Have you been considering a travel nurse job 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 travel nurse requirements for travel nurses fall under a series of categories:
- Professional Experience
How do you become a travel nurse? Let’s take a deep dive into travel nurse requirements!
Download our checklist of requirements!
1. Educational Travel Nurse Requirements
You are required to complete a series of certifications to be a registered nurse or nurse practitioner, thus becoming eligible for the traveling nurse profession. These include:
- Basic Life Support (BLS)
- Additionally, a healthcare facility may require other certifications such as the NIH stroke certification and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).
- Consider getting a certification in your speciality, making you a more enticing candidate during the interview process.
Many hospitals prefer nurses who have attended nursing school, have experience with patient care, and have obtained their Bachelor’s degree (BSN). While it is preferred, it is not required in all cases.
Continuing nursing education is also important in becoming and remaining eligible for a travel nursing assignment.
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 obtaining a new license.
Remember that each state is different in terms of regulations, so you will want search for key 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. Contact Us and speak directly with our recruiters to get started on your travel nurse career.
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2. Professional Travel Nursing Experience Requirements
Requirements among every travel nursing agency may vary. For us, you must meet the following requirements for travel nursing:
Prior to job submission:
- Current resume
- Completed skills checklist
- Graduate of an accredited nursing program
- Active state nursing license
- One year of experience in the desired travel setting
- Eligible to work in the United States
- Criminal Background Check
- OSHA/HIPAA Exams
- Onboarding Paperwork
- Medical Items (could include, but not limited to:)
- Drug Screen
- MMR/Varicella/HepB titers or immunizations
- Fit to work Physical Exam
- TB Test
- Flu/COVID/TDaP immunizations
Most employers require that you practice as a bedside nurse for at least one year to be eligible for any travel nursing jobs.
If you have a high acuity specialty, you may be required to have at least two years of experience. There are many types of travel nurses, so once you have the proper training under your belt, you can decide which specialty fits you best.
One of the many enticing benefits of travel nursing is the tax advantages. These advantages come in the form of per-diem, travel reimbursement 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 several reimbursements that are non-taxable for traveling nurses.
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 a travel nursing job; 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.
The typical travel nurse assignment is 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 need 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.
An excellent travel nurse 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 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 at 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 staffing shortage occurs due to an increase in patient volume.
- Some employers need to fill positions while employees are on extended leave, such as maternity leave.
- There may also be times when 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.
Job Outlook for Travel Nurses
Demands for healthcare services will increase in the coming years. So there will always be a need for nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 194,500 openings for registered nurses each year, and the projected employment growth is at 9% from 2020 – 2030.
Most traveling nurses find nursing jobs in ERs, adult ICUs, medical-surgical units, and others. Duties depend on earned credentials, experience, and assignments.
Ready to Start Travel Nursing?
The requirements for travel nursing are based on three main categories:
- Professional Experience
If you want to learn more and are an adventurous and passionate nurse or nurse practitioner looking for opportunities to care for patients while experiencing new places, travel nursing is the job for you! Reach out to a trusted travel nurse agency that will help you further your career. Contact us today for travel nurse jobs and nursing career options at MAS Medical, and we can help you on your career journey.
Have you encountered any other important travel nursing requirements?
Share with us in the comments below!
Bill Murray, SVP, Nurse Services
Bill has been with the company for over ten years and in the staffing industry for over fifteen. He lives in the state of New Hampshire with his loving wife and their four incredible kids. Outside of work, his family enjoys spending their time outdoors hiking, fishing, hunting, biking, golfing, and going to the beach.
Download our checklist of requirements!