September 19, 2022

Travel Nursing & Nurse Licensure Compact in 2022

by emma

Travel nursing is one of the most dynamic and interesting career options out there, but that does not mean being a travel nurse comes without its challenges.

For example, one of the challenges you will likely encounter even before you are sent on your first assignment is gathering all the necessary paperwork to get started. And while our recruiters here at Ventura MedStaff are here to help, it can be exhausting.

While going through that paperwork, one of the most important things to pay attention to is where you are accredited and licensed to work. Does it line up with where you want to travel to? Even if it doesn’t, there’s no need to worry yet, it could fall under the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).


What Is the NLC?

Before the year 2000, medical professionals were only allowed to practice in the state they were licensed. This means that if you were a nurse in one state, and traveled to another, you would have to apply for a brand-new license in that new state to work there.

You can see why this would be a problem for a traveling medical professional. Fortunately, many states also saw the problem and created the NLC. NLC is an agreement between multiple states that allows nurses to have one compact license to practice in other compact states. This helps to increase access to healthcare and combat state nursing shortages.


Is the NLC Nationwide?

Sadly, the NLC is not yet a nationwide agreement nor endorsed by the federal government. It is left to the states to determine whether this agreement benefits them and apply for membership in the compact.

Currently, 39 states and other jurisdictions. These states are:





































New Hampshire


New Jersey


New Mexico


North Dakota








South Carolina




South Dakota


North Carolina






Virgin Islands


West Virginia





Keep in mind, though, that some states only have a partial implementation, while some states have passed the legislation, but have not yet implemented it. Reach out to our recruiters and they will be able to tell you more about that status for each state.


Why Is a Compact License Important for Travel Nurses?

As a travel nurse, you don’t need a compact license, but it does open up opportunities and make practicing in other states easier. In fact, if you have a compact license, you’ll be able to work in any of the states that are part of the NLC.

This alone opens up a whole new world of work opportunities without the hassle and paperwork involved in obtaining a different license each time you want to work in a different state. This also means you won’t have to run the risk of starting an assignment late or having a canceled contract due to not being able to obtain a state license in time.


How Do I Get a Compact License?

Getting a compact license is relatively simple and can be done through most travel nursing agencies. Keep in mind though – the state that your primary residence is in needs to be a state which is a member of the NLC, otherwise, you’re not eligible for this type of license.

If you’re a travel nurse or considering becoming a travel nurse, be sure to check if the states you’re interested in working at take part in the NLC. Having a compact license will make your life much easier and will allow you to work in more states. Contact Ventura MedStaff today, and we’ll make sure that your traveling contract goes smoothly from start to finish.

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