Want to be a travel nurse? Here's where to start

Written by Super User on Tuesday, January 07, 2014 Posted in Application & Interviews

Travel nursing is a rewarding career choice. Are you a registered nurse with a desire to see new cities, facilities and faces? You may be a perfect fit for a travel nursing position. Follow these steps to get started on the path to your first placement.

First things first

In addition to being a registered nurse, most recruiters or facilities will require you to have some on-the-job experience. You may need at least one to two years of experience working as a nurse, with at least a year working in a specialty (e.g., intensive care, geriatric care, pediatric care or oncology). You'll also need to be licensed to practice in the state in which you would like to work.


The United States requires nurses to have either single state or multistate licensure, depending on the state in which you reside. For travel nurses, this presents a bigger challenge than for nurses who do not travel between states. Luckily, the Nurse Licensure Compact exists to help with multistate travel.

Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)

If the state in which you live participates with the NLC (i.e., a “compact” state), you'll be able to apply for multistate licensure. This means you'll be able to travel to participating “compact” states (23 participate currently) for work without needing to obtain different licensure to work in each state.

If you currently live in a state that does not participate with the NLC, or if you travel to a “non-compact” state, you will need to obtain single state licensure for each state to which you travel for work.

Let your recruiter help!

Your recruiter is instrumental in your career as a travel nurse. He or she knows the ins and outs of job requirements, licensure and paperwork, and will guide you through the interview and placement process. Your recruiter will help match your unique experience and skills to a travel nursing position that is best for you.

Know your options

As a travel nurse, you'll have a wide variety of specialties to choose from. Nurses can become specialized in any number of areas. Possible choices include: ambulatory care, cardiac, emergency and trauma nursing, gastroenterology, geriatrics, home healthcare, hospice and palliative care, infection control, neonatal, pulmonary and oncology. Choosing a nursing specialty can help increase your employment opportunities and possibly your rate of pay.

Looking for a travel nursing position?

Health Providers Choice can get you started on a travel-nursing career. Our recruiters will work with you for a smooth transition into a best-fit travel nurse placement. For more information, please contact us today!

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