Travel Nurse Requirements: What Do You Need to Know About?

According to a recent study, nurses have been leaving staff employment in unprecedented numbers since 2020 and are, in some instances, increasing their pay as traveling nurses. The number of travel nurses is estimated to grow over 40% shortly.

Travel nursing, or traveling to different states or countries to provide healthcare, has become increasingly popular in recent years. But before you move and apply for your first travel nursing job, you’ll want to make sure that you are fully prepared with all of the correct documentation and paperwork to get hired on with an agency. 

Here’s what you should know about travel nurse requirements so that you can hit the ground running and get on your way to your first assignment!

Who is a Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses are healthcare professionals who travel between hospitals and other healthcare facilities. They are employed temporarily with assignment lengths ranging from one month to one year, although most assignments last two to three months. 

Travel nurses can specialize in different areas of health care, such as pediatrics or intensive care. There is no typical travel nurse job, and travelers work in almost every area of healthcare in both rural and urban regions all over the country.

License Requirements  

License is one of the crucial travel nurse requirements. To work as a nursing care professional in any state, you need to have a current Registered Nurse (RN) license from that state. It’s important to remember that you can’t use one state’s license in another without obtaining a new one. Each state has different requirements, rules, and regulations for their nurses, so they want their licenses issued to their nurses.

Beginning Career

First, to begin your travel nursing career, get licensed in your home state. If you have graduated recently from an accredited nursing program, in that case, there will likely be a waiting period before you can take the NCLEX or National Council Licensure Examination exam and become licensed.   

Be sure to complete all the application requirements for licensure as soon as possible so that you don’t miss out on any travel nursing opportunities.

Licensure by Endorsement

After you receive your license in your home state, it will be much easier to get a permit in any other state, thanks to licensure by endorsement. While each state has slightly different rules about this process, all 50 states participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact, allowing nurses licensed by one compact state to practice in any other close state without paying additional fees or further background checks.

Education Requirements

Another crucial travel nurse requirements include education. To become a travel nurse, you must obtain an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). 

Most facilities require applicants to complete a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The ACEN accredited ADN and Diploma programs, and the CCNE accredits BSN programs.

Experience Requirements

Most travel nursing jobs have a minimum requirement of one year of experience. However, some travel nursing jobs for a specialty such as Emergency Room (ER/ED) or Labor & Delivery (L&D) require two years of experience. In these cases, the requirement is likely due to the complexity of the unit and its patients’ conditions.

It would help to understand how many travelers an agency places in your specialty to know how much demand there is. If you see that many other travelers with your level of experience are getting jobs in your field, it’s probably unnecessary to get more experience before applying.  

Wrapping Up

Travel nurse requirements vary according to the employer, so you must study each company carefully before deciding where to work. Be prepared for challenges and adventures when becoming a travel nurse and make your travel dreams come true.

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