licensing requirements for travel nursing

The Licensing Requirements for Travel Nursing

Nov 13, 2019

Your sense of adventure makes you the perfect traveling professional. While you may enjoy seeing the country and meeting new people, it’s also essential to stay organized and keep your licensing and certification requirements in order. Your job options will be controlled by the states in which you can practice. In other words, it’s probably a smart idea to begin the process of getting licensed in the states you want to travel, so when you get offered an assignment, nothing is standing in your way.

Getting Organized and Being Prepared

While it’s important to be organized, as a travel nurse, you may face a few challenges that are different from someone who operates from a consistent home base. Preparing and organizing is an excellent way to navigate around headaches and potential problems, keeping you well ahead of the game. 

To keep track of your paperwork, and necessary licenses and certifications for travel, you may want to consider using a single binder to keep your information. This is one place where all information will be stored, so you can find it each time it’s needed. Use separators for your licenses in the process and those that are completed. 

What Is the Advantage of a Compact License State?

Before 1997, if you wanted to practice in more than one state, you needed to maintain your licensure in both states. In addition to the paperwork involved in applying and renewing the license, it also meant you had to meet the continuing education requirements for each state and submit that paperwork as well. For nurses who lived in cities bordering one or more states, like Cincinnati, OH, where nurses may work in Kentucky or Indiana, the process was difficult.

Since then, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing created the Nurse Licensure Compact or an agreement that participating states would honor the state licensure for RNs, LPNs, and LVNs across state lines. This works in much the same way your driver’s license legally allows you to drive in every state in the U.S. The number of participating compact states continues to grow each year.

You may convert your single license to a multi-state license by meeting several criteria and applying through the Nurse Licensure Compact. One of the primary eligibility requirements is living in and declaring an NLC state as your primary tax home and holding an active license.

It Isn’t Only Nurses Who Are Affected by Cross-State License Requirements

If you have an assignment in a non-Compact state, or you hold a license that isn’t covered by the reciprocal agreement in the NLC, you may be covered if the state offers a temporary license. With proper documents from your home state license board, the state for your new assignment may issue a temporary license often valid for three to six months. However, even a temporary license may take up to eight weeks to receive, so it’s wise to start early. Check with the local licensing board to determine the process and documentation needed for your license.

We Understand License Requirements and Can Help!

Understanding the license requirements across the country may feel overwhelming. But, our professional recruiters at GetMed Staffing are experts at helping you navigate this journey. Call us today so we can get your questions answered and you well on your way to accepting your next assignment.