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How to become a Travel Nurse

Some of our previous blog posts have covered some of the various steps to becoming a travel nurse, but for your convenience, we’ll give you quick overlook of what our other posts have covered.


It may sound like a no brainer, but you do need to hold a degree in nursing to be a travel nurse.

Job Experience

You can’t go to a new place every few months without any experience. You’ll have to have at least a year and a half for most specialties, but there are some that require you to have two years of floor experience.

Licensures and Certification

You have to pass the N-CLEX—nursing boards. Once you have your certification, you apply for your licensure—you may want to look into the Nurse Licensure Compact—then you have to maintain your license and meet your continuing education needs. There may be other certifications for your specialty, so make sure those requirements are met too.

Paperwork and other Requirements

Make sure you have any other specific licenses pertinent with your specialty completed, and that your immunizations, a recent TB test, and physical prior to starting your first assignment.

With that taken care of, let’s get to the good stuff: finding a travel nursing position.

Finding a Nursing Position

This is by far the easiest step of the process. There’s so much of a demand for nurses that you’re bound to find an opening somewhere. You could hunt for a travelling nurse position on your own, and if you do choose to go that route, you’ll have to negotiate your own contract with whichever medical facility you want to work for, but you’ll most likely want to sign on with a staffing agency.

Finding a Staffing Agency

Staffing agencies can find you a position and handle the nitty gritty of your contract. But not all staffing agencies are the same, and that’s a good thing. Most travel nursing agencies offer benefits such as healthcare, housing, a retirement plan, travel reimbursement, and provide staffing across the country—and even the world in some cases. You’ll have to find a travel nursing agency that best suits your needs, or one with which you feel comfortable. But you can always work with more than one travel nursing agency. Another thing most of these companies do is expedite the interview process. If you want help connecting with a travel nurse agency, just head over to our Find Nursing Jobs page, and we will be happy to connect you with one of our partner agencies.

Interviewing with a Nurse Manager

Most travel nursing agencies have a nurse manager or someone who functions in that role, and they usually conduct an interview with you to determine which positions you’re suited for. They’re there to make the interview process a lot easier, because who would want to go on an interview with every individual medical facility each time you’re up for another contract?

Skills Checklist
Not only do you interview with a nurse manager (or the equivalent), you’ll also fill out a skills checklist. Most of the time, a manager at a nursing facility will look over the checklist you completed with your travel nurse agency to determine whether or not you’re qualified for the position.

Speaking with a Manager at the Medical Facility

Even though you interviewed with a nurse manager and most likely filled out a skills checklist, you’ll still have an opportunity to speak with a manager at the medical facility.  This is your chance to find out what’s expected of you and to air any concerns.

Comparing Offers

It’s possible that you were able to work with different travel nursing agencies for the same facility, and even more likely that you were able to speak with different agencies for medical facilities in the same area. Now, you can compare offers for various positions.

Of course there’s a lot more that goes into the process than this, but you get the gist of what happens. Know what you want, but remain flexible, and always stay on top of your paperwork and requirements. You don’t want a few forms or technicalities keeping you away from your dream job.


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