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Masters in Nursing for International Students

Schools of nursing in the United States are accustomed to international applicants; tens of thousands of nurses from other nations have been trained in the U.S. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in any area of specialization requires a nursing degree and in almost all cases, an active nursing license in one of the fifty states. So applying to a Masters in Nursing program as an international student requires meeting certain criteria. There is one set of guidelines for prior nursing standards and usually additional requirements for the various TOEFL exams (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

In order to obtain a nursing license in the United States, an international applicant to a MSN program may need to have their nursing credentials evaluated and approved by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). Most states require evaluation by this organization. It was developed in the 1970s in response to a request from the federal government for establishment of an agency that could evaluate the credentials of nurses coming to the United States from other countries and seeking licensure. CGFNS was established as a joint effort by the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing. International nurses seeking a license in the United States must pass a test and submit their academic credentials for evaluation, either through CGFNS or through a state board of licensure. The license is a separate issue from acceptance to a graduate program in nursing.

Some nursing schools have relatively relaxed requirements on the TOEFL exams, requiring only that students complete them with a passing score. Others have minimum scores, but in most cases the language standards are less important that the academic preparation, which will be evaluated by the school as well as by the commission. But in all cases a Masters in Nursing for International Students is going to require an active nursing license in the United States, often from the state in which the nursing school is located. This process is not as complicated as it sounds; tens of thousands of international students have come to the U.S. to obtain a Masters in Nursing degree so the schools and the licensing agencies are accustomed to managing international applicants.