Advancing Your Career | Career & Finances | Travel

5 Steps on How to Become a Travel Nurse

  • Whether it’s the payout or the nomadic autonomy that it provides, travel nursing allows you to enjoy new experiences in different places while also furthering your career! 

  • Are you interested in becoming a travel nurse, but not sure where to begin? Let us help!

  • Check out our 5-step guide covering everything you need to know on how to become a travel nurse!

NCC News & Content Team

October 15, 2021
Simmons University

Step 1: Earn a BSN Degree and Pass the NCLEX-RN Examination

As with most careers in nursing, this is always step one. 

After concluding your four years of schooling, the NCLEX-RN is the last obstacle standing in the way of beginning your nursing career. 

Although it may seem intimidating, there are plenty of study materials out there to help you! 

Step 2. Gain Specialty Experience

In most cases, travel staffing agencies will ask that you have at least one to two years of clinical experience before giving you an assignment.  

It is also important for you to research what additional licensing you may need in order to practice as a specialized travel nurse. 

nurse checking IV on patient

Step 3. Apply for the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)

The NLC is a multi-state nursing license that allows travel nurses to practice in all states that are NLC compliant. To apply, your primary state must be one of the compact states.  

Now, a common question is, “If a state I am wishing to practice in is not a compact state, what do I do? Can I not practice there? 

Of course, you can! The national nursing shortage is leaving both travel staffing agencies and healthcare facilities desperate for nurses to join the field. 

However, the process of being licensed to practice in a non-compact state will be less streamlined and you will have to go through the individual state’s nursing licensure process. 

Step 4. Find a Travel Nursing Agency

When evaluating the process of how to become a travel nurse, this is one of the most important steps. 

Picking a reliable, honest, and nurse-focused travel staffing agency can truly make or break your experience on your first assignment.  

Your recruiter is going to be the one who has your back, schedules your assignments, arranges your housing, and walks you through any problems you might encounter.  

But the question is, “How do I know that I am picking the right recruiter? 

It is never bad practice to interview your potential recruiter! 

woman packing up car

Step 5. Pack Your Bags!

You have completed all the necessary steps to begin your first travel nursing assignment, congratulations! All that is left to do is pack, which can be quite a daunting task.  

Don’t worry – we have a list prepared for you so you can make this process as seamless as possible!  

I hope this guide has answered all of your questions as to how to become a travel nurse, and we would love to hear about your travelling experiences! 

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