Do you consider becoming a travel nurse, make sure you keep reading through this article.
Becoming a travel nurse gives you the freedom to decide when and where to build your nursing career. Travel nurses were first recruited to address the shortage of nurses in the United States.
Travel nurses who are willing to travel to work are placed in temporary nursing positions in hospitals and medical facilities. The contract length differs and can range from 4 to 13 weeks. Although they will have an option for further extension.
Nurses willing to pursue a travel nursing career must be able to adapt to a new medical environment at a quick speed. Travel nurses are often assigned to rapid response and crises just like during the covid-19 period.
This article will guide you on how to become a travel nurse and the requirements you need to meet.
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How To Become A Travel Nurse
Understand the role of a travel nurse
Hospitals and clinics are constantly faced with a shortage of nurses. This situation makes it difficult for them to maintain the number of staff required to work within their organization.
Travel nurses are recruited by independent staffing companies to fill various positions across the country. Staffing issues can be due to nurses taking a vacation, going on leave, or getting hired by a different hospital.
Working as a travel nurse requires adaptability and flexibility, as it involves meeting new people and working in a new environment.
Good communication skills and the ability to work independently or as a team are also essential qualities of a travel nurse.
Earn a degree
To become a travel nurse, you have to earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing school. Study in UK scholarship program.
Anyone who has completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program is eligible to become a travel nurse.
To become a registered nurse you can earn an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) within 2 years. You can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree between 3 to 4 years.
Become a registered nurse (RN)
After graduating with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, you will be prepared to take the NCLEX exam.
You have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a licensed nurse in the united states and Canada,
To become a registered nurse, you also have to meet the board of nursing requirements in your state.
Apply for a nursing license
To work as a travel nurse, you need to have a nursing license with the state where you want to work. You may need to meet other license requirements set by your state of practice.
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to work in states participating in NLC. 25 nursing compact states participate in the NLC.
Travel nurses who want to work in a non-participating state have to apply for individual RN licenses in that state.
To be recruited by a travel nursing agency, you need to have a minimum of 2 years of experience. Most hospitals and healthcare facilities may prefer to employ highly skilled nurses with lots of experience.
You need at least 2 years of experience in your area of specialization. Your specialization will determine the job opening you will qualify to work as a travel nurse.
Nurses who specialize in areas like Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Critical Care Unit (CCU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Orthopedics, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Telemetry, Emergency Room (ER), Psychiatric/Mental Health or Medical Surgical (M/S) are in high demand.
Find a travel nursing agency
Travel nurses have to choose a staffing agency to work with. These agencies act as an intermediary between nurses and the hospital or medical facilities.
Staffing agencies help travel nurses submit applications hence matching them with their ideal jobs and placement. The benefits of working with a staffing agency are that they help nurses to secure jobs with high wages and robust benefits packages.
There are so many staffing agencies out there and you need to compare the pay, bonuses, benefits package, and housing options to select which staffing agency best suits you.
- To choose the right staffing agency make sure it is accredited by the joint commission to provide qualified and competent staffing services.
Another factor to consider in selecting the best travel nursing agency is to check how long it has been in business.
Any reputable staffing firm should have a professional, updated website, social media presence across multiple platforms, testimonials, and online reviews.
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How long does it take to become a travel nurse?
To become a travel nurse you need to have an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. It will take between 2 years – 4 years to become a travel nurse.
You can complete an associate of science in nursing (ASN) degree within 2 years and a bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree between 3 to 4 years.
After earning a nursing degree and licensure, you need to gain experience which may take additional 2 years. Most travel nursing staffing agencies prefer registered nurses (RN) with at least experience
How much do travel nurses make?
Several factors such as education level, specialization, and location can affect the pay of travel nurses.
The average pay for travel nurses is $47.98 per hour and $94,415 per year. Hospital bonuses range from $250 to $5000. Travel nurses may work between 36 and 48 hours per week.
States like New York, Idaho, and California have a higher salary structure. While states like Texas, Georgia, and North Carolin have lower salary structures.
State Annual Salary Hourly Wage
New York $104,675 $50.32
Idaho $102,559 $49.31
California $100,323 $48.23
New Hampshire $97,246 $46.75
Vermont $95,852 $46.08
Maine $94,587 $45.47
Massachusetts $93,082 $44.75
Hawaii. $92,989 $44.71
Nevada $92,442 $44.44
Arizona $91,792 $44.13
Tennessee $91,684 $44.08
Wyoming $91,483 $43.98
Washington $91,362 $43.92
New Jersey $90,293 $43.41
Connecticut. $89,186 $42.88
Indiana $88,630. $42.61
West Virginia $88,208 $42.41
Alaska $88,038 $42.33
Rhode Island $87,959 $42.29
Minnesota $87,955 $42.29
Oregon $87,813 $42.22
Montana $87,661 $42.14
Pennsylvania $86,111 $41.40
North Dakota $85,884 $41.29
Maryland $85,675 $41.19
Wisconsin $83,590 $40.19
Virginia $83,503 $40.15
Ohio $83,029 $39.92
South Dakota $82,360 $39.60
Iowa $81,740 $39.30
Utah $81,496 $39.18
Colorado $81,228 $39.05
Kentucky $80,819 $38.86
Delaware $80,755 $38.82
Nebraska $80,608 $38.75
Alabama. $79,956 $38.44
South Carolina $79,509 $38.23
New Mexico $79,189 $38.07
Kansas $77,941 $37.47
Oklahoma $77,024 $37.03
Arkansas $76,900 $36.97
Mississippi $76,462 $36.76
Illinois $75,826 $36.46
Michigan $75,750 $36.42
Florida $75,310 $36.21
Missouri $74,990 $36.05
Texas $74,737 $35.93
Georgia $73,559 $35.37
Louisiana $70,419 $33.86
North Carolina $66,623 $32.03
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How to Become a travel nurse after high school
After graduating from high school, you have to earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program.
Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a registered nurse (RN).
Earn a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) to work as a travel nurse with the state where you want to practice.
Gain at least 2 years of experience within your area of specialization which is the minimum requirement to get employed by a staffing agency.
Find and apply to a travel nursing agency, and make sure compare the pay(salary and wages) and other benefits.
How to Become a travel nurse practitioner
To become a travel nurse practitioner you must have completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. There are several online schools to choose from.
After graduating from nursing school, you will be prepared to take the NCLEX exam. You must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a registered nurse (RN).
Apply for a nursing license to get a state license that allows you to work within your state and other states.
Most travel nursing agency prefers to recruit RN with at least 2 years of working experience.
You can specialize in an area with high demand such as Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Critical Care Unit (CCU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Orthopedics, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Emergency Room (ER), Psychiatric/Mental Health or Medical Surgical (M/S).
Find a travel nursing agency to help secure a job with high wages and benefits packages. The staffing agency will help to submit applications and match you with a job that suits your need.