While I am currently employed as a full time therapist here in Key West, I do know that this hospital is not where I will be for the duration of my career. As a result of that reality, I wanted to go ahead and begin to apply for licensure in any state that I may have an interest in going to. I am not opposed to the idea of being a traveler therapist and I realize that those positions are often farmed out to multiple agencies and that a facility is inclined to accept a staff member sooner rather than later. Thus, not having those state licenses in advance pretty much is a deal killer for any hopes of getting the assignment.
While I currently hold licensure in North Carolina, Florida, California, I have now completed 100% of the requirements and should also have Oregon and South Dakota licensure within the next day or two. Although I know that most of these licenses will never be used, I feel as though I would rather have a few and not need them as opposed to needing one soon and then being at the mercy of the state to do the application.
In my humble opinion, our profession should band together to demand changes to the way that states issue licenses. It makes NO SENSE for me to have to undergo 3 or 4 FBI background checks within a 30 day period. In addition, it makes no sense for each state to offer "credential verification" online but then refuse to accept anything except a $25 (per state) "certified" copy of the same information that they have access to online for free. The same is true of the NBRC credential verification. (Although, the NBRC is at least more reasonable at only $5.) But, for those who are not familiar with the process, allow me to explain.
If I want to apply for a Washington State license, I would have to pay them the $175 application fee, and as an out of state resident I would have to submit to my 4th set of fingerprinting in a 60-day period and pay another fee to the FBI to process the same request for the new state. Additionally, even though they could verify all my licenses being active in the states I hold active licenses in, that is not acceptable to them. I have to pay $25 to Florida to send a copy of my license verification to them. I have to pay $25 to North Carolina to do the same. I have to pay $25 for Califronia to do the same, and I have to pay $25 for South Dakota and $25 to Oregon as well. Additionally, I have to pay $5 to the NBRC to send that same letter to Washington State. On top of that (even though licensure in other states and NBRC credentials in good standing qualify me to work) I also have to submit official college and high school transcripts ($25 and $10 respectively) even though I graduated from high school over 20 years ago. Finally, once I wait on all of the various agencies to send that information, some 8-12 weeks later I will receive a license. (Again, keep in mind that ALL of the above information is available FOR FREE from the states websites and could be verified in about 15-20 minutes total.)
If I then decide I want to apply for licensure in New York, then every step above must be repeated except for the addition that I also now get the pleasure of paying the State of Washington $25 to send proof of licensure in that state to New York.
At the end of the day, I think it is a money racket. Every state board sees dollar signs when it comes to state licenses.
We, as a profession, should be insisting on national acceptance of the NBRC credential alone as being "proof" of competence and qualification to be issued a license in any given state. While I am not opposed to paying each state for the privilege of practicing in the state (via a privilege license), I do not think that I should have to get fingerprinted and submit high school transcripts from 20 years ago. (And also wait 2-3 months for processing time and hope that nothing gets lost in the mail and have to be resubmitted.) By the time it is all said and done, you end up spending several hundred dollars for a license in each and every state that you may want to ever work in. (But you can't just wait and apply for state licensure after a job offer due to the fact that virtually no hospital is going to want to wait that 2-3 months when they can hire someone NOW who already has the license.)
Can someone explain to me why a national license (or true reciprocity such as the nursing consortium has) has not been done with our profession? Has the AARC ever addressed this topic?
Gosh, if only I ruled the world!