Living and working as a nurse in the USA has awesome advantages for foreigners. It is not just beneficial to your finances, but it also encourages career progression and opens doors to various advanced opportunities in the field of nursing.
The nursing profession is in high demand as nurses play an exceptional role in the healthcare system. As workers transfer or retire from the labor force, there are many openings for nurses.
This is a great chance for foreign nurses to apply for nursing jobs in the USA and advance their careers.
In this piece, we’ll look at nursing jobs in the US for foreigners, the required steps, and online nursing programs in the US.
How to Work in the U.S. as a Nurse from another Country
Although there is a need for registered nurses and healthcare professionals, existing immigration regulations in the United States might make it difficult for foreign nurses to get employment.
So, those interested in following this option must receive the necessary visas and paperwork from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department, as well as meet the U.S. foreign nurse licensure standards.
The steps include:
Step One: Meet the US education requirements for nurses
Firstly, internationally educated nurses must achieve minimum educational standards, which include:
- You must have graduated from an authorized registered nursing program: ADN or BSN in Nursing
- License as a Registered Nurse (RN)
- Minimum of two years of experience working as a RN.
Step Two: Get a Foreign-Educated Nurses (FEN) Course.
Aside from the requirements already mentioned, most states also require foreign-educated nurses to take a Foreign-Educated Nurses (FEN) refresher course.
The course includes 120 hours in the classroom and 120 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed Registered Nurse.
Step Three: English Language Proficiency Tests
The next step is to sit for and pass an English Proficiency Test such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), or the International English Language Testing System IELTS.
This varies based on the nation of origin, and the results are transmitted immediately to the state nursing board.
Even if you speak English fluently but complete your nursing degree in another language, you’ll still need to take an English proficiency test.
Nurses who attended nursing school in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada (excluding Quebec), or Ireland are exempt, and also those whose first language at nursing school was English and/or whose textbooks were written in English.
Step Four: Pass the NCLEX-RN Examination
In addition to getting your credentials accepted by the CGFNS, many states have additional requirements for obtaining a nursing license.
Foreign nurses can pursue the CGFNS Certification Program, which is an all-encompassing option for meeting the criteria for State Boards of Nursing.
This certification confirms your qualifications, evidence of English language competency, and successful completion of the CGNFS Qualifying Exam.
The CGFNS also offers “VisaScreen,” which provides the same value as the certification program while meeting the U.S. Federal screening criteria for a work visa.
Step five: Find a nursing recruitment agency or a US-based employer.
The next step is to get an employment visa. There are various choices available for these nurses, but they must be sponsored by a staffing agency.
Foreign nurses find it easier to work with an independent staffing recruiter or agency rather than directly with a hospital.
Agencies are well-versed in assisting nurses working in the United States and have mechanisms in place to ensure that all information and paperwork are done correctly.
Agencies are also interested in ensuring that all documentation is completed correctly and locating the appropriate nursing position to safeguard your interests and match your nursing qualifications.
Step Six: Obtain Your Employment Visa as a Nurse
Work visas for nurses include:
The TN visa for Mexican and Canadian nurses.
Mexican and Canadian nurses can work in the United States with a special TN visa if they have an offer of employment, a license to practice in their home country and meet the NCLEX and state licensure standards.
H-1B: Temporary Work Visa
Nurses with a four-year degree and a specialized nursing job may be eligible for an H-1B temporary work visa, after which they can apply for a green card once in the United States.
These specialized responsibilities may include those of critical care nurses, emergency room nurses, and/or cardiology nurses.
It is vital to know that there are only a limited number of H-1C visas available for nurses who want to work in certain institutions in underserved locations.
An EB-3 visa is sometimes known as a green card or permanent residency visa. To be eligible for this type of visa, you must have completed two years of education at an approved institution and be licensed to work in the nation where you earned your education.
This visa allows nurses to work in the United States for ten years in a hospital or other medical facility. Nurses can also utilize this visa to bring their wives and children under the age of 21 to the United States.
Interestingly, the EB-3 visa does not require nurses to have a job offer before traveling to the United States.
Step Seven: Find a registered nursing job in the United States.
Many career advisors urge nurses to perform targeted job searches on job boards according to their field of expertise.
You may start by looking at the available openings on the nurse.org employment board. If you’re interested in a particular hospital, check their website to see if there are any openings.
Nurses are not eligible to work in the United States.
Unfortunately, not all foreign-educated nurses are permitted to practice in the United States. This includes:
- Nurses who have not practiced for up to two years
- Nurses without a four-year nursing degree (state-dependent)
- People who have committed a crime.
- Nurses without sponsorship from a reputed nursing agency
- Nurses without visas
Some of the nursing programs in the U.S. that are available online include:
The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) training programs last approximately one year. A registered nurse supervises them.
LPN/LVN programs are available at numerous universities around the United States. These programs do not normally require any prerequisite courses.
But some colleges require a minimum TOEFL, SAT, or ACT score. A LVN/LPN nurse performs basic patient care, such as vital sign checks and patient monitoring.
Following the completion of training, an LPN must pass a national licensure exam to be certified by the state.
According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, the typical annual pay for a licensed practical and vocational nurse is $39,030 US.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a four-year program provided by numerous schools and institutions across the United States.
Felician College in New York State, for example, encourages nurses to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world healthcare situations. Some programs end with a Clinical Residency to help students transition from trainee to nurse.
The BSN program is popular among overseas students because it provides excellent work opportunities and a competitive income upon completion.
As the present generation retires, there will be a significant need for BSNs, resulting in numerous work possibilities around the United States.
The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) training program might take 15 months to two years to finish. This curriculum is offered at numerous community colleges around the United States. ADN programs typically require students to finish prerequisite classes before enrolling.
This associate’s degree program focuses on technical training. An ADN-registered nurse can heal patients, educate them, and offer emotional support to their families.
ADN programs are exclusively accessible in the United States, and international students can enroll. To receive a nursing license, Associate Degree Nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination, also known as the NCLEX-RN.
The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) curriculum combines many advanced nursing specialties into one course.
Graduates can pursue a variety of career paths, including Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP), Nurse Educator (NE), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
Accelerated BSN Programs
These programs, often known as second-degree programs, are typically designed for students who have already earned a degree.
These accelerated baccalaureate programs provide the quickest path to becoming a registered nurse and typically last 12–18 months.
These programs are competitive and fast-paced, but many international students prefer this type of learning environment.
As a nurser, can I get a Green Card in the United States?
Yes, your US firm may be interested in sponsoring you as a candidate for a US Green Card.
Are all nurses eligible to immigrate to the United States as nurses?
No, not every foreign-educated nurse can work in the United States. There are other requirements
Can an Indian nurse come to the United States?
Indian nurses seeking EB-3 visas are aware of the significant wait times associated with this US visa class. However, pending legislation in the United States may soon resolve it.
What are the licensure requirements for foreign nurses in the United States?
- A minimum of two years of nursing experience.
- Graduation from a four-year nursing program
- Proficient in the English language
- License as a Registered Nurse
Can I work as a nurse in the United States without experience?
No, becoming a nurse in the United States requires at least two years of bedside nursing experience.
It may take about 12 to 18 months or more for foreign registered nurses to immigrate to the U.S. from the time of accepting a job offer to their arrival.
Foreign nurses are increasingly arriving in the United States, positively impacting their lives, families, and the healthcare system, and you could be next.
You can also check out NURSING JOBS IN USA FOR FOREIGNERS & ONLINE NURSING PROGRAMS IN USA