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How to become a traveling nurse | Essential requirements and steps.

Updated May 1, 2023

Becoming a travel nurse is a blessing. This profession allows you to serve people suffering from illnesses or diseases. At the same time, it lets you meet people from different backgrounds, see the cultures of several parts of the country, and polish your skills. This field offers you way more than a regular nursing job. You also get many facilities from your traveling agency like free travel, which you usually do not get in other medical careers.
So, nursing is not only a rewarding profession in terms of a stable career, but it also gives you the pleasure of traveling. However, to fulfill your dream of becoming a traveling nurse, you need to meet some requirements. Spare a few minutes to know these requirements.

Requirements for Becoming a Traveling Nurse

Education requirements for travel nurse

The first and foremost requirement is that a travel nurse needs to be a registered nurse (RN). For this purpose, you have three different ways.
 You can enroll in a diploma course in a nursing school at a hospital. It will take you more than four years to complete.
 Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) is another choice that will take about two years to complete. After that, you can go for further studies of one or two years to acquire a bachelor’s degree.
 You can attend a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which is a four years program.
Apart from becoming a traveling nurse, other nurses need at least a bachelor’s degree. However, to enjoy traveling while being a nurse, you need to be at least an RN and don’t need a degree. But for the hiring, most employers look for at least one year of experience before giving you the job.

Travel nurse license requirements

When you complete your RN diploma, you will need an active RN license; hence, you become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). People who have an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing are qualified to become travel nurses. Typically, travel nurses are RNs instead of LPNs; however, it can vary with the location and staffing needs of the assignment.
In some parts of the state, you may need an additional license to do your nursing job in that area. Moreover, some traveling nursing agencies also look for other permits to offer you a job. If you don’t have an additional license, then you can apply for jobs in that area or organization that don’t need more than you already have.

Travel nurse Credentials

Along with the nursing license, you may need some certifications such as Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). These certificates are essential to sign on with nursing agencies if you want to work in a particular health unit.
If you are planning to specialize in a specific unit, you also need to ensure that you have credentials in that facility. For example, you need a CCRN certification for critical care and require NRP credentials for delivery and labor, and postpartum care. Some excellent travel nursing agencies are willing to own expenses of your certification cost and also help you to maintain your qualification. So it’s an advantage which you can avail by researching before going to take any certification program.


Generally, travel nursing agencies and facilities look for few years of hands-on experience before giving you your dream job. The requirements can vary from organization to organization. Still, you need at least one year of experience as an RN to dive into the adventurous and professional life of a traveling nurse.
It means you need to apply for the staffing nurses before your journey begins. The good news is that you have a lot of chances of becoming a staffing nurse because they are high in demand. You can easily obtain your experience in this field. However, it’s better to work there for more than one year as more experience will help you get hired by some top-notch traveling nursing organization.

how to apply to be a travel nurse with an Agency

Once you cross all the hurdles and cover all the hardships of your journey, your doors to become a travel nurse will open. Travel nurses get assignment from the travel nursing agencies such as TLC Nursing, which usually serve healthcare institutions all over the country. These agencies have a contract with nursing homes, hospitals, doctor’s offices, medical clinics, and birthing facilities in both rural and urban areas.
After you get hired by an agency, you can opt for any facility in any area of the country. Also, you can choose the population in which you wish to work. You can accept every assignment you will be handed, or if you want, you can refuse that offer. Nurses also get various allowances and bonuses. Not to mention, you can also work for a week and take a break or work for months without having any interval. In short, you have a vast choice of everything when you get into this field.

Maintain Your License

Don’t forget in your traveling expenditures that you have to maintain your license. Moreover, check the requirements of every state if you are looking to work in different states. Some areas of the country want a certain level of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to renew your license.
If you are the one with the compact license, you need to ensure the maintenance of your home licensing requirements. It’s essential to do everything ahead because it may cause you problems while practicing medicine, or you may also have to halt it for some time.

Bottom Line

You may have to do hard work till you sweat, but you will get the reward in the end. Not only will your dream come true of becoming a travel nurse, but also you get your toes into a rewarding profession. It gives you many benefits and open career opportunities in different nursing specialties. You can also choose the terms of your job, whether you want to work near your town or are willing to travel far from home. Moreover, it is your call on how many days you want to work. So, make yourself ready to get a start in this lucrative and valuable profession.