top of page


A Guide to Nursing in Idaho

Idaho has just about anything your heart could desire. Gourmet food tours, luscious national parks, and railroad museums. Tap into your playful side and join the Boise Scavenger Hunt: Hidden Treasures. Walk the Idaho City Historic District Walking to soak up more history. Or, visit Coeur d’Alene Lake with 30 miles of pristine lakefront. Enjoy water sports, boating, swimming, or relaxing on the shore.

If you are a registered nurse (or are thinking of becoming one) read on to find the information you need, from licensing info, continuing education requirements, job & salary outlook, top hospitals, and nursing associations. Let us help you find your dream job!

In this article, we will cover:

Licensing information

Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Idaho whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Idaho from another state. For more information visit the Idaho licensing page.

Licensing fee by examination (first-time nurses):

  • NCLEX fee: $200

  • Application fee: $118.25

Licensing fee by endorsement (already have RN licensure):

  • Application fee: $138.25

  • Temporary permit: $25

  • APRN initial application: $118.25

License renewal fee:

  • Application fee: $90

Idaho is a nursing compact state, which allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses.

*Fees are subject to change.

**Most states require a background check, but prices are not always listed.


Steps for renewing an Idaho nursing license

  1. Verify when your license expires on the Idaho Board of Nursing website Visit the Verification page to confirm your license. The license period is for two years based upon the renewal cycle of the license.

  2. Complete your Idaho nursing continuing education requirements before your license expires You can complete your nursing CEUs online, on your schedule, and 100% free with Incredible Health.

  3. Go to the Idaho Board of Nursing to enter your renewal application Visit the Renewal Information page for specifics. Idaho is a compact state. If your Primary State of Residency is in another compact state do not apply for licensure in Idaho unless you are declaring Idaho as your Primary State of Residency.


Continuing education requirements

RN/LPN: 15 contact hours every 2 years (more options)

APRN: 30 contact hours every 2 years, 10 of which must be in pharmacology if the nurse has prescriptive authority.

Incredible Health offers ANCC-accredited continuing education courses for nurses in all 50 states, 100% free and online. The Idaho Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.

Job & salary outlook for nurses in Idaho

Due to the shortage of nurses, these healthcare professionals are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the profession will grow by about 9% between 2020-2030. The mean annual wage is $71,640.

We can also help you check out salary estimates to help determine if Idaho is the right state for you.

[ MORE: Average nurse salary in Idaho ]


Top hospitals in Idaho

If you’re not already picking up the phone to call movers, maybe this list of the top hospitals in Idaho will sway you in the right direction. Here are the top hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report:

  • St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center – Boise, ID: St. Luke’s offers patients quality service in many ways This includes safety and quality care to advanced technology, education and tools to live a healthy life. They are on of the Top 15 Health Systems in the U.S., designated by IBM Watson Health™. They are also part of the Magnet Recognition Program®. Some specialties include:

    • Conditions related to cancer

    • Cardiology & heart surgery

    • Neurology & neurosurgery

    • Conditions related to orthopedics

  • St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center – Boise, ID: Those who work at Saint Alphonsus Health System serve together in the spirit of the Gospel as a compassionate and transforming healing presence within their communities. The stand with and serve those who are poor, especially those most vulnerable. They are on of the Top 15 Health Systems in the U.S., designated by IBM Watson Health™. Some specialties include:

    • Colon cancer

    • Heart failure

    • Gastroenterology & GI surgery

    • Orthopedics

  • Kootenai Health – Coeur d’Alene: This highly decorated facility is part of the Magnet Recognition Program® and is in the top 10% in the nation for cardiac care. Part of their mission is “At Kootenai Health, we believe in the power of the nurse-patient relationship and believe true caring is an essential function of helping patients heal.” Some of their specialties include:

    • Family Birth Center

    • Cardiology

    • Orthopedics

    • Cancer center

*Magnet status – Awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is considered the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care. Hospitals must meet certain criteria and apply to be designated.


Nursing organizations and associations in Idaho

Once you become a registered nurse (or even if you’re in the process), joining a nursing organization or association will give you access to networking, job opportunities, and a wealth of information shared between fellow nurses. Here are a few of the organizations and associations for nurses in Idaho:

American Nurses Association – Idaho: “ANA-Idaho advances the nursing profession by promoting professional development, fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the safety and well-being of nurses in the workplace, and by advocating on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.”

Nurse Practitioners of Idaho: “NPI is a valuable resource for continuing education of nurse practitioners and provides an annual educational conference to meet ongoing continuing and pharmacology education for the NP.”

Idaho Nursing Students Association: ” INSA aids in the professional development of nursing students by providing programs on current nursing and health care issues, encouraging participation in community health promotion and educational activities, and representing nursing students to consumers, nursing faculty, and institutions.”

Check out the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Basic steps for licensing and certification

Step 1: Education

Attend an accredited nursing school to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN will take between 18 and 24 months to complete, while you can expect to spend roughly four years to earn a BSN. If you already have an ADN, there is an ADN to BSN bridge program that allows you to earn a BSN in 12-18 months. There is also an RN to BSN bridge which takes three semesters of nursing courses to be completed in one year. These programs will save you time and money. The more education you have, the better your chances of landing your dream job.

Step 2: Licensing

When you are six weeks away from graduation, you can apply to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. There are 75 to 265 questions on the NCLEX-RN with a five-hour time limit for completion. If you do not pass the NCLEX-RN on your first attempt, you must wait 45 days before you can try again.

The NCLEX includes questions on the following topics to test nursing candidates’ knowledge:

1. Safe and effective care environment

2. Health promotion and maintenance

3. Psychosocial integrity

4. Physiological integrity

Step 3: Experience

This step in the process is to gain hands-on experience. This will provide you with invaluable opportunities to work with patients making you attractive to future employers.

Step 4: Certification

The final step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. Requirements for earning a certification vary so it is important to check with the governing body for information. Incredible Health offers free courses in order to obtain or renew certification requirements. Create a free account to access professional development mandates and get instant certificates.

Contact information

Idaho Board of Nursing

Phone: (208) 577-2476


Mailing address:

PO Box 83720

Boise, ID 83720-0061

Physical address:

11351 W. Chinden Blvd.

Building 6

Boise, ID 83714

Your Instructor

bottom of page