How Long Does It Take To Become A Travel Nurse?

Travel nursing has grown in popularity as more nurses desire to see the country while continuing to work in a career they love. 

It offers guaranteed shifts at a higher rate while allowing for unlimited, usually 13-week-long trips to new cities. 

For those who want more flexibility in the nursing field than typical bedside nursing might provide, travel nursing is also highly alluring. Travel nursing has had a huge increase in demand over the last three years (as a result of the COVID pandemic). 

You will learn all there is to know about travel nursing from this manual and how long it takes to become a travel nurse. 

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Who  is a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse accepts temporary assignments in areas where there is a scarcity of nurses. Candidates for travel nursing positions may need to move frequently and on short notice to new cities in order to obtain suitable and ongoing employment. The typical assignment for a travel nurse lasts around 13 weeks, although some last as long as 26. 

In this position, nurses can anticipate applying the foundational abilities they learned in school as well as those they have gained via training and experience in a variety of settings. Depending on the region, specialty, and demographic served, duties may change.

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What is a Travel Nurse School Like?

For nurses with some work experience who wish to see new places, travel nursing can be a fantastic career choice. Although nursing care requirements are the same nationwide, the individuals and experiences can vary.

An RN (Registered Nurse) who is employed on a contract basis to satisfy a temporary medical staffing need is known as a travel nurse. A contract for a traveling nurse typically lasts 13 weeks. Assignments, however, might last anywhere from a month to a year. 

You must first become a registered nurse in order to work as a travel nurse. 

There are a few options available to you in order to fulfill that criteria. 

  • You may first decide to pursue an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). An ADN usually takes two years to complete. It combines clinical rotations with in-class instruction. 

An ADN’s primary focus is on daily care coupled with technical, clinical responsibilities like updating patient charts, handling routine administrative tasks, and overseeing patient care. 

A nursing student must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in order to become a registered nurse after earning their Associate Degree in Nursing. 

Typically, community colleges and nursing schools provide ADN programs.

Community colleges and nursing schools frequently offer ADN programs. The quickest path to becoming a registered nurse is through an associate’s degree nursing school. Typically, the cost of an ADN is lower than that of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

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Is Attending a Travel Nursing School Worth it?

Travel nursing appears to be a straightforward notion. Healthcare organizations engage companies to locate qualified nurses from other regions of the country to fill the gaps when they experience staffing challenges. Patients receive the treatment they require, and nurses may earn more money, travel, and make the best use of their abilities. 

However, travel nurses face particular difficulties that they might not experience while working locally. Before diving headfirst into this potentially lucrative and fulfilling field, nurses should consider whether travel nursing is worthwhile on all fronts.

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What Schooling Fo I Need to Become a Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses carry out the same tasks as any of their peers, according to the American Nurses Association, which does not recognize travel nursing as a specialty practice.

 As a result, completing a nursing program and submitting applications for licensing and certification are requirements for becoming a travel nurse, much like other nursing career pathways. Registered nurses (RNs) are the most prevalent type of travel nurse, but positions are available for certified nursing assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and registered nurses (RNs). 

Step 1: Obtain a CNA license or a BSN or ADN from a college or university that has been approved by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (CCNE).

Step 2: To obtain your nursing license and become an RN, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam as well as any other required tests. The nursing board of a state may specify its particular standards. 

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Step 3: If you want to become a nurse practitioner (NP) or advanced practice nurse (APRN), get a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or another relevant graduate degree, and pass the state board test. 

Step 4: Use the Nurse Licensure Compact to submit an application for multistate licensure (NLC). A traveling nurse can move freely between member states with this secondary license. Which is accepted in 39 jurisdictions, without having to deal with the hassle and expense of getting several licenses.

Step 5 : Begin acquiring experience and developing a credible resume. 

Step 6: To begin networking for travel nursing positions, get in touch with a recruiter or nursing staffing company.

The education requirements for travel nurses depend on the speciality and are the same as those for nursing jobs of a similar nature. To be eligible to take the NCLEX exam, which is required for licensing, travel nurses must fulfill the requisite educational requirements.

 A successful travel nurse will benefit from pursuing continuing education options years after receiving their diploma because the field is constantly changing. Furthermore, pursuing continuing education may improve credentials and opportunities for more specialized positions at various facilities.

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Licensed Travel Nurse in 2023?

An ADN or BSN can be obtained by full-time students in two to four years. Before issuing a contract, the majority of travel nursing firms also demand that applicants have at least a year of work experience.

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How Much Does it Cost to Become a Licensed Travel Nurse?

The procedures for reimbursing fees for licenses and certifications vary amongst agencies. On the first paycheck of the contract, some companies will reimburse the fees. Others may pay back the costs at the midpoint, the conclusion, or in installments over the course of the contract. 

However, businesses frequently don’t pay the expenses up front out of anxiety that a problem would emerge and prevent the traveler from beginning the contract. 

Each state has a different licensing fee for nurses. A California RN license through endorsement, for instance, costs $100 plus $49 for processing the manual fingerprint card and $50 if you want to apply for a temporary license. The California Board of Nursing may also ask you to pay your educational institution for the cost of certified transcripts.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Travel Nurse after Study

Through 2030, the BLS predicts that employment prospects for CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and NPs would increase steadily. This results in 9% job growth for nurses in general and the hiring of more than 3.3 million nurses. 

These encouraging job growth estimates also apply to travel nurses, who are licensed nurses who accept temporary employment.

 A median yearly compensation of $77,600 is received by RNs. State-by-state salaries can differ greatly, therefore nurses should research pay in the state where they’ll be working. 

Depending on their licensure, agency, location, and experience, travel nurses earn different salaries. The pay disparity between those with a BSN and an MSN is particularly pronounced.

The housing stipends and travel expenditure reimbursements that travel nurses frequently get raise their overall pay. The majority of travel nursing agencies also include retirement plans, education reimbursement, health and life insurance. 

Many also offer guaranteed hours to safeguard nurses in the event that a facility decides to terminate a contract with the agency earlier than expected.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When Can I Start Working as a Travel Nurse? 

An ADN or BSN can be obtained by full-time students in two to four years. Before issuing a contract, the majority of travel nursing firms also demand that applicants have at least a year of work experience. 

Is Becoming a Travel Nurse Worth It? 

If you enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and embracing change, then yes, becoming a travel nurse is worthwhile. If you desire to relocate to a new city and want to experience what it’s like to live and work there, it can also be worthwhile. 
As you assist in regions where there is a need, it could also feel fulfilling. Being able to assist in locations where there is a significant need and where it may be challenging to find skilled medical personnel may also feel fulfilling. 

Is It Difficult to Find Work as a Travel Nurse? 

Travel nurses are in high demand right now to fill up the gaps left by the nursing shortage. You can start submitting applications for jobs with travel nurse staffing companies if you have your degree, license, certifications, and work experience.
 It is also possible to operate globally and support medical facilities in addressing the global health crisis, albeit coordination may take more time.It is also possible to work overseas and aid medical facilities in addressing the global nursing shortage abroad, however coordination may take more time. 

How Much Do Travel Nursing Professionals Earn? 

The pay you might expect as a travel nurse depends on your speciality and location. They often earn a salary comparable to that of other nurses with similar specialties. RNs make a median annual compensation of $77,600, while nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses make a median annual salary of $123,780.


Most hospitals and clinics that employ travel nurses prefer to see at least a year of experience on a candidate’s résumé if they are an RN. Similarly, even if you are a nurse practitioner or have an MSN, you still need to work for at least a year. 

The same is true for people who want to work as a specialized nurse. In addition to finishing the academic and training requirements necessary to obtain a specialist certification or comparable credential, that year of experience would be required. 



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