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Australian Nurses Working in the US

by sjc855 sjc855 (New) New Nurse


When I was preparing to move from Australia to the US, I struggled to find any posts on how to transfer my degree/license so I thought I would make this post detailing my experience in the hope it may help others! (Unfortunately I don't have any information on visas as I had moved here with my American husband and therefore already had a visa/SSN).

Your first point of contact should be the state nursing board of wherever you are hoping to work/live. For me it was NC and I was able to find detailed steps of the process for obtaining my license as an 'internationally trained' RN on their website. Most states require you to have your degree assessed by an independent company and will list preferred companies on their website. The most commonly recommended one I came across was called CGFNS. I paid a $350 fee and requested for my degree to be assessed. Your university will need to complete a bunch of paperwork outlining what subjects you completed and how many practical/theory hours were involved. This required me to contact my uni and pay for a few extra things like transcripts and postage fees.

After about 4 months, I received my report indicating that my degree was the equivalent of a US nursing diploma. I was pretty devastated that my bachelor and clinical honours degree (totaling 4 years of study) would only transfer to a diploma, but I was still grateful I could work.

NOTE: Some people do receive a report from CGFNS indicating they have insufficient hours in some subjects. It seems to be in areas like maternity/peds etc. Unfortunately, I do not know the next steps to take if this is your situation, sorry!

At the same time, I applied with the NC Board of Nursing and started my license application. I needed to send in my SSN once I received it, complete a background check (which involved fingerprint scanning at the local sheriff department) and sit the dreaded NCLEX exam.

Once NCBON received my CGFNS report, I was cleared to take the NCLEX exam which was around $200. I cannot speak more highly of UWorld! That app is the sole reason I passed. It is well worth the money! I also watched a lot of Youtube videos (channel name RegisteredNurseRN). I gave myself a few months to study and went over a lot of rationales. It can be a very stressful time particularly being internationally trained but it is normal to feel that way. Most people I spoke to felt extremely nervous and unprepared, just as I did. The exam process was very simple and surprisingly, was not as bad as I was expecting.

I was able to receive quick results after 2 days which cost about $8 if available in your state. I also successfully tried the Pearson Vue Trick prior to the quick results. Not long after this, I received notification that I was officially a licensed RN in NC.

The whole process took some time and money but was definitely worth it to stay in this wonderful career! I wish you all the best!


Specializes in ICU, education, peer support & paediatrics. Has 35 years experience.

Hi, thanks for sharing your process.

when was this & where did you do your bachelor & honours?

im an Australian nurse in the GCSFN process. I have post grad in crit care & masters in education. I hope I get the go ahead to fit the NCLEX.

sny information would be greatly appreciated.

thank you 😊

I sat my NCLEX only a couple of weeks ago and got my official license shortly after.

My bachelors was done in NSW and post grad TAS. They didn't seem to care about my post grad unfortunately. They were mainly interested in the subjects and hours completed within my bachelors.

Best of luck.