List of Compact Nursing States 2022 (2023)

Travel nursing is an exciting opportunity to travel the country while working in the nation’s top hospitals, but figuring out nursing license requirements for each state can be overwhelming.

The good news: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), which is an agreement between states that allows nurses to have one license and the ability to practice in all the states that participate in the program.

RNs can earn up to $2,300 a week as a travel nurse. Speak to a recruiter today!

Compact state license (eNLC) breakdown

The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) has been around since 2000, but was updated in 2018 to the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) and includes standards for licensure, which the original compact license lacked. The eNLC allows nurses to hold one license to practice in participating states without having to pay additional licensing fees.

Currently, 30 states participate in the eNLC. In order to be eligible for a multi-state nursing license a nurse must have:

  • Met the requirements for licensure in their state of residency,
  • Graduated from a board-approved education program OR have graduated from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency),
  • Passed an English proficiency exam (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught English or if English is not the individual’s native language),
  • Passed the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN examination or predecessor exam,
  • Eligibility for or holds an active, unencumbered license,
  • Submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks,
  • No state or federal felony convictions,
  • No misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing,
  • No current participation in an alternative program (nurses are required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program), and
  • A valid United States Social Security number.

Current eNLC nursing compact states and status


Source: National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) 2019

What is the primary residence requirement for multi-state licensing?

You must claim residency in an eNLC participating state in order to apply for a compact license. (Your primary residence refers to the state where you file your tax returns, vote, and/or have a driver’s license.) As a non-resident of an eNLC state, you can apply for licensure by endorsement, but will only be issued a single-state license instead of the compact license. Nurses can hold multiple single-state licenses.

This may be confusing, so here are a couple examples:

Example #1: A nurse has primary residence and obtained their license in the state of Colorado, but wants to take a travel nursing job in Arizona. Because Colorado and Arizona both participate in the eNLC, there is no need to obtain an additional nursing license — the nurse can start the position in Arizona immediately. (The nurse’s current licensing information is confirmed by the employer from a national database known as Nursys and the nurse is required to complete a criminal background check and fingerprinting for the state of Arizona.)

Example #2: A nurse has primary residence and licensure in Kentucky, but wants to take a travel nursing job in Alaska. Kentucky participates in the eNLC, but Alaska does not. The nurse must obtain a single-state license for Alaska before starting their assignment.

Utilizing temporary licenses

Pro tip: If you know the specific state you’d like to travel to, then visit its state board of nursing website or ask your recruiter about licensing in that state specifically.

(Video) Nursing Compact License | Nurse How to | Travel Nurse

Travel nurse staffing agencies may refer to some states as “walk-through states,” which refers to states that issue licensure by endorsement or “temporary licenses.” Temporary licenses are mainly used for nurses who are looking to move to another state or have accepted a job and are waiting for their permanent licensing application to be processed. These types of licenses are often used during nursing strikes too. For example, obtaining a license in California can take several months, but temporary licenses are processed more quickly, so demand for nurses during strikes can be met.

Read more: Crossing the Picket Line as a Travel Nurse

Temporary licenses are typically good for 30 days to six months. If the nursing assignment is longer than the length of the temporary license, then a permanent license is required. Temporary licenses can only be obtained once per state and not all states allow temporary licenses.

Current “walk-through” states include:

  • Arizona
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont

Nursing license fees and requirements

The licensing fee and requirements for licensure by endorsement and permanent licensing are similar. Those fees and requirements include:

  • A licensing fee that ranges from $100 to $400,
  • A criminal background check and fingerprinting,
  • No disciplinary actions or encumbrances against your primary license,
  • Meet the continuing education requirements for each permanent state license you hold, and
  • Copy of driver’s license and social security card.

Note: Some states also require two letters of reference and proof of work history when applying for licensure by endorsement.

(Video) Explanation of the Nurse Licensure Compact for Nurses

Travel nursing agencies typically do not pay for nursing licenses or license renewals. They will often assist in the process though, and may even submit the paperwork.

A quick note on certifications

While individual state nursing boards do not require certifications such as Basic Life Support (BLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), hospitals do require nurses have these certifications. That means travel nurse staffing agencies will require that these certifications be up to date before submitting your travel nurse contract to a hospital.

How do licensing fees and requirements work in non-compact states?

The cost of licenses can add up quickly for travel nurses especially when working in states that don’t participate in the eNLC.

Pro tip: Somes states allow nurses to suspend their license for a nominal fee; to reinstate the license, it’s another small fee.

For example, if a nurse holds a primary nursing license in Washington and wants to take a travel nursing assignment in Oregon (neither of which participate in the eNLC), then they must apply for a permanent license in Oregon. To obtain a single-state license, the nurse must fill out an application, pay the licensing fees, and complete a background check and fingerprinting — this process may take several weeks.

If the same nurse wants to renew their Oregon license after two years, then they must complete the required continuing education hours and pay the renewal fees. Technically, this nurse should also maintain their Washington nursing license too as it’s their primary residence. This means paying the renewal fees and completing any continuing education requirements for Washington as well.

(Video) Best States for NCLEX Foreign Nurse | Top NCLEX States

How long does it take to get your nursing license for a non-compact state?

Obtaining a nursing license can be as quick as two days in states like Hawaii or as long as six months in California or Ohio. (California and Ohio currently have the longest wait times for a permanent license.) Travel nurses may have to take contracts in other states while they wait for their license to be approved. It’s important to plan ahead if there are non-compact states on your desired list of places to travel. Typical wait times for nursing licenses for non-compact states:

  • Alaska — 8 weeks
  • California — 3-6 months
  • Hawaii — 2-15 days
  • Nevada — 2-4 weeks
  • New York — 6-8 weeks
  • Ohio — 4-6 months
  • Oregon — 3-6 weeks
  • Rhode Island — 4+ weeks
  • Vermont — 4-6 weeks
  • Washington — 3-4 weeks

Ready to start travel nursing?

If working as a travel nurse and figuring out licensing still seems daunting, don’t fret. Travel nurse agencies and recruiters are knowledgeable on the topic and in some states can help nurses expedite the licensing process.

Nurses with compact licenses have increased flexibility and can start new contracts immediately in other compact states with minimal paperwork and fees. This opens the door for more employment opportunities for nurses. The impact of the eNLC extends beyond the flexibility for nurses, though. It also increases the access to care for patients and allows hospitals to hire the best nurses for a position by removing the limitation of geographical licensures.

If you’re considering travel nursing, then ensure your license is up to date and get ready for your next adventure.

RNs can earn up to $2,300 a week as a travel nurse. Speak to a recruiter today!


How many states are in the compact? ›

As of April 18th, 2022, there are currently thirty-nine states part of the eNLC.

Is Florida a compact state? ›

Florida is a member of the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). The eNLC allows a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse licensed in a Compact state to practice across state lines in another Compact state without having to obtain a license in the other state.

Is North Carolina a compact state? ›

This has been updated with news that North Carolina has signed the compact. The enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), which allows nurses to provide care across state borders—but only within states that are part of the compact—has crossed its own border: The 26th state has signed on.

Is Alabama a compact state? ›

Compact States (Members of the eNLC) The below 34 states have implemented the nurse licensure compact as of February 1, 2022: Alabama.

What are the 27 compact states? ›

These states are: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

What states are not part of the nursing compact? ›

Alaska, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state do not participate and do not have pending legislation.

Can you hold a nursing license in multiple states? ›

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to have one license to practice in multiple states. There are currently 38 jurisdictions that have enacted NLC legislation, meaning they recognize the multi-state license or have such legislation pending. For a full list of NLC states, see below.

Is New York becoming a compact state? ›

New York is a non-compact state, meaning that if you are a nursing professional looking to get an additional license in NY, you must be granted a license “by endorsement” by the New York State Education Department.

What states Can I work in with a Florida nursing license? ›

Nurses who reside in Florida and hold an active, unrestricted license will also have the option to convert from a standard Florida license to a multi-state license.
The Compact states, according to National Council of State Boards of Nursing, are:
  • Arizona.
  • Arkansas.
  • Colorado.
  • Delaware.
  • Florida.
  • Georgia.
  • Idaho.
  • Iowa.
19 Jan 2018

Is South Carolina a compact RN state? ›


South Carolina is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC allows a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse licensed in a Compact state to practice across state lines in another Compact state without having to obtain a license in the other state.

Is Texas a compact state for nursing? ›

Texas remains a compact state, affording Texas nurses the ability to respond to the challenges of modern health care, and provide borderless nursing services in other eNLC states.

Is Georgia part of the nursing compact? ›

Senate Bill 109, which passed the Georgia legislature in March, will make Georgia part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).

How long does it take to get Alabama compact license? ›

Examination results, available only from your Board of Nursing, will be mailed to candidates approximately 3-5 days after taking the examination. Results may also be viewed here 24-48 hours after testing.

Is Illinois becoming a compact state for nursing? ›

Illinois RNs and LPNs are licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. Although Illinois is not a Nurse Compact state, nurses may be licensed by examination or endorsement.

Is Oregon a compact state? ›

Is Oregon a Compact Nursing State? Currently, Oregon is not a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact or NLC. Nurses who are looking to practice in the state of Oregon must apply for a license by endorsement or NCLEX exam as outlined above.

What state is the easiest to become a nurse? ›

Easiest states to become a nurse – Length of licensing process
  • Maine: 1-2 weeks.
  • Maryland: 2-3 days.
  • Missouri: 2 weeks.
  • Nevada: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Carolina: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Dakota: 1-2 weeks.
  • Texas: 2 weeks.
  • Vermont: 3-5 business days.

Which state is the hardest to become a nurse? ›

Whether you're a first-time travel nurse or a seasoned veteran, the matter of obtaining licensure in a new state you'd like to work in is always a hurdle.
5 States that Take Longest to Get an RN License In
  1. Ohio (4-6 months) ...
  2. 2. California (3-6 months) ...
  3. Maryland (10 weeks) ...
  4. Maine (8-10 weeks) ...
  5. Alaska (8 weeks)
4 Oct 2018

Which states are in the Interstate Medical licensure Compact? ›

Why is California not a nursing compact state? ›

California does not plan to join the new compact, largely because of concern about maintaining state training and quality standards. The state, like many others, already requires nurses to undergo background checks. Washington, Oregon and Nevada are among the other states that do not accept the multistate license.

What states have safe harbor for nurses? ›

New Mexico and Texas are the only two states so far that offer a "safe harbor" for nurses who find themselves with possibly unsafe assignments or orders.

What does it mean that RN is part of the compact? ›

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows a nurse to have one multistate license with the ability to practice in the home state and other compact states. 39jurisdictionshave enacted NLC legislation. More in Licensure Compacts.

Can you work in Florida with an out of state nursing license? ›

Florida is an NLC State

If a nurse claims another compact state as their primary state of residence and has a multistate nursing license, they can pursue travel nursing jobs in Florida—without having to pay additional fees or obtaining another license.

Which state is the easiest to apply for Nclex? ›

If you are looking for the best state for NCLEX or easiest state to pass NCLEX, here are the top 5:
  • #1 Connecticut. ...
  • #2 Montana. ...
  • #3 New York. ...
  • #4 Northern Mariana Islands. ...
  • #5 South Dakota.
20 Jan 2022

Can California RN license work in another state? ›

RNs and LPNs can get a license that allows them to practice in any of the compact nursing states. They can freely move between compact states without the hassle of transferring their nursing license.

Can I get a compact nursing license in NY? ›

New York State is not a Nursing Licensure Compact State.

Can a Florida nurse work in New York? ›

Answer: Yes. The New York State Education Department grants licenses "by endorsement" to qualified clinical nurse specialists, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses licensed in other states.

Is Massachusetts becoming a compact state? ›

In New England, both New Hampshire and Maine belong to the compact while legislation to enter the compact is pending in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. The compact was established in 2000 by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and revised in 2015.

What is the highest paying nurse job in Florida? ›

15 high-paying Florida nurse jobs
  1. Nurse practitioner. Average salary: $72,247 per year. ...
  2. Nurse Manager. Average salary: $73,057 per year. ...
  3. Hospice nurse. Average salary: $76,230 per year. ...
  4. Cardiac nurse. Average salary: $77,859 per year. ...
  5. Research nurse. ...
  6. Dialysis nurse. ...
  7. Pain management nurse. ...
  8. Nurse midwife.
25 Nov 2021

Can a Texas RN work in Florida? ›

Nurse Licensure Compact: Multistate RN/LPN License Holders Can Work in Florida.

How much does a traveling rn make in Florida? ›

For a travel nurse in Florida, the salary can range between $1,559 to $3,602 per week. A standard 13-week assignment through American Mobile can pay close to $46,826. RNs with permanent full-time positions in Florida typically earn around $55,859 each year or average hourly wages of around $27.92.

Is North Carolina compact nursing? ›

Nurses who live in North Carolina no longer obtain (or renew) a license in any of the other States that have enacted the interstate compact. A nurse who resides in our State and holds an unencumbered North Carolina nursing license will have the 'privilege to practice' in any of the other Compact States.

Is NC A multistate nursing license? ›

North Carolina is a member of the nurse licensure compact. LPNs and RNs who have residency and licensing in other compact states can practice under a multistate license issued by their own board. Notably, all states bordering North Carolina (Tennessee, Virginia, and South Carolina) are members.

Is Las Vegas a compact state? ›

Nevada is not a member of the nurse compact, but nurses who are licensed in other U.S. states can apply for license by reciprocity. Candidates who have never been licensed in any state must apply by examination. They will need to pass the NCLEX exam.

Can a Texas RN work in California? ›

To qualify for endorsement (reciprocity) into California as an RN, you must hold a current and active RN license in another state, U.S. territory, or Canada, have completed an educational program meeting all California requirements, and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) or the State ...

Is Arizona in the compact? ›

Ten states passed and enacted the new Compact including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming.

Is Tennessee in the compact? ›

This milestone marks the eleventh state to sign the Counseling Compact into law, allowing professional counselors licensed and residing in a compact member state to practice in other compact member states without the need for multiple licenses. “ACA congratulates Tennessee on joining the Counseling Compact.

Is Tennessee part of the nursing compact? ›

Tennessee is a member of the nurse license compact.

Nurses who hold residence and licensing in other compact states do not need a Tennessee license to practice there unless they switch their primary residency.

Is Georgia a compact state with Texas? ›

At this time, 9 states have passed and enacted the new Compact including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming.

What is the difference between state license and compact license? ›

There is no difference between a compact license and a multistate license. This terminology is used interchangeably to reference the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) license that allows a nurse to have one license, with the ability to practice in all NLC compact states.

Does Alabama accept compact nursing license? ›

Effective January 1, 2020, as a party state to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), Alabama issues multistate licenses to nurses and applicants who reside in the state and recognizes multistate licenses issued by other party states, for practice in Alabama.

Is Ohio in the compact? ›

When Will Ohio Become A Compact State? As of right now, the NLC has been enacted, but not fully implemented. Ohio will fully be considered a compact state on January 1, 2023. At that time, Ohio nurses will be able to begin practicing in other states and nurses with the nursing compact may take assignments in Ohio.

Is Maryland a compact? ›

Maryland was the first state to join the National Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in 1999. Nurses with a multistate license can practice in any of the twenty-five NLC participating states.

Can out of state nurses work in Illinois? ›

Out-of-State Licensure

Illinois requires nurses to provide their NCLEX results, either from the state of original licensure or the testing company. These endorsement candidates can be issued a temporary license to begin work while the paperwork is being processed.

What states are walk through? ›

There are five walk through states: Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri and South Carolina.

How many states are compact nursing states? ›

What states can I work in with a Nurse Compact license? These are the 37 states and two U.S. territories that have passed eNLC legislation and belong to the compact.

Is Wyoming a compact state? ›

The National Nursing Database reports that Wyoming has 12,110 nurses: 10,737 with RN licenses and 1,373 with LPN licenses. Wyoming is a member of the nurse license compact. Currently, a nurse needs a Wyoming license to practice in Wyoming. RNs and LPNs receive multistate licenses as of January 19, 2018.

What is the littlest state in the US? ›

What is the smallest state? According to World Atlas, Rhode Island is the smallest state with a total area of 3,144 square kilometers. Following Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut are the smallest states by area.

Can 2 states become 1 state? ›

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the ...

What makes a country compact? ›

A compact state has a minimum frontier to defend, and generally roads and railways are relatively simple to provide. An elongated or attenuated state is much longer in one direction than the other. Norway and Chile are examples of elongated states. Defense and transportation can be more difficult in an elongated state.

What is a state compact? ›

An interstate compact is a contractual arrangement made between two or more states in which the assigned parties agree on a specific policy issue and either adopt a set of standards or cooperate with one another on a particular regional or national matter.

What is the most unpopular state in the US? ›

Most Hated States Research Summary

The most hated state in the U.S. is Illinois, where a whopping 25% of the state's residents say it's the worst state. The state most hated by other states is California, as 9 states say it's the worst. 77% of Alaskans have pride in their state, more than any other state.

What is the most uncommon state in the US? ›

Nope, it's not Hawaii or Alaska. That state is Missouri. The results from Sporcle's “US States Quiz” make it clear that Missouri is the most forgotten state. The quiz has been attempted by players more than 19 million times, and Missouri is the state the lowest percent of people guess correctly.

What is the only letter not in a U.S. state? ›

Letter Q is the only letter not used in the US state names. The answer is "Q".

Why Puerto Rico is not a State? ›

As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico's 3.2 million residents are U.S. citizens. However, while subject to U.S. federal laws, island-based Puerto Ricans can't vote in presidential elections and lack voting representation in Congress. As a U.S. territory, it is neither a state nor an independent country.

What is guaranteed to every State? ›

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

When did the last 2 States became States? ›

The date each state joined the Union is shown in the table below (usually coinciding with a territory being granted statehood). Five states were added during the 20th century. Alaska and Hawaii were the last states to join the Union -- both in 1959.

What is a disadvantage of a compact state? ›

Compact State Disadvantages. Lack of Resources, and often landlocked, so no access to oceans.

Why is a compact state easier to defend? ›

This type of state is the simplest to manage, since the government is close to all portions of the state. The compact form helps to keep the country together by making communications easier within it. In addition, compact states are much easier to defend than states of other shapes.

Which state shape is considered the easiest to govern? ›

Compact States

A compact state with a circular shape is the easiest to manage. Usually benefits from better transportation and communication Is as likely as any country to experience war. Easier to defend than states of other shapes. Flanders and Wallonia within Belgium.

What is a compact that all 50 states have joined? ›

All 50 States have joined in two interstate compacts: Compact for the Supervision of Parolees and Probationers and the Compact on Juveniles.

What are the two interstate compacts? ›

Examples of well-known interstate compacts include the New York-New Jersey Port Authority Compact, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority Compact, the Multistate Tax Compact, and the Southern Dairy Compact.

Why would a state choose not to be part of the compact? ›

California does not plan to join the new compact, largely because of concern about maintaining state training and quality standards. The state, like many others, already requires nurses to undergo background checks. Washington, Oregon and Nevada are among the other states that do not accept the multistate license.


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