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Alaska Board of Nursing

Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) Information

Despite ongoing efforts since early 2020 by the Alaska Board of Nursing, the Dunleavy Administration, the Alaska Hospital and Healthcare Association, and many others, Alaska has not yet joined the Multistate Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). We know Alaska’s nurses and residents want us to join, so the supportive entities and organizations have vowed to continue our efforts until we’re successful.

This webpage will be updated once a bill to join the NLC has been introduced in the 34th Legislative Session (which begins on January 21, 2025). In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to your legislators and union representatives to voice your position on this matter. If you have questions on the NLC, please email us at

NLC Licensure Compact Infographic

What is the Nurse Licensure Compact?

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to have one multistate license allowing them to practice in statestheir home state and all other participating NLC states without applying, paying, or waiting for additional licenses. It’s an agreement between all participating U.S. jurisdictions. As leaders in public protection, State Boards of Nursing developed and adopted the Nurse Licensure Compact in 2015 and enhanced it in 2017/2018. States had to readopt the enhanced version to ensure all multistate license holders meet the same standards; grandfathering in was not an option.

The Alaska State Board of Nursing voted to support joining the NLC after it was enhanced in 2017/2018; and surveys conducted in 2019 and 2023 indicates Alaska's nurses overwhelming support joining the NLC, as do most health care facilities and organizations. The Dunleavy Administration first introduced legislation in 2020 to join the NLC, but NLC bills have yet to be passed by the Alaska Legislature.

Currently, 42 U.S. jurisdictions have enacted the NLC. Click here to view the NLC map.

To join the NLC, a state's legislature must pass a bill to adopt the standard NLC language exactly as adopted by all participating states into their state statutes. See the How Can I Help Alaska Join the NLC? section below for details on bills introduced this session.

Joining the NLC will:

  • Reduce the burden, cost, and wait time for experienced nurse's looking to work in Alaska.
  • Allow Alaska's hospitals and healthcare facilities to recruit and employ nurses more quickly.
  • Allow the Alaska Board of Nursing and the Alaska licensing division to better serve and support those nurses with residency in Alaska or that are not interested in (or do not qualify for) multistate licenses.
  • Potentially result in reduced costs for the nurse licensing program in Alaska, which translates to reduced license fees due to a significant reduction in applications.
  • Provide efficiency and ease of transition for active-duty military members or spouses who are RNs or LPNs coming to Alaska.
  • Help Alaska's economy, as the U.S. Department of Defense has stated military expansion decisions will include consideration of which states have demonstrated support for military families through license mobility laws and provisions.

Current Efforts to Enact the NLC in Alaska

Upcoming Efforts: The 33rd (2023-2024) Legislative Session has come to an end, and the 34th Legislative Session will not begin until January 21, 2025. Please check back after that date to find out what bill(s) will need to be passed by the Alaska Legislature for Alaska to join the NLC.

Past Efforts: In the 31st (2019-2020) and 32nd (2021-2022) Legislative Sessions, Governor Dunleavy introduced legislation to allow Alaska to join the NLC, but despite the Board of Nursing's and the Dunleavy Administration’s efforts to address the workforce shortage issues in Alaska and improve licensure processing times for nurses through this legislation, the bills did not pass.

In the 33rd (2023-2024) Legislative Session, Representative Mike Prax and Senator Donny Olson both sponsored bills that would allowed Alaska to join the NLC if passed by the Alaska Legislature. However, neither bill made it to the finish line before the session ended on May 15, 2024.

The Board, Administration, and more than 75 organizations and entities that are directly or indirectly impacted by the nursing shortage in Alaska will continue to advocate for this great need until our efforts are successful and NLC legislation is passed.

To voice your support for Alaska joining the NLC, please see our How Can I Help Alaska Join the NLC? section below.

How Does the NLC Benefit Alaska?

Joining the NLC is a win-win for the state and for all Alaskans. It allows us to maintain our current licensure options while increasing access to quality health care across Alaska’s communities by helping fill the hundreds of nursing vacancies across the state by allowing “squeaky clean” nurses (i.e., nurses that meet standards higher than Alaska’s nurse licensure requirements) to practice in the state without having to apply, pay, and wait for an Alaska-specific license.

Alaska's Nursing Shortage:

  • Alaska had a 25% vacancy rate in RN positions in its hospitals.
  • The average time to fill a vacant hospital RN position is 118 days and 157 days for a long-term care facility RN position.
  • Alaska needs 1,366 new nursing recruits annually (as of 2023).
  • Alaska is projected to lead the nation in nursing vacancy rates by 2030.
  • Nurse vacancies result in less access to care for Alaskans, clinic/facility closures, longer wait times as hospitals and ERs, and potentially delivery of lower standards of care.
  • The longer Alaska waits to join the NLC and requires nurses to get an Alaska-specific license when most other states do not, the harder it will become to recruit travel nurses.
  • For more information, check out the 2023 Alaska Healthcare Workforce Analysis Report linked in the "More Information on the NLC" section below.

Alaska's Public Safety Under the NLC:

  • The requirements to qualify for a multistate NLC license are more stringent than the requirements to obtain an Alaska-specific nurse license.
  • Nurses cannot qualify for a multistate license if they have not passed the national nursing examination, if their license has been disciplined, if they've ever been convicted of a felony, or if they've ever been convicted of a misdemeanor related to nursing practice.
  • The Alaska Board of Nursing has unanimously supported and pursued Alaska joining the NLC since 2019.The Dunleavy Administration's support and pursuit of NLC legislation, which also began in 2019, stemmed from the board's support and desire to join.

Alaska's Retained State Sovereignty Under the NLC:

  • It's literally written into the NLC language that will be enacted into law!
  • Article VII(a)(3) and III(d)-(e) confirm Alaska will retain state sovereignty and all regulatory authority of nursing practice in the state, regardless of whether the nurses is practicing under a license issued by the Alaska Board of Nursing, or a multistate license issued by a party state.
  • All nurses are required to comply with the nursing laws in the state their patient is located, regardless of where the nurse is located, or which state issued their nursing license - same as is required now.

Authority Over the NLC:

  • Because each state must adopt the standard compact language into their state statutes, the primary function requirements of the NLC cannot change unless and until the change is enacted into the laws of all party states.
  • Only the NLC Commission can amend or create rules and bylaws, and those must only be within the authority given within the standard compact language adopted into each party state's laws.

Though the NLC was created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), it's governed only by the NLC Commission which is made up of one administrator from each party state who each gets one vote. Only the NLC Commission has authority, and NCSBN does not have a seat at that table.

Do Nurses Support Alaska Joining the NLC?

Yes! The Alaska Board of Nursing sent surveys to all Alaska-licensed RNs and LPNs in 2019 and 2023. Each survey received a 22% response rate (which is a high response rate) showing 92% of respondents support Alaska joining the NLC; with only 3-5% opposing and the other 3-5% having no opinion. Further, 89% of Alaskan-resident nurses and 85% of union nurses also support Alaska becoming a member of the NLC.

Full survey results are available in the More Information on the NLC section below.

Which Organizations Support Alaska Joining the NLC?

The question should really be which don't! The organizations that support Alaska joining the NLC include, but are not limited to:

  • Airlift Northwest
  • Alaska APRN Alliance
  • Alaska Association on Developmental Disabilities
  • Alaska Behavioral Health Association
  • Alaska Behavioral Health Services
  • Alaska Board of Pharmacy
  • Alaska Chamber of Commerce
  • Alaska Commission on Aging
  • Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
  • Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (now Department of Health and Department of Family and Community Services)
  • Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
  • Alaska Division of Public Health
  • Alaska Hospital and Healthcare Association (AHHA; previously ASHNHA)
  • Alaska Municipal League
  • Alaska Native Health Board
  • Alaska Native Medical Center
  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • Alaska's Nurses!
  • Alaska Pacific Regional Hospital
  • Alaska Pacific University School of Nursing
  • Alaska Primary Care Association
  • Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API)
  • Alaska Public Health Association
  • Alaska Regional Hospital
  • Alaska State Medical Association
  • Alliance for Connected Care
  • Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska
  • American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
  • American Telemedicine Association (ATA)
  • Anchorage Chamber of Commerce
  • Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association
  • Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC)
  • Bartlett Regional Hospital
  • Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation
  • Central Peninsula Hospital
  • Charter College School of Nursing
  • City of Seward
  • Cordova Community Medical Center
  • Denali Center Fairbanks
  • Eleventh Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER)
  • Emergency Nurses Association
  • Fairbanks Memorial Hospital
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Foundation Health Partners
  • Fresenius Kidney Care
  • Heritage Place
  • Kodiak Island Borough
  • Maniilaq Health Center
  • Maple Springs Palmer
  • Maple Springs Wasilla
  • Mat-Su Health Foundation
  • Mat-Su regional Medical Center
  • MODA
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
  • National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices
  • National League for Nursing
  • National Military Family Association
  • National Patient Safety Foundation
  • National Student Nurses' Association
  • North Star Behavioral Health
  • Norton Sound Health Corporation
  • PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center
  • Petersburg Medical Center
  • Population Health Alliance
  • Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield Alaska
  • Prestige Care and Rehabilitation of Anchorage
  • Providence Alaska Medical Center
  • Providence Extended Care
  • Providence Horizon House
  • Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center
  • Providence Seward Medical Center
  • Providence St. Elias Specialty Hospital
  • Providence Transitional Care Center
  • Providence Valdez Medical Center
  • Quyanna Care Center
  • SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital
  • SEARHC Sitka Long-Term Care
  • SEARHC Wrangell Medical Center
  • South Peninsula Hospital
  • Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)
  • Tanana Valley Clinic Fairbanks
  • The Alaska State Board of Nursing
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Renal Care
  • UAA School of Nursing
  • Wildflower Court
  • Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
How Can I Help Alaska Join the NLC?

Talk to your Legislators and union representatives (if you're a nurse)!

The best way to voice your support for adopting the NLC in Alaska is to reach out to your legislators via email, phone, or in-person meetings to voice your support for Alaska joining the NLC. While we don’t yet know what the bill numbers will be in the 34th (2025-2026) legislative session, we know bills will be introduced, so talking to your legislators now will ensure they know what their constituents want once legislative session begins.

To determine which legislators represent you, enter your address into the “Who Represents Me?” box at the bottom left-hand side of the Alaska State Legislature’s website.

We will update the webpage after the 34th legislative session begins to provide more specifics on how you can support these efforts once bills have been introduced.

For additional guidance on identifying, contacting, or addressing a letter to your legislators, visit the Alaska State Legislature’s Frequently Asked Questions.

More Information on the NLC: