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Healthcare staffing agencies play a critical role in providing healthcare facilities with qualified and reliable staff. They help bridge the gap between healthcare organizations and healthcare professionals by matching skilled workers with temporary or permanent job opportunities. However, one question that often arises is whether healthcare staffing agencies need a license to operate. The short answer is yes, but this can vary by state and by industry. Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

Licensing Requirements for Healthcare Staffing Agencies

The licensing requirements for healthcare staffing agencies vary by state, and there is no federal licensing requirement. In general, staffing agencies that provide healthcare services must comply with state regulations and obtain a license to operate. These regulations may include requirements for staffing agency owners, administrators, and recruiters to meet specific qualifications or training requirements.

In addition, some states may require healthcare staffing agencies to be licensed as a healthcare provider or to hold a healthcare facility license. The specific requirements depend on the state and the type of services the agency provides. For example, in Illinois, healthcare staffing agencies are required to obtain a license from the state’s Department of Labor if they provide services such as nursing or therapy.

Other requirements might include the need for the staffing firm to have an in-house medical professional such as an RN on staff to “manage” their pool of healthcare workers. Also, states like Massachusetts require a brick and mortar building within the state to operate a healthcare staffing agency, which is challenging in today’s world of remote work.

States That Require a License as of 3/22/2024:

Currently the states of CO, CT, DC, FL, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, NC, NH, NV, NY, PA, OR, RI, TN, TX, WA all require some type of healthcare staffing license to operate in their state. There are numerous states also exploring the possibility of adding legislation that would require healthcare staffing licenses. Constantly being up to date with these regulations will be key for staffing agencies looking to place healthcare workers.

Benefits of Licensing for Healthcare Staffing Agencies

Obtaining a license as a healthcare staffing agency can have several benefits. Firstly, it ensures that the agency is compliant with all state regulations and requirements, which can help to build trust with clients and healthcare professionals. Secondly, it can help to ensure that the agency provides high-quality staffing services that meet the needs of healthcare organizations and their patients. Thirdly, it can provide a competitive advantage over unlicensed agencies by demonstrating a commitment to professionalism and accountability.

Consequences of Operating Without a License

Operating a healthcare staffing agency without a license can result in legal and financial consequences. In addition to fines and penalties, unlicensed agencies may face legal action, loss of reputation, and decreased business opportunities. In some cases, healthcare organizations may refuse to work with unlicensed staffing agencies due to concerns about compliance and liability.

How can I get licensed?

Licensing in each state is different, and can take quite a long time. Some states move quickly and can have you licensed within 30-60 days. Others are more difficult to obtain and could take 6 months to a year to obtain. Knowing this upfront will enable you to avoid any risks of operating without a license. 

Another option is to work with an Employer of Record (EOR) like FoxHire. EORs will carry healthcare staffing licenses on behalf of their recruiting firm partners. Not all EORs do this, in fact most do not! So knowing which EORs carry licenses is important to maintaining compliance and avoiding risks. Additionally if you don’t have the proper licenses, many clients will simply not work with you, limiting your ability to sell. Good news is FoxHire does carry licenses and specializes in the healthcare industry.  Working with an EOR that is licensed allows the agency to avoid the time and expense associated with becoming licensed and maintaining the regular renewal requirements.


In summary, healthcare staffing agencies may need to obtain a license to operate, depending on the state and the services they provide. Licensing can provide several benefits, including compliance with state regulations, a commitment to professionalism, and a competitive advantage. Operating without a license can result in legal and financial consequences, so it’s important for healthcare staffing agencies to understand and comply with all relevant regulations and requirements.

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