There are 50 states in the USA, 55 state boards, and 34 compact states. When you apply for the NCLEX, it is vital to assess first as to which state you prefer and to check whether you are eligible or not to apply in your preferred state.
During your research, you might have read about the compact license and single-state license. However, you might not fully understand what these topics mean. So, let us talk about it so you can have a better understanding and gain knowledge in choosing the right state.
Having a compact license allows you to practice as a nurse in your home state and other compact states. Another term used interchangeably is the multi-state license. You might have also known about the single-state license, in which you are authorized to practice as a nurse in the state where you are licensed.
After passing your NCLEX exam, your license status will remain as a single state unless you apply for a compact licensure to the Board of Nursing which is an NLC member state.
Your NCLEX application must lodge in a compact state. You must also have a declaration of your primary state of residence in the state where you are applying. You can declare a particular state as your home state if you are currently residing there.
As proof of your residency, you can provide your driver’s license, voter’s registration, and federal taxes on which you designate a state as your primary state of legal residence.
If you are currently outside of the compact state you plan to apply, one can still push through the NCLEX application. However, your license status will be a single state license once you pass the NCLEX.
If you are currently residing in a compact state and you plan to apply for another compact state, the board will require you to apply in your original home state.
If you are currently residing in a compact state, you applied and passed the NCLEX through that state; you will then receive a multistate license. If you wish to practice nursing in another state, as long as your primary state of residence did not change, then you can use your active compact license and be authorized to practice nursing.
If you passed the NCLEX through a single state and wish to reciprocate/endorse your license in a compact state, that procedure is possible without the need to sit for another NCLEX examination. If you have a single-state license, you are only allowed to practice nursing in the state that issued your license: Although you can endorse it to another state to obtain an active license and be allowed to practice nursing in another state. You only need to pass the NCLEX one time then it can be endorsed to another state board. The IPASS Processing team will advise you what requirements you need to comply with so we can proceed with your license endorsement application.
If you passed the NCLEX through a compact license, and you are still outside of that state, say, you are outside of the United States, cannot provide the requirements needed for the issuance of multi-state licensure— then your license status will be a single-state status. By the time you arrive in the USA, in that particular compact state which issued your license and can already provide the requirements for the issuance of a multi-state license then, your license status can be changed to a multi-state status.
Now you might be asking yourself when I apply for the NCLEX, which should I choose given that I am eligible for both compact state and a single-state application? Well, it depends on your preference, because the bottom line is, usually it is your employer who will choose as to which state you will be deployed. In addition to that, your recruitment agency will also accept your application regardless of the status of your license, may it be a single-state license, or a multi-state license.