Registered Nurse Travel Nurse

How To Become A Travel Nurse?

If you find yourself driven by a deep passion for nursing and a yearning for adventure, then travel nursing may be the ideal career path for you. It offers a unique opportunity to blend your professional skills with the excitement of exploration, embracing diversity, and encountering new experiences.

In this detailed guide, we will provide you with a comprehensive roadmap to becoming a travel nurse. Firstly, we’ll cover essential aspects such as the necessary qualifications, licensure requirements, and the process of finding assignments. Moreover, we will also provide invaluable tips for maximizing your travel nursing career.

Whether you are a seasoned nurse seeking a change or a newly licensed RN eager to embark on an extraordinary journey, this guide will serve as your trusted companion. Throughout the process, you will get valuable insights and practical advice every step of the way.

What is a travel nurse?

A travel nurse is a registered nurse who takes temporary assignments in different healthcare facilities and locations. Generally, these assignments typically last for a few weeks to several months, allowing travel nurses to work in various healthcare settings. Meaning, hospitals, clinics, or long-term care facilities, across different cities, states, or even countries. They play a crucial role in filling staffing gaps, especially during high-demand periods or in areas with nursing shortages. Travel nursing offers the opportunity to explore new places and gain diverse clinical experiences. Also, you will get to enjoy the benefits of competitive pay, housing stipends, and travel allowances.

Steps to become a travel nurse

Discover the comprehensive, step-by-step guide to kick-starting your dream career in travel nursing. In just eight simple steps, learn how to become a travel nurse and pursue a rewarding profession.

1. Obtain the necessary nursing education and licensure

To begin your journey as a travel nurse, the first step is to complete a nursing education program from an accredited institution. The most common paths include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). These programs provide the essential knowledge and skills needed to excel in the nursing profession.

Once you have completed your nursing education, the next milestone is passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This standardized exam evaluates your competence and ensures that you have the necessary qualifications to practice as a registered nurse (RN). Passing the NCLEX-RN is a significant achievement and a prerequisite for obtaining your nursing license. Which, in most jurisdictions, is a mandatory requirement for practicing nursing. Securing your RN license opens the door to a wide range of nursing opportunities.

2. Gain clinical experience

To become a travel nurse, having a few years of nursing experience is sufficient; however, many travel nursing agencies prefer candidates with one to two years of clinical experience. Moreover, gaining experience in various healthcare settings and specialties is key to increasing your competitiveness in securing travel nursing assignments. Also, it provides a solid foundation of skills and knowledge required to handle diverse healthcare situations and demonstrates your adaptability to new work environments.

Additionally, specializing in different areas of nursing can make you a desirable candidate for specific travel nursing opportunities. By showcasing your experience, skills, and specialization, you can position yourself for success in the travel nursing field. And enhance your chances of securing rewarding assignments that align with your career aspirations.

3. Research and choose a travel nursing agency

Partnering with a reputable travel nursing agency is crucial to jump-starting your travel nursing career. It is vital to conduct thorough research on different agencies, taking into account their reputation, pay range, the quantity and quality of assignments they offer, as well as the benefits and support services they provide. Seek recommendations and insights from fellow travel nurses who can offer valuable perspectives based on their experiences. By carefully selecting the right agency, you can ensure a successful and rewarding travel nursing journey.

4. Complete additional certifications

Obtaining specialized certifications can greatly enhance your qualifications and increase your marketability as a traveling nurse. Additionally, consider pursuing certifications such as Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and others that align with your chosen specialty. These certifications not only showcase your expertise but also demonstrate your commitment to delivering exceptional patient care. Moreover, by acquiring these certifications, you not only strengthen your professional profile but also position yourself as a highly skilled and dedicated travel nurse, further increasing your opportunities for rewarding assignments.

5. Obtain state nursing licenses

As a traveling nurse, it is crucial to be aware that each state has its own licensing requirements for travel nurses. In order to practice in the states where you plan to work, you must obtain the necessary licenses. This involves researching the licensing process for each state, which usually entails submitting an application, verifying your current license, and paying applicable fees. Further, it’s important to note that certain states may have additional requirements, such as fingerprinting and background checks. Henceforth, it is essential to be well-informed and prepared to fulfill all the necessary obligations to secure the appropriate licenses for your travel nursing assignments.

6. Select your desired assignments

Travel nursing provides a remarkable chance to tailor your assignments according to your preferences. Work closely with your selected travel nursing agency to find assignments that match your desired location, shift, duration, and specialty. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in various healthcare settings and cultures, being open to new experiences and destinations. By embracing flexibility and maintaining a receptive mindset, you can maximize the potential of your travel nursing career. Expand your professional horizons, and embark on an exciting journey of personal and professional growth.

7. Prepare for travel

After securing a travel nursing assignment, it is essential to prepare for your upcoming adventure. Take the time to make arrangements for housing and transportation, ensuring a smooth transition to your new location. Additionally, be proactive in fulfilling any licensing or credentialing requirements specific to your assignment to avoid any delays. Familiarize yourself with the local area, including amenities and resources available to you. Research recreational activities, landmarks, or points of interest that you can enjoy during your free time. Maximize the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and make the most of your travel nursing experience.

8. Embrace the travel nurse lifestyle

As a travel nurse, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in new healthcare environments, collaborate with diverse teams, and provide care to patients from a range of backgrounds. Embrace this unparalleled opportunity by staying organized, fostering open communication, and demonstrating adaptability to different work settings and routines. These qualities will not only enhance your experience as a travel nurse but also contribute to the delivery of high-quality patient care wherever your journey takes you.

Related read: Most Common Registered Nurse Interview Questions, Answers, and Tips


Choosing to become a travel nurse is an exhilarating decision that offers both fulfillment and adventure to those passionate about nursing. By following this guide, you can embark on a remarkable journey as a traveling nurse, while embracing opportunities for personal and professional growth. With each assignment, you’ll have the chance to explore new destinations and make a positive impact on patients’ lives. Prepare for a rewarding career that combines compassion, excitement, and the opportunity to expand your horizons as a travel nurse.

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