Multi State Nursing License


Times have changed for the better over the decades for nurses.  If you were a nurse 20 years ago, every time you moved to another US State, you would need to completely start from scratch applying for a brand-new nursing license.  This could take anywhere from 9 to 12 weeks of processing depending on the State Board of Nursing.  The good news is that since 2015, there is a new multi-state nursing license which allows nurses to move freely and work within a network of States.  Today, as of 30 September 2020, there are 33 States that are part of this network of states that is called RN Compact States or LPN Compact States.

Multi State Nursing License Requirements

To qualify for the nurse multi-state license, you need to meet the following 8 requirements as per below.  These requirements are for those who graduate from US nursing programs and universities.

  1. First, you must meet the requirements for your home state of residence.  This state must be one of the existing Nursing Compact States.  If your State is not part of the Compact States, then you do not qualify for the multi-state RN license.
  2. Second, a Nursing Regulatory Board must approve the university or nursing program you graduated from.  In the field of Nursing, your school must be accredited by either the American Association of Colleges of Nursing or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
  3. Third, you must have passed the relevant NCLEX exam (either the NCLEX RN or NCLEX PN)
  4. Fourth, you must hold an active nursing license.
  5. Fifth, you must submit to state and federal fingerprint based criminal background checks.
  6. Sixth, you must not have committed any felonies, or any misdemeanors related to Nursing.
  7. Seventh, you must not participate or enroll in an alternative program.  Alternative program means any non-disciplinary monitoring program approved by a licensing board.
  8. Finally, you must have a US social security number.

These are the right criteria for a multi-state licensure.

Nurse Multi State License Requirements for International Students

If you graduated from an overseas nursing program, you must fulfill two additional conditions to the requirements for US nursing graduates.

First, rather than the two US accredited regulatory boards, your country’s authorized nursing accrediting body and a verified by an independent credentials review agency must approve the nursing education program from your country.  Please speak with your school for more details as most programs have experience with their alumni students working in the nursing field in the United States.

Second, you must pass an English proficiency examination.  Usually, this is the TOEFL or equivalent.

These are the two additional criteria for a nurse multi-state license.

Multi State Nursing License Conclusion

To summarize, it is relatively easy to get a multi-state RN nursing license once you have a single state license.  There are only eight requirements. The key three components for most nurses will be

  • Ensuring that your current State residence qualifies as one of the existing Nursing Compact States
  • Graduating from a Board approved Nursing program
  • Passing the NCLEX.

When you meet all the criteria for the multi-state licensure, you will need to apply directly through your State Board of Nursing.

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