Nursing Compact States: Where Will You Go?

If you haven’t heard of the multi-state nursing license, it’s time to find out how this great program can streamline your eligibility for a variety of travel nursing opportunities. 

Here’s how it works: if you are a nurse who lives in a state that is one of the 25 nursing compact states, you can get licensed to practice in all states that are members. 

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), sponsored by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), opens you up to a number of new nursing jobs, and makes the process of getting hired much easier.

When you get your multi-state nursing license, your information is stored in a shared database that can be accessed by all of the nursing compact states, meaning your work history, specialty, and other pertinent information is readily available to potential employers. 

It’s quick and cuts out a lot of the paperwork associated with getting travel nursing jobs.

List of Nursing Compact States

As of February 2017, the following 25 states are part of the multi-state Nurse Licensure Compact:

•    Idaho        •    Mississippi
•    Utah   •    Kentucky
•    Arizona   •    Tennessee
•    Colorado   •    South Carolina
•    New Mexico   •    North Carolina
•    Texas   •    Virginia
•    North Dakota   •    Maryland
•    South Dakota   •    Delaware
•    Nebraska   •    Rhode Island
•    Iowa   •    New Hampshire
•    Missouri   •    Maine
•    Arkansas   •    Montana
•    Wisconsin    

Quick facts about the compact nursing states:

  • Your primary state of residence must be one of the 25 compact nursing states. Primary residence is determined by where you file your tax return.
  • Nurses must still obtain licenses to qualify for travel nursing jobs in non-compact nursing states.
  • RNs, LPNs and LVNs are included in the compact. Advanced practice nurses are not.
  • A nurse whose primary state of residence is a compact state can apply for a multistate license, which allows nurses to practice in all nursing compact states.
  • Nurses who live in non-compact states but practice in a compact nursing state will be issued a nursing license valid only in that member state (single state license). The nurse will not be granted the "multistate privilege to practice" in other compact states.
  • Nurses are responsible for complying with the provisions of the Nurse Practice Act in all states where they practice.
  • Find more information about the Nurse Licensure Compact on the NCSBN website.
  • To learn more about the licensing process and working in compact and non-compact states, contact a recruiter with one of our staffing partners.


Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact:

A new version of the Nurse Licensure Compact has been ratified by NCSBN and is being adopted by a growing number of states. 

The enhanced NLC allows for RNs, LPNs and VNs to have one multi-state nursing license, giving them the ability to provide care to patients in their home state and other designated compact nursing states.

The enhanced nursing compact states afford several benefits; for example, nurses with a multi-state nursing license can provide care across state boundaries in the event of a disaster. 

To learn more about the Enhanced NLC, click here.

Updated 2/13/17


Compact state nursing jobs are available at Find out about the multi-state nursing license today.

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