As a travel nurse, acquiring licenses for different states can be time-consuming. Compact licenses are an excellent resource for nurses looking to travel to other states. A compact license allows you to travel and practice in 39 states and jurisdictions that are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) without acquiring additional licensing.

Here are five things you need to know about a compact license:

1. Not every state is included in the NLC

Be aware that not every state participates in the NLC. As of 2022, there are currently 39 NLC states and jurisdictions. Here is a list of the participating states. Your current, permanent residence must be in an NLC or compact state to qualify for a compact nursing license. If you don’t permanently reside in an NLC state or jurisdiction, you’ll have to apply for an endorsement to get licensed in the state(s) you want to practice in.

2. Some states are pending

Many states that aren’t currently participating in the NLC have pending legislation and will be added in the future. You can stay updated on the current pending NLC legislation here. Two states have been added to the NLC in the past year, with new NLC legislation being added quickly in other states such as Pennsylvania and New York.

3. You must meet certain qualifications to get a compact license

Aside from your state of residence, there are other requirements you must meet to be granted a compact license. You need to have graduated from a board-approved educational program and have the proper certifications. You’ll also need to pass a federal criminal background check.

4. There is a new Nursing Licensure Compact – the eNLC

In 2018, the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) was introduced. This is essentially a new compact licensure with some expanded requirements. Nurses who already had a compact license before July 20th of 2017 automatically qualify to practice in new eNLC states. Nurses who didn’t will need to apply for the eNLC just as they had to apply for the NLC.

5. COVID-19 may affect your compact license

Take note that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed things regarding compact licensure. Each state has its own rules about nurses traveling across state lines to practice. Your best course of action is to do thorough research to know exactly what’s going on in the particular state. Use the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s resources to help.

Compact licensure is a bit complicated, but rest assured. Once you get through the red tape, you can easily become a travel nurse and practice in various states, wherever your permanent residence is.

Contact ARMstaffing for help with your travel nursing career. Our staffing professionals can make all the difference!

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