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A few quick questions about working in other states

Hello All,

I am a new grad who has a few quick questions about working in other states. I currently live in Cali and want to work in another state. My question is

1) How hard is it to transfer my license?

2) How long does it take?

3) Do I have to have my license in another state before I apply for jobs in that state, or will a hospital hire me then I get my license?

4) Is there a website that list which states are "compact" states.

Thanks for your help in advance.


Specializes in ER, M/S, transplant, tele.

This is the website with all the info on compact nursing license and has all the contact info for the individual state boards of nursing https://www.ncsbn.org/nlc.htm

First, in order to obtain a compact license you must be a resident of a compact state. California is not yet a compact state.

In order to work in other states (as a California resident) you have to apply for a license in each individual state. The time it takes to obtain a license is highly variable. Some states have a "walk-through" process and grant a conditional license in as little as 24 hours. Other states require a ton of paperwork and verifications such as fingerprints, particular CEU's, and official verifications of education/licensure in your original granting state.

If you decide to move to a compact state and obtain residency status, you may be granted a compact license which is valid as long as you maintain your residency in that state. Once you have a compact license, the only requirement to practice in other compact states is your compact license verification (employers can do this in about 2 minutes online).

Employers are all different but some will extend a conditional offer of employment contingent on obtaining state licensure.

If you are planning to do travel nursing be sure to check the experience requirements of the travel company. Many of them require at the minimum 1 year of experience. Additionally, hospitals contracting with the travel company have their own preferred experience requirements.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Thanks danggirl. That is exactly the information that I was looking for.


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