How to Become a Travel Nurse

You must be a registered nurse to become a travel nurse — there is no additional training or education required. That said, nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are more marketable than nurses with only an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). Most Magnet hospitals and large academic teaching hospitals want travel nurses with a BSN. Otherwise, the only travel nursing requirements are: 

  • Proof of your right to work in the U.S. or Canada
  • A valid nursing license in the state you wish to work 
  • All required certifications for your designated nursing specialty

In general, you’ll need at least a year of experience in your specialty before accepting your first contract. Because travel nurses only have a short window (1-3 shifts) to orient themselves on a new unit - learn the patient population, get to know coworkers, review the charting system - they must already have 'the basics' of nursing under their belt. 

Travel nurses must also be licensed in the state where they’re applying to work. The best staffing agencies will assist with this process, though it may take several weeks to obtain a new license. It is common for traveling agencies to help you acquire an out of state license. In some cases, you can get reimbursed. 

Certifications Needed to Be a Travel Nurse:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • BSN or 2-year associates degree from RN program
  • Pass the NCLEX exam
  • BLS and ACLS
  • Nursing license for work state 
  • Certifications specific to your nursing specialty (CCRN, NPR)

Discover the Benefits of Becoming a Travel Nurse

Travel nurses are professionals who save lives and provide quality patient care in crucial times. That is why travel nurses often receive a generous salary as well as a full range of competitive benefits and travel perks. 

Housing is a benefits that agencies often promote to aspiring traveling nurses. It is common for a traveling nurse to be guaranteed a free housing placement, or housing stipend to help subsidize any out-of-pocket cost.

Traveling nurses also have access to a ton of travel perks and discounts on everything from hotel and car rental to gym and clothing concessions. 

Find the Right Travel Nursing Position for You

Choosing a position that best fits your qualifications and your lifestyle is crucial when it comes to travel nursing. Aside from the various nursing specialties to choose from, there are a number of other important factors to consider. To help facilitate your search, review this checklist we put together: 

  • Do you hold the required certifications for the position you are considering?
  • Do you hold a valid nursing license for the state the position is located in
  • Which states are you willing to work in? 
  • Which shifts are you willing to work? 
  • What pay range are you comfortable with? 
  • Will you require benefits and insurance? 

Still Undecided Which Travel Nursing Position is Best for You?

  • Bookmark this page and visit often to view new jobs posted daily to our database
  • Sign up for our convenient job alert email notifications for new jobs that meet your specific parameters
  • Partner with a travel nursing agency to help guide you through the selection process

* Indicates required field

© 2023 AMN Healthcare, Inc. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Ad & Cookie Policy
How can I help you?