How to Get Your Nursing License in Another State

If after you've begun your career in nursing you have to move to another state, you may be wondering what to do about possibly transferring your license. As you know, nursing licenses vary from state to state, which is why you have to apply to a specific board of nursing before taking the National Council Licensure Examination. The mutual recognition model from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing may make it possible for your license to be recognized in another state. Here's how to make sure your licensure is in order when making the big move.

1. Check the NCSBN website
Before you go through the process of researching licensing requirements in your new home state, check the NCSBN website to see if your nursing license will transfer. If the answer is yes, make sure you get your license verified before moving. Currently, 23 states participate in this mutual recognition program.

2. Research requirements
If your new home state is not a member of the program offered by the NCSBN, you will need to see whether or not you meet all of its licensure requirements. You may have to take additional classes or tests to be eligible for a new nursing license. You can often get this information from the state's board of nursing.

3. Apply for endorsement
If you already have an active, valid RN license and meet the requirements in your new state, you can apply for a license by endorsement. You will likely have to pay a small fee, and the approval process generally takes six to eight weeks, so you may need a back-up plan. Some states issue temporary licenses to registered nurses who are waiting for approval.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit

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