Why You Should Have a Compact State License as a Travel Nurse

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
July 21, 2017
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Before being submitted for a travel nursing assignment, one of the first boxes you’ll need to check is making sure that you’re licensed in the state you wish to work in. If you plan on travel nursing in multiple states, this can quickly become a confusing process in terms of securing the necessary licensure for each destination. Fear not! A compact state license will save you time and effort.

What is a compact state license?

Many states have agreed to recognize nursing licenses from other states participating in the original Nurse Licensure Compact. Having a license from one of these states will allow you to work in another state without having to apply for a license from that state—your license information will be stored on a database accessible to all compact states. This makes it easy for each state Board of Nursing to verify your information. Currently, there are 25 states participating in the compact agreement (full list in table below).

Current Compact States 




New Hampshire


New Mexico


North Carolina


Rhode Island


South Carolina


South Dakota












How do I get one?

At this time, compact state licenses are only available to those who declare a compact state as their primary state of residence. If you don’t already live in one of these states, this will involve filling out a declaration of residency form, as well as providing proof of residence in that state. Like applying for any license, it can take some time for your application to be approved—up to two months, in fact. Yes, it sounds like a bit of work, but it will allow you to secure new travel nursing assignments with much less hassle.

At Health Carousel Travel Nursing, our nurse recruiters recognize the importance of flexibility. There is a nationwide need for your skills as a travel nurse—and after all, Super Nurses need super licenses, right? A compact-state license will help you answer the call of duty faster and easier!

Health Carousel Travel Nursing

Find the Travel Job that’s Right for You

Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

Woman standing with suitcase looking out at the city