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March 18, 2024

Guide to Obtaining a Nursing License in Another State

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Dr. Shefiu Lanre Shittu

President of Daily Care Solutions

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Obtaining your nursing license may seem easy. More than 6.6 million Americans have active nursing licenses; some even have two licenses in different states. 

However, you can’t always use your current license in another state, even if you’re in good standing. You either need to transfer your license or get a new one, and each process requires several steps. Here are the basics of obtaining a nursing license in another state.

Talk to Nursing Professionals in Your New Home State

Talking to nursing professionals you will work with can help you determine what to do to get a license. Your colleagues can give you advice on what schools you should take classes from and what networking strategies for healthcare providers you should use to get more information about a license.

Ask your colleagues what the requirements for a license are and if you meet any of them already. If you don’t meet certain requirements like continuing education standards, see if you can start to work on them before you move.

Before applying for a nursing license, you should ensure you have a job in your new state. You should also make sure your housing and accommodations are secure. Once your basic needs are met, you can focus on getting a license.

Partner With a Locum Tenens Firm

If you’re getting temporary or locum tenens jobs, you should talk to a locum tenens agency. Some agencies can help you obtain a license; others can connect you with jobs or professional training. You can also connect with nursing professionals in your area, which can help you get promotions and continuing education opportunities. 

Daily Care Solutions serves the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. We are partnered with healthcare providers in numerous specialties, and we offer support to all locum tenens nurses interested in finding prosperous and competitive jobs. We can also help new doctor’s offices and hospitals with strategic planning, risk management, and analytics. 

Are you looking for help from experienced and qualified nursing experts? Arrange an appointment with Daily Care Solutions and meet with a professional nursing staffer today.

Study Compact Nursing License States

Nurse licensure compact states require you to hold a compact license for nursing. You can use this license in any compact state without needing to apply for a new one every time you move. 41 states are compact states, though some have only partially complied with the compact. 

The Nursing Licensure Compact does not apply to specialized positions, like nurse anesthetists. Some jobs require you to hold a master’s degree or a certificate in another discipline, such as teaching or business. You will need to transfer your license if you are moving permanently between states, which you can do by changing your primary residence information on your state nursing board papers.

You can apply for a compact nursing license in a few ways. If you’re a new nursing graduate, you can take an exam and submit a written application to your state nursing board. If you already have a nursing license, you can update your state license into a multistate one through a written application. You must provide details about your continuing education hours and submit to a criminal background check.

Related: What Is Healthcare Credentialing?

A doctor filling out paperwork

Transfer Your License

You may be able to transfer your license even if you can’t receive a compact nursing license. You can apply for licensure by endorsement with the state nursing board. 

Qualifications for licensure by endorsement vary from state to state. In most states, you must hold a valid nursing license and complete an educational program meeting all state requirements. You must give your personal information to your new state board of nursing and perform a background check. 

If you’re not sure if you meet the educational requirements, you should take new classes in your new home state. All state boards of nursing have approved programs listed on their official websites, so visit them and pick one you have time for.

If you transfer from a compact state to a non-compact state, your license will become a single-state license valid only in your new home. If you want to keep your compact license, you may stay in a compact state, though you can always apply for a new license before moving again.

Transferring your license can take time, so you should start the process at least two months before your move. You may need to pay fees, and you should pay them well ahead of time to avoid processing issues.

Do you have questions about transferring your license to a Midwestern state? Contact the experts at Daily Care Solutions, and we’ll help you figure out what you need to do in no time.

A nurse taking a nursing license test

Read the Requirements

You should contact your state board of nursing if you cannot transfer your license. Get all the details about what you need to do to apply for a new license. 

Most states let you practice on your former license for up to 90 days. This lets you complete locum tenens jobs, but you should not practice on your license once it expires. You can take jobs that don’t require licenses, like positions for nursing assistants, or you can transition to a new career, such as an orthopedic surgeon

Take the NCLEX

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is the nationwide examination for nursing licenses. You must take the test to qualify for a nursing license, regardless of where you live. If you don’t have a license already, you should apply for a license with the state board of nursing and then schedule the NCLEX. 

Give yourself at least two months to study for your test. You can take practice exams from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and buy books about critical concepts. 

After you get your results, you should send them to the state board of nursing. If you fail, you can retake the test at least 45 days after your previous attempt. 

Related: Credentials For Locum Tenens: Are They Necessary?

Author Image
Dr. Shefiu Lanre Shittu

President of Daily Care Solutions

Internal Medicine physician with over 10 years of experience in medical staffing solution. Completed medical education and residency in Columbia University. Provided expert oversight to private groups and hospitals. Contracted services organization and Take charge of establishing three hospitalist programs from inception to completion. Develop the scope of practice and negotiate contracts with other departments and specialties. Perform a wide range of tasks including contract negotiations, revenue cycle and human resource management, process improvement, and introduction of interdisciplinary rounding. Drove key efforts toward the reduction of cost of running programs by approximately 15-20%. Identified staffing needs while creating unique staffing plans for programs.

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