The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to have one multi-state license, which offers the ability to practice in their home state as well as any other state included in the compact.
This is especially helpful for travel nurses, as they can practice in other compact states without having to obtain additional licenses. Additionally, travel nurses can begin an assignment immediately in a NLC state without needing to wait for single state licensure. Travel nurses possessing compact licenses are often considered more desirable because they can fill timely job vacancies.
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) was developed in 1999 with the goal of addressing regional nursing shortages and expanding access to telemedicine. Under the agreement, nurses licensed in one compact state are able to work in other compact states without obtaining a new license. 38 states are currently part of the nurse licensure compact, and three additional states, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, have passed legislation to enter the agreement.
There are currently 38 states who have already implemented or are pending participation in compact state licensing. Check the NLC State Map to see if your home state is eligible.
Guam is pending implementation for 2022. Nurses with compact state licenses may practice in Guam, but residents of the island must wait until implementation to obtain their multi-state license.
Ohio has an expected implementation date of January 1, 2023. Therefore, nurses with compact state licenses may not practice in Ohio until that date.
Pennsylvania initiated the process in July 2021, but implementation is TBD. Nurses will be required to submit criminal background checks. PA nurses may not obtain a multi-state license and compact state license holding nurses cannot practice until implementation.
Vermont is also pending implementation, expected for February 1, 2022. Nurses with compact state licenses may not practice in Vermont until that date.
California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and the Virgin Islands all have pending legislation for eNLC, but an expected date has not been announced.
Some states are hesitant to enact the NLC for various reasons, such as loss of state revenue from single state licenses, disciplinary action, and threats to public health and safety. To combat this, criminal background checks are being added to the application process.
Travel nurses are encouraged to sign up for Nursys. Through their free online verification system, Nursys delivers notifications and updates about the eNLC, as well as information about expirations, renewals, disciplinary actions, and endorsement tracking for nurse license verification.
Travel nurses who are interested in applying for a multi-state license can find more information on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) site.
Nurses residing in non-compact states who wish to obtain a compact license can take action via the official Nurse Licensure Compact website. They have a convenient tool for nurses to send a message to legislation in support of the NLC.
Multi-state licensure presents nurses with the opportunity to physically and virtually practice in other states without having to go through the grueling process of applying to and waiting for single state licensure. This is especially helpful for travel nurses who change assignments frequently.
Contact our travel nurse recruiters at NEXT with any additional questions you have about multi-state licenses or traveling.
Bio: Lauren Rivera BSN, RNC-NIC is a certified neonatal intensive care nurse. She serves as a nurse expert for a mother/baby telehealth company, and develops content for various nursing sites and fellow healthcare providers.