Travel nurse licensing tips

  1. Things we never talk about Licensing.

    It is ideal to let the agency reimburse you for fees. Licensing can be very expensive especially for those not in compact states. If you get licenses on your own you may find some agencies reimburse you for fees if you have never worked in that state.

    For those reading this that want to travel to CA, get that license LAST. Some states want all verifications of every license you own. If you have a CA license that means you pay $100 bucks each time that verification is needed and it takes 6-8 weeks for them to send it to that state.

    EX. Your license by exam in FL and endorsed in California. Now you want to apply for a NY license. Well NY requires ALL state verifications. You pay nursys 30 bucks. You send a snail mail request to CA for $100 and then you watch paint dry.

    EX. Your license by exam in FL and endorsed in CA. Now you want to apply for WA license. Well they only want where you were licensed by exam which is FL...No CA verification required.

    Apply for where you want to go at the same time if possible. Yes, it takes money DUH!

    EX If you hold a FL license and apply for endorsement to CA, MN, NC, HI, AK, PA all for the first time...Send the paperwork off around the same time. PA will give you a temp license in 2-3 business days. Temp license do not count as something that needs to be verified. If you got PA temp license Monday and apply for Illinois Friday, you can only send verification for FL. You can still apply for other states and only have to get FL verified if none of the others have issued you a perm license.
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  2. Visit Wolf at the Door profile page

    About Wolf at the Door, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jan '12; Posts: 1,000; Likes: 670

    18 Comments

  3. by   Wolf at the Door
    Some of the strike companies offer licensing programs for certain states. You might end up with a free PA, WA, NY, MA, CA, RI, DC, and MN license.
  4. by   8-ball
    This is good advice, as I am looking at CA and WA, I read this as I should apply for both at the same time...maybe I should just knock out all the upper northwest at the same time and throw in OR as well.
  5. by   Wolf at the Door
    Thank you. It is information, I think is very important that will save you a headache and money.

    Yes, apply for CA, WA, and OR at the same time. I would get as many as I could afford at one time if I were you. What state is your current license?
  6. by   8-ball
    Currently have a compact through TN (my home residence).
  7. by   8-ball
    Well I took your advise and applied for CA, WY, WA, and OR at the same time. Expensive but here is hoping.
  8. by   Wolf at the Door
    Quote from 8-ball
    Well I took your advise and applied for CA, WY, WA, and OR at the same time. Expensive but here is hoping.
    That is the way to go. Check out California | U.S. Nursing Corporation. They give good information and provide links directly to the RN board you are looking for. Some of the information on the page might be old so it is best to visit that indivual board but, it provides quick info.

    Remember if you are interested in NY or MA. They will require verification of all licenses. California will slow you down if it has been officially issued to you.

    Keep all your receipts. A company might offer you reimbursment if it is your first time working in that state.
  9. by   CFrancine
    How far ahead should one start looking to license? I'm thinking of starting this September but can leave as soon as July. Should I start applying to several states now? Also, do you keep a permanent license everywhere you have been or just do the temp each time? Do you need CEUs for every state or just enough to maintain your home linens?
  10. by   NedRN
    Depends on the state. If it has a short licensing time, no, don't get it until you have an assignment. Some agencies will pay for the license doing it this way, where they might not if you already have it in hand. Either way, it is a needless expense until you need it. If it is a state such as California, yes. Many if not most hospitals there require your license in hand to even consider you for an assignment.

    A few states have specific CEU requirements as part of your application, usually just a couple of CEUs. More states have renewal requirements, but you can use the CEUs you have accumulated for any other purpose like home state requirements or specialty certification. The only issue is that they have to have been done since your last licensure, like the last two years for example. My own specialty certification requires 150 CEUs every five years, so I time my filling those requirements to get maximum bang for licenses I am renewing.

    Most of the states with CEU renewal requirements have the same renewal requirements even with a lapsed license. You can save money by letting your license lapse in many cases. There may be a late fee, but against paying the renewal fees regularly, you still save money. If you really plan to work in that state during the renewed license period, sure, renew it timely to save the late fee. In a few states, you can elect to put your license on pause avoiding a late fee. Generally most states allow at least five years of lapsed licensure without requiring a new application with some much longer or unlimited time (Florida is an exception).

    One state that is a major exception to these generalizations is New Jersey. If you let your license lapse, when you go to make it active again, you have to pay the license fee for all lapsed years as well as a penalty. For this reason as well as a few other BON rules in NJ, I've never worked there. NJ also takes a long time to issue licenses so you really have to plan ahead. However, these same policies ensure limited numbers of travelers, so travel to NJ does pay well above average.

    PanTravelers has BON licensing information at a glance. You can compare costs including background check, issue time, and CEU renewal requirements. This can help you decide quickly when an agency pitches an assignment to you in a state you are not licensed in.
  11. by   Wolf at the Door
    Quote from CFrancine
    How far ahead should one start looking to license? I'm thinking of starting this September but can leave as soon as July. Should I start applying to several states now? Also, do you keep a permanent license everywhere you have been or just do the temp each time? Do you need CEUs for every state or just enough to maintain your home linens?
    Depends on the state, but in general at least 3-4 four months to cover the states that take a long time such as New Jersey.

    Yes, I would apply now.

    If the state offers a temp license it can only be obtained one time. Get the perm before expiration.

    You have to visit that specific state's website for CEU requirements. In general most CEUS can be used for all states. However states like FL, NY, PA require specific CEU's to met renewal requirements.
  12. by   8-ball
    Update I appled for WA, OR, WY, and CA at the beginning of April. I got my OR almost right away and my temp WA about 2 weeks later. California had a few things for mew to work on so I sent that in (possible delay there) and I havent heard a single thing from WY, not an email, regular mail, phone call nothing. So far this method seems to work. Overall cost was about $6-700 i think ( i didn't really keep note).
  13. by   Wolf at the Door
    Quote from 8-ball
    Update I appled for WA, OR, WY, and CA at the beginning of April. I got my OR almost right away and my temp WA about 2 weeks later. California had a few things for mew to work on so I sent that in (possible delay there) and I havent heard a single thing from WY, not an email, regular mail, phone call nothing. So far this method seems to work. Overall cost was about $6-700 i think ( i didn't really keep note).
    Cool thanks for the update. OR license is fast. I wouldn't be concerned about California to be honest.

    I recently inquired about a DC license and because I have a California license if I sent everything off next week I would have it around the end of July or Start of August. Without CA RN license it would only take 2-3 weeks.
  14. by   CrazyGoonRN
    I sent off for my Georgia license last week and I recieved an email from them the next day with a link to where I can log in and see updates. Also, I had to get ink fingerprinted and mail it to a company in California for my background check. They only accept electronic fingerprints if you go to specific locations within the state of Georgia. The nurse manager at the hospital I have been hired at says it typically takes 3 weeks to get a Georgia license. I just hope there is no delay so my start date is not pushed back.

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