Nursing License: Time Frames by State

State Nursing License – Turnaround Times

Got your heart set on a travel nursing job in California or Florida? You’ll facilitate a smooth  assignment if you obtain your nursing license in advance. Some states take longer than others, but with planning and the support of your recruiter, you’ll make it to your dream destinations.

The following chart provides information on the expected time frames for licensing in each state. Note that licensing times are changing by the day during the Coronavirus pandemic. Rules may vary by facility and by state. Your recruiter can give you the up-to-the-minute details on licensure at the facilities that you are considering.

What are “compact” states?

Several states participate in what is called the extended Nurse Licensure Compact. Getting a license in a compact state means that you can work in other compact states without needing an additional license. This may affect your decision on where you take assignments, especially if you are working with tight time frames.  – Close

What are “walk-through” states?

Walk-through states allow a registered nurse to be issued a temporary nursing license within one hour to one day’s time. This temporary nursing license enables an RN to practice while waiting for a permanent license. These temporary licenses are typically valid for between 30 days and six months, depending on the issuing state. Many non-walk-through states also offer temporary licenses, subject to varying qualifications. Temporary licenses are usually issued in a reduced time frame and are valid for less than a year.  – Close

State

Compact?

Walkthrough?

Time Frame for Permanent LicensureSpecial Fingerprints / Background Check

Alabama

 
2 – 4 weeks
 
Alaska  8 weeks
Arizona2 – 4 weeks
Arkansas 4 weeks
California  3 – 6 months
Colorado 4 – 6 weeks
Connecticut  1 – 4 weeks 
Delaware 4 – 6 weeks
District of Columbia  4 – 5 weeks
Florida 2 – 4 weeks
Georgia 10 – 15 days
Hawaii 2 – 15 days
Idaho6 weeks
Illinois  6 – 8 weeks
Indiana 3 – 8 weeks
Iowa 2 – 8 weeks
Kansas 2 – 4 weeks
Kentucky 2 weeks
Louisiana4 – 6 weeks *
Maine 8 – 10 weeks
Maryland 10 weeks
Massachusetts** 4 – 5 weeks 
Michigan** 6 – 8 weeks
Minnesota  2 weeks 
Mississippi 3 – 4 weeks
Missouri2 weeks
Montana 2 weeks
Nebraska2 – 10 weeks
Nevada  2 – 4 weeks
New Hampshire 2 weeks
New Jersey** 6 – 8 weeks
New Mexico 3 – 4 weeks
New York  * 6 – 8 weeks 
North Carolina 6 – 8 weeks
North Dakota 2 – 4 weeks
Ohio  4 – 6 months
Oklahoma 2 – 3 weeks
Oregon  3 – 6 weeks
Pennsylvania** 2 – 3 weeks 
Rhode Island  4+ weeks
South Carolina2 weeks
South Dakota 3 – 5 weeks
Tennessee 4 – 6 weeks
Texas 4 – 6 weeks
Utah 2 – 3 weeks
Vermont 4 – 6 weeks 
Virginia 4 – 6 weeks
Washington  3 – 4 weeks
West Virginia 2 weeks
Wisconsin 2 weeks 
Wyoming 2 – 3 weeks

* Special conditions may apply. Ask your recruiter for details.

** Pending NLC legislation.