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Compact Travel Nursing License: What It Is and Why You Want One

A compact travel nursing license is your passport to accessing travel assignments in states around the country. Here’s the info you need.

What is a compact nursing license?

The National Council of the State Boards of Nursing (NCBSN) created the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in 2000 to allow RNs, LPNs, and LVNs to practice across state lines without getting an additional license.  

What states offer a compact nursing license?

Utah, Maryland, Texas, and Wisconsin were the first compact states to participate and that number has expanded to include half the states in the country.

compact license

Source: NCBSN, regularly updated here as new states join.

The current states are:

Arizona            Maryland                      North Dakota           Wisconsin  

Arkansas          Mississippi                   Rhode Island

Colorado          Missouri                        South Carolina

Delaware          Montana                       South Dakota

Idaho                Nebraska                      Tennessee

Iowa                  New Hampshire           Texas          

Kentucky          New Mexico                  Utah

Maine                North Carolina             Virginia

What are the benefits of a compact nursing license?

If you’re like most travel nurses, one thing you could use less of in your life is paperwork. With the compact nursing license, you cut back on the amount of paperwork and administrative duties you need to shoulder to get into a new state. You also will save money because you don’t have to get a new license for every state you visit.

How do I get a compact nursing license?

If are already living and licensed in a compact state, you automatically qualify to work in other compact states on the list. You do need to reapply for new state license if you relocate permanently to a different state, even if it’s in the compact. But, as long as you claim residence in a compact state, your license is valid.

If you move between compact states, you’ll have a grace period before you need to apply for a new license. But, the application and approval process can take a couple months after you first show proof of residence — so best not to wait. Click here for further information on the NLC or check with your state board.  

So, now that you know about compact licenses and the benefits of having one, check out some of our current travel nursing positions and see where you can head next.

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