Travel nursing may be a good option for you if you want to live in different places and acquire experience at different hospitals. However, the process for becoming a travel nurse differs from the process for obtaining a permanent type of nursing post, so don't pack your bags just yet. If you're wondering how to become a travel nurse, these are the first eight steps:

Be Educated

First, you must complete high school or obtain your GED. Then you can pursue a nursing degree, either an associate's degree (ADN) or an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)—or a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) (BSN). While some hospitals need individuals with a BSN for permanent positions, most facilities will accept travel nurses with either an ADN/ASN or a BSN. This may change in the future, and if you ever leave travel nursing, earning an ADN/ASN may impair your ability to find a permanent career.

Pass the NCLEX exam

Earning a nursing degree is not enough to become a fully licensed nurse. The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), established and administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc., is also required. If you obtain your license in one of the 24 states that take part in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), you will be able to practice in other NLC states without obtaining additional licenses, which is a huge benefit for travel nurses.

Acquire Experience

To become a travel nurse, most facilities demand at least one year of experience, and some may require two years (or sometimes three). In other words, you won't be able to go traveling as soon as you graduate and pass the NCLEX. Instead, focus on getting experience in a specialty you want to pursue long-term.

Talk About it With Your Loved Ones

Travel nursing assignments typically last 13 weeks but can run anywhere from eight to 26 weeks. You'll be moving every few months, which is a terrific way to see different places and amenities. However, all of this moving can be stressful for partners, spouses, children, and even pets. Unless you're single and childless, you'll need to talk to your loved ones about the potential of traveling nursing and get them on board with your plan.

Choose Your Pay Package Priorities

Compensation is more than just base pay. Your entire compensation package includes a variety of components, including medical benefits and 401K retirement plans. Because of their unique work circumstances, travel nurses' remuneration packages may include lodging or travel stipends, as well as subsidization of rental vehicles or other ground transportation. Determine the most critical characteristics for you and utilize them to steer your search for the ideal travel nursing agency.

Locate a Company

The majority of travel nurses are placed through agencies rather than directly with hospitals. Because not all agencies are equally respectable, ask coworkers for recommendations and check rating websites before making a commitment. You can also employ a lead generator, which sends your contact information to various agencies, allowing them to contact you directly. Make certain that the agency you choose has jobs in your preferred regions as well as the financial variables that you value.

Finish Your Submission Profile

Just like you would prepare your nursing bag for a home visit, you should prepare your application for submission to hospitals. After you've chosen a travel nursing agency, you'll need to start applying to hospitals. While the agency will submit your submission profile on your behalf, you must still put it together yourself.

Prepare for Interviews

If hospitals like your submission profile, you'll move on to the next round of the procedure, which is a phone or video chat interview. Practice answering common interview questions like "What are your strengths as a nurse?" and "How do your skills and work experience make you a strong candidate for this job?" You should also prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer in order to learn more about the assignment and the facility. If you don't have questions to ask, it may indicate that you aren't interested in the position.


If you're looking for how to become a travel nurse, we hope this article has cleared up any confusion. Travel nursing is not for everyone, but for the right nurse, it can be a very rewarding job.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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