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By July 28, 2009 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How do you handle all the CEU’s if you are licensed in a few different states?


A reader recently asked, “How do you handle all the CEU’s if you are licensed in a few different states?”

This can start to be a chore if you are licensed in many different states. I have held licenses in close to a dozen states, but might only use two or three in any given two year period (the time for which most state licenses are valid before renewal). This makes the process somewhat easier as I will usually only have to concentrate on the mandates of a few states. However, if you hop from state to state frequently, it can be a bit more challenging, but still manageable.

My best recommendation is to keep a log somewhere of all your state license information. For each state, write down your license number, when it expires, contact information for the board of nursing (including website address), and the continuing education requirements (including number of hours and any special requirements). Then as each state comes up for renewal, decide if you are going to keep you license active, or place it on inactive status. Some states will require you to pay even to keep your license on inactive status. I usually just let my licenses expire unless I am headed back soon.

I have completed an assignment years later in a few of the states in which I had let a license expire. All that was required of me was to sign something attesting that I had met the CEU requirements and send the board their fee to reinstate the license. Even though this worked for me in two separate states, please do not assume it will work in every state. Call the nursing board for each individual state if you have any questions on what their process would be for reinstatement after a license lapses.

The easiest way to meet all your education requirements is to join a website that offers nursing CEU’s online. You can either buy a set number of hours (one website is currently offering 30 CEU’s for $30) or join a website that offers unlimited CEU’s for a certain duration (another website currently offers $31.95 for one year unlimited). State mandates on education vary drastically and some states do not require them at all. The most hours you will find on a two year license at present is 30 (however Iowa requires 36 for renewal of a three year license). If you ever have any question on a state’s requirements, contact the state board directly.

Joining a website is probably the easiest way to manage your CEU’s. If you were to carry three licenses in different states (one requiring 15 units of CEU’s, one requiring 24 CEU’s, and the last requiring 30 CEU’s), you could possibly satisfy all three state’s licensing requirements by completing 30 CEU’s online.

However, if you choose to take your CEU’s online, you must check and make sure that your nursing board will accept CEU’s from that vendor. Not ALL online CEU’s are accepted in each state. Typing “nursing CEU’s” in any search engine should bring up a list of a few of the major sites that are accepted by virtually every state.

One last thing you must check is if the state requires any special courses to meet their education requirement. For example, my home state of Ohio requires 24 CEU’s for renewing a license, but at least one contact hour must deal with Ohio Laws and Rules. In Kentucky, one hour must deal with domestic violence and in Oregon one hour must deal with pain management. Some states have several hours of specific course titles that must be taken to renew your license. Once again, if you ever have questions regarding a particular state’s education requirements, contact the state board of nursing.

Multiple state licensure can be a challenge when it comes to CEU’s, but fifteen or twenty minutes spent keeping your information up to date can ease this burden. Also, check with your travel company as many of them now offer free CEU’s for their travelers.

About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

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