Tips for Nurses Relocating to Another State

If you want to move states to find work, there are a few things you should prepare yourself for. Mainly obtaining a license before you go, or at least start the process rolling. Getting your license for another state can be a time consuming process and may take patience Nurses General Nursing Article

Tips for Nurses Relocating to Another State

Moving from one state to another can be as easy as ABC, providing you plan and make it a nice smooth transition.

There are certain variables which you are able to control and there are certain ones you can't.

It is certainly easier to transition if you have a job to go to.

After you have decided to move states, you have picked where you want to live, the first step should be to secure your nursing license for that state.

It is important to remember that many jobs will not look at applications from RN's who are not licensed in the state they are applying for.

So my advice is to obtain a license sooner rather than later. If you go to the State board of nursing sites you can find information which will give you an idea of how long it will take to obtain a license there. Remember this can take anything from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

At the bottom of every page, you will find a link to each state Boards of Nursing to obtain license endorsement information .

Unless you do not need to work, I would not hand in my notice and leave my current job until you have the license you need for your new job.

If you have a compact state license and want to work in another compact state, then the process is simpler. Go the NCSBN website to view which states recognize Nurse Licensure Compact At the moment 24 states are compact states, so only another 28 to go!

When looking for a job in another state, there are some good web sites which you can go to, you can post your resume online and often recruiters will contact you.

If you know where you would like to work then go to the hospital of choice web site and look under job opportunities.

Often if you are coming from another state or live a long way from the hospital, they will do a series of telephone interviews.

Some companies will fly you out for interviews. New technology such as video conferencing and webinars can make the interview process easier, and much more cost effective than paying for flights.

Often companies will pay some of your relocation costs, especially if you have skills they want.

Wages and relocation costs can be negotiated after a successful offer of employment.

Just because you want to move for your own reasons doesn't mean companies aren't willing to reimburse some of your expenses. The worst thing they can say is no. Most companies have budgeted relocation costs but if they don't have to pay them, then they won't.

If they do pay some of your relocation expenses prepare yourself for a sign on contract of about 1-2yrs. Normally money will have to be paid back if you do not stay the required period of time.

When I moved across country from AZ to Oh it cost in excess of $9000, so do not sell yourself short!

Even if you don't get any expenses paid, you can put it against your taxes.

So now you have a license and a job, what next?

You have to find somewhere to live; this is probably the hardest part of the whole

process because unless you know the area you have absolutely no idea what you are getting yourself into.

Do not rush into accommodation and sign yourself up for a long term lease, unless you or somebody you trust says it is a nice area to live.

If you can fly out and view the areas then go and look around, if you can't then you will need to find storage for furniture and rent somewhere furnished on a week by week contract.

The journey! Plan it well, are you travelling in 1 car or 2? Are you going get one of your cars transported? Or are you going to travel in convoy with your other family members?

Take into account gas prices and hotel accommodation along the way.

Estimate how long it will take you to get there, try to allow enough time to travel and recover from the travel before you start your new job.

There are lots of options for getting your furniture from A-B, and all options come in a varied amount of cost.

You can move yourself, look out for the hidden costs of one way moving. Many moving companies will charge mileage and they will charge for the cost of the removal van going one way and not being returned to place of pick up.

Another option is to lease part of an 18 wheeler which can work out reasonable, as they will negotiate their empty space if they are going in your direction.

Often if you lease part of an 18 wheeler, it doesn't cost you much more to have one of your cars put inside too, and think of the gas you will save plus the wear and tear on your vehicle.


If your move depends on your job, then make sure you have an offer in writing!

The travel expenses they are paying are normally paid up front, do not travel unless you have both.

Good luck

RN with 26 years of experience many of those years spent in dialysis. I have worked in acute care, home, ICHD as a CN, FA, and currently a director.

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Thanks. Do you also have like financial tips for moving? Meaning, like how much should one have saved before moving and what other expenses should I expect?

As of now, I am going to look local because of other commitments that I have made, but my options are limited because of my situation. So, there's a possibility that I will have to move. I have not moved before, so I am not sure money wise and expense wise what to expect.

Specializes in L&D.

Why did it cost you 9000 to move? What are you including in that? The hubby and I have 4 kids are really would like to move(we live in Louisiana) and I graduate with ADN in May 2013...We just can't decide where lol!

Specializes in Med/Surg.

Very helpful! Thank you for the post!

Specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN.

It does depend on if you are permanently relocating, not if you are just travelling

It also depends on how far you are travelling, everything goes up per mile

Money to move 3 bed-roomed house approx $2000 even if you move yourself it ended up costing us over $3000, if get a removal company it can be 2-3 times more expensive

Gas for 2 cars plus cost of wear and tear

Car insurance needs to be calculated as it varies from state to state

Nursing licence fee's up to $200


Car taxes, if you move states the interest on your car loan can increase!!

Hotel accommodation approx $100 per night

Food for the journey

Rent and deposit around $2000 normally one month up front and one month deposit

Some states will charge for turning on Electricity, Gas and Telephone, some may require a deposit

These are just examples of how carefully you need to plan

I moved from KY to NC - so it was pretty simple in getting my license converted to NC. Except that I was living in KY, had a KY license with a compact license but was working in/licensed in WV - so it took a moment longer getting documentation from the WV RN board. But it was still pretty easy, and with no disciplinary action in any previous state NC BON issued a temporary permit like the day after they received my application while my final verification from WV RN board was still pending.

I moved with a moving company but even had a I rented a similar size rental - by the time we added fuel and time off work for my family to help me load and unload it would have cost about the same amount as paying a company. It cost me a little under $4000 given that I had final expenses at my old residence (I broke my lease early so I had an extra month's rent but got it all back with my deposit money when they had inspected the unit), move in expenses at my new apartment, moving fees and licensure fees plus a check to send to WV RN board for status verification (they don't participate with NURSYS).

I would budget to be able to pay all of your expenses for a least a two months or more (any loans, rent, insurance premiums, food costs, spending money etc) - I only had three weeks off between jobs but you have to remember most employers pay staff nurses bi-weekly. My employer does but it's on a Wednesday (? what in the world?) so it made it about three weeks into working before I saw any of my earnings. The way my pay hit that first pay period, I had to be able to pay rent and student loans for two months without getting paid for work just yet. Consider cost of living where you will live and any expenses you must handle prior to beginning a new job - are you one that has to have cable/internet hooked up right away or can it wait? Do you have to take over paying water/sewer/utilities immediately or how are the billed where you are moving? My water is a month behind (I paid the September bill at the end of October), but it's not like that everywhere. Budget extra cushion - I had to take my dog to the vet the week I moved into my apartment because she got sick - and that was another $150 I hadn't planned on spending...

Research where you want to move and areas you might want to live in. Learn not just about licensure in the state you want to move to but what about the area you want to move to (crime, cost of living, schools, etc). How close would you be to work, what is transportation like? This is kind of more a consideration once you have an offer... I had two offers about 60 miles apart in the same state to choose from and chose the one I did based on the quality of their onboarding/orientation program. But I drove to this area for my interview and then drove to this area to scope out apartments it gets very overwhelming.

Having your ducks in a row as much as possible is good though. Anything you can pre-plan is great too. Copies of important documents are handy too, and something you really shouldn't send on a moving truck. It also might be a good idea, in preparation for a move to go through your stuff and get rid of junk you don't need. Most moving companies charge a rate based on volume or weight of the contents you are shipping - and it can get really expensive really quickly.

With respect to interviewing - PREPARE for an interview. Research the facility you've applied to, and go through practice questions for interviews. Be able to come up with examples of successes and less than ideal outcomes (including steps you take to fix them), how would you handle unprofessional behaviors out of coworkers or with family members of patients etc. Have questions to ask for your interviewers and to ask if you get a chance to shadow or to tour the unit (it makes you look prepared). I took notes with me for the interviews I was most successful with. Dress professionally and conservatively unless otherwise directed, do not go overboard on makeup, perfume, jewelry anything of that nature. Pack a pair of dressy flats if that's not what you (female) wears for your interview because touring or shadowing units may make it uncomfortable to be in any type of heels.

For those who are getting ready to graduate from nursing school for entry as an RN - make friends with your senior practicum preceptor and/or multiple professors and clinical instructors from school. If you don't move, chances are they may know someone who knows someone where you are applying, or they will be the ones most likely to give a good recommendation/reference and/or write a good recommendation letter. If your school offers it - use any available career center for help proofing a resume and cover letter. Little things matter in this economy especially as a new grad. Go after hospitals with RN residency programs and see what the application requires to be completed AND when the deadlines are - those are programs most likely to hire new grads who have not passed NCLEX anywhere yet. The programs usually get a lot of applicants, and a lot from out of state too.

Thank you! This is very helpful info.

I want to become a NP but also find a job where I am not limited to one location.

This was great information! I am relocating to Tampa soon and have interviewed and visited with different hospitals in the area. Speaking with the unit directors and staff, all the hospitals seem great. However, I hope to choose the right place for me to work. I've been researching the hospitals online, looking at hospital reviews, HCHAPS, ect. Do you have any suggestions for me to help find better employee reviews? When you moved, how did you know which hospital to choose?



This was great information! I am relocating to Tampa soon and have interviewed and visited with different hospitals in the area. Speaking with the unit directors and staff, all the hospitals seem great. However, I hope to choose the right place for me to work. I've been researching the hospitals online, looking at hospital reviews, HCHAPS, ect. Do you have any suggestions for me to help find better employee reviews? When you moved, how did you know which hospital to choose?



Maybe try the Florida state section here and see if anyone is willing to talk about their employer. I have responded twice to people asking about my employer or former employers, but ONLY via private message. You might have to be sleuth-like to network and find out the employee end of it online. The only time I knew a lot about an employer going into it was my last job before this one - I had a coworker at my first nursing job that was a big reason I applied to the second leaving my first job out of fear for my license.

I chose the job I chose now because it was a chance for a specialty I've always been attracted to. I have a great orientation and internship, it's something that may very well have been a once in a lifetime chance. My other option was another of my top choices for specialty but it's less specific and more broad than what I chose. I can choose to transition to that other specialty at any point in time in my career - I already have a year of med/surg experience to build from. There was a difference between the health system I chose and the other option. The one I have chosen is larger with more options for internal transfer when I feel the need to move specialties (we have every specialty imaginable). Also, I qualify for reduced and/or free tuition (up to a specific amount per term) within a university system. Knowing that I am planning to return for a masters level degree of some kind (and/or maybe not stay specific to nursing) the education benefits are a factor for me. I guess maybe looking at your short and long term goals and determining what organization might help you meet those might help too.

Specializes in Education, Administration, Magnet.

Great information. I am in the process of deciding about accepting a job in California and moving from Texas. We had not talked about relocation assistance yet, but I plan to ask them about that.

This was very helpful! However, does anyone know of an employment agency that deals primarily with Registered Nurse placement. Of course there are local agencies but I am looking for an agency to contact that can look for what is available across the United States. I am not from out of the country (I have found several of those sites) but simply would like to move from California to another state. It is extremely difficult to find work in any of the hospitals here unless you have at least 2-3 years of experience in your field of expertise.

I graduated at the age of 52 years old. Because of a family member with terminal cancer, I needed to leave my position as a R.N. in Neurology/Acute Care after only 8 months. In the course of almost 2 years, my other mother and mother were diagnosed with cancer as well. In the interim of illnesses, I tried desperately to find work.

I have worked in Hospice for 16 months. However, without that acute care experience....Where I move depends on work. My preferences are Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, West Virginia, Maine, Vermont, Montana, Idaho, Kentucky, Tennessee, and (believe it or not) Alaska.....NO midwest or southern states again! Been there, done that! Ft. Myers, FL has ONE hospital system and ONE hospice system. Temperatures ranging in the high 90's, with absolutely no break from the heat for 9 months. No way!

Any suggestions?


Specializes in Med/Onc, Infusion, Telemetry.

Hoping to get advice on obtaining a job out of state. I would like to move to the Phoenix area, but need a job offer before I am able to move. I have impeccable credentials and experience (almost 5 years) and I already have an Arizona RN licence. I applied for appropriate positions that couldn't match up any better with my experience and I didn't even get considered for the positions. Unfortunately the Hospital system in question doesn't let you even speak to a recruiter to find out what was wrong/undesirable about my application. Any suggestions? I am at a total loss as to why I didn't even get an interview as I would like to think my candidacy would match that of any other top candidate.