Nursing Continuing Education Requirements by State

by | Jun 14, 2022 | Professional Development for Nurses | 6 comments

As a nursing student, you are probably wondering what continuing education requirements you will need to meet in order to practice nursing in your state. Every state has different requirements, but most require nurses to complete a certain number of continuing nurse education hours every few years in order to maintain their license. Beyond that, some states require a certain course before you get your license. For example, in New York, nursing students need to take a Child Abuse Identification and Infection Control course in order to get their license. I will provide a comprehensive guide to nursing CE requirements by state.

Nursing CE Requirements by State

Most states require nurses who want to keep their licenses to earn credits every two years. Each state has its own set of requirements for obtaining a license. But in 12 states, RNs must complete a particular number or variety of contact hour courses to hold their nursing license.

However, each state’s board of nursing decides on contact hour requirements for RNs and LPNs to maintain their license. In this blog post, I will provide a comprehensive guide to nursing contact hour requirements by state for registered nurses (RNs). We will cover all 50 states, so you can be sure you are meeting all the necessary requirements.

And if you’re looking for even more guidance, I recommend checking out They have resources to help you get your CEs for whichever state you’re in.

To learn more about each state’s nursing continuing education requirements, check out the table below. If you are interested in taking the contact hour requirement for your state, check out for more guidance.

Nursing CE Requirements by State:

StateRN Requirements
Alabama24 hours every 2 years, Four (4) contact hours of Alabama Board–provided continuing education related to Board functions, the Nurse Practice Act, regulations, professional conduct, and accountability is required for the first license renewal
Alaska30 hours every 2 years. ANCC; continuing education must be earned in one of the following areas: nursing practice areas & special health care problems; biological, physical, or behavioral sciences, legal or ethical aspects of health care
Arizona0 hours every 4 years
Arkansas15 hours every 2 years, practice focused
California30 hours every 2 years
Colorado No requirement
Connecticut2 hrs screening suicide, 2 hrs suicide prevention then no requirement
Washington DC24 hours every June 30th of even numbered years. 3.0 contact hours on HIV/AIDS and 2.0 contact hours on LGBTQ+ topics are required every renewal
Delaware30 hours every 3 years with 3 hours in substance abuse
Florida24 hours every 2 years. A RN must complete 2 hours of domestic violence CE every third renewal for a total of 26 hours. For initial licensure must complete: 2 hrs medical error prevention; 2 hrs Florida rule and law; 2 hrs human trafficking; 1 hr HIV/AIDS; 2 hrs impairment in the workplace; 2 hrs domestic violence
Georgia30 hours every 2 years
Hawaii30 hours every 2 years
Idaho15 hours every 2 years
Illinois20 hours every 2 years with 1 hr sexual harassment training; implicit bias
Indiana 0 hours every 2 years
Iowa 36 hours every 3 years and a Mandatory Abuse Course for RNs who regularly examine, attend, counsel or treat dependent adults or children in Iowa complete training related to the identification and reporting of child/dependent adult abuse every 5 years
Kansas 30 hours every 2 years
Kentucky14 hours every year including 3 hours of domestic violence; 1.5 hours of pediatric head trauma, Suicide Prevention– within the first three years after initial licensure, Bias– within the first three years of initial licensure, SANE Sexual Assault- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE)- each licensure period
Louisiana5 board approved contact hours every year
Maine0 hours every 2 years
MarylandNo requirement
Massachusetts15 hours every 2 years
Michigan25 hours every 2 years with 2 hours of pain management and 1 hour of live/interactive implicit bias training for each year of the applicant’s license or registration cycle. *New applicants for licensure or registration are required to have completed two (2) hours of live/interactive implicit bias training within the 5 years immediately preceding issuance of the license or registration
Minnesota24 hours every 2 years
Mississippi20 hours every 2 years
Missouri 0 hours every 2 years
Montana24 hours every 2 years
Nebraska20 hours every 2 years with at least 10 of the 20 hours must be formally peer reviewed and approved continuing education. Up to 4 hours may be CPR or BLS courses
Nevada30 hours every 2 years with 4-hour bioterrorism and 2 hours relating to cultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion
New Hampshire30 hours every 2 years
New Jersey30 hours every 2 years with 1 hour concerning prescription opioid drugs, and one time 1 contact hour required organ and tissue donation
New Mexico30 hours every 2 years
New York4 hours every 3 years with Infection control; new RNs complete a one-time initial two (2) hour child abuse training
North Carolina30 hours every 2 years
North Dakota12 hours every 2 years
Ohio24 hours every 2 years with at least 1 hour relating to the Ohio nurse practice act
Oklahoma24 hours every 2 years
Oregon30 hours every 2 years. One-time requirement for seven hours of pain management-related course with one hour course to be provided by the Oregon Pain Management Commission. 2-hour cultural competency (does not need to be accredited or provide continuing education unit hours)
Pennsylvania30 hours every 2 years with 3 hours of child abuse recognition and reporting for new licensure
Rhode Island10 hours every 2 years with 2 hours in substance abuse
South Carolina30 hours every 2 years
South Dakota0 hours every 2 years
Tennessee5 hours mandatory continuing competency every 2 years
Texas20 hours every 2 years with 2 hours geriatric care; 1 hour human trafficking, forensic evidence collection (one-time requirement), and 2 hours relating to nursing jurisprudence and nursing ethics
Utah30 hours, or 200 practice hours, or 15 hours, or 400 practice hours every 2 years
Vermont0 hours every 2 years. However, the Board expects each licensee to assume individual responsibility for maintaining and improving competencies in current knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to the individual’s area of practice
Virginia30 hours every 2 years, can be workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing
Washington8 hours every 1 year with 96 hours of active nursing practice
West Virginia12 hours every 1 year with 2 contact hours of continuing education in mental health conditions common to veterans and family members of veterans to include screening for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, risk of suicide, depression and grief, and prevention of suicide; 3 hours of drug diversion for new licensure and 1 hour each additional year
Wisconsin0 hours every 2 years
Wyoming 30 hours every 2 years
This is subject to change as local laws change throughout the year.

Other CEU Requirements to Consider

The basic purpose of continuing nursing education is to improve an RN’s knowledge and abilities. Nurses must complete continuing education courses that are related to their profession. Lessons from an approved institution or university may also qualify toward requirements for registered nurses (RNs) seeking a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), nursing graduate programs such as Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) or even doctorate-level degrees (DNP and PhD).

Among the most common areas of continuing education for registered nurses are:

  • Laws and guidelines for nursing
  • Patient advocacy
  • Conflict management
  • Pharmacology

Most states clearly define courses that are not acceptable as contact hours for RNs. For instance, general education lessons such as self-help topics, jobs/interviewing skills, yoga, English, math, or other non-nursing related education generally do not meet minimum in most states.


Where to Find Contact Hours for RN License Renewal

Some are free of cost, while others require a subscription or a fee per course. Contact hours must be obtained from an accredited institution or program in order to count toward overall contact hours achieved.

There are many ways to find places to purchase educational content.

One option is to contact your state’s nursing board. They may have recommended places

Another option is to check with your hospital’s human resources department. Many hospitals offer CEUs for their employees. Additionally, there are many online sources of CEUs, such as the American Nurses Association and the National Institute of Mental Health. #1 Premier Continuing Education also offers an unlimited nursing CEU subscription. So you can be sure you are getting the CEUs you need, year after year.

Which States Require Continuing Education for Nurses?

Nurse continuing education requirements vary from state to state. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 2022, 14 states do not require nurses to complete any continuing education for licensing.

Is Continuing Nursing Education Mandatory?

While continuing nursing education (CE) may not be mandatory in every state, it is generally required in order to maintain an active nursing license. Most states require nurses to complete CE every two to three years, and some states even require nurses to complete CE in order to renew their licenses. CE helps ensure that nurses are up-to-date on the latest advancements in their field and provides them with the opportunity to expand their knowledge base.

Why Do Nurses Do Continuing Education?

Nurses do continuing education in order to stay up-to-date on the latest advances in patient care and treatment. This allows them to provide the best possible care for their patients. Continuing education also allows nurses to develop new skills and knowledge, which can help them provide better care for their patients. Additionally, it helps nurses maintain their certification and keep their licenses current.

What Is the Easiest Way to Fulfill My CE Requirements?

The easiest way to fulfill your CE requirements is to space out the hours in a manageable way. If you have 20 hours to get through, that’s a lot to do in one sitting. Set a reminder for yourself to 1 contact hour per month, or create a schedule to get some done sporadically.

Additionally, try to find resources that fit your learning style. Some people prefer audio or video resources, while others prefer printed materials. Find what works best for you and stick with it.

Finally, find contact hour activities on topics you genuinely are interested in, or ones that will help you directly at work. So, if you work in an adult cardiac clinic, don’t take a course for neonatal ICU nurses. If you love learning more about vasopressors, take a course or learning activity that discusses that topic!

How Many Continuing Education Credits Do Nurses Need?

The quickest and easiest way to fulfill your CE requirements is with an online course or learning activity. You can complete your coursework at your own pace and have the flexibility to complete it around your work schedule. In most states, you need 15-25 contact hours every two years in order to renew your license. See our above table to check what your specific state is requiring.

More Resources:

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Hi, I’m Kati.

Kati Kleber, MSN RN is a nurse educator, author, national speaker, host of the FreshRN® Podcast, and owner of FreshRN® – an online platform created to educate, encourage, and motivate newly licensed nurses in innovative ways.

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  1. Liz Gones

    Thank you for this excellent and informative article. 60 yrs an RN and never knew there were states that had a -0- requirement for CU’s.
    What a surprise!

    • Kati Kleber, MSN RN

      Right!? VERY surprising to me as well! I’ve only worked in two states that have had identical requirements so it was definitely a shocker to see that.

  2. Meg

    Can your CEs come from work? Like the ones we do once we start a new jobs or do every year?

    • Kati Kleber, MSN RN

      Often, mandatory education for employment cannot be counted. ACLS and BLS are often the exceptions. I recommend looking at your state BON’s website to see, as they often have rules/regulations about what’s acceptable. So, for example college courses count as long as they’re applicable to nursing. So, english courses prob won’t count, but science ones would.

  3. Mike

    I completed a course and the CE certificate says that is approved by the Ohio Nurses Association. Can I use these CE hours for my California License renewal?

    • Kati Kleber, MSN RN

      I recently looked up CA’s requirements and I believe they state that any contact hours approved by another state’s nursing association is approved. But check the website to confirm!


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