How to Transfer Your LPN License to Another State

Few Licensed Practical Nurses work their entire careers with the same employer. A far greater percentage not only change employers during their careers but also change states in which they work. Because the license under which they work is issued for only that state, moving to a different one will require the incoming state's license instead of the outgoing state's. Fortunately, most of the states in the country allow licensing reciprocity.

What Is Licensing Reciprocity?

Reciprocity between licensing authorities of different state means that if one state issues a valid license, and that state's qualifications meet the minimum standard required by the incoming state, the incoming state will issue the applicant a license with minimal hassle.

Steps When Reciprocity is Possible

To ensure a smooth transition, you should contact the new state's Board of Nursing (BON) to learn

  • If they have reciprocity with your current state
  • Whether your current state's BON should request the form, “Application for Enrollment By Reciprocity,” or if you are allowed to request, complete and submit it
  • How long the process takes and what the costs are, if any
  • What their renewal qualifications and licensing periods are
  • Submission methods and information. If, for instance, you are allowed to fax it, verify the fax number and keep the confirmation page. If you can and opt to email it, 'carbon copy' or cc: yourself and your current state's BON as you send the new state your packet.

Always note for reference the name with verified spelling of the person with whom you speak, the date and time of contact and the method of contact. If you mail your application packet, verify the address, and send it via a trackable method like certified mail with a return receipt requested.

Next, you should contact your current state's BON to verify

  • your current license
  • your contact information including a valid mailing address
  • their reciprocity status with the new state
  • what they and you must or should do to transfer your license

Steps When Reciprocity Isn't Possible

If for some reason, you are not granted licensing reciprocity, you cannot work in the new state as an LPN until you meet their licensing guidelines. Determine exactly in what area your current qualifications are lagging.

  • If you need additional continuing education credits, obtain them before you move. Just ensure your new credits are accepted by the new Board of Nursing.
  • If fees are higher than expected, continuing to work under your current state's license makes sense.
  • If you need to first take the NCLEX-PN test for initial credentialing in the state, be prepared to take it under the incoming state's BON administration before you move. Be sure to schedule it conveniently, considering time, distance and costs.

Transferring your LPN license to a different state is far easier than it used to be, but don't take the process for granted. Some basic, preliminary research into reciprocity, methods and timing can make a world of difference in the continuity of your work history and in your licensing history. Cover all qualification bases early. Use the quickest, most easily verified method as possible, and obtain the new state's license as quickly and conveniently as possible.

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