amount of time varies by state. Professionals who earned a licence from a compact state may also practice in Idaho.
Nursing Licensure in Idaho
Graduates of nursing schools in Idaho go through the same licensing testing as nurses in other states. To practice as a nurse, you must pass the National Council Licensure Exam, which is the nationwide nursing standard. The NCLEX comes in two forms: NCLEX-PN, for LPNs, and NCLEX-RN, for professional nurses. Before you can sit for these exams, you must have the requisite training or education. RNs must earn an associate or bachelor’s degree from one of the online RN programs in Idaho. Students can apply to take the test when they are near the end of their program. This includes applying to the Idaho Nursing Board for permission to take the NCLEX and registering with Pearson VUE, the test administrator. Many nurses complete the background check and fingerprinting requirements ahead of time.
Idaho adopted the national Nursing Compact in 2001, which means that residents of the 25 participating states can practice in Idaho without having to relicense. Graduates of nursing schools in Idaho must renew biennially, with LPNs required to renew on even-numbered years, and professionals on odd-numbered years. The Idaho Nursing Board hosts a site with all the information needed to pursue licensing.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Idaho
RN/LPN Fee $110
Licensing Fee $25
Career Outlook for Nurses in Idaho
Graduates with online nursing degrees can find work in hospitals, geriatric facilities, schools, and rural clinics. Specialized work for insurance companies, case management, telephonic nursing, tribal clinic work, and teaching positions are also available. The outlook for recent graduates of nursing schools in Idaho is positive. According to projections by the state of Idaho, nursing positions will increase by more than 26% through 2022. The Idaho Department of Labor considers registered nursing a “hot job” and a growth leader, outpaced only by pharmaceutical work.
According to a 2017 study of nursing by the Idaho Department of Labor, the state is currently suffering from a shortage of nurses, especially in rural areas. Idaho’s aging population has created a demand for graduates of Idaho nursing schools, and many nurses have left the state to seek better-paying jobs in neighboring states. There’s even a shortage of teachers in many of Idaho’s nursing programs.
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Biggest Hospitals in Idaho
Hospitals employ many nurses who hold online degrees and offer training opportunities, internships, and fellowships to students. Many degree candidates at nursing schools in Idaho do their practicals at hospitals, and some nurses even get their degrees through medical centers. Hospitals are a great place for new graduates of Idaho nursing schools to begin their search for employment. The state’s two largest hospitals employ the most nurses in the state.
- St. Luke’s Medical Center: Based in Boise, Idaho’s largest city, St. Luke’s is the flagship of the biggest healthcare system in the state. It’s also one of the state’s largest employers, with more than 10,000 employees at its facilities, which includes many graduates of online BSN programs in Idaho.
- St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center: Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1894, St. Alphonsus was Boise’s first medical center. The Level II trauma center is part of a much larger medical system that’s among the largest employers in Idaho. The facility is a pioneer in telemedicine, serving the state’s remote areas. St. Alphonsus employs more than 5,000 people among its medical staff.
Additional Nursing Resources in Idaho
Idaho Board of Nursing
IBN, the state-run, regulatory agency in Idaho, offers information on nursing in the state, including licensing, educational programs, and guidelines.
Formerly known as the Idaho Nurses Association, this is now the state’s chapter of the American Nurses Association, a membership organization with resources for new graduates of Idaho nursing schools and working nurses. Resources include networking, educational opportunities, and current news and information.
Nurse Leaders of Idaho
NLI is a professional membership organization that represents nursing leadership in the state. The group is one of the top political voices for nurses. NLI hosts training, leadership courses, and an annual conference.
Idaho Nursing Action Coalition
Part of the national nursing Campaign for Action, the coalition brings together state nurses for advocacy and political work. The organization works to improve educational opportunities for nurses across Idaho, conducting webinars and disseminating information.
Idaho Student Nurses Association
ISNA hosts an annual convention. The association offers tips on passing the NCLEX and posts study ideas, a blog, news, and other helpful information.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Idaho
Nursing schools in Idaho offer nursing programs at all levels. You can find RN programs in Idaho, online MSN programs in Idaho, and online RN to BSN programs in Idaho. The following database includes all accredited online nursing programs in the state.