How to Become A Registered Nurse In the USA?
U.S. Immigration Laws do not make it easy for foreign-born nurses to obtain work authorization in the United States despite having a shortage of nurses in the country. The only possible way is by obtaining permanent residency status. For nurses, the immigrant visa is usually the only option because of the unavailability of temporary visas. Even though immigrating to the U.S. as a foreign-trained nurse is a long, hard, and complex process, it’s possible and attainable. This article will shed some light on nursing jobs in the USA for overseas nurses.
There are certain nurse requirements in the USA and the necessary steps for the recruitment of nurses in the USA. USA’s nurse qualification requirement is that you must have a nursing degree from an accredited institute, and have a minimum of 2 year’s clinical experience in a professional organization. You must be licensed as a Registered Nurse in your home country.
Life in the USA As A Nurse
The United States is the epitome of a developed country: state-of-the-art, substantial, and perfect. Once you arrive at the workplace, you sign in through a computer and go through doctor’s notes, test results, and medicine inventory. The whole lot is completely digital; no more having to manually fill in everything with pen & paper.
You’ll find a lot of nurses from Asian nations like India and the Philippines, so you’ll always get the homely feeling.
Nurses in the US follow a two-shift system: an eight-hour shift and a twelve-hour shift. You can decide which shift to choose. If you pick the latter one, you only need to work 3 days a week. This will give you a feeling of working part-time, compared to 5 days a week with eight-hour shifts. Being away from your work for four days gives you space to enjoy your life by exploring the fabulous city.
About the Registration Process
Your primary step is to approach the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). Request them for VisaScreen Credentials Assessment. They will conduct a screening that’ll let you know if you are likely to pass the NCLEX or if you have to further improve your skills. They’ll review your education and nursing license in your home country. After completing the assessment, you’ll receive a VisaScreen Certificate which ensures that you have the necessary qualifications and language skills to work as an RN in America. If needed, fill in the gaps in your education with further training, that can be gained online. This course evaluation must also be performed by any of the following Nursing Commission approved service providers:
- Education Records Evaluation Service (ERES)
- International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF)
Pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score of 7 in speaking and 6.5 overall.
Apply for nursing licensure to the Nursing Regulatory Body (NRB) (Choose Texas, Illinois, or Michigan as they don’t ask for a Social Security Number).
Simultaneously, register and pay the fee for the NCLEX with Pearson Vue.
Once your NRB grants your eligibility and an acknowledgment of registration is received from Pearson Vue, you will get the Authorization to Test (ATT). Now you will be able to schedule your NCLEX exam. The countries where you can take the NCLEX examinations are Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan.
Find a U.S. employer or a renowned agency, who is willing to sponsor your green card (Petitions where the sponsor is the direct employer, generally don’t meet any challenges from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) as the officials will be aware exactly where you are going to work and are unlikely to question your application). The Third Preference EB-3 category allows U.S. employers to sponsor skilled foreign citizens for employment and permanent residency. The Green Card or Form I-551 is the permanent work and residence permit for foreign nationals to reside legally in the U.S.
Employment-based immigrant visas consist of 3 major steps (the whole process may take numerous years).
First, the employer has to submit a Labor Certification application with the U.S. Department of Labor. If qualified and available workers are not found, the job role is confirmed as open for an international employee.
Second, the employer should submit an I-140 Alien Worker Petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to show that the international worker has the minimal requirements to take up the open position and categorize them as eligible for obtaining the visa.
Once the Form I-140 is approved and your priority date is current, the next main step in the process to become a green card holder of the United States is to apply for an immigrant visa by the nurse. Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application) has to be filed at the website of the National Visa Center.
Few months after filing the DS-260, you’ll be asked to sit in on a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of your home country. At the end of the interview, the consular officer will let you know if your visa application is approved or declined. You’ll then receive your immigrant visa stamped into your passport.
Salary Range for Nurses in the USA
The average salary of a registered nurse in the USA as of 2020 is $77,460 per year. A newly qualified registered nurse will likely earn quite a bit less than the average registered nurse salary.
Benefits of Working as A Nurse In the USA
- Many nursing jobs provide several opportunities to work overtime and get paid for it.
- If the hospital you are working in consists of you as an asset, there will be a chance that they’ll offer tuition support for improving your nursing knowledge. Subsequently, after you level up your education, there comes a hike in salary.
- As a nurse in the US, you will also reap the benefits of vacation time, sick leave, healthcare facility, etc.