Moving to the United States to start your nursing career is a promising endeavor. With the country requiring a lot of nurses and opening its doors to international nurses like you, the prospect of forwarding your nursing career in any of the country’s 50 states sounds like a dream come true. But before you attain this dream, there are still some hurdles to surpass. Passing the NCLEX, choosing which state of living in, and the inevitable job search are just a few items on your list to become part of a community of nursing professionals in the US right now. If there were only a few steps you could skip, your journey to the Land of Opportunities would be a lot faster, and that’s a few boxes on your list you don’t have to tick.
Fortunately, there are states in the US that will no longer require you to complete at least one of these two steps: getting a Social Security Number or showing English proficiency. Opting for any of the states mentioned in this post won’t rob you of the opportunity to enjoy life in the United States while pursuing your passion for being a registered nurse. Let’s delve into these nine states that are great frontiers for the nursing profession but may give you less of a harder time getting a nursing license.
Related Article: 2023 Career Outlook for Registered Nurses in the United States
What is a Social Security Number?
A social security number, or SSN, is needed for anyone who wishes to work in the US. It is a unique identifier that will report your wages to the United States government and give you social security benefits, such as retirement or disability. Luckily, many states do not require an SSN to take the NCLEX exam, as you will read about later on. The reason for this is quite simple: some states don’t see it necessary for licensure test takers to get an SSN, or at least for now, while they have not yet passed the test. Another reason for this is that denying anyone access to social security benefits can be seen as discrimination. Various laws support equality to the right of social security, which should be given whether one has an SSN or not.
However, note that an SSN does more than just act as a unique identifier. Government numbers like the SSN are used to track down your personal records, and you may still be required to get an SSN once you start working as a registered nurse.
Why is English proficiency a requirement to work as a US nurse?
Foreign nurses must show passing scores for an English proficiency exam, as English is the main vernacular of the country. However, there are exemptions to this rule. For example, Canadian nurses (except in Quebec) who wish to enter the US to do nursing might no longer be required to submit passing scores in IELTS or TOEFL. This is because their nursing education was delivered using the English language. For immigrants from English-speaking countries like Australia and Great Britain, that’s one less requirement to take the NCLEX.
Related Article: 7 Tips to Pass Your Next NCLEX Exam
What States Don’t Require An English Proficiency Exam Or Social Security Number For Nurses?
Each state has its State Board of Nursing that may have licensure requirements unique from others. However, choosing a state that won’t require you to have an SSN or achieve a certain English proficiency score may free you up more time and lessen the pressure of getting a slot in any US hospital. We hope that this short list of US states can aid you in prepping to be an immigrant nurse practitioner:
- Montana. Named recently as the eighth best state to be a nurse in, the Treasure State is proud to take good care of its nurses, with them proclaiming a Nurses’ Week to celebrate the contributions of their beloved nurse practitioners. To be part of this state-wide care for nurses, you don’t need an SSN or to show English proficiency. Simply take the NCLEX and other requirements as stipulated by the state.
- South Dakota. This is another state that does not require an SSN or passing an English international test. What’s enticing about working in South Dakota is the cost of living, sitting at 4% lower than the national average. Budgeting expenses might not be complex here.
- Connecticut. Nurse.org names nursing in Connecticut as a high-paying job, and you are surrounded by exemplary schools in case you want to pursue further studies as a registered nurse. Thus, advancing your nursing career through studies might be a good idea if you are in Connecticut.
- New York. The Empire State is a must-go destination for every travel nurse, as it sits on the border of Canada, the Atlantic Ocean, and six other states. With the SSN and English proficiency requirements waived to get a license in New York, you might be packing your bags often to explore what’s out there while being a nurse.
- Northern Mariana Islands. Lush greens, exciting beaches, and a generally safe and quiet destination. But wait, this island is not your next vacation spot. It is a prospective living place for aspiring immigrant nurses that also won’t require English proficiency or an SSN. If you are more attuned to rural living, consider this tropical archipelago.
- Missouri. This is a promising state to work in. Nursing is emotionally and psychologically rewarding here, with a salary 41% higher than the national average, at $9,309 per month. While English proficiency may need to be proven (unless you are from the countries listed here), you may use your passport number in place of an SSN when applying for the NCLEX.
- Indiana. The Hoosier State boasts of career diversity for nurses. You can be exposed to various disciplines, from pediatrics to gerontology. Moreover, Indiana is a compact state. All 40 compact states agree that any nurse licensed in one of these states can practice in any of the 40. If you have been practicing in one of the other compact states and wish to see a change in scenery, consider Indiana in your choices.
- Virginia. With a strong economy, low crime rates, and fantastic healthcare options, moving to Virginia may be one of the best decisions of your life. When it comes to becoming a nurse here, if your nursing program is taught in English, there is no need to show proof of English proficiency. If you don’t have an SSN, simply contact the Virginia Nursing Board before applying. Additionally, Virginia is also a compact state.
- Kentucky. Are you the outdoorsy kind or one that enjoys going out and about in your free time? The Bluegrass State is calling you. Additionally, when it comes to beginning your nursing career, Kentucky is a viable option. Applicants taught in English need not prove proficiency, and those with no SSN yet may ask help from the Kentucky Board of Nurses. In place of SSN, you will receive a temporary ID.
MAKE YOUR NURSING JOURNEY TO THE US EASY THROUGH PRS GLOBAL.
Missouri, Indiana, Virginia, and Kentucky are only some states where we can help you with job placements. We are PRS Global, your staffing partner dedicated to helping international nurses like you to start your career in the US with the knowledge that you are supported, at least until you find your footing in a foreign land. Concerns with English proficiency or social security requirements? Feel free to approach us. Support with legal matters like immigration and citizenship? We could have some solutions at hand. Feeling homesick or overwhelmed being in a new environment? Don’t hesitate to talk to us. We’ve got your back because we know how tough it is to be a nurse in a foreign land.
Ready to be the best nurse you can be? Contact PRS Global now!