Compact Nurse Licensure: Everything You Need to Know


Ashley Hotovec | May 31st, 2023

One of the pros of travel nursing that everyone knows about is the flexibility that comes with the job. However, it can be easy for a travel nurse to run into some issues when it comes to practicing in a new state. A compact license, or multi-state license opens new experiences and gives you more freedom than you’ve ever had before – the ability to practice in several states while saving you some cash. Let’s dive into everything the Nurse Licensure Compact has to offer.  

  1. What is the nurse licensure compact?

The Nurse Licensure Compact is a multistate license that allows a nurse or LPN to work in his or her home state, as well as all the other compact states. No more pulling your hair out trying to navigate the licensing process for each state you want to travel to for work. With the compact license, you get a single license that works across state lines – that means more flexibility and more job opportunities!

  1. What are the requirements?

To be eligible for a compact license, your primary state of residence must be a member of the NLC and you should meet these uniform licensure requirements:

  • Meet requirements for licensure in primary state of residence
  • Has graduated from a board-approved education program; has graduated from an international education program
  • Has passed an English proficiency exam
  • Has passed an NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam
  • Eligible or holds an active, unencumbered license
  • Submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks
  • Has not been convicted, or has entered an agreed disposition, of a felony offense under applicable state or federal criminal law
  • No misdemeanor convictions related to nursing
  • Is not currently a participant in an alternative program
  • Required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program
  • Has a valid U.S. Social Security number
  1. Why do I need a compact license?

Travel nurses bounce around from state to state to explore different healthcare settings and lend a hand where there’s a shortage of nurses. If this sounds like something you want to start doing, you need a compact license for these reasons:

  • Saves you time
  • Saves you money in licensing fees
  • Easily move states and practice nursing with no delay
  1. What states have the NLC enacted?

  1. How hard is it to get?

As a nurse or licensed practical nurse, you should have the following:

  • Required documentation
  • Complete any background checks
  • Ensure you meet the educational criteria

While there are specific requirements you must meet, the overall process is streamlined to facilitate mobility. Just make sure you’ve got your paperwork in line, jump through the necessary hoops, and you’ll be on your way to nursing freedom across state lines. You got this!

The Nurse Licensure Compact is here to make your lives easier, more adventurous, and provide you with new opportunities. It’s like having a passport to practice nursing wherever your heart desires! So, apply for that compact license, grab your stethoscope, and get ready to embark on a new adventure that knows no borders!


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