How to be a Travel Nurse: A Comprehensive Guide

Being a travel nurse is an exciting and rewarding career path. It provides an opportunity to travel the world, gain invaluable experience, and help those in need. In this article, we will guide and provide you with all the necessary information on how to become a travel nurse.

What is a Travel Nurse?


A travel nurse is a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) who works temporary jobs in various healthcare facilities. Most travel nurses work through staffing agencies, which supply them with job assignments and handle the logistics of travel, housing, and compensation.

Education Requirements


To become a travel nurse, you must first earn a professional nursing degree from an accredited nursing school. This includes either a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).

You must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN) to obtain your nursing license. Travel nursing positions prefer a Bachelor’s degree and at least two years of professional experience as a registered nurse.

Licensing and Certifications


To work as a travel nurse, you must have a nursing license in good standing in the state where you intend to work. In addition, travel nurses are encouraged to hold additional certifications in areas such as ACLS, PALS, and BLS, which are required in most healthcare facilities.

Skills and Qualities


Travel nursing requires a unique set of skills and qualities. These include a passion for helping people, high levels of adaptability, excellent communication, and critical thinking skills.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Being a Travel Nurse



One significant advantage of working as a travel nurse is the opportunity to travel to different places and experience different cultures. Travel nursing also provides an opportunity for professional growth and development by working in various healthcare settings. Travel nurses also earn a higher salary than their stationary peers.



Despite its many benefits, travel nursing also comes with some challenges. Travel nurses must adapt quickly to new environments and be able to maintain a high level of performance. They also must be willing to move frequently, which can affect personal relationships and financial stability.

How to Be a Travel Nurse: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Obtain a nursing degree


To become a travel nurse, you need to earn your nursing license. You can earn a nursing degree by enrolling in either a two-year associate degree program or four-year bachelor’s degree program from an accredited nursing school.

Step 2: Pass the NCLEX exam


After earning your nursing degree, you will need to pass the NCLEX exam. This is a national licensing exam that assesses your competency to practice nursing in the United States.

Step 3: Gain clinical experience


Most travel nursing jobs require at least two years of professional nursing experience. This experience can be gained through full-time or part-time work in a hospital or other healthcare setting.

Step 4: Obtain an RN or LPN license


Once you have passed your NCLEX exam, you will need to apply for either an RN or LPN license in the state or states where you want to work.

Step 5: Obtain travel nurse certifications


Travel nursing certifications including ACLS, PALS, and BLS are required by many healthcare facilities. While not obligatory, obtaining additional certifications can improve job prospects and earning potential.

Step 6: Work with a staffing agency


Most travel nurses work with staffing agencies like NurseFly, American Traveler, and Aya Healthcare. These agencies will help you find travel nursing jobs, arrange your housing, and provide support throughout your travels.

Table: Complete Information on How to Be a Travel Nurse

Steps Description
Step 1 Earn a nursing degree
Step 2 Pass the NCLEX exam
Step 3 Gather clinical experience
Step 4 Obtain an RN or LPN license
Step 5 Obtain travel nurse certifications
Step 6 Work with a staffing agency

FAQs about Being a Travel Nurse

1. How much does a travel nurse make?


The average salary for a travel nurse varies between $70,000 and $90,000 per year, depending on the location and level of experience.

2. How long does a travel nurse assignment last?


Most travel nursing assignments last between 8 and 26 weeks. Some assignments may be shorter or longer, depending on the facility’s needs and the nurse’s preferences.

3. Who pays for travel nurses’ expenses?


Travel nursing agencies generally pay for travel and housing expenses, as well as health insurance and other benefits. Nurses can also receive a stipend for meals and other expenses.

4. Do travel nurses receive benefits?


Yes, travel nurses are provided with health insurance, 401(k), and other benefits while on assignment.

5. Can travel nurses bring their families with them?


Yes, travel nurses can bring their families with them on assignment. Most travel nursing agencies offer family-friendly housing options.

6. How do travel nurses find jobs?


Travel nurses typically work with staffing agencies to find job opportunities. Some nurses also find jobs through job postings on nursing forums, job searching apps, and professional associations.

7. Can travel nurses choose their assignments?


Yes, travel nurses can choose which assignments they want to take. This gives them the flexibility to work in locations that interest them and fit their schedules.


Becoming a travel nurse requires dedication and patience. However, it is a rewarding career that provides opportunities for travel, personal growth, and financial security. If you are passionate about nursing and love exploring new places, then travel nursing may be an excellent choice for you. Start your journey today, and experience the adventure of a lifetime.


– For more information on becoming a travel nurse, visit NurseFly, American Traveler, and Aya Healthcare.
– Join the travel nurse community at Bluepipes and TravCon.
– Check with ANCC to sign up for a certification test.
– Connect with organizations like the Travel Nurse Recruiters to expand networking opportunities.


The information presented in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Any decisions you make regarding your career should be made after consulting with a licensed healthcare professional and taking into account your own personal circumstances and preferences.

How to be a Travel Nurse

Learn more about the ins and outs of being a travel nurse with American Express Business Travel and discover how to optimize your travel experience while on the job.

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