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Nurse Licensure Compact: Streamlined Licensing for Travel Nurses

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In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, nurses must stay informed about critical developments that can impact their careers. One such development is the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which enhances nursing practice mobility across participating states. In this update, we’ll cover the current state count in the NLC, who can benefit from it, and the advantages of holding an NLC license.

Total Number of States in the NLC

As of the latest information available, 41 jurisdictions are actively participating in the Nurse Licensure Compact. This compact allows Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs), including those with Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) qualifications and higher, to practice across state lines without the need for additional licenses in each participating state.

Who Can Get an NLC License?

Healthcare professionals eligible for an NLC license typically include:

  1. Registered Nurses (RNs): RNs with an ADN or higher degree who meet the NLC requirements can apply for a compact license.
  1. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)/Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs): LPNs and LVNs can also benefit from the NLC, provided they meet the necessary criteria. It’s important to note, not all states extend the NLC to LPNs and LVNs.
  1. Meeting State-Specific Requirements: It’s important to note that each state within the NLC may have specific requirements and criteria for licensure. Applicants should review the individual state’s nursing board guidelines to ensure they meet all prerequisites.

Benefits of Having an NLC License

Having an NLC license can offer several advantages to healthcare professionals, including:

  1. Cost-Efficiency: By eliminating the need for multiple state licenses, the NLC can save nurses time and money in the licensing process.
  1. Expanded Job Opportunities: Holding an NLC license can make nurses more attractive to healthcare employers, as it signifies their ability to work across state lines efficiently.
  1. Professional Growth: NLC-licensed nurses can broaden their clinical experiences and build diverse skill sets by working in different states and healthcare settings.
  1. Enhanced Mobility: NLC-licensed nurses have the flexibility to practice in multiple states without the hassle of obtaining additional licenses. This mobility can significantly benefit travel nurses or those seeking career opportunities in different regions.
  1. Patient Care: NLC promotes access to quality healthcare by enabling nurses to quickly respond to healthcare needs, such as during crises or staffing shortages.

Which States are Compact Nursing States?

Here’s a comprehensive listing of all states currently impacted by multi-state compact licensing. 

States with pending NLC legislation include:

  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • Oregon

Common Questions About the NLC

Q: Can I get a multi-state compact license if I live in a non-compact state?

A: Nurses who designate a compact state as their primary residence are eligible for a multi-state license. Those residing in a non-compact state can still seek licensure in a compact state. However, your eligibility will be restricted to a single-state license, valid exclusively within that chosen state. You are not limited in obtaining as many single-state licenses as needed

Q: What does Primary State of Residence mean?

A: Regarding the compact licensing system, your primary state of residence (PSOR) is determined by your legal residency status, not property ownership within a particular state. If a nurse’s PSOR is within a compact state, they may qualify for a multi-state (compact) license. However, a nurse must establish a compact state as their PSOR to be eligible for a compact license.

Q: I reside in a compact state and currently hold a license from that state. How can I obtain a multi-state license?

A: If you declared that compact state as your primary state of residence when applying for your license and met all the necessary licensure requirements, your issued license should already be a multi-state license. To verify, you can conveniently use the Quick Confirm tool on However, if you discover that your license is not designated as a multi-state license, it is advisable to contact your primary state of residence’s board of nursing for assistance.

In conclusion, the Nurse Licensure Compact is a valuable resource for healthcare professionals. By staying up-to-date on the latest developments in the NLC and understanding its benefits, nurses can make informed decisions to advance their careers and provide excellent patient care.

For the most up-to-date information and to confirm the number of states currently in the NLC, please refer to the official website of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) or contact them directly.

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