How to Become a Travel Nurse

How to Become a Travel Nurse – Overview

If you are planning to become a nurse, you must understand the different types of nursing options available in the healthcare industry. Becoming a travel nurse is a career path for licensed nurses who wish to take assignments in various locations, typically hospitals or healthcare facilities. This option is not exclusive to students but to licensed nurses seeking diverse experiences and opportunities. This type of nursing comes with many benefits and extra wages compared to all the other different types.

But how do you become a travel nurse? What are the benefits of travel nurses?

How to Become a Travel Nurse in 6 Steps

Before you decide anything, you need to know about the basic requirements of your course. First and foremost, to become a travel nurse, you must obtain a nursing license regulated by state boards of nursing. (1) Here, we have categorized the entire procedure of becoming a travel nurse.

How to Become a Travel Nurse

How to Become a Travel Nurse – The Basic Role of a Travel Nurse

Step 1: Understanding the Basic Role of a Travel Nurse

Most aspirant students get confused while choosing the type of nurse from the available options. They always have one question in common- “is it right for me to become a travel nurse?”

The need for travel nurses has rapidly increased post-pandemic. With the growing demand for nurses, more and more students want to pursue careers in this field.

Travel nurses can work independently wherever they want. They can travel and serve their people from different states or within their locality at different places.

They can work in a hospital with a signed contract for a limited period. The contract can last several days, weeks, or months- depending on their requirements.

A travel nurse is the right type if you want to work in different environments.

Step 2: Earn Your Degree

To become a nurse, one has to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program. After earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited program, a nurse must first obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) before pursuing travel nursing opportunities. Travel nursing agencies often require additional experience in nursing before taking on travel assignments.

Students can pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), typically lasting 2-3 years, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), usually a 4-year program. Accelerated and second-degree BSN programs are available for those with prior bachelor’s degrees in other fields, potentially shortening the study duration. Some universities offer online BSN programs, and students can pursue their careers by studying online.

Open universities offer Many independent nursing programs for students who want to become nurses. Students can search for such accredited programs to earn their degree certificates.

Step 3: Pass out the NCLEX Program

After graduating and earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you will be required to complete the NCLEX program, i.e., the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN exam). Every student must clear the NCEX program in the United States.

After passing the NCLEX-RN examination, you will obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN), a requirement to practice nursing in the United States. This step is crucial for any nursing career, including travel nursing.

Step 4: Gaining Experience

After completing the RN certification procedure, you will be required to gain experience in the field. Obtaining certifications in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is highly recommended to enhance your qualifications. These certifications are essential for nurses to provide a broad range of emergency services and care.

After getting certification in these two fields, you can sign up for a travel nursing agency and pursue your career as a travel nurse. You must achieve these two certifications, and only then can you become a travel nurse.

Step 5: Achieve a Compact Nursing License

Each state requires you to follow a unique procedure. The RN license is limited to your state only. Since travel nurses have to work in different states, they must apply for the Compact Nursing License.

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows Registered Nurses (RNs) to practice in multiple states with one multi-state license, facilitating the mobility of travel nurses across state lines without needing additional licenses in each state they work in. This single nursing license is valid in multiple states, and it is mandatory for travel nurses if they want to work in more than one state.

Step 6: Look for the Right Agency

You have completed your education, certification, and licensing procedures. Now, you must begin your journey as a travel nurse by searching for the right agency to provide you with work in the related field.

Begin your nursing career by researching and selecting a reputable agency. These agencies specialize in placing travel nurses in assignments that match their skills and preferences and provide support throughout the assignment process. There are many online resources that you can explore and apply for a job of your type.

You can ask your colleagues about it or visit the hospitals that might help you find your dream job. Kickstarting your journey will take some time. Just be patient!


You must go through that to become a travel nurse. Becoming a travel nurse who can work in multiple states with just one license takes years of hard work and patience.

Initially, you will struggle to find a job of your type. However, a reliable travel nurse staffing agency will help you find the job quickly. You will also need to gain experience in the field for several months.

Whether you choose the path of a travel nurse, holding an RN license and relevant nursing experience qualifies you to work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities, in full-time, part-time, or per diem roles. A travel nurse can work as a local nurse with experience in the field.

See Also

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make

What is Travel Medical Insurance

Travel Nursing Agencies

Nurse Practitioner Salary

Grants for Medical Travel

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