Ask Erin: “What Do I Need to Know about Licensing and Relocation?”

This week, I received a question from Kathy regarding the logistics of relocating for a job and nurse practitioner licensure. As certified, licensed, and credentialed healthcare providers, relocating across state lines can pose quite a conundrum for NPs. If you, too could use some advice when it comes to licensing and relocation as a nurse practitioner, check out our correspondence.

Kathy writes:

Hi Erin, 

I will be relocating to another state after I complete my nurse practitioner program and wanted to get advice regarding licensure. Are there any specifics about the process that would be helpful for me to be aware of? Should I get licensed in my current state and in the state where I plan to live?


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Many nurse practitioners I talk to have similar questions. Here are a few points I recommend both new graduate and experienced NPs consider as they navigate relocation and licensure.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead for your move is the best way to be sure licensing delays won’t hinder your nurse practitioner job search or start date. Apply for an RN license in the state where you plan to relocate as soon as possible as a nursing license will be required prior to applying for APRN licensure. Complete necessary paperwork and obtain the documents necessary for your nurse practitioner license application ahead of time. This way, once you graduate or receive your RN license you are ready to submit your application STAT.

Know Your State’s Scope of Practice Laws

Some states present more of a challenge for nurse practitioners when it comes to licensing than others. A handful of states require that NPs sign a collaborative practice agreement with a physician before obtaining licensure. This means the process cannot begin until the nurse practitioner has obtained employment. Other states require that NPs submit an additional application for activities such as prescribing. Become familiar with the requirements in the state where you plan to relocate.


Communicate with the board of nursing in the state where you plan to relocate periodically to check on your licensure application. Most boards of nursing are on top of the application process, but occasionally things fall through the cracks. Call to check on the status of your app at two-week intervals to make sure the process is progressing as expeditiously as possible.

Keep it Simple

It is only necessary for nurse practitioners to obtain a license in the state where they plan to practice. If you are a NP student and do not plan to practice in the state where you attend your nurse practitioner program, there’s no need to apply for licensure in that state. Narrowing down the locations where you search for a job also helps simplify licensing logistics.

Licensure can be difficult to navigate if you are a nurse practitioner planning to relocate. Planning ahead and staying organized will help you avoid delays in the process.


You Might Also Like: 5 Questions to Ask Before Relocating for a Nurse Practitioner Job 


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