The National Council of State Boards of Nursing or NCSBN, has put together a Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) This agreement between US states allows a travel nurse to have one license which allows them to practice in all states participating in the program.
What are the NLC and eNLC?
The NLC began in 2000 and was recently updated in 2018 to include the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact or eNLC. It now includes all the standards for licensure that the original NLC didn’t contain. An eNLC allows travel nurses to have one license to practice in all participating US states without the need to pay for any additional licensing fees. At this time, 30 states participate in the eNLC.
Who is Eligible for a Multistate Nursing License?
For a nurse to be eligible for a multistate nursing license, they must have:
- Met all requirements for licensure for their state of residency
- Passed the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam or a predecessor exam
- Graduated from a board-approved program, or from an international education program that is approved by an authorized accrediting body.
- Passed an English proficiency exam
- Eligibility for or holds an active and unencumbered nursing license
- No state or federal felony charges
- No misdemeanor convictions related to the nursing practice
- A valid Social Security number
How to Get a Multistate Travel Nursing License
To obtain a multistate travel nursing license, you must claim residency in a participating state. This means your primary residence where you live and file your tax returns must be one of the 30 eNLC states. If you are a non-resident of an eNLC state you can still apply for licensure by endorsement. However, they will only issue a single state license instead of a compact license. Still, nurses are allowed to hold multiple single-state licenses.
Licensing Fees and Requirements for eNLC
The licensing fees and requirements for an eNLC by endorsement or a permanent license are very similar. They include:
- Licensing fee that ranges between $100 and $400.
- A criminal background check and fingerprinting
- Meet the continuing education requirements for each state license held
- No disciplinary actions against your primary license
- A copy of your driver’s license and Social Security card
Keep in mind that some states may require you to have two letters of reference as well as proof of work history when you apply for an eNLC license by endorsement.
What About Certifications?
Although individual state nursing boards don’t require you to have a certification like Basic Life Support or Pediatric Advanced Life Support, many hospitals do require you to have these. Therefore it is a good idea for a travel nurse to already have their BLS or PALS certifications even if they are not required, in case they are offered at a job working in a hospital or other medical facility that requires them.
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