How to Become a Travel Nurse: A Guide for Aspiring Nurses

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Interested in becoming a travel nurse? Follow these steps to take your career to the next level.
January 23, 2024
January 23, 2024
. 5 min read

Travel nursing is a fulfilling and exciting career option for nurses who want to explore new places, gain diverse experiences, and earn competitive pay and benefits. Travel nurses work as temporary staff in various healthcare settings across the country or abroad, typically for 8-13 weeks at a time. This flexibility makes travel nursing an attractive option for those who crave adventure and want to impact patients’ lives positively. 

One of the key aspects of travel nursing is the ability to choose your assignments and locations. Unlike traditional nursing, where you are tied to one facility, travel nurses have the freedom to select where they want to work. This opens up a world of possibilities, whether you dream of working in bustling cities, peaceful rural areas, or even tropical paradises. Travel nursing allows you to experience new cultures, meet new people, combat burnout, and expand your professional network.

Furthermore, travel nursing offers excellent compensation and benefits. As a travel nurse, you can expect to earn a higher salary compared to your permanent counterparts. In addition to the base pay, travel nurses often receive housing allowances, travel reimbursements, and other incentives. This financial stability and the ability to explore new destinations make travel nursing an attractive career choice for many healthcare professionals.

If you are interested in becoming a travel nurse, here are the steps you can take: 

Step 1: Earn an ADN or BSN Degree From an Accredited Program

Travel nurses must have a valid RN license, which means completing an accredited nursing program and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. You can choose to earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). A BSN degree may offer more opportunities and higher pay, especially in prestigious hospitals and specialty areas. 

Step 2: Gain Clinical Nursing Experience

Most travel nursing agencies and facilities require one to two years of clinical experience in your chosen specialty. This ensures you have the skills and confidence to adapt to different work environments and patient populations. You can gain experience by working as a staff nurse in a hospital, clinic, or other healthcare setting. 

Step 3: Find a Travel Nursing Agency and Apply

Travel nursing agencies are the intermediaries between travel nurses and healthcare facilities. They help you find suitable assignments, negotiate contracts, arrange travel and housing, and provide support and guidance throughout your journey. You can research and compare different agencies online or ask for recommendations from other travel nurses. Selecting the right agency is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience. Look for agencies that offer transparent communication, excellent support, and a wide range of assignments. Once you find an agency that meets your needs and preferences, you can apply online and submit your resume, license, certifications, and references. 

Step 4: Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Certifications

You may need additional licenses or certifications depending on where you want to travel. For example, if you want to work in a compact state, you need to have a multistate license from the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). If you want to work in a non-compact state, you need to apply for a single-state license from that state’s board of nursing. You can check the licensing requirements for each state here

In addition to your RN license, you may also need to have certain certifications, such as Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), or Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP). These certifications demonstrate your competency and readiness to handle various clinical scenarios and emergency situations. You can obtain these certifications from the American Heart Association or other accredited organizations. 

Step 5: Begin Your First Travel Nursing Assignment with MedSmart 

Once you have completed the application and credentialing process, you can look for travel nursing assignments on our website that match your criteria and career interests. When you find an assignment that interests you, you can work with MedSmart's expert recruitment team to go through the application process with the facility. Once accepted, you can sign the contract and prepare for your departure. Whether you are a seasoned travel nurse or it is your first time, our dedicated staff is always ready to provide exceptional support, guidance, and personalized attention. We prioritize your needs and ensure a seamless and rewarding experience. 

Travel nursing is a great way to advance your career, expand your network, and satisfy your wanderlust. By following these steps, you can become a travel nurse and enjoy the benefits and challenges of this unique profession. 

Are you ready to take your nursing career to the next level? Seize the moment by submitting your resume to for immediate consideration. 

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