How Long Does It Take to Become a Travel Nurse

One thing we get asked a lot here at Ventura MedStaff is how one can become a travel nurse – what that entails, how long the process is, and what the most important steps are. Seeing how we are fond of sharing knowledge and expanding our growing family of traveling medical professionals, we decided to come up with a comprehensive list of what it takes to be a travel nurse.

How Does One Become a Travel Nurse?

The process is simple. All you need to do is be a registered nurse (RN) or any other type of nurse (PN, BSN, LPN, or others) and have your license accredited by your own state. Once you have your certification, you will need to apply to a medical staffing agency such as Ventura MedStaff.

Working with your recruiter you will find a position that fits your skill level in a new state, and voila, you’re a traveling nurse. Simple, isn’t it? There are some caveats you should be aware of, though.

Nursing Qualification Is Not Easy to Come By

In order to become a registered nurse, you will have to graduate from an approved nursing education program. The simplest way to obtain a nursing license is to go for an associate nursing degree which takes two years. You will also need to pass a National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN to get the certification.

Alternatively, a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) can take up to four years. While this degree takes longer, it can open up more options for the future, as you can continue your education and become an educator or even a healthcare administrator.

Travel Nurses Need Experience

There is one more big hurdle in front of you once you get your license – experience. Generally, travel nurse agencies will avoid hiring people fresh from school because many hospitals will only post available positions for nurses with some experience. Therefore, the unspoken rule is that you will need at least one or two years of experience in your field before you can become a traveling nurse.

Contacting a Nurse Staffing Agency

If you ticked all of the boxes above, you are ready to become a traveling nurse. Reach out to a travel nurse recruiter with your qualifications and the destination where you want to go, and the agency will do its best to accommodate you.

Then, there is one last hurdle to jump.

Paperwork, Always Paperwork

Each state has its own licensing board and as of yet, there is no universal, federal nursing license. So, if you want to work outside your own state, you will have to be licensed in the state you are traveling to – and this goes for every state that you work in.

Or, that used to be the case until a group of states decided to circumvent this and founded a nursing compact. Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact or eNLC enables nurses in all of the participating states to work in any and all of the member states without having to obtain additional licenses.

Being a travel nurse is not easy – the work itself can be challenging and exhausting. However, the experiences you get from being a travel nurse are well worth the effort. So, if you are ready to take the plunge, contact us and start your journey – the first of many, we’re sure.



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