Much like an educator a travel nurse may need to get different types of certifications for different states. Unfortunately, many states do not have what is called reciprocation. But that means is that they do not recognize a license from another state. In order to practice, or in the case of an educator to teach, the travel nurse must complete the requirements for the state they intend to work in. In this article is a general list of travel nursing requirements. Be aware different states can and do have their own set of requirements.
In general the following steps need to be taken to become a registered nurse, in most states. Once this process has been completed in the state you live in, you can begin to look at what additional requirements are necessary for other states you wish to become a traveling nurse for.
College Prep Courses
In order to avoid having to take a bunch of prerequisite classes in college you will want to take at least:
- 4 years of English
- 3 to 4 years of math, including algebra and geometry
- 2 to 4 years of science, including chemistry and biology, with the recommendation of computer science and/or physics
- 3 to 4 years of social studies
- 2 years of a foreign language
Choose Nursing Program
- Associate’s Degree – takes between two and three years, is offered at most community colleges and get you ready to offer registered nursing care in various settings
- Bachelor’s Degree – requires four years, available at most state universities, gets you ready to provide registered nursing care and the ability to move into leadership and/or administrative positions at a later date
- Master’s Degree – takes an additional 1 to 2 years after a bachelor’s degree program, note bachelor’s degree does not have to be in nursing
Pick a College and Apply
Choose a college that you feel would best suit your needs, being certain that they offer an accredited nursing program. It would probably be a good idea to apply for more than one college as some colleges limit the number of nursing students accepted each year.
Look into possible opportunities for scholarships and loans. Financial aid requires some time to process so be sure to give yourself enough time. Also be sure to state any special circumstances, that might apply.
Receive RN License
Once you have completed all the necessary educational requirements you must also pass the national licensing exam and a criminal background check. You can apply online. It is advised that you submit your application 6 to 8 weeks prior to graduation.
Being able to travel in nursing can become a frustrating process if you are not aware of the necessary requirements. It is essential that a traveling nurse maintains his or her proper certifications and licensure. The best way to do that is to start off small, meaning choose one or two states, find out the requirements for those, complete them and then add as you go.
Nurse Licensure Compact
Something to consider, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), has been working diligently to create, what they are calling and Nurse Licensure Compact. The NLC allows a nurse to have one license, multistate, without having to pay all the licensing fees. Currently there are 25 states participating in the program.
In order to be qualified as a compact licensed nurse, you must:
- be sure to renew your primary license and pay any licensing fees when they are due
- continue to meet the continuing education requirements from your primary state licensure
- your primary residence must be in the state that participates in the NLC
- have no disciplinary actions or restrictions against your license
Anyone wanting to participate in a state that does not participate in the NLC will have to complete the necessary requirements, per the state they wish to travel to.
Although the travel nursing requirements can vary from state to state there are many similarities, for example most states require some kind of degree. Making sure you have completed all of those travel nursing requirements will make getting jobs much easier. Some travel nursing agencies will even help with submitting the proper documents or filling out applications.
Travel nursing requirements are there in order to ensure the nurse coming into a facility or hospital has the right licensure and certifications. The facilities and hospitals are just protecting themselves. Travel nursing can be a great opportunity for someone looking to gain experience and travel the world while getting it.