Ohio Nursing Resources

    Ohio Nursing Resources

    Ohio is currently experiencing a nursing shortage similar to the rest of the country. With a low cost of living and moderate hourly wages as compared to the national average, nurses from across the country are being drawn to this Midwest state.

    Mild winters and summers attract individuals looking for variety in climate. Its proximity to Lake Erie is a bonus for nurses that love to be near the water. 

    The Buckeye State also boasts several of the nation's best hospitals: Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

    Cleveland and Columbus, the largest cities in Ohio, not only have great hospitals but also have numerous universities offering advanced degree opportunities for nurses.

    Part One Job Climate

    The U.S. Health Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA) conducted a workforce analysis of projected nursing needs through 2030. The study looked at each individual state and identified shortages and surpluses. While Ohio is currently in a nursing shortage, by 2030 Ohio is projected to have one of the largest nursing surpluses in the country (49,100). 

    This analysis does have some limitations that must be noted. According to a study conducted by the Rand Corporation, the HRSA analysis was conducted prior to the ACA. It is estimated that an additional 17 million Americans have health insurance since this took effect. Furthermore, the analysis does not identify BSN educated nurses from diploma nurses. This affected projections as an increasing number of hospitals are attempting to gain Magnet designation. 

    Despite the surplus reported by the HRSA analysis, the reports provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that there is a high demand for specialized nurses, including nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse anesthetists, in Ohio.

    Overall, the need for nurses will be affected by a variety of reasons, including changes in health care coverage and reimbursement, health insurance changes at a government level, and hospital accreditation changes.

    Part Two Ohio State Board Of Nursing

    The Ohio Board of Nursing regulates and issues all nursing licenses in the state. Its mission is to actively safeguard the health of the public through the effective regulation of nursing care.

    Contacting The Board

    Office Address

    17 South High Street
    Suite 400
    Columbus, Ohio 43215-7410
    Phone: (614) 466-3947
    Fax: (614) 466-0388

    Office Hours

    8 am - 5 pm, Monday - Friday (Except Government Holidays)

    Department Directory

    Department Phone Email
    Main Office (614) 466-3947 board@nursing.ohio.gov
    RN or LPN Initial License   licensure@nursing.ohio.gov
    License Renewal and Name/Address Changes   renewal@nursing.ohio.gov
    Online System Support (614) 466-3947 nursing.registration@das.ohio.gov
    Complaints (614) 466-9564 complaints@nursing.ohio.gov
    Post-Disciplinary Monitoring   monitoring@nursing.ohio.gov
    Alternative Program for Chemical Dependency   alternative@nursing.ohio.gov
    Practice Questions and PIIP Program   practice@nursing.ohio.gov
    APRN Licensure Process   aprn@nursing.ohio.gov
    APRN Practice or HB 216 Questions   practice216@nursing.ohio.gov
    Nursing Education Programs   education@nursing.ohio.gov
    Continuing Education   ce@nursing.ohio.gov
    Nurse Education Grant Program   negp@nursing.ohio.gov
    Proposed Administrative Rules   rules@nursing.ohio.gov

     Part Three Ohio Nursing Licenses

    Ohio is not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, so every nurse must apply for a separate license to practice there.

    In 2016, the Board implemented a new system based on updated technology. The new 3.0 Ohio eLicense system is a comprehensive regulatory license system used by numerous state licensing boards. All license and certification applications must now be submitted online.


    There are three ways to obtain nursing licensure in Ohio:

    • Licensure by Exam (first-time nurses)
    • Licensure by Reciprocity (out-of-state nurses)
    • Reinstatement (lapsed licenses)

    All nursing license and certificate applications, including permission to take the NCLEX must be submitted online using Ohio's eLicense 3.0 system. You must set up a new account. Instructions for creating your new user account can be found on the Board's website.


    For those getting their first license, applicants must first graduate from an accredited nursing school and complete the necessary paperwork to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam.

    In order to take the NCLEX, nurses must do the following:

    1. Create a new account on eLicense.ohio.gov
    2. Register and pay $200 with Pearson VUE. School codes can be found here.
    3. Receive an Acknowledgement of Receipt of Registration from Pearson VUE.
    4. Receive eligibility from the BON.
    5. Receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter from Pearson VUE. Candidates must test within the validity dates. There are no extensions.
    6. Schedule an exam appointment online or by phone for international scheduling.
    7. Arrive for exam appointment and present your ATT letter and acceptable identification (ID). 
    8. Receive results from the BON approximately four weeks after the exam.

    After passing the exam, nurses can complete their application for an Ohio nursing license. Fees are paid via major credit card on the eLicense system.

    Once the application has been accepted by the Board, applicants will receive information regarding state-mandated fingerprinting and background checks. The length of time on the entire application is solely dependent on the number of applications received at any given time.


    Nurses with licenses in other states also apply via the eLicense Portal to gain licensure in Ohio. The process is expedited for these individuals due to preexisting background checks and fingerprinting.

    To apply for licensure by reciprocity you must send the following to the Ohio Board of Nursing:

    1. Non-refundable Application fee ($75.00) paid online
    2. Required Documentation for Education
      If you held/hold a license from a NURSYS state, the education information is typically available on NURSYS.
    3. License Verification
      Verification of licensure by examination and verification of current, valid license as a registered nurse must be sent directly from the jurisdiction or electronically by NURSYS. 
    4. Continuing Education
      Upload certificates showing completion of two contact hours of CE directly related to Chapter 4213.ORC and the rules of the Board.
    5. Criminal Records Check
      For more information on Criminal Records Checks, see this document

    A sample of all the information required for licensure by endorsement can be found here.


    If you allow your license to lapse or expire, you must apply for reinstatement in the eLicense system. You will be asked questions about your employment history, continuing education, citizenship, criminal records, disciplinary actions, and mental health history.  A sample of the information you must provide can be found here.


    The 2017 renewal will be the first RN/APRN renewal completed in the new 3.0 Ohio eLicense system. All Ohio nursing licenses must be renewed between July 1 through September 15 to avoid late fees.

    Those who renew on or after September 16 must pay an additional $50.00. Licenses not renewed after October 31 are deemed lapsed. Nurses with lapsed licenses cannot work and must apply for reinstatement.  See above for reinstatement information. 

    Registered nurses in Ohio must complete 24 contact hours of continuing education prior to each renewal. See Part Six for more information on continuing education requirements. 


    If you are a retired nurse seeking to volunteer your services at a free clinic, charitable organization, or during a natural disaster, holding a Volunteer Certificate (VC) may be a good option for you. 

    Volunteer Certificates may be issued to nurses who have held one of the following:

    • A valid, unrestricted Ohio nursing license OR
    • A valid, unrestricted nursing license in any other state for at least 10 years OR
    • A valid, unrestricted nursing license in one or more branches of the US Armed forces for at least 10 years.

    There is no fee for a Volunteer Certificate, but you must agree to practice without compensation. To apply for a Volunteer Certificate, complete the General Application in the Board's eLicense system.

    Click here to see a sample of the application on the Board's website.

    Part Four Salary and Benefits 

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the average annual salary for a Registered Nurse in Ohio is $63,960. Hourly wages average $30.75. While this number is merely the reported average, Registered Nurses have the ability to earn even more depending on responsibilities, certifications, and shift differentials.

    The BLS does identify North Northeastern Ohio non-metropolitan area as one of the top five non-metropolitan areas with the highest employment in this occupation. The reported annual hourly wage is $27.94 and yearly salary is $58,100. Southern Ohio non-metropolitan area is identified as in the top five of non-metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation. The reported annual hourly wage is $28.53 and yearly salary is $59,340 for this area of Ohio. 

    Highest Paying Cities For Ohio Nurses

    Metro Area Average Hourly Wage
    Cleveland-Elyria $32.38
    Lima $32.30
    Akron $31.77
    Cincinnati $31.53
    Dayton $31.07
    Columbus $30.96
    Toledo $30.43

    How To Increase Your Nursing Salary

    Certifications such as CCRN, CPN, and RNC will all earn individuals additional pay depending on the hospital system. This can vary depending on a variety of factors but nurses can either receive a one-time bonus or an increase in their hourly wage. It is important to check with employers regarding this. 

    Shift differentials range from 5%-20% depending on the shift work. Weekend night shifts pay more than weekday day shifts. Before accepting any position it is important to speak to Human Resources to understand the shift differential at each hospital. Furthermore, some hospitals will only provide a shift differential if a nurse is paid on an hourly basis. Rarely are salaried employees eligible for this benefit.

    Participating in hospital- and unit-based committees may also contribute to higher earnings. Hospitals, particularly Magnet-designated, commonly have numerous opportunities in which to participate.

    While participation alone does not increase pay, it can help a nurse climb the clinical ladder. With each step in the clinical ladder, there is also a pay increase.

    Precepting new nurses can also be a way to earn bonuses. Most hospitals offer bonuses for precepting new nurses. This is paid in two lump sums. The first payment is after the new nurse is off of orientation while the final payment is after the new staff member has been in the hospital system for a full year. This is a great incentive for senior nurses to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of nurses.

    Nurses enjoy strong benefits throughout Ohio. Actual benefits including healthcare will vary depending on the healthcare institution. Most institutions will only offer benefits to part-time and full-time employees. Rarely are they offered to per diem or contracted employees. Standard benefits include:

    • Disability insurance
    • Vision insurance
    • Retirement options
    • Discounts on a variety of products
    • Dental coverage
    • Maternity leave
    • Health insurance
    • Childcare support
    • Various memberships related to the organization
    • Leave benefits

    See a full ranking of all 50 states salaries adjusted for the cost-of-living

    Part Five Best Hospitals In Ohio

    With approximately 61,000 nurses employed at inpatient hospitals in Ohio, understanding key differences between these facilities is important. You'll want to know which hospitals nurses like best and other important features like Magnet status and location.

    Magnet Hospitals

    The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), in its aim to promote nursing excellence, evaluates healthcare organizations through its credentialing programs. The Magnet designation is the highest credential awarded to healthcare institutions based on their work environment, nursing excellence, innovations in nursing practice, and quality patient outcomes.

    For RNs seeking work with best-in-class medical institutions, choosing one with Magnet status is a smart move.

    List of Magnet Hospitals in Ohio

    Organization Name City
    Akron Children's Hospital Akron
    Akron General Medical Center Akron
    Aultman Hospital Canton
    Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati
    Cleveland Clinic Cleveland
    Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital Mayfield Heights
    Cleveland Clinic-Fairview Hospital Cleveland
    Dayton Children's Hospital Dayton
    Good Samaritan Hospital Dayton
    Grant Medical Center Columbus
    Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital Fairfield
    MercyHealth Youngstown Youngstown
    MercyHealth-St. Elizabeth Boardman
    MercyHealth-St. Elizabeth Youngstown
    MercyHealth-St. Joseph Warren
    Miami Valley Hospital Dayton
    Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus
    Riverside Methodist Hospital Columbus
    Shriners Hospitals for Children-Cincinnati Cincinnati
    Southern Ohio Medical Center Portsmouth
    Summa Health System Akron
    The Christ Hospital Cincinnati
    The MetroHealth System Cleveland
    OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center Columbus
    TriHealth-Bethesda North Hospital Montgomery
    TriHealth-Good Samaritan Hospital Cincinnati
    Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Columbus
    University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Cleveland
    University Hospitals Portage Medical Center Ravenna

    Best Hospitals For Nurses

    Nurse.org analyzed over 2,210 reviews from 163 hospitals in Ohio to rank the best hospitals to work for in the state of Ohio.

    1. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

    Cincinnati, OH

    4.7 Average Rating
    97% Recommended

    "It really is one of the greatest hospitals to learn."

    "Great facility and research-oriented. Love how determined they are to do well for patients and best hospital ranking in nation."

    Read Reviews

    2. Cleveland Clinic Main Campus

    Cleveland, OH

    4.5 Average Rating
    97% Recommended

    "Amazing work experience, great learning opportunities, cutting edge research, and great benefits."

    "Modern equipment [and] you have a lot of help from doctors [and] residents."

    "The doctors on staff are super."

    Read Reviews

    3. Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital - University Hospital

    Cleveland, OH

    4.47 Average Rating
    100% Recommended

    "there are good coworkers, facility is great over all, institute, nursing respect is known and nurses voice is heard, great pediatric world class care."

    "Coworkers were nice and supportive. Saw many interesting things that you might not see in a small hospital"

    "Great staff. There is a lot of flexibility with scheduling."

    Read Reviews

    4. Nationwide Children's Hospital

    Columbus, OH

    4.5 Average Rating
    92% Recommended

    "The coworkers on my home unit are helpful and friendly and my unit manager is welcoming and makes my work feel appreciated."

    "This hospital is committed to excellence and is always changing practice based on the lastest research."

    "Great place to work. Management is fantastic. Nurse to patient ratios are phenomenal. Lots of resources. Physicians are top notch."

    Read Reviews

    5. Grant Medical Center

    Columbus, OH

    4.4 Average Rating
    98% Recommended

    *Magnet Hospital

    "Family environment,fun place to work. Caring and professional co-workers. Logevity at facility is the reason most people stay! Wouldn't work for any place else in Ohio."

    "Great staff and doctors. Advanced care and organized approach to healthcare. Patients and families come first. Staff are recognized and important to administration."

    "I would recommend working at Grant to anybody and has competitive pay great benefits and a wonderful work environment. As a brand new nurse it was amazing working out a magnet status Hospital."

    Read Reviews

    See the full list of best hospitals for nurses in Ohio.

    Part Six Continuing Education Requirements 

    Like most other states, Ohio requires continuing education for nurses to maintain an active license. The continuing education requirements for nurses and nurse volunteers in Ohio are as follows:

    Registered Nurses (RN)

    For the period immediately following licensure by exam, a nurse who holds an active license to practice nursing in Ohio is not required to complete any contact hours of CE for the first renewal.

    After the first renewal, RNs must complete at least 24 contact hours of CE during each licensure period to renew a license. A nurse who has been licensed in Ohio by reciprocity for less than or equal to one year must complete 12 contact hours. For every renewal, at least one of the 24 contact hours must be must be related to Chapter 4723 of the Ohio nurse practice code and rules (Category A).

    A list of Board-approved CE providers for Category A courses can be found here.

    Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)

    For the period immediately following licensure by exam, a nurse who holds an active license to practice nursing in Ohio is not required to complete any contact hours of CE for the first renewal.

    After the first renewal, LPNs must complete at least 24 contact hours of CE during each licensure period to renew a license. A nurse who has been licensed in Ohio by reciprocity for less than or equal to one year must complete 12 contact hours. For every renewal, at least one of the 24 contact hours must be Category A.

    Volunteer Certificate for an LPN, RN or APRN

    A Volunteer Certificate holder must complete at least 24 contact hours of CE during each certificate period. At least one of the 24 contact hours must be Category A.

    For further information on continuing education units including finding, paying, and getting credit for your courses, see the Nurse.org Continuing Education Guide.

    Part Seven Nursing Schools In Ohio

    According to the 2017 U.S. News & World Report Ohio State University (OSU) currently ranks 5th in the MSN and 5th (tied) for the DNP programs. While there are other outstanding nursing programs, OSU has continually been recognized as one of the top in the country. 

    Other top programs recognized are Case Western Reserve University and University of Cincinnati.

    Case Western Univerity is ranked as follows: 

    11 (tie): Best Nursing Schools: MSN

    8 (tie): Best Nursing Schools: DNP

    University of Cincinnati is slightly lower on the list:

    #38 (tie): Best Nursing Schools: MSN

    #47 (tie): Best Nursing Schools: DNP

    NICHE, a website containing information on over 250,000 schools across the United States, has collected over one million reviews including data on BSN programs throughout Ohio. These reviews and survey analysis were placed into a comprehensive report. According to the 2017 NICHE Best Colleges in America, the following were the top five for BSN programs throughout the state of Ohio.

    1. Case Western Reserve University
    2. Ohio State University
    3. Ohio University
    4. University of Cincinnati
    5. Cedarville University

    Although rankings are a good way to get a headstart into your research, it's up to you to find the program of study that fits your needs, lifestyle, and budget. As long as your program of choice is State Board-approved and you work hard, you will be well prepared for your licensing exam.

    Part Eight Labor Unions

    In Ohio, right to work laws, which aim to protect the rights of non-union workers, do not exist. Chances are, if you plan to work as an RN in Ohio, you might become part of a major union. These include:

    ONA, Ohio Nurses Association, is the largest nursing union in Ohio. Established in 1904, over 180,000 nurses are represented by this union. The ONA works as a collective voice to ensure that nurses throughout the state are receiving fair wages and benefits, have proper collective bargaining tools, and represent in times of need. Ohio Nurses Association is unique in that it works to empower the nurses within the union and set forth change by example. One benefit of the ONA is that it specifically deals with nurses in Ohio. 

    National Nurses United, NNU, is a nationwide nurses union that organizes and represents nurses throughout the country. Founded in 2009, NNU claims it is the most active and progressive nursing union in the U.S. With more 150,000 members in every state it represents, it is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses. 

    Part Nine Nursing Jobs In Ohio

    As a skilled nurse, you are in control of your career. Check out the featured listings below or search thousands of job listings on our job board and get the pay and career path you deserve.

    Mother Baby RN

    Cincinnati, OH | Up to $2800/wk Take Home
    13-Week travel contract. 1+ year of Maternal/Baby nursing experience required. Multiple Shifts Available. Guaranteed Hours.
    Apply Now


    Hazard, KY | ARH
    Permanent staff position providing individualized nursing care, and evaluating nursing care for groups of patients. 
    Apply Now

    Search thousands more listings on the nation’s #1 job board for nurses. 

    Nursing Scholarship


    Find a job, learn, connect and laugh.

    Try us out.

    Join our newsletter