So You Want to Travel Nurse? State-by-State Nursing License Guide

Travel nursing is a lucrative and rewarding career that involves all the things you love about nursing with a beautiful side of travel – but – with one very important thing to keep in mind: you must have an active state nursing license in whatever state you plan to practice nursing.  Sometimes this can be as easy as getting a temporary nursing license – and sometimes it can be as complicated as needing to obtain a permanent nursing license in a non-compact state. 

Here’s everything you need to know about obtaining an out-of-state nursing license.

The Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact


Informally known as the
eNLC the Enhance Nursing Licensure Compact allows you to essentially extend the reach of your current license to every state that is a part of the eNLC. With a nursing compact license, you do not need an additional nursing license to practice nursing in 33 of 50 U.S. states. 

The Complete Guide to Nursing Compact States


Walk-Through States

Some states will allow registered nurses to apply for (and receive within 24-48 hours) a temporary nursing license while you wait on your permanent nursing license to go through. These temporary licenses are usually good for a minimum of 30-days and up to 6 months (depending on the state) and will allow an RN to practice nursing while they wait for their permanent licensure. Many non-walk-through states also offer a form or temporary licensure – but qualifications and processes do vary state by state. These temporary licenses are also offered at a reduced wait time – and are usually valid for less than one year. 

Licensure by Endorsement


If you have an active nursing license that is in good standing – it’s very easy to get a nursing license by endorsement without having to go through all the paperwork you went through to obtain your initial nursing license. This is done through a process called licensure by endorsement. 

How long does it take to get a nursing license? State-by-state guide.

So how long does it take to get a nursing license by state? As of today’s writing (July 11, 2022) here is what we know:

state nursing license

Alabama
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: No

For More Information: Alabama Board of Nursing

Alaska
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 8 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Alaska Board of Nursing

Arizona
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: Yes
Permanent Licensure: 2-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Arizona State Board of Nursing 

Arkansas
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Arkansas State Board of Nursing

California
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 3-6 months
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes
To read more about how to obtain a California Nursing license, click here.

For More Information: California Board of Registered Nursing

Colorado
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Colorado Board of Nursing

Connecticut
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 1-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: No

For More Information: Connecticut Department of Public Health

Delaware
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Division of Professional Regulation

District of Columbia
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-5 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Delaware’s District of Columbia Board of Nursing

Florida
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Florida Board of Nursing

Georgia
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 10-15 Days
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Georgia Board of Nursing

Hawaii
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: Yes
Permanent Licensure: 2-15 Days
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Hawaii Board of Nursing

Idaho
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: Yes
Permanent Licensure: 6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Idaho Board of Nursing 

Illinois
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 6-8 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation 

Indiana
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 3-8 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Indiana Professional Licensing Agency

Iowa
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-8 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information:  Iowa Board of Nursing

Kansas
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Kansas Board of Nursing 

Kentucky
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Kentucky Board of Nursing 

Louisiana
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: Yes
Permanent Licensure: 4-6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Louisiana State Board of Nursing 

Maine
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 8-10 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: State Board of Nursing

Maryland
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 10 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Maryland Board of Nursing

Massachusetts
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-5 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: No

For More Information: Massachusetts’ Board of Registration in Nursing

Michigan
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 6-8 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs 

Minnesota
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: No

For More Information: Minnesota Board of Nursing

Mississippi
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 3-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Mississippi Board of Nursing

Missouri
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: Yes
Permanent Licensure: 2 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information:  Missouri Board of Nursing

Montana
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Montana Board of Nursing

Nebraska
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: Yes
Permanent Licensure: 2-10 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services 

Nevada
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Nevada State Board of Nursing

New Hampshire
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: New Hampshire Board of Nursing 

New Jersey
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 6-8 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: New Jersey Board of Nursing

New Mexico
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 3-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: New Mexico Board of Nursing

New York
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: Yes
Permanent Licensure: 6-8 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: No

For More Information: New York State Education Department 

North Carolina
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 6-8 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: North Carolina Board of Nursing

North Dakota
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: North Dakota Board of Nursing 

Ohio
Compact State: No*
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-6 months
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes
*Ohio has entered the compact, but is still waiting implementation

For More Information: Ohio Board of Nursing 

Oklahoma
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-3 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Oklahoma Board of Nursing 

Oregon
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 3-6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Oregon State Board of Nursing 

Pennsylvania
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-3 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes
*Pennsylvania has entered the compact, but is still waiting implementation

For More Information: Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing

Rhode Island
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4+ weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Rhode Island Department of Health 

South Carolina
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: Yes
Permanent Licensure: 2 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: South Carolina’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation 

South Dakota
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 3-5 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: South Dakota Board of Nursing

Tennessee
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Tennessee Board of Nursing 

Texas
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Texas Board of Nursing 

Utah
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-3 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Utah’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

Vermont
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Vermont Secretary of State’s Board of Nursing

Virginia
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 4-6 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Virginia Department of Health Professions 

Washington
Compact State: No
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 3-4 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Washington State Board of Health

West Virginia
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: West Virginia RN Board 

Wisconsin
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: No

For More Information: Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services 

Wyoming
Compact State: Yes
Walk Through State: No
Permanent Licensure: 2-3 weeks
Fingerprint/Background Check: Yes

For More Information: Wyoming State Board of Nursing

 

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(816) 601 -3800
info@nextmoveinc.com

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