One of the more common questions we receive at our website relates to the issues of licensing when changing states. We recently received a couple of questions regarding this situation (I’ll try to address both in this article).
I’ll try to answer these in a general way that can be used by nearly everyone who may face the issue of moving states and wondering whether or not their nursing license will be valid (and what to do if it isn’t). This way, if I receive any future questions regarding this same topic, I can just link to this article for quick reference.
Here is the first question:
When coming from another state Delaware-DE) transferring to ( South Carolina -SC) do i need to re-certified?
Do You Have to Get a Nursing Re-certification when Moving from Delaware to South Carolina?
Generally speaking, the answer is no.
Delaware and South Carolina are part of the nursing compact agreement. The nursing compact is an agreement among certain states (click her for a list of nursing compact states) that allows nurses to work without having to re-take the NCLEX (or any other certifications in most cases). There are currently 24 states in the United States that are part of the nursing compact agreement at the last time I checked.
Since Delaware and South Carolina are compact agreement states that means your nursing license should work there and you will not have to re-certify. However, you need to check South Carolina’s laws and discipline guidelines for nurses which can be found on their nursing state board website, and it is always a good idea to contact the state board directly to make sure no other laws or regulations have changed that would require you to make other changes in order to work there legally.
As you may have noticed with the recent “Obamacare” controversy, healthcare laws change very frequently, and states are always changing their rules and regulations for nursing and patient procedures, as well as licensing rules. So you should always contact the state board to learn if any changes have taken place, and if anything new is required. We have a list of the contact information for the Board of Nursing in each state if you need to find that information. While I try to do my best in answering these questions, I can by no means keep up with all 50 states and their frequent changes. So again, I’d contact South Carolina’s State Board to make sure.
Nurses must declare a compact state as their primary state of residence, and they must be in good standing with their current nursing license. They do not have to complete a separate application to obtain this license in most cases.
Minnesota to Wisconsin Nursing License?
The second question we received on this same topic is below:
Hello, I currently work as a Registered Nurse in Minnesota. I am licensed in Minnesota. I am taking an assignment in Wisconsin and need to apply for a Wisconsin license as quickly as possible. I could not find the information that advises how to do this on your website. Please advise.
When applying for a Wisconsin license you first need to check if Minnesota (where you have your current nursing license) is part of the nursing compact agreement. Unfortunately it is not (according to the list we have on our website), so you must take some extra steps in getting a nursing license in Wisconsin.
For example, Wisconsin is a compact state, but Minnesota is not. A nurse that has a compact license in Wisconsin could not use that same license to practice nursing in Minnesota; they would have to apply for a separate license to practice nursing in Wisconsin.
There are currently 24 states that participate in the Nurse Compact Agreement (click here for a list of these states). Since you have a RN license in another states this how you apply for a licensure in WI. Go to Wisconsin Board of Nursing Website (click that link for their contact information on our website).
Then find the section called “Application Packet (Endorsement)” and print off every form listed. There are 9 of them. Some of them are informational and others need to be completed and sent to the specified address. Please note that according to their website it can take up to 20 days for everything to be completed due to the high volume of application they receive monthly.
When that is completed they should be able to instruct you on the rest of the process.
I think the nursing compact agreements are a great idea, and to me all 50 states should recognize licensing for any nurse. This is something I hope they can change in the future, because in my opinion a nurse who has earned credentials in one state should have them recognized by all 50 states (or US territories). It just makes sense, because if you think about it, very little changes from state to state with regards to nursing skills and procedures (and any changes that did happen, could be taught on the job in the new state).
Conclusion: Nursing Licenses May or May Not Be Valid When Moving States
Ultimately, I advise anyone planning to move to a different state to contact the Board of nursing in that particular state to ensure their license will indeed be valid. If it isn’t, they should be able to tell you the exact steps to be licensed in their state.
The Board of Nursing in each state is ultimately the authority on those issues, as well as renewing licenses. Sometimes people contact us and mistakenly think we actually deal with licensing and so forth. The truth is that we cannot, and this is a state government issue.
Thanks to both of you for your question, and I wish you both the very best of luck with your transition to the new state!