How To Become a Travel Nurse: A Step-by-Step Guide According to

December 22 01:21 2022
How To Become a Travel Nurse: A Step-by-Step Guide According to

Nurses have been in very high demand in recent years. As older nurses retire and Americans’ healthcare needs increase, the nursing shortage has created both burdens and opportunities. Many nurses are frustrated by having to work in stressful conditions due to understaffing, but some thrive even in today’s challenging healthcare environment, and many have taken the current employment landscape as a sign it’s time to consider travel nursing. Those interested in this lucrative career move can read on to find a step-by-step guide detailing how to get started.

Step One: Obtain a Nursing License

Only experienced RNs and LPNs will be able to work as travel nurses, which means the first step for those wondering How to Become a Travel Nurse and Embark On a New Adventure but starting from the very beginning is to get an education and pass a licensing exam. The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is required for anyone who wants to become an RN in the US. A similar exam, the NCLEX-PN, serves a comparable purpose for LPNs.

Step Two: Understand State-by-State Requirements

Each state has different registered nursing requirements, but according to, many states are part of what’s known as the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). Travel nurses who obtained their licenses or want to work in states that don’t participate in the NLC will need to pass state licensure exams in their target locations, which can create some extra headaches. The good news for aspiring travel nurses is that there are only five states that don’t participate in the NLC or have pending legislation that will approve future membership:

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • Hawaii

  • Nevada

  • Oregon

Step Three: Gain Some Experience

Travel nurse agencies and healthcare facilities alike place experience requirements on new applicants. Most set them at two years of prior experience working a staff job, though specialized travel nurses may need more experience. It may be frustrating having to put off plans of heading out of state to work in new and interesting environments, but there’s a good reason for this requirement. Travel nurses need to be both experienced and versatile enough to jump straight into a new position with very little time to get acclimated. Impatient newly licensed nurses can read full article for a more detailed explanation.

Step Four: Find a Staffing Agency

Finally, after going to school, passing at least one licensure exam, and getting at least two years of experience as a staff nurse, people can start looking for travel nursing jobs. The easiest way to do that is by working with a specialized, experienced staffing agency like Triage Staffing. Recruitment firms that work exclusively with healthcare professionals will have access to a wider pool of potential temporary employers.

What to Expect

Travel nursing can be a fun and deeply rewarding career, but it’s not for everyone. It’s often the case that traveling nurses are called upon when challenging situations arise, so it’s best to be prepared. Newcomers to the world of travel nursing should know that they will need to jump right in and embrace each position fully with only a short introductory period.

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