How to Become a Travel Nurse

Do you love to travel and want a job that can pay well to work in different places? Are you interested in the healthcare sector? If the answer is yes, then the career of a Travel Nurse is perfect for you!

Should I Become a Travel Nurse?

A Travel Nurse is hired on a temporary basis at any place. The employment may last from anywhere between 8 weeks to a whole year. Travel Nurses can work anywhere in the US and are allowed to work abroad as well. They are typically called in/hired when there is an emergency or shortage of nursing staff. A Travel Nurse has the freedom to choose wherever they want to work.

Education Required A Bachelor’s degree
Major Requirement Nursing
License/Certification A nursing license must be acquired
Experience/Training At least 1 year experience in the field
Key Skills Integrity, Compassionate, Detail-oriented, Emotional Stability, Physical Stamina; Problem-solving, Communication, Critical-thinking, Observational Skills etc.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National $77,460 (Registered Nurses)
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 12% (Registered Nurses)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2,982,280 Registered Nurses (RNs) employed all over the US in 2019. Between 2018 and 2028, job opportunities for Registered Nurses are expected to increase by 12%. Not only that, Business Support Services was listed as the highest paying industry for this career with an annual mean salary of $92,200 in 2019.

Steps to Become a Travel Nurse

To be able to work as a Travel Nurse, you must first become a Registered Nurse. The following step-by-step guide explains the process in detail.

1. Complete a Nursing Degree The minimum acceptable degree to become a Registered Nurse is a bachelor’s in Nursing. This can be achieved in 3 different ways. Candidates may choose to opt for a Nursing Program offered by a hospital which takes approximately 4 years to complete. Or they may complete a 2-year associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN) followed by 2 more years in a bachelor’s degree. The last one is completing a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN).

2. Clear the NCLEX-RN Exam :All candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to apply for a license and get a job. This exam is designed and evaluated by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN collaborates with all nursing state boards in the US in order to regulate same standards throughout the country.

3. Become a Registered Nurse :After completing required education and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you must apply for a license with the state board and acquire it to be able to work. Requirements for licensure may vary from one state to another.

4. Gain Field Experience as a Registered Nurse :All nurses need to work in a hospital or another healthcare facility for at least 1 year before they begin working as a Travel Nurse.

5. Pursue Career Advancement Opportunities :To make your profile more impressive, you can get a master’s degree or gain experience in high-demand areas like, neonatal nursing, ICU, labor and delivery, perioperative/operating room and emergency room nursing etc.

6. Register with Nursing Organizations :There are many nationally recognized nursing organizations that host educational conferences or other relevant events. These opportunities bring nurses from all over the US and even from abroad to come together, collaborate and form networks with each other. Registering with such organizations will help you avail new working opportunities.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Travel Nurse?

The duration may vary from one person to another based on individual decisions. However, on average, it may take about 5 to 7 years to become a Travel Nurse.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Travel Nurse?

To be able to work as a Travel Nurse, you must:

  • Have graduated from an accredited BSN
  • Cleared the NCLEX-RN exam
  • Be a licensed Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Have at least 1 year of work experience as an RN

How Much Can I Make as a Travel Nurse?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Registered Nurses working in the US had an annual mean salary of $77,460 in 2019. Moreover, California was named as the highest paying state ($113,240) for this career.

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