Nurse Licensure Compact
According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the NLC "increases access to care while maintaining public protection at the state level." Ultimately, this pact was designed to allow nurses to work across state lines, which is increasingly common for more reasons than one.
You may think of nurses relocating to another state as the most common reason to support the NLC. However, many of the realities of modern nursing bring other benefits into play.
For example, the NLC makes it possible for nurses to perform the following responsibilities:
Provide telehealth medical care across state lines
Move quickly to provide emergency medical care in the event of a disaster
Makes it possible for nurses to accept work across state lines for any reason
Switch jobs without creating a financial burden for employers
NLC vs. eNLC
While the NLC has been around since 2000, many states have chosen to use a refined version of this agreement known as the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). This compact also increases accessibility by allowing registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) to have one license that works in multiple states. This paves the way for these professionals to do their important work in the state they live in as well as other eNLC states.
In other words, the eNLC is an updated version of the NLC that is used by some states. However, the states that are part of the eNLC are not exactly the same as those in the original NLC.
What Is the APRN Compact?
It's also important to note that a licensure compact for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) also exists, but it only applies to the types of nurses with these advanced credentials. The APRN Compact was put into place in August of 2020, and it only applies in a handful of states — so far including Delaware, New York, North Dakota, and Utah.
Nursing Licensure Compact States
As you figure out how the NLC might impact your nursing career, you should also know that some states have enacted the NLC, while others are in various stages of trying to implement the compact.
States Pending NLC Legislation or Awaiting Implementation
What States Are Not Part of the Nursing Compact?
Some U.S. states and territories have chosen to not participate just yet. This could change in the future as our current healthcare system, including the use of telehealth, continues to evolve.
States and U.S. territories that do not participate in the NLC include the following:
To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:
Nursing Degrees by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
How Can I Get NLC?
According to the NCSBN, only nurses who declare a compact state as their main state of residence can become eligible for a nursing license that can be utilized across state lines. That said, residents in states that do not participate can apply for a license by endorsement in a state that participates in the compact. This means they may ultimately be able to work in one additional state other than the state they live in, or in multiple other states if they apply for multiple state licenses by endorsement.
Either way, nurses who want to apply for licensure need to use their state's board of nursing application by exam or endorsement, which can be found on each state's board of nursing website. In other words, the process to get NLC varies based on the state you live in.
In the state of Florida, for example, you can apply for a multi-state license by applying on the Florida Board of Nursing website and paying a $100 application fee.