LaGuardia Community College Welcomes New Class of Internationally Trained Nurses for NCLEX-RN ELL Program

LaGuardia Community College Welcomes New Class of Internationally Trained Nurses for NCLEX-RN ELL Program

NEW YORK (February 23, 2024)LaGuardia Community College/CUNY and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) celebrate the start of SBS’s 2024 National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) for English Language Learners (ELL) Training Program. The program helps internationally trained nurses with the essential skills and knowledge needed to successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam, obtain nursing licensure in New York State, and secure positions in hospitals and clinics across New York City.

“We are grateful for NYC Small Business Services’ support, which enables us to help internationally trained nurses prepare for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, at no cost to them. This is the 10th year of the program at LaGuardia, which has helped 355 individuals become registered nurses in New York since 2014,” said Sunil B. Gupta, Vice President, Adult Continuing Education and Workforce Development, LaGuardia Community College. “When program graduates begin working as RNs, many go from minimum wage jobs to making close to six figures — enabling them to build better lives for themselves and their families.”

Passing the NCLEX-RN exam enables immigrant nurses to significantly enhance their earning potential. Those who successfully pass the exam may earn upwards of $100,000, a substantial increase from the pre-licensure average of less than $40,000 annually. Graduates often receive job offers from prominent hospitals in New York City, where the current demand for registered nurses exceeds 4,000 openings. According to NYS Department of Labor data, pre-pandemic trends suggested New York City’s more than 75,000 registered nurses were set to grow by 24% over the next decade, nearly triple the profession’s projected 9% growth rate nationwide. The training programs not only pave the way for successful careers but also empower nurses to generate wealth and elevate their livelihoods in the dynamic environment of NYC.

“I worked for nine years as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse in my home country, Albania. Given my experience in nursing, I thought I could pass the NCLEX-RN on my own. I tried twice but didn’t pass,” said Hate Beqa, RN. “Then a friend told me about LaGuardia’s program and that it was free. Not only did the program help improve my English, but it made me feel well-prepared for the NCLEX-RN, which I took again and passed in 2023. As a result, I immediately got promoted from patient care technician to RN at Maimonides Medical Center.”

The NCLEX-RN ELL program is part of NYC Mayor Eric Adams’s Nursing Education Initiative to support 30,000 current and aspiring nurses over the next five years to enter the nursing workforce, stay in the profession, and climb the career ladder. Mayor Adams outlined the initiative, in which CUNY is a partner, as part of his Working People’s Agenda, presented in his January 2023 State of the City Address.

“This program is a perfect reflection of our administration’s vision for a city that meets the needs of working New Yorkers,” Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer said in a NYC Small Business Services press release. “Immigrants are the backbone of our city, our neighborhoods, and our economy. Through the NCLEX-RN program, we are promoting career advancement and wealth-building opportunities for a new generation of immigrant New Yorkers while also meeting demand for one of the fastest growing occupations in the city.”

LaGuardia Community College offers part-time, evening courses to accommodate students with daytime jobs and family responsibilities. The no-cost program pays for participants’ first NCLEX-RN exam fee, textbooks, and test prep software. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more about the LaGuardia program, the NYC Welcome Back Center, and click here to apply. With questions, call (718) 482-5460 or email

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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.

The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.



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