Perhaps you’re looking for an adventure and the allure of the outdoors is drawing you out west. Or, maybe you could use a lower cost of living and are expending your job search to the top ten most affordable locales.  Perhaps surf, sand, and sun is calling your name so you want to move to Florida…or California. Or, maybe you just want a job anywhere and fast. Whatever the reason, a multi-state job search should drastically increase your chances of quickly finding nurse practitioner employment, right?

Many NPs mistakenly think that the flexibility and willingness to move to a different state will bolster a job search. Unfortunately, for nurse practitioners, a far reaching job search can actually hurt your chances of employment. State licensure requirements pose a problem for nurse practitioner job seekers willing to relocate making a multi-state job search work against you. 

In order to work as a nurse practitioner, you must be licensed in the state where you plan to practice. Occasionally, states strike agreements with one another allowing for a period of time where an NP can practice under a license from a neighboring state for a few months. But, overall, licensing rules are pretty strict. To work in a certain area, specific paperwork is in order.

Obtaining a nurse practitioner license in a new state takes anywhere from four to six weeks. Employers, however, are most often looking to fill open NP positions within a few weeks. In most cases they are unable to wait a month for a candidate to get licensed and may even be unwilling to wait on an NP to relocate for a position. So, for many nurse practitioners, a multi-state job search proves unfruitful.

If you would like to get out of town and make a move for your next job, your first step is to get a little focus. Where do you want to live most? Choose one state, or maybe two, that fit your job search criteria best. Doing a preliminary job search to get an idea for the job market can help make sure you select a location with a need for nurse practitioners. Apply for licenses in these states. Keep in mind that state licenses cost a couple hundred dollars so clarity when it comes to where you will practice can save you money.

Then, with your license pending, start the quest for your ideal job. Don’t get frustrated if you run into a few hurdles as a result of a pending license or living out of town. Once your new state license arrives in the mail, more doors will open. Life on the road, or living in multiple locations throughout your career is possible as a nurse practitioner, but it must be done as part of a carefully planned process.


You Might Also Like: Is Travel Nursing for Nurse Practitioners, Too?


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