Have you been considering travel nursing as an exciting career change? If so, you have likely also wondered, “What are the requirements for travel nursing?”
While the requirements for travel nursing are quite specific, they are well within reach for any passionate nurse.
The requirements for travel nurses fall under a series of categories:
- Professional Experience
How do you become a travel nurse? Let’s break it down!
Download our checklist of requirements!
1. Educational Travel Nursing Requirements
You are required to complete a series of certifications in order to be eligible for the travel nurse profession. These include:
- Basic Life Support (BLS)
- Additionally, some facilities require other certifications such as the NIH stroke certification and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).
- Consider getting a certification in your speciality as that will make you a more enticing candidate during the interview process.
Many hospitals prefer nurses who have obtained their Bachelor’s degree (BSN). While it is preferred, it is not required in all cases.
Continuing education is also an important part of becoming and remaining eligible for travel nursing assignments.
Certain states require a specific number of (CEUs) and a small fee in order to renew your license, so be aware of this.
You may also be from a state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This “compact state” designation means you can travel to multiple states without having to obtain a new license.
Remember that each state is different in terms of regulations, so you will want to conduct a search concerning requirements to work in the state.
Top travel nursing staffing agencies will provide you with any information you may need concerning licensing in any state before you begin your assignment.
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2. Professional Travel Nursing Experience Requirements
Requirements among agencies may vary. For us, the following requirements for travel nursing must be met:
Prior to job submission:
- Current resume
- Completed skills checklist
- Graduate of an accredited program
- Active state licensure
- One year of experience in desired travel setting
- Eligible to work in the US
- MMR vaccination
- Tetanus vaccination
- Chest x-ray or 2-step PPD test (depending on client requirements)
- Negative 5 or 10 panel drug screen (depending on client requirements)
- Physical exam
- Nationwide criminal background screen
Most employers require that you are a practicing bedside nurse for at least one year to be eligible for travel nursing.
If you have a high acuity specialty, you may be required to have at least two years experience.
One of the many enticing benefits of travel nursing is the tax advantages. These advantages come in the form of per-diem, reimbursements and stipends, but there are some specific requirements every travel nurse should know.
If you are traveling for work (away from your home), there are many tax deductible expenses, and even a number of reimbursements that are non-taxable.
Prior to taking an assignment, complete the specific form related to your tax home to ensure that you enjoy the full benefit of tax-free stipends.
If you do not have a formal tax home, you can certainly still meet the requirements for travel nursing, you just won’t have proof that you’re “traveling” and therefore cannot take advantage of tax breaks.
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3. Flexibility Requirements for Travel Nursing
Perhaps the most obvious of all the travel nursing requirements is the ability to be flexible.
Typical travel nursing assignments are 13 weeks, but assignment length can vary. This means you need to be open to shorter and longer assignments.
Travel assignments are available all around the country, from rural to urban communities.
The following types of facilities all have needs to fill crucial nursing roles:
- outpatient centers
- long-term care facilities
- private clinics
Of course, you have the final say regarding where your next assignment takes you, but the more flexible you are, the more opportunity you have to see the country while you earn a living.
A great travel staffing agency has a database full of open positions all around the country.
You will work with your recruiter to find one that meets your desires, whether based on schedule or location.
Assignments may be extended for another contract period, or possibly longer. Sometimes, employees may be offered a permanent position.
It’s also important to be flexible between assignments as well. This is because the time between submission of your application and when you begin a travel assignment can vary.
Recruiters can begin finding you a position right away, but it will depend on when you are ready to go and if there are any current openings that meet your interests.
Another benefit of flexibility is the fact that you can travel at your leisure and bring along whomever you choose!
Family, friends, and even pets are welcome to join you to the location of your new assignment.
Make your recruiter aware if others will join you, so that arrangements can be made.
Many people choose to travel with a furry friend for company, a spouse who works remotely, or children over summer vacation. It can help make your downtime more enjoyable.
Finally, you may be wondering why employers hire travel nurses in the first place.
There are many reasons an employer may be looking for a travel nurse:
- Sometimes a staff shortage occurs due to an increase in patient volume.
- Some employers need to fill positions while employees are on extended leave, such as a maternity leave.
- There may also be times where an employer needs to fill an opening while searching for a permanent replacement.
The reasons will vary but the fact is this: there is an endless stream of exciting and unique opportunities for nurses who want to travel.
The requirements for travel nursing are based on three main categories:
- Professional Experience
If you are an adventurous and passionate nurse looking for opportunities to care for patients while experiencing new places, travel nursing is the job for you!
Have you encountered any other important travel nursing requirements?
Share with us in the comments below!
Download our checklist of requirements!