When Should Senior Nursing Students/New Grads Apply for Jobs/Take the NCLEX?

  1. I am new to this website and am seeking any advice about when it is appropriate to start applying for nursing positions? I am a senior nursing student in the last semester of nursing school. I am on track to graduate in May of 2014 and am really unsure about when nursing students should apply for jobs. Is it appropriate to apply for new graduate positions prior to graduating or are you supposed to wait until after graduation?

    Also, when do you sign up to take the NCLEX? Do you sign up prior to graduation or are you only eligible to sign up upon receiving your BSN? How soon after graduation do most people take their NCLEX? These are all questions I plan on asking my instructors very soon but figured I would also seek out the knowledge of others who have experience with this.
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    About KNofal1

    Joined: Jan '14; Posts: 5; Likes: 6


  3. by   krisiepoo
    I started applying the last couple weeks of school. I graduated less than a month ago, though, so don't have any empirical evidence as to if that will work or not

    I live in MN and our steps were: apply to BON and pay fee (about 1-2 weeks before graduation)... apply to pearson vue and pay fee.. then when the school released our information the BON had our info and pearsonvue sent the ATT very quickly. You can't take the NCLEX before you graduate but we were told having our info matched up the info quickly and our info from the school didn't go into the etherworld
  4. by   SL2014
    When you get your license. There are A LOT of new grads out there, you most likely won't even be looked at until you have RN after your name...
  5. by   KelRN215
    I disagree with the previous posters. NOW would be a good time to start applying. If you wait until after you graduate, all the new grad positions will be gone. I started applying for jobs in January of my senior year of college. I interviewed and had a job offer in March, graduated in May and started working in September (by choice).

    You cannot sign up for NCLEX until after you've already graduated... mainly because you are not eligible to take NCLEX until you have completed your program. After you graduate, your school will send your transcript along with your application for the test and for licensure to Pearson Vue. You will then receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) and you will be able to schedule the test.
  6. by   KNofal1
    Thanks a lot! It made the most sense to me to start applying this semester because I figured waiting too long could potentially mean all new grad slots would get filled up. If you don't mind my asking, what did your resume consist of? I know I need to start putting one together but am not really sure what is valuable information and what is not. Thanks!!
  7. by   RunBabyRN
    I'm in the same place as you, and I'm looking for jobs. I have a couple of good leads, but I'm not limiting myself, especially since everything for newbies is per diem, at least around here.
    Do a Google search of new grad nurse resumes. There are a lot of good resources out there, and I've been using those to build my own resume. You'll get a lot of conflicting info, of course, but do what feels right to you. Your classes this semester should cover some of this, too (mine will, at least).
    I also agree about the above about the NCLEX. Until your school has submitted the list of graduated students, you can't sign up to take it.
    Also, are you thinking you'd like to work where you've done clinicals or your preceptorship? It would be good to work the contacts you've made along the way. One of the promising job leads I have is where I am precepting, as the NM asked me to come up there so she could see how I do there (she saw me in med/surg when she was the NM there, now she's in mother/baby, where I want to be!).
  8. by   melizerd
    It really depends on your area. My area doesn't have "new grad only" type positions and most of my class takes the NCLEX within a couple weeks of graduation and has jobs in 2-4 months. No one is looking at application until you are an RN. I graduated from an ADN program and we are finding jobs, I'm in WI.

    We paid our state fees and Pearson vue a month or 6 weeks before graduation so that all fees are paid and you are just waiting for your ATT after graduation.
  9. by   shaynurse53
    Per diem isnt that bad youll probably get at least two days a week and it pays more than full time
  10. by   RunBabyRN
    Quote from shaynurse53
    Per diem isnt that bad youll probably get at least two days a week and it pays more than full time
    Per diem around here varies widely. You could be working 5 days a week, you could be working once a month. I'm not counting on hours from any one per diem position!
    OP, also consider the job market where you are. I live in one of the most competitive markets in the US, so I HAVE to start looking now and networking and such. Others may not have that same issue. So look at what's going on geographically.
  11. by   applesxoranges
    It's very regional. I was told that we should apply for jobs as soon as we start our final semester by a manager who works in the opposite end of the state, however, regionally no one would look at the applications till we were almost done. I was hired internally around the end of November so I applied in the beginning of November. Ask for reference letters in the beginning of the semester that you are to graduate. Look for new grad programs too. One thing is that you don't want to knock yourself out of the running so if you start noticing rejections very quickly, then hold off as you're probably being rejected for not having a license.

    Also, our state allowed us to apply in our final semester and we applied to Pearson Vue. I applied a week or two before Thanksgiving. This allowed me to know that they had started the paperwork. However, we didn't register till the state had processed our school information. I graduated December and the board received the info Dec. 26. It took them till about Jan. 8th to send me my ATT so I could finally schedule for the NCLEX. However, they were booked till the 25th.

    It varies. Some of us have job offers through work or residencies but others are going to be waiting awhile. I've been posting info on new jobs so people can attempt to apply. One downside of per diem is that they usually want experienced nurses, at least around here. We had hired a bunch of new grads who hadn't found work since May in November so that's about six months. I know people who had to wait longer than that to get into a hospital.
  12. by   NuGuyNurse2b
    On a related note, what kind of nursing positions do new grads go for? I see postings for ICU, Maternity, ER, etc on job search sites, and of course those all want experience and I believe those are specialized areas anyway,so where would a new grad actually go? In other words, what kind of position should we search for? Would it just say something like "med surg" or "general nurse" etc?
  13. by   Dranger
    My area isn't going to give a new grad a per diem job. Per diem is reserved for the experienced who actually know what they are doing and can be brought in on the fly.

    As for applying now, I kind of think its a waste of time. Why? Because there are plenty of new grads out there with RN after there name ready to work NOW. Unless you are a strong applicant who can convince the employer to wait the 6 months till you can work I doubt you will turn many heads. Just real talk.
  14. by   applesxoranges
    I'd go with any position that is posted unless it is something you know you could never, ever do like doing OB if you hated OB or doing psych if you hated psych.

    I had both ER and ICU but I worked in the ER and I was a paramedic before with 911 experience. ICU I had a preceptorship in so they offered me the job.