Some nurse practitioners prefer obtaining a new state license once they find a job in that state. Often, agencies will apply and pay for your license upon accepting an assignment. However, it is common that sites want someone to start as quickly as possible, so you are more appealing if you already have the license. In this case, you can apply for the state license on your own and expect to be reimbursed for it.
After working with an agency, they may offer to apply for a license for you proactively. This means if you are hoping to work in Wisconsin for your next assignment, they will go ahead and apply (and pay) for your Wisconsin license, as long as you sign an agreement to work with them once the license is obtained. This limits your potential job options since you are limited to working with that one agency, but may be ideal to some travelers.
I personally prefer to apply for licenses in states I see large needs and am interested in traveling to. Then upon choosing my assignment I inquire about license reimburse. Agencies are more likely to reimburse you for your license if you commit to 3 or more months with them.
Make sure to keep receipts of all license application fees if you expect to be reimbursed. Some agencies will reimburse you during your first paycheck. Others may spread it over 2-3 months to make sure you keep your end of the bargain (staying with that site for the requested timeline). Some agencies will say they do not reimburse for license fees, but can pay you $1-2 more hourly to balance out the overall expense. Other agencies may provide you with a monthly stipend instead of a set “license reimbursement”.
When searching for an assignment, be honest with your expectations. Tell your recruiter you are expecting your new license to be covered or reimbursed. Lastly, do not sign your contract until it explicitly states in your agreement how you will be reimbursed for the license. It should state that your license fees will be covered or that you will be given $100 per month worked etc. (whichever form of reimbursement you and the agency agreed upon). I highly recommend applying for licenses on your own before finding an assignment.