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Compact Nursing License: Ultimate Guide in 2021

Nursing Licensure Compact or eNLC is an agreement between the States of the USA that allows nurses to work in various states without applying for a license every time. These states include your home state, where you reside, and the compact states. 

The Compact Nursing License’s primary purpose is to remove complications travel nurses face while moving from state to state. Let me explain. Before the introduction of Compact Nursing in 2000, travel nurses had to apply for licenses in every state they were to work. Compact licenses, in turn, increased the money spent and consumed time. 

Currently, 34 states in US support eNLC. On 18th July 2018, the nursing board introduced eNLC. However, primarily, NLC and eNLC mean the same thing; eNLC came with more technological features. eNLC requires nurses to undergo criminal background checks and adopt eleven URLs.

eNLC Map 2021

Long story short, Compact Nursing License encourages travel nursing.

Single-state License vs. Multi-state License

Remember: Multi-state license is also called a Compact Nursing License or Compact License.

There are two types of licenses; single-state license and multi-state license. The states participating in the Nursing Licensure Compact are known as the Compact States. 

Single-state License allows you to work in one state only, the state in which you have applied for that single-state license. Obtaining each license is comparatively expensive and takes a lot of time.

A multi-state license allows you to travel to multiple compact states with only one license issued from your home state. A multi-state license helps reduce your burden, cuts cost, saves time, and now you will not have to carry and maintain a license for every state separately.

How to Apply for Compact Nursing License

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There are currently 34 states offering eNLC to travel nurses. Here is how you can apply for the Compact Nursing License:

  1. You should reside in one of the 34 compact states. If you are unsure about your permanent residency, it is the state where you have your driving license or pay taxes. 
  2. It is a must to have an active RN, LPN, or LVN license. 
  3. When you meet the requirements, visit your state’s nursing website to apply for a multi-state license.

Eligibility Criteria for Compact Nursing License

Remember: You can only apply for a Compact Nursing License if you inhabit a compact state

Here are the additional requirements to apply for Compact Nursing License:

  1. You should graduate from an approved nursing board of education.
  2. You should pass the English proficiency exam. (This is for the ones who have not studied the English language or the graduates from international education program)
  3. You should have submitted to a state and federal fingerprint criminal background check. Doing so ensures that one has not attempted a crime or done something unethical in the past.
  4. Have no wrongdoing related to their profession; nursing.
  5. You should have a US social security number or a copy of your driving license as identity proof.

You can check the status of your Compact Nursing License here

Compact Nursing State vs. Non-compact Nursing State

If you live in a compact state, you have sorted out more than half of your travel nursing problems, but what if you plan to permanently move to a non-compact state? Well, in this case, you will lose your multi-state license. You can only apply again when you move back to a compact state or if your state starts supporting eNLC. 

If you live in a non-compact state but plan to move to a compact state, you will have to establish your nursing license and permanent residence to apply for a multi-state license. 

Also, if your residence state does not support eNLC but later starts supporting eNLC, the nursing board will reach out to all nurses eligible for a compact nursing license. On the condition that you are eligible for a Compact Nursing License, you will have to pay no additional charges to gain a license. Just ensure your permanent address and a new license will be provided to you that supports all eNLC requirements.

Compact Nursing License Pros and Cons

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Everything comes with its pros and cons, and so does the Compact Nursing License.

Pros of Compact Nursing License

Compact Nursing License probably is the handiest tool you will ever come across if you are a travel nurse. The most significant benefit of a compact license for travel nurses is that it supports mobility. Yes! You can move between states without having to renew or apply for a license again and again. Not only will this save your time and money, but it will also reduce the burden.

Nursing is all about the experience, and travel nursing is a bag full of experience. You move from state to state, search for jobs, meet new people, tackle new emergencies, and gain a lot of experience. 

Here are the nine highest paying states for travel nurses. 

The US is a large state. In this pandemic, the US needs a more significant hospital workforce to tackle emergencies, and travel nurses can do this. Granting a multi-state license will help nurses travel to other states that support eNLC without difficulty, thus overcoming the staff shortage. 

Travelling and working in different states means a lot of experience and increased earnings. Yes, supporting utterly free of cost travel and making earning opportunities easier is Compact License in a nutshell. Additionally, it facilitates nursing education, avoids license renewal costs, and makes practicing more convenient.

Compact Nursing License is not only beneficial for Travel Nurses but Travel Nursing Agencies too. As nurses can go from state to state almost free of cost, it saves the money spent by agencies. In turn, hospitals charge low. 

Cons of Compact Nursing License

On the other hand, the cons of a Compact Nursing License may not be evident until you start using it. A nursing License adds an unwanted regulatory load to your busy routine. 

Also, each compact state has its requirements for nurses’ professional progress. There are no uniform requirements that fits the bill.

Here is a guide for everyone out there applying for travel nursing. 

Why You Should Apply for Compact Nursing License 

Why You Should Apply for Compact Nursing License

On average, applying for a Compact License can cost you up to $400. That is a one-time payment that will help you in the long term. At the same time, a single-state license can cost up to $350 every time. While applying for a license in another state, you have to pay this cost again. 

Suppose you want to work in 9 different states. If you have a Compact License, you will be charged $400 at most, and you can visit all these states, but if you apply for a single-state license every time, you will need to pay $3150 for visiting all these states. 

Multi-state license saves time. You saw a job post, and you think you will be a perfect fit for the job. Also, you will gain experience, and the people in charge offer a handsome pay package. You apply for the job and a single-state license for that particular state.

You are selected, but your license takes up to 5 weeks to get ready; till then, the company has hired someone with a multi-state license because that nurse could start the job very soon. 

Remember: Travel Nurse Agencies prefer nurses that can start the job as soon as possible.

Compact License is all in one, whereas if you apply for a single-state license, you will have to make sure you maintain every state’s license.

Who doesn’t like to travel? Even if you don’t, a Compact License will broaden your chances to get more experience because the more you meet new people, treat new patients, and adjust to new hospital environments, the more experienced you are.

Else, travel nursing with a compact license is an excellent idea to satisfy the travel freak inside you.

FAQs About Compact Nursing License

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Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the Compact Nursing License. 

How to Get a Compact Nursing License If I am in a Non-compact State?

You cannot get a Compact Nursing License if you live in a non-compact state, but we have brought you two alternative solutions.

Shift to a compact state. Choose a compact state and establish your permanent residency and driving license there. As you now fulfil the rest eligibility requirements, you can apply for a nursing license. 

Now when you are a non-compact state resident, you can apply for as many single-state licenses as you want. This single-state license allows you to stay and work in that particular state only. Over and above that, it is a costly procedure; you will have to pay for all licenses.

Else, you can wait for your state to get eNLC.

Why do Nurses Need a Compact Nursing License? 

Compact Nursing License allows nurses to practice in the various compact states without repeatedly applying for or renewing their previous licenses, which is a costly procedure. Having it reduces cost, saves time, and decreases burden. Along with this, it helps nursing education and makes their practice more comfortable. 

How Long Can I Work in Another Compact State?

As long as you have a multi-state license and maintain a legal residency in a compact state, you are all good to go. Just in case you want to change your residence, you will have to apply for a multi-state license all over again. Providing that you permanently move to a non-compact state, you will lose your license forever to move back to a compact state.

Do I Need to Get a State License If I Live in a Compact State and Have a Multi-state License?

No, this was the primary purpose of the multi-state license introduced. A multi-state license allows you to travel into any compact state temporarily. If you want to permanently move to another state, you will have to change your primary state of residence and apply again for a multi-state license.

Are You Ready to Apply for Compact Nursing License?

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Well, we are!

We have tried our best to present Compact Nursing License guidelines in a nutshell. Satisfy the travel freak nurse inside you and apply for a Compact Nursing License now. 

If you want to stay updated regarding any changes in eNLC, join Nursys

Travel Nursing is made super easy by the time multi-state licensed stepped into the game. Now you can travel anytime, anywhere without emptying your pocket. 

Don’t worry if your home state isn’t a part of eNLC; it is coming anytime soon, or else, you still have the option to change your permanent residence. 

Wait no more. Step ahead and apply for a travel nursing job now!

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