Navigating the Path to Becoming a Travel Nurse


Chloe’ Sizer | September 19th, 2023

The allure of adventure, the opportunity to make a difference, and the chance to explore new places are just a few of the reasons why becoming a travel nurse is an increasingly popular career choice. Travel nursing offers healthcare professionals the unique chance to combine their passion for patient care with their love of exploration. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the process of becoming a travel nurse in the United States, including the necessary degrees, licenses, and general information about this exciting career path.

The Journey Begins: Education and Degrees
Becoming a travel nurse typically requires a strong educational foundation. Most travel nursing positions necessitate at least an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Many healthcare facilities are increasingly favoring candidates with BSN degrees due to their comprehensive training and emphasis on critical thinking and leadership skills.

Gaining Licensure: RN License
The next step in the journey to becoming a travel nurse is obtaining your Registered Nurse (RN) license. This involves passing the NCLEX-RN exam, which is a standardized test that assesses your readiness to practice safe and effective nursing at the entry level. Once you’ve successfully passed the NCLEX-RN, you’ll be eligible to apply for your RN license in the state you intend to work in.

Gaining Experience: Clinical Practice
Before venturing into the world of travel nursing, it’s essential to gain some experience as a staff nurse. Working in a hospital or clinical setting helps you build a solid foundation of nursing skills, patient care techniques, and familiarity with medical equipment. Many travel nursing agencies require a minimum of one to two years of clinical experience, but the exact requirement can vary.

Choosing the Right Path: Selecting a Specialty
Travel nursing offers a wide range of specialties to choose from, including medical-surgical, emergency room, intensive care, labor and delivery, pediatric, and more. Your choice of specialty will determine the type of patients you’ll care for and the skills you’ll develop. It’s crucial to select a specialty that aligns with your interests and strengths.

Partnering with Agencies: The Travel Nursing Process
The travel nursing process often involves partnering with travel nursing agencies. These agencies serve as intermediaries between healthcare facilities and travel nurses. They help match nurses with assignments based on their skills, preferences, and desired locations. Agencies handle logistics such as housing arrangements, travel expenses, and sometimes even licensing reciprocity.

Obtaining State Licenses: Compact vs. Single-State Licenses
Travel nurses often work in different states, which requires them to obtain licenses in each state they practice in. Some states participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows nurses with a multistate license to practice in other compact states without obtaining additional licenses. However, if you plan to work in states outside the compact, you’ll need to apply for individual licenses.

The Adventure Begins: Assignments and Exploration
Once you’ve secured an assignment through a travel nursing agency and obtained the necessary licenses, your journey as a travel nurse begins. Assignments can range from a few weeks to several months, giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in new communities, experience diverse healthcare settings, and make lasting connections with fellow healthcare professionals.


Becoming a travel nurse is a rewarding and exhilarating career choice for those who are passionate about nursing and adventure. By completing the necessary education, gaining clinical experience, obtaining licenses, and partnering with travel nursing agencies, you can embark on a journey that allows you to make a positive impact on patients’ lives while exploring the beauty and diversity of the US. If you’re ready to blend your nursing skills with your love for exploration, the path to becoming a travel nurse might just be the perfect route for you.


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