Travel Nurse Licensing Guide: Everything You Need to Know

March 4, 2024


Megan Bebout

LicensingGuide-minWe’ll admit it — it’s not always a walk in the park to get licensed where you want to work as a travel nurse. But we’re here to make it a little easier for you.

Download resource: Crossing State Lines: A Guide to State Nursing Licensure

To help you navigate the complexities of nursing licensure, we created this downloadable comprehensive guide detailing everything you need to know about travel nurse licensing in all 50 states. Here’s a preview of what you’ll find in the guide.


Travel Nurse Licensing Guide: Everything You Need to Know


Travel nurse licensure

Temporary nursing license

One type of nursing license you may have heard of is temporary licenses. A temporary nursing license is a temporary authorization granted to a nurse like you by a state licensing board of nursing, allowing you to practice nursing within that state for a limited period.  

Typically, this nursing license is issued to nurses who have applied for a permanent nurse license, met the educational and examination requirements, and completed the application for licensure but have yet to complete other state-specific requirements, like a criminal background check or additional paperwork.  

When offered, temporary licenses are often granted to out-of-state nurses who wish to practice in a particular state temporarily or those relocating for a short-term assignment. The perk is this type of licensure provides you with the legal authority to work while the board processes your application.   

Compact nursing license

A commonly seen nursing license among travel nurses is the compact nursing license. Also known as the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), this license is a special agreement among participating U.S. states to allow registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to have one multi-state nursing license that permits you to practice in your home state, as well as other compact states.  

This compact license streamlines the licensing process for nurses who wish to work across state lines, reducing administrative burdens and facilitating greater mobility for travel nurse professionals. Travel nurses holding a nursing licensure compact must follow the laws and regulations of each state in which they practice, but they benefit from the flexibility of being able to practice in multiple states without obtaining additional licensure.  

Maintaining your licensure with CEUs


Continuing education units (CEUs) are educational credits licensed nurses must periodically obtain to maintain and renew nursing licensure. These units serve to ensure that you’re staying current with advancements in healthcare practices, technologies, and regulations.  

CEUs cover a wide range of topics relevant to nursing practices, including clinical skills, patient care techniques, legal and ethical considerations, and emerging healthcare trends. These educational activities can take various forms, such as workshops, seminars, online courses, conferences, and self-study modules.  

The specific requirements for the number of CEUs you must complete within a given renewal period are set by nursing licensure boards, and generally range from one to three years. By fulfilling these requirements, you demonstrate your commitment to professional development and ongoing competency in your field, positively contributing to the quality and safety of patient care.  

Keeping track of CEU requirements can be an uphill battle. That’s why we created this licensing guide to share which states require classes prior to applying for licensure and which states require certain courses, even if you’re working under a primary compact license from another state.  

How to prepare to get your travel nurse licensing

Plan in advance

It may take a hot second to get officially licensed, depending on your travel nurse specialty and the type of licensure you’re going for. But one thing that can make the process just a little easier for yourself is planning your next travel job in advance. That way, you’ll know ahead of time what’s required for you to work there.  

“Find out what the licensing requirements are and create a timeline on how long it takes to be licensed,” said Michelle, traveling RN. “You don’t want to be waiting 10 weeks only to find out you could’ve worked another assignment while you wait for your license.”

Here are some suggestions on how to plan ahead of time:

📆 Talk to your travel nurse recruiter and fellow traveler friends to find out the state that have good opportunities for your discipline and then get licensed in those states

📆 Keep a bucket list of travel destinations so you can easily decide where to go for your next travel nurse assignment

📆 Maintain two or three active state licenses at a time for more job options in multiple states

Stay organized

Depending on the nursing license, requirements can include a slew of paperwork and documentation. To help streamline the process, get all your required documents together and organized in advance.

“I always print a copy of the application, even if I’m going to complete and submit it online,” said one travel nurse. “This helps me gather everything that I need prior to filling it out and helps me to visualize various requirements.”

Since the criterion differs based on nursing specialty, state, and type of license, it’s helpful to double-check the requirements of the state in which you want to work, but commonly required information includes personal identification (think: driver’s license) and professional credentials. Once you know what’s needed from you, get everything in the same place so it’s easy and fast to upload to your licensing application  

Be prepared

Regardless of if you’re going for a temporary license or a multi-state compact nursing license, there’s a chance that a Jurisprudence exam is in your future. And if that’s the case, you need to be prepared for what the test has in store for you.  

Related: 10 Study Tips for Your Medical Board Exam

In addition to the potential exam in your future, it’s also up to you to be prepared for renewal requirements. Many times, renewal requirements include a certain number of CEUs and a fee, but the good news is it’s up to you to decide which licenses you renew versus the ones you let lapse.

✨ Travel nurse licensing resource sneak peek ✨

Ready to learn even more about state nursing licensing requirements? Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect to find from this downloadable resource.


Download resource: Crossing State Lines: A Guide to State Nursing Licensure

What this guide can do for you

🤝Save you time and effort by streamlining the application process

🤝Provide clear and concise information about the licensure process, including requirements, documentation, and deadlines

🤝Ensure you meet all the necessary criteria for licensure and remain compliant with all legal and ethical requirements

🤝Increase accessibility to travel nursing licensure details by allowing you to access the guide at any time and from anywhere

🤝Offer added support from trusted experts at Fusion Medical Staffing



When you work with us, obtaining travel nurse licensure doesn’t have to be a headache. Here, you’ll have a personalized team working hard to ensure you’re prepped and ready to go for your next assignment, which includes making sure you’re properly licensed.

What are you waiting for? Browse our travel jobs now and use our comprehensive travel nurse licensing guide to find out what licensure you need to work in the state you want.