5 Things to Know About Licenses in Travel Nursing

5 Things to Know About Licenses in Travel Nursing

19Apr, 2017

5 Things to Know About Licenses in Travel Nursing



If you’re just getting started with travel  nursing, chances are that you have plenty of questions regarding logistics. One of the most confusing aspects can often involve licensing and figuring out how to gain the ability to practice in your desired states. Navigating the various requirements each state has can get overwhelming, but there are a few key things you need to know when getting started.

Below are five key things you need to know when getting licenses for travel nursing purposes.

1. Compact States 

Want to be able to practice in over two dozen states without having to apply for a new license each time? Thankfully, the NLC, also known as the multi-state nursing license,  allows you to practice in both your home state and the other compact states. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has the full breakdown of compact states and how to obtain a multi-state license.


2. Walk-Through States

If you already hold an active license in another state, a handful of “walk through” states provide a temporary license within a couple of days. These temporary licenses generally will last for at least three months, allowing  you to complete your travel nursing assignment without needing to obtain an additional permanent state license.


3. Budgeting Your Time

Depending on which state you’re planning to practice in, you will need to make sure to budget enough time to obtain a license before beginning your assignment. Temporary licenses can take anywhere from one day to six weeks, while permanent licenses can take up to six months. Additionally, some states don’t offer temporary licenses, making a permanent license your only option.


4. Licensing Costs

Licensing costs also vary by type (temporary or permanent) and state. Licenses can cost as little as $10 for a temporary license in Indiana, or over $200 in places like D.C. and Florida.


5. Stay Current

With all the time and money that goes into maintaining a license, it’s important for travel nurses to stay current. They key to having a successful travel nursing career is keeping your licenses valid up to date. In order to do this, some states require you to complete continuing education units, while others require you to obtain a minimum number of clinical hours. Working with an experienced travel nursing firm will help as your recruiter will keep track of your certifications and let you know when it is time to renew licenses or certifications.


Key Take Aways:

  • If you want to practice in more than one of the compact states, make sure to obtain a permanent multi-state license as soon as possible.
  • Keeping active and current licenses and certifications in multiple states are key to having an effective and streamlined travel nursing career.
  • Make sure to plan ahead for licensing wait periods and costs when thinking about taking on a new assignment.