Continuing Education Requirements for the Travel Nurse

travel nursing continuing education

By Lindsey Ryan, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, ACNS-BC, Contributor


Let’s be real: the benefits of travel nursing are second to none! Great pay, free housing, insurance coverage, retirement options, and free CEs are just some of the advantages that travel nursing has to offer.

Travel nursing does not come without its challenges though. Maintaining multiple state licenses and fulfilling continuing education requirements is one of them. As a travel nurse, it is up to you, and you alone, to seek educational opportunities and stay current with new developments in healthcare. 

Challenges of Maintaining Licensure

While different states have different educational requirements for license renewal, the goal is the same—to keep nurses relevant in the midst of an ever-changing healthcare setting. For nurses holding a compact nursing license, the home state continuing education requirements must be completed, as well as any other educational mandates required by the other compact states. Many travel nurses hold several state licenses, all with unique renewal requirements.

Understanding the CNE Acronyms

When looking for courses to take, you may see different acronyms such as CE, CNE, and CEU. Continuing Education (CE) is lifelong learning beyond a degree or certificate program. Continuing education is required for many professionals including lawyers, accountants and social workers, just to name a few. Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) simply refers to courses specifically designed for nursing professionals. Lastly, Continuing Education Units (CEUs), also known as Continuing Education Credits, represent the amount of time a professional spent participating in a course or other approved activity. Typically, one CEU is equivalent to 10 hours of instruction, measured as ‘contact hours’. Depending on the state, a contact hour is typically 50-60 minutes of instruction.

Accreditation Matters

Not all CEs are created equal. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) sets forth rigorous requirements for CE providers to ensure that organizations are offering material that is both evidence-based and free from commercial bias. To become accredited, organizations must pass a systematic, comprehensive peer review. Organizations demonstrate adherence to standards outline in both the ANCC Primary Accreditation Provider Application Manual and the Approver Application Manual. The final decision is made by the Commission on Accreditation.

The point is, when looking for CE providers, make sure your provider of choice is ANCC accredited, otherwise your state board may not accept your CEs for licensure. 

Resources for Getting Ahead

Trying to stay on top of multiple license renewal requirements can be overwhelming and frustrating at times. This is where the experts at top-notch travel nurse staffing agencies can help! Nurses traveling with one of our preferred partners are provided free access to continuing nursing education provider, is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Their user-friendly site is designed to alleviate the stress of maintaining your nursing license, so you can focus on what’s important: delivering the best nursing care possible.


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