If you dreamt about pursuing a career in travel nursing but are unaware of its eligibility criteria and qualifications, then you’ve come to the right place.
Out of all the RNs in the USA, only 14% are working as a travel nurse, which, while a small percentage, is still a big jump from pre-pandemic numbers.
This article guides you about what travel nursing is and the qualifications needed to become a travel nurse in the USA.
What is Travel Nursing?
In a nutshell, to be a travel nurse means taking your skills across the USA on 13-week assignments in a variety of cities, settings, and facilities.
You’ll be taking shifts, usually 12 hours long, in any type of hospital, tertiary care facilities, clinics, old age homes, and private hospice. Yes, you can travel and work in other places besides a traditional hospital.
How to Become a Travel Nurse in the USA?
Before pursuing a career in travel nursing, you’ve to acquire certain qualifications to meet its criteria. The qualifications required to work as a travel nurse are given below:
Obtain a Nursing Degree
I realize that may sound trite, but the fact is you first have to be a nurse to pursue this career path.
Many travel nursing agencies and even some facilities prefer candidates with a Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), but in my experience, it’s generally not a big deal. As long as you have an RN license in good standing is the critical piece.
If you are an LPN/LVN, you’ll be more limited in the types of positions and may not be able to work in every state.
Pass the NCLEX Exam
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States.
After you have completed your nursing program, the next step is to take and pass the NCLEX exam to obtain your RN license.
Get a Minimum of 1-2 Years of Experience
Most travel nursing agencies will want you to have at least one year of experience as an RN before you can start working with them.
Some agencies may require two years of experience, and a few don’t have any requirements at all. It really varies, so it’s best to ask when you’re applying for a position.
Get Some Specialty Training or Experience
While it’s not required, many travel nursing agencies prefer candidates who have experience in a specialty area like ICU, ER, OR, and L &D.
If you don’t have any specialty experience, that’s okay. You can still apply and get a job, but you may be more limited in the types of positions that are available to you. For some travel RNs, that’s no big deal, but for others, they will only work in their specialty areas and don’t want to float while on assignment.
Join a Travel Nursing Agency
Now that you know what qualifications are necessary to pursue a career in travel nursing, it’s time to join a travel nursing agency.
There are many agencies to choose from, so it’s best to do your research and find one that’s a good fit for you. Be sure to ask about pay rates, housing options, benefits, and anything else that is important to you. Not only that, but it’s also critical to make sure you get along and like your recruiter.
After all, they will likely be your lifeline and first-line resource for you while you’re on the road.
The Final Word
Becoming a travel nurse is a great way to see the USA, meet new people, and gain experience in different hospitals and specialties.
The qualifications required are not too difficult to obtain, but it’s important to pass the NCLEX exam and have at least one year of nursing experience. Joining a travel nursing agency is the best way to get started on your career as a travel nurse.
Take it from me, a multi-year travel RN.
To learn more about the travel nursing opportunity and cities across the country, visit Bestica Healthcare and start planning your next assignment today.