Travel Nurses in Compact States


I am currently living in Alabama and we are not part of the Nursing License Compact.  We recently were notified by the Alabama Board of Nursing that at this time they do not intend to join.  The reason stated was the cost to the state in lost revenues.

As a travel nurse you probably already know the advantage of being licensed in a compact state.  For those who are not, I thought it would be good to share some current information.

What is the Compact?

There has been a Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) since 1999. The Boards of Nursing comprise the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) that protect public’s health and welfare by making sure that care is provided by competent licensed nurses.  The board provides the standards for safe nursing care and the issuing of licenses to practice nursing.

In 2014, the Boards of Nursing ( BON) executive officers met to update and enhance the NLC. The enhanced compact (eNLC) was approved on May 4, 2015, and became the licensure model of the future. It replaced the original NLC and added extra protection. States currently part of the compact and new states are enacting state legislation enabling them to transition into the eNLC.

Changes to the Compact

There are a few changes to the new Enhanced License Compact (eNLC) there are a few changes.  A major change will be the criminal background check status.  The eNLC requires the federal and state criminal background checks to remain on file.  This background check takes place at either initial licensure application or licensure application through endorsement. This allows for a universal verification process as other states join the eNLC.

Which States are part of eNLC?

Currently, there are twenty-seven compact states who have signed the Enhanced Nursing License Compact (eNLC) into law as of July of 2017.  Those twenty-seven states will switch over to what is known as the Enhanced Compact. There are others with pending legislation planning to join the list.  To find out more information on the current list click here

How does this affect Travel Nursing?

Travel nurses will benefit the most from this compact.  As a nurse who lives in a compact state, you will be able to take assignments without having to apply for a different state license.  You know as a traveling nurse getting a new license every thirteen weeks can become very expensive.  Each time you apply to a state they ask for money to do background checks and fingerprinting.

If you travel to 3 or 4 different states you can easily spend $1000 per year become licensed in each state.  If you are a resident of a compact state you will find getting a new license in other states is cheaper. The process for licensure is much simpler for compact state nurses saving time as well as frustration.  It is important to note that under the 2018 tax reform you can no longer take a tax deduction on the nursing license fee.

What you need to know

You need to know the changes in the eNLC that affect your license.  As a traveling nurse, you should be able to navigate the waters much easier.  As the eNLC continues to work to add states it will become easier for nurses to move between states and save money.

Do your homework and arm yourself with the knowledge of what the Enhanced Nursing License Compact brings to travel nurses in 2018. If you are looking for your first or your next assignment go to our agency ranking page and find a travel nurse agency that will help you find that perfect job.


Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a retired RN and US Army Nurse Major. She has over 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and once to South Korea. Her medical training began during the Vietnam era when trained as an army medic. She went on to train as an OR tech and then as a LVN/LPN. She completed nursing school and was direct commissioned into the reserve Army Nurse Corp. nurse. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and working in other medical facilities. During her career she spent years as an OR nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Hospice Nurse, Forensic Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as being a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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