This article provided by: Travel Nurse Across America
Travel Nurse License Information
When thinking about a career in travel nursing, many nurses wonder about multi-state licensure or how to obtain the licenses to work in multiple states. While it can be confusing, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and many travel nursing agencies are actively working to make this process easier. After all, travel nurses are needed to fill staffing shortages, so the faster and easier it is to be licensed, the sooner they can work.
The NCSBN created the NLC, Nurse Licensure Compact, to allow nurses to be able to travel from state to state without having to pay to obtain temporary or permanent licenses. Unfortunately, not all states participate. Your travel nursing agency should have specialists dedicated to all things nurse licensure: staying updated on eNLC requirements and which states have pending legislation to join. You can find a map of states participating here. You will also be required to provide proof of residency in a compact state — like a drivers license, voter registration, tax documents.
What About States That Don’t Participate?
States that are not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact require a different process, and it can become expensive and time-consuming to obtain the proper licenses. Most travel agencies offer services to help you obtain, but be on the look-out for one that also covers costs like finger-printing and application fees.
Utilizing Temporary Licenses
You may hear about “walk-through states” — these are states which give out a temporary nurse license so you can immediately start working while pursuing a permanent license in that state. These temporary licenses are given to nurses who are planning to move to a state, already have a job, or are working on a permanent license. It allows staffing shortages to be filled quickly. A great travel nursing agency will help you obtain this license with little to no cost to you, so be sure to ask your recruiter about this. Your temporary license should last the length of your assignment while your agency helps you obtain your permanent.
I’ve Heard It’s Difficult to Obtain a License in Some States?
States like California, Washington, and Illinois have a longer process, and for travel nurses start time is everything. The process in states like these can take several weeks and may impede landing an assignment. Luckily, some agencies can expedite the process through valet programs. Ask your recruiter if you meet the requirements for an expedited licensing program offered by your agency. Requirements may include already being booked for an assignment with your agency, a clean license with no disciplinary actions or convictions, and can be specialty-specific.
The Agency Advantage
If all of this sounds complicated, don’t worry. Your travel nursing agency should be in your corner ensuring licensure is a worry-free process. When you’re talking to recruiters, be sure to ask about their licensure process. Do they cover the cost of applying, fingerprinting, and help with non-compact states? A great agency will not only assist with obtaining your license but will help you through the process and ensure you meet any and all continuing education requirements.
Still have questions about travel nurse licenses? Here are a few more articles with helpful travel nurse license information:
- RN License Timeline – Infographic
- The Pitfalls of Maintaining RN Licensure in Multiple States
- Obtaining RN License by Endorsement