Traveling Nurse License: How To Get a Traveling Nurse’s License

Nov 21, 2022 | 0 comments

Congratulations on starting your fantastic journey as a traveling nurse. But wait! Not to bust your bubble, but do you know you need a license to identify as a traveling nurse? Unfortunately, you cannot use your state-issued license to work as a traveling nurse, so you need a compact license. This article looks at the requirements and regulations of obtaining the said license, the best nursing license, and why it’s essential to get one.

Traveling Nurse Licensing Requirements and Regulations

Before applying for a contract, a traveling nurse needs to meet specific requirements to ensure they’re fit for work. These requirements include:


  • Licensing
  • Nursing degree
  • Nursing certification
  • Experience

Nursing License Requirement

Everyone is required to have an RN nursing license before taking on any nursing duties. Your residing state issues this license upon studies completion and undertaking residency under an experienced person. However, you must apply for an individual state license before receiving a contract to work in another state.

If you reside in a state that forms part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensing Compact (eNLC), you’ll not be required to apply for an individual state license when contracted to work in another eNLC state.

Nursing Degree

A reputable nursing degree is required to work as a traveling nurse. In this case, you need to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). A BSN course costs around $40,000 per academic year, and students must complete 120 credits.

Many hospitals and health centers use this as the minimum entry requirement before issuing a license for traveling nurses. However, you can still get a traveling nurse licensure if you hold an Associate Degree in Nursing.

Ensure you check in with the relevant nursing board for traveling nurses to know if you qualify for a license. 

Nursing Certification

 You must have relevant certification before qualifying to work as a nurse. In this case, the basic nursing certification is Basic Life Support (BLS). However, it’s always best to have advanced certification like Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).

Additional but relevant nursing certification will always put you ahead of your competition and increase your earnings.


You must demonstrate your experience working as a nurse before receiving a license as a traveling nurse. The minimum requirement is two years of working as a bedside nurse, as hospitals and healthcare facilities prefer hiring experienced nurses. The contract also specifies the required experience, as nurses rarely get orientation shifts since the jobs require individuals ready to jump in and start working immediately.

Travel Nurse Honeycrisp

A reputable nursing degree is required to work as a traveling nurse.

Best Nursing License For The Traveling Nurse

Obtaining the best traveling nurse license is critical for a traveling nurse who’s always on the move. In this case, a compact license allows you to work in certain states without applying for a new state individual license. It saves you the time and money of applying for a permit every time you’re deployed. It also sets you apart from other nurses, ensuring you’re ready for deployment without unnecessary delays.

Visit the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) to apply for a compact nurse license. However, you must have permanent residence in an eNLC state to get this license. Besides issuing a compact license to qualified nurses, the NLC act as a traveling nurse license verification body, packed with relevant information to help regarding licensed traveling nurses.

Besides working in different hospitals, a traveling nurse will also work in other states, requiring a permanent license to issue a work permit. ‘Do traveling nurses require multiple licenses?’ is the most common question asked by many taking an interest in becoming a traveling nurse.

What States are Licensed for Traveling Nurses?

States licensed for traveling nurses are also called Enhanced Nursing Licensing Compact (eNLC). These states allow nurses to work without needing any additional licenses. They include:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Colorado
  5. Delaware
  6. Florida
  7. Georgia
  8. Idaho
  9. Indiana
  10. Iowa
  11. Kansas
  12. Kentucky
  13. Louisiana
  14. Maine
  15. Maryland
  16. Mississippi
  17. Missouri
  18. Montana
  19. Nebraska
  20. New Hampshire
  21. New Jersey
  22. New Mexico
  23. North Carolina
  24. North Dakota
  25. Ohio
  26. Oklahoma
  27. Oregon
  28. Pennsylvania
  29. South Carolina
  30. South Dakota
  31. Tennessee
  32. Texas
  33. Virginia
  34. West Virginia
  35. Wisconsin; and
  36. Wyoming

The remaining states require a nurse to get an individual state license to work in them. However, there has been a move to recruit these states into eNLC, with California, Illinois, Massachusets, Michigan, Rhode Island, and  U.S. Virgin Islands having their application to join eNLC pending.

honeycrisp traveling nurse license stethoscope

How To Apply for an Out-of-State License

Do you need a special license as a traveling nurse? The answer is Yes! Getting a compact license saves you the hustle of getting a permit every time you travel to another state. However, how do you apply for an out-of-state license? The process is straightforward and follows only three steps:

  • Apply to BON
  • Register for NCLEX 
  • Receive the license

Visit BON’s website and submit your license application. Ensure you include the state’s name and how long you intend to work there. 

Use the Pearson VUE  portal to register for NCLEX. You can also apply through the phone number 1.866.496.2539.

You’ll receive your license once the registration is complete and you’ve passed the test.

How Does the Nurse Licensure Compact Act Benefit Traveling Nurses?

A compact nursing license allows traveling nurses to work in different states without additional licensing. However, a nurse must reside in an eNLC state for this license to apply. Here are a few benefits of the Nurse Licensure Compact Act:

  • Immediate deployment
  • It saves money and time
  • Ensures efficiency
  • Reduces waiting time
  • Builds trust

Immediate Deployment

According to the Nurse Licensure Compact Act, nurses can use one license to work in different states without requiring a new license. Such arrangements ensure immediate nurse deployment, especially in emergency cases where nurses are needed to start immediately.

It Saves Money & Time.

Registering for a new license every time you move to another state requires money. Besides the license registration fees, you also pay criminal background check fees. There’s also the waiting time, with many states taking months for a license to arrive.

Ensures Efficiency

Having a team ready to report to work and take on responsibilities help to keep things moving in a hospital. The nurses will only have to register for duty and take very little time to adjust to their environment.

Reduces Waiting Time

Nurses must wait as their licenses are being processed, so they won’t be allowed to work. With some states requiring nurses to wait months before they receive their licenses, they’ll stay idle instead of helping out in their workplaces.

Builds Trust

Traveling nurses undergo rigorous testing before they’re licensed to work in their fields. An employer is guaranteed to get the best nurses, which helps to boost trust. Such nurses also take a short time to adjust to their working environment.

Travel Nurse Honeycrisp


Can You Be A Traveling Nurse With State Boards From California And Live In Arizona?

Yes, you can be a traveling nurse with state boards from California and live in Arizona, provided you get an Arizona nursing license since California is not part of eNLC.

Do Traveling Nurses Need Multiple Licenses?

No, a traveling nurse needs only a compact license to work, but only if they’re working as an eNLC state member. If not, they’ll be required to obtain a permit for that state.

Do You Need A Special License As A Traveling Nurse?

You only need an RN license, a compact license, certification, and an education degree to qualify as a traveling nurse. Additional certifications will only give you a competitive advantage over other applicants.

How Can You Be A Traveling Nurse If You're Only Licensed In One State?

The only way to become a traveling nurse and be licensed in one state is to get a compact license. The license allows you to travel and work in 36 states without additional licensing.

How to Become a Travel Nurse (Everything You Need To Know)

Have you ever wanted to travel and work at the same time, then becoming a travel nurse is a great option for you. Know more on how to become a travel nurse

Salaries of Traveling Nurses Guide

Salaries of Traveling Nurse has been quite the the talk for these past years and many are really intrigued on how much money they make. Traveling nurses has become more common in the last few years as the healthcare industry has become more competitive. As a traveling...

Top 5 Traveling Nurses Agencies in Arizona

Are you looking for a reputable medical staffing agency that treats nurses and doctors well? You've been searching for a good travel nursing agency for years and you finally found them! These companies in Arizona will be able to find you the perfect position, and...

How Much Does Traveling Registered Nurse Make In Washington State

How Much Does Traveling Registered Nurse Make in Washington State Travel nursing has become popular in recent times, with most of the on-demand specialties paying highly. Travel nurses work for short durations at hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. They...

Traveling Nurse License: How To Get a Traveling Nurse’s License

Congratulations on starting your fantastic journey as a traveling nurse. But wait! Not to bust your bubble, but do you know you need a license to identify as a traveling nurse? Unfortunately, you cannot use your state-issued license to work as a traveling nurse, so...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

Get in touch


2 + 4 =