What is an NLC license?
NLC stands for Nurse Licensure Compact, a group of states in agreement to allow nurses to practice from state to state under a single multi-state license.
Before the NLC a nurse who decided to move states would have to undergo obtaining a new license in the new state they plan on moving to, this is also the case in states who are not under the NLC.
On July 1st Louisiana and Kansas both passed motions to join the NLC, making them compact states effective on July 2nd, 2019. This means RNs practicing in these states could convert their single state licenses into multi-state licenses.
Why do I want an NLC license?
According to the Bureau of Health Workforce, by 2030, the estimated number of RNs needed in the US is expected to rise from 2.8 million to a whopping 3.6 million. That’s a 28.4% growth sure to create a shortage and a demand for nurses with NLC multi-state licenses. The multi-state license allows for cross-border practice in a much more efficient way. Cross-border practice can mean disaster assistance, telehealth, or the more lucrative travel nursing. With a multi-state license, travel nursing becomes a smooth and profitable way to practice. Nurses can pick the areas with the highest demand without having to obtain a new license in that state. They could also go to the most popular destinations should they choose, i.e., Miami in the summer. You could also go out an earn some valuable experience that, in turn, increases your value as a nurse. There are so many reasons why you should try travel nursing, and the NLC multi-state license makes that possible.
How do I apply for my new multi-state license?
If you are an RN already living and practicing in Louisiana, you have to apply to convert your license from a single state to multi-state. Before doing this, make sure you meet the uniform licensing requirements for the NLC:
- You have to meet the licensure requirements in your home state or (PSOR)
- You had to graduate from a board-approved education program
- You passed the English proficiency examination (if international)
- You passed an NCLEX-RN® or NCLEX-PN® test or a predecessor exam
- You hold an active, unencumbered license or are eligible for one
- Submitted to a state and federal fingerprint-based background check
- Have never been convicted of a state or federal felony
- Have no nursing related misdemeanor convictions (determined case-by-case)
- Not currently participating in an alternative program (you are required to disclose current participation in an alternative program)
If you meet the uniform licensing requirements, you next must declare a compact state as your PSOR, or primary state of residence. This does not mean you have to own property in that state. You can prove your PSOR in three ways.
- With your unexpired driver’s license that contains your home address
- With your federal income tax return with a primary state of residence declaration
- With a military form no. 2058 (a state of legal residence certificate)
Once you verify your PSOR, you’re ready to apply for license conversion! It’s important to state that your license won’t automatically convert even when you are up for license renewal so if you want to convert your license you have to apply for a license conversion. To apply, log into your Louisiana Nurse Portal account and find the “Other Applications” option on the dashboard. Select “Conversion application.” The Conversion application requires a fee of $89.25 ($50.00 application fee and a $39.25 background check fee). If you previously submitted for a background check which results were received before 60 days, you will still need to submit for a background check. You also need to have fingerprints sent to the board within 60 days of applying. The background check process can take up to 60 days once the application is submitted.
If you’re a new graduate living in Louisiana and want to obtain an NLC license, you have to apply for licensure by examination. You first have to receive your authorization to test (ATT) in Louisiana, then pass the NCLEX® and meet the above-listed Uniform Licensure requirements. If you are pending a job offer, a temporary license may be issued in some states, but you should know that temporary licenses are a single state. For more information about the NLC, visit nursecompact.com.
Once your application is approved, your new license is valid in over 30 states, and you’re free to travel and practice in any compact state! Your compact state license is valid on all compact states as long as your PSOR remains in a compact state. Once you’ve obtained your license, the next step is to start your adventure!