Travel Nurse Certification Requirements

travel nursing certification requirements

travel nursing certification requirementsThere is nothing as fulfilling as having a job that lets you traverse the world, get paid handsomely and enjoy numerous other benefits. That is what working as a travel nurse will guarantee you. Generally, a travel nurse is a certified registered nurse who takes short term positions all over the country or the world. The services of a travel nurse can be required when there is shortage of staff, a strike or a disease outbreak. However, to be a travel nurse you need education, training and experience. So what are some of the travel nurse certification requirements?

Travel nurse certification requirements:

First, an individual who wants to be a travel nurse must be a registered nurse (RN) with an associate (2 years) or bachelors (4 years) degree in nursing.  Making sure the nursing program is accredited is important in order to sit for the nursing boards.  There are some hospitals that require a nurse with an associate degree to serve a year with a preceptor before thaty are paid at the highr salary of the entry level nurse.

Sit and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam.  This exam is standardized now and is recognized in all 50 states for licensure. NCLEX examinations are designed to test the knowledge, skills and abilities essential for the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry-level.

This exam is prepared and overseen by the National Council of States Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).In order to take the NCLEX-RN exams an application must be prepared and submitted. Note that there is a fee required for this. Other things required for the exam include a passport photo and finger prints. As a nurse I find engaging the services of private companies that offer NCLEX-RN exam preparatory courses very beneficial. These courses can help you boost an examiners skills in preparation for the exam and can be taken online or in person.

The NCLEX-RN exam is done at specified centers and takes 6 hours and has two optional breaks. This exam is the key requirement for one to qualify as a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Choose an area of specialization

This is not a mandatory requirement but is very beneficial. Choosing an area of specialization gives a travel nurse an opportunity to work with given groups. Travel nurses have numerous areas of specialization to choose from. Some areas of specialization include pediatrics, cardiac, acute care, surgery and many more. At wandering nurses we value specialization as it makes a nurse stand out from the rest.

Get the training and experience

Most agencies and facilities require that you have at least one year of on the job training. Also the training has to be recent. Usually hospitals will require even two years of experience depending on the demand in the job market. Getting experience as a registered nurse helps a potential travel nurse learn what it takes to work in that particular field and understand the challenges as well. Major hospitals or smaller clinics offer excellent on job training for travel nurses. On the other hand, a nurse who has specialized and has a degree can seek to be employed in that given field of specialization.

As much as travel nurses are not restricted to work in hospital settings, it is advisable that on job training be done in a hospital setting. This is because travel nurses assignments more often than not are available in hospitals.

Get the necessary licenses and certifications

As mentioned above, passing the board exams is necessary in order to receive licensure. Requirements for licensing differ from one state to the next. At we always assist with the licensure process by providing the needed information and temporary licenses.

A majority of states issue temporary licenses. Generally, it will take between six to eight weeks to get the license ready. These licenses are usually valid for a maximum of six months. Some states have simplified the licensing process and a nurse can get a license within a day or two.

A number of states also have a policy that only allows them to issue permanent and not temporary licenses. These include Utah, Massachusetts, Oregon, Michigan, Washington and New Jersey. Getting a permanent license is beneficial as it helps save money, time and frequent hassles especially for those nurses who travel continuously.

The Multistate Licensure also exists. As from 1997 the National Council of State Boards of Nursing developed the Nursing Licensure compact. This agreement allows nurses to get a multistate license that they can use across several states. Participating states agreed to accept and recognize one another’s Registered nurse as well as Licensed Practical Nurse Licenses. This compact has 18 member states and only nurses whose primary residences are in one of these states can enjoy the benefits.

Other skills necessary for a travel nurse

These skills are not professionally related but should be possessed by anyone seeking to work as a travel nurse. They include

  • Excellent communication and social skills.
  • Flexible and easily adapt to varied settings and locations.
  • A travel nurse must have good analytical skills.


Nurses who have met all the requirements can register with a travel nurse agency. I always recommend that one does a thorough research on these staffing companies and choose one. The choice can be determined by the pay rates, the jobs available as well as the benefits offered. These agencies also require a verification of licenses, education transcripts, and even interviews. Nurses who sail through the process gets a personal recruiter.

Visit wanderingnurses to get information that pertains to being a travel nurse including the benefits. Becomeing a travel nurse helped me polish my professional skills while working in different environments. The best part is getting to travel while doing the work I love.




Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a retired RN and US Army Nurse Major. She has over 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and once to South Korea. Her medical training began during the Vietnam era when trained as an army medic. She went on to train as an OR tech and then as a LVN/LPN. She completed nursing school and was direct commissioned into the reserve Army Nurse Corp. nurse. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and working in other medical facilities. During her career she spent years as an OR nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Hospice Nurse, Forensic Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as being a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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