What is a Compact States License?

When it comes to getting your compact states license, it’s important you understand which states it includes, how to get your license, and some of the benefits of walk through states. If you’re looking for some practical advice travel nursing and the compact states license, then you’ve come to the right place.

A travel nurse is someone who is hired to do her nursing job in a different location, for a certain period of time. There are many places, many states where there are not many nurses available and these states hire such nurses for a limited period of time say 13 to 26 weeks, to come there and work till the situation gets stabilized.

Travel nurses work around the country serving here and there, wherever they are needed. They get to choose, the area they want to work in and thus receive full freedom, as this allows them to decide when and for how long they want to work. The main advantage of this job is, since you get to decide when and where you want to go, you never get bored since you can change your location as soon as the time period is over.

Since travel nurses frequently work out of state, they should obtain a multi-state nursing license. The process is very simple actually. It is like, if you are a nurse, residing in any of the 25 states included in the nursing compact states, then you get automatically registered to work in any of the 25 member states.

Who Gives Compact States Licenses?

The NLC or Nurse Licensure Compact, under the NCSBN or the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, provides you with multiple jobs in various states, and makes it easier for you to get a job. Once, you receive the multiple state nursing license, your details, including your work history, specialty, and other important information get stored in a common database, that can be handled by all 25 nursing compact states. Thus, travel nursing compact state license makes it easier to get hired.

Check out our list of links to all 50 states’ boards of nursing.

Travel Nursing Compact States Map


The Benefits of the Compact States License

There are many benefits of being a travel nurse and having a compact license. Some of them are as follows:

  • Choose where you want to go and where you want to work. Since the time is specific, you can easily change your location after the allotted time is over. Thus, giving you full freedom.
  • Earn more money as a travel nurse with more jobs to choose from. Since it is a traveling job, the pay is good, and you can easily select better assignments if the pay is not satisfactory.
  • Working in different hospitals (especially tier 1 hospitals) gives you more experience. Boost your resume by working on different staffs, with different specialties and different sized hospitals. Soon you’ll be able to say you’ve seen everything.
  • Once you have a compact license, you get registered with all the 25 member states, and thus there is a very good chance of getting hired. Also, for those who want to choose their own jobs, for them there is a larger job selection section available.
  • The best thing is the cost of traveling and living is (almost) always included in the job, so, the wage obtained can be used for personal experiences, for living a comfortable life.

Getting a travel nursing state compact license is actually easier than you might think. If you’re a registered nurse, you may already qualify.

How to Get a Compact States License

If your primary state of residence is a state that falls under the list of the 25 members of the compact state, and you are registered or rather licensed to practice in your primary state, then you are automatically registered with the compact states, and you have a compact license.

If your primary state of residence, is not one among the 25 compact states, but you have recently moved to a compact state, then obtaining a license to perform nursing in the new state, will help you in getting a compact license. Also, your old license from the non-compact state will still remain valid.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I move from one compact state to another?

There is another condition, i.e. if you move from one compact state to another, you just need to apply for a license in the current compact state. Basically, it can be said that the travel nursing state compact license, is determined by the state in which you are living or the state in which you are practicing.

Is it possible to receive a temporary compact state license?

There are few states, where they provide temporary licenses to the nurses, which are valid for some three to six months. Also, there are few states, that issue, temporary license, even when you opt for a permanent license. Usually getting a temporary license takes a maximum of eight weeks. But then in a few states, there is this option of walk through that helps in obtaining a temporary license within a day or two.

Do the rules or regulations differ between states?

It is very important to know the rules and regulations of the state you are working in. Since the nursing license is provided by individual states, it is really necessary to know the nursing rules of the said state, and to abide by them, regardless of what state you are performing in (i.e. whether it is a compact state or a non-compact state) it is important to follow their rules. Typically, you can find the rules for each state on their board of nursing website.