How to Become a Travel Nurse in 4 Simple Steps

This is a picture of a travel nurse.

You’ve finished nursing school, gleaned some experience, and now you’re looking for new career moves, opportunities. You enjoy patient care but staying stationary hasn’t ever been your style. Is there a way to move around while you practice your nursing abilities and help as many people as possible? The answer is yes: travel nursing.

Travel nursing offers the best of both worlds when it comes to working as a nurse. Not only do you get to work in a hospital and help patients in need, but you also get to spread your skills far and wide as you travel all over the country. Travel nurses enjoy a certain sense of adventure as they move from one place to another, usually putting in an average of 13 weeks at each assignment before they take off again. Though this schedule is not as steady as one found in traditional nursing, it does allow for a lot of growth and experience in a shorter amount of time. For example, travel nurses are given the opportunity to work with diverse groups of people as they move from hospital to clinic to healthcare facility.

This also means travel nurses are open to a wide range of skills because they work with so many different people, giving them a wider scope of the sort of care they want to provide. If all of this sounds good to you and you’re considering becoming a travel nurse yourself, we have 4 simple steps on how to become a travel nurse.

An image of a plane in the sky that is used for travel nursing

How to Become a Travel Nurse in 4 Simple steps

1. Rack Up Some Time

First, before you can begin working as a travel nurse you must have experience in your specialty area(s). Travel Nursing Agencies and Hospitals will require you to have a certain amount of experience, in most cases at least 1-2 years of practicing as a full-time nurse. Keep this in mind before you begin the process of getting set up as a travel nurse as it will make your path to a job much more streamlined.

2. Get the Necessary Certifications

One of the perks of being a travel nurse is that you can become versed in many specialties. Travel nurses tend to float between other areas and/or units once on a travel contract. With this in mind, you want to ensure that you have all of the necessary certifications to be a travel nurse before you get the ball rolling. Of course, you can enroll in continuing education classes to earn other certifications while working to expand your skill set. While this is an option, grabbing the additional certifications ahead of time is a great way to push yourself into your dream job without much pushback or obstacles.
First and foremost, you must have a current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification and now most Hospitals prefer all nurses to also have Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification. Many facilities require these certifications right off the bat. In addition, some facilities will also require other certifications, so it is imperative that you do your research when looking into potential facilities you would like to work in.
Finally, having certifications will help you stand out among the other travel nurses looking for positions. When job hunting, finding ways to make yourself stand above the rest is a major part of landing the job, so keep this in mind as you gather your necessary certifications.

An image of travel nurses walking down a hospital hall.

3. Finding the right Travel Nurse agency

Finding the right travel nursing job can be difficult so being linked with an agency, maybe two is sometimes required to help things along. Working with a staffing agency actually increases your chances of not just getting a job, but getting multiple jobs offers so you have various opportunities to choose from. This allows you to really take your time and consider what you want and where you want to be. What’s more, working with a staffing agency guarantees you benefits, which are incredibly important when pursuing a career as a travel nurse. Since you won’t be working with a single hospital or healthcare facility, it can be harder to secure benefits. An agency, then, can provide travel nurses with benefits such as healthcare, housing, travel reimbursement, and even retirement. It is up to you to negotiate your contract and see what benefit offers you can secure, giving you a certain level of control when choosing the agency that is best for you. Remember that there are many agencies to choose from, so it is okay to take your time and consider all your offers before you make a decision.
Once you have found an agency that works for you and have completed all the paperwork to work with it, you are one step closer to finding your first travel nursing assignment!

4. Stay On Top of Your License

Now that you are working and have your nursing license, you will want to get familiar with the process of getting your license in other states you desire to work in unless you choose to stay and travel within your home state. The Nurse License Compact (NLC) is in place to ensure that nursing standards are upheld across the country and is also an entity that can help nurses to work in different states, making your license especially important if you plan on becoming a travel nurse. However, if your home state is part of the NCL, it is known as a compact state. This means that you are allowed to travel to multiple states without having to worry about obtaining a new license each time. If, however, your home state is not part of the NCL, you will then have to acquire either a permanent or temporary license for the state you plan to work in.

An image of a hospital building where travel nurses work.

After reading these 4 Steps on how to become a travel nurse, you can become one without issue. We wish you smooth sailing as you begin your job hunt!

Ready to get started with a career as a travel nurse?  Apply today with  Healthcare Pros and we will help get your journey started today!

Get Started