The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a critical examination for aspiring nurses in the United States and Canada. This standardized test evaluates the knowledge and skills of nursing candidates, ensuring they possess the competencies necessary for safe and effective patient care. For internationally educated nurses seeking to work in the U.S. or Canada, registering for the NCLEX exam can be a daunting process. However, with the assistance of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), candidates can navigate the registration process with ease. This article aims to shed light on the NCLEX exam, its registration process, the role of CGFNS, and the English tests required, including the TOEIC.


1. What is the NCLEX Exam?

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a standardized exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). It is a crucial step for nurses seeking licensure to practice in the United States and Canada. The NCLEX evaluates a candidate's ability to apply the knowledge, skills, and critical thinking required to deliver safe and effective nursing care. The exam is designed to ensure that all licensed nurses meet the same minimum competency standards, regardless of their educational background.

The NCLEX exam is tailored to the specific role and responsibilities of entry-level nurses, including registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/LVN). The content of the exam is based on client needs categories, such as Safe and Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychosocial Integrity, and Physiological Integrity


2. How to Register for the NCLEX Exam

Registering for the NCLEX exam can be a multi-step process, and it's essential to follow the guidelines provided by the NCSBN. Here is a step-by-step guide to help candidates navigate through the registration process:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility Before registering for the NCLEX exam, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements set by the nursing regulatory board of the state or province where you intend to practice. Each jurisdiction may have specific educational, language proficiency, and documentation criteria that candidates must meet.

Step 2: Create an Account with the NCSBN Visit the official NCSBN website and create a new account. Provide accurate personal information, including your educational background and identification details. Creating an account will allow you to access the online registration portal and receive updates about your application.

Step 3: Request Authorization to Test (ATT) Upon completing your account registration, you can apply for Authorization to Test (ATT). This step verifies your eligibility to take the NCLEX exam. Pay the required fee and wait for your ATT, which will contain important details, such as the validity period and scheduling instructions.

Step 4: Schedule the Exam Once you receive your ATT, you can schedule your NCLEX exam through Pearson VUE, the authorized testing service. Select a convenient test date and location from the available options. It's advisable to schedule the exam well in advance to secure your preferred date and location.

Step 5: Prepare for the Exam Before the exam date, dedicate ample time for comprehensive preparation. Utilize study materials, review courses, and practice exams to enhance your knowledge and test-taking skills. Familiarize yourself with the format and content of the NCLEX to boost your confidence.

Step 6: Take the NCLEX Exam On the scheduled exam day, arrive at the testing center early to complete necessary check-in procedures. The NCLEX is a computerized adaptive test, meaning the difficulty of the questions adapts based on your responses. Take your time, stay focused, and answer each question to the best of your ability.

Step 7: Receive the Results After completing the NCLEX exam, you will receive your official results from the regulatory board within a few weeks. Depending on the jurisdiction, results may be available online or sent via mail. Successful candidates will receive their nursing license, while those who don't pass may have the opportunity to retake the exam after meeting certain criteria.


3. How to Use CGFNS for NCLEX Registration

For internationally educated nurses, CGFNS plays a vital role in the NCLEX registration process. CGFNS provides services to facilitate the evaluation of international nursing education, ensuring candidates meet the requirements of the nursing regulatory board. Here's how CGFNS can assist with NCLEX registration:

Credentials Evaluation: CGFNS conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the candidate's nursing education and credentials. This evaluation assesses the comparability of the candidate's education to U.S. nursing standards, validating their eligibility for NCLEX registration.

Professional Report: After the evaluation process, CGFNS issues a professional report, which is often required by the nursing regulatory board as part of the NCLEX registration process.

Visascreen Certificate: For internationally educated nurses seeking U.S. licensure, the CGFNS Visascreen Certificate is a mandatory requirement by the USCIS. This certificate verifies the candidate's education, licensure, and English language proficiency, ensuring their eligibility for a U.S. occupational visa.


4. English Tests Needed for the NCLEX Exam, including TOEIC

As with many licensure exams, proficiency in English is essential for candidates taking the NCLEX exam. This requirement ensures that nurses can effectively communicate with patients, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals. The accepted English tests for NCLEX registration may vary depending on the state or province's nursing regulatory board. Among the widely accepted tests, the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) is a popular choice.

The TOEIC evaluates a candidate's English language skills in listening and reading. It measures the ability to understand English in various workplace-related scenarios. The TOEIC scores are used to determine a candidate's language proficiency, ensuring they can effectively interact and communicate in a healthcare setting.

Other acceptable English tests for NCLEX registration may include the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic. Candidates should verify the specific English language proficiency requirements of the nursing regulatory board where they plan to seek licensure.



The NCLEX exam is a critical milestone for internationally educated nurses aspiring to work in the United States or Canada. By understanding the registration process and leveraging the support of organizations like CGFNS, candidates can navigate the requirements and enhance their chances of success. Proficiency in English, demonstrated through tests like the TOEIC, is an essential aspect of the NCLEX registration process, ensuring nurses can communicate effectively in a diverse healthcare environment. With diligent preparation and adherence to the guidelines, international nurses can confidently embark on their journey towards a rewarding nursing career in North America.

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