10 Steps on How to Become a Travel Nurse


Travel nurses are some of the most sought-after professionals in the medical field.

This is why we have compiled this article from Daily Migrant to show you the 10 steps to becoming a travel nurse.

Before you can decide to take steps on how to become a travel nurse, you first of all have to already be a practicing nurse working in the medical field.

There are at least one or more travel nurses in your clinic or hospital.

These professionals are adventurous and usually have fun stories to share about their travels.

If you have met one of these professionals and you have always wondered how to become a travel nurse, then read this article to the end.

This article on Daily Migrant will also outline the benefits of becoming a travel nurse.

Also, other questions, like why hospitals need a travel nurse will be discussed as we move on.

First of all, let’s find out who a travel nurse is.


Who is a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse is usually a qualified healthcare professional who is skilled in performing medical services.

A travel nurse takes on a variety of temporary jobs in hospitals located in different locations other than where they live.

The job of a travel nurse is quite demanding because the individual will have to move from one place to another.

The idea of introducing travel nurses in the medical field was a result of the shortage of nurses worldwide.

The need for travel nurses has continued to rise with hospitals seeking to save up on employment costs.

The need for more skilled and experienced professionals is another reason why travel nurses will continue to be in demand.

In a case where the hospital or clinic has more patients and few medical practitioners, a travel nurse comes in to assist.

Just as there are travel nurses, other medical practitioners like doctors, dentists, and others can also travel in the case of an emergency.

These medical professionals will be assigned to different hospitals and clinics for their assignment. It is usually for a limited duration.

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Why Hospitals Need Travel Nurses

It is becoming quite necessary for more medical practitioners to learn steps on how to become a travel nurse.

The need for travel nurses has continued to grow with many hospitals in the US and other countries seeking more professional hands.

Travel nurses usually spend about 13 weeks in a specific location. This may be longer depending on other factors.

Reasons You May Want to Become a Travel Nurse

Here are a few reasons why hospitals are in high demand for travel nurses:

Specialty Demand

The need for some specialty nurses is usually one of the reasons why hospitals need travel nurses.

For example, labor and delivery nurses may be in high demand during months when there are higher birth rates.

Also, ICU nurses may be required if there are few nurses available to care for patients with serious health conditions.

Seasonal Demand

This type of demand is popular in states like Florida and Arizona in the United States.

The hospitals there require the services of travel nurses to combat the high rate of migration experienced during certain times of the year.

The high rate of migration creates a demand for travel nurses all over the world.

Staff Shortage

When a hospital is understaffed, it can result in hiring travel nurses.

This saves them the cost of training and hiring new nurses.

It also helps the hospital to fill difficult positions with experienced nurses.

Staff Shortage may occur if the hospital has more patients than medical personnel.

It can also be a result of staff taking off sick time or maternity leave.

Skilled Nurses

The search for skilled nurses by hospitals is another reason why they hire travel nurses. Sometimes it can be difficult to afford skilled nurses for a long duration of time.

Hence, the hospitals result in the services of skilled nurses for a period of time.


Hiring travel nurses is more cost-effective for hospitals that are understaffed.

The travel nurses are employees of their specific agencies therefore the hospital is able to save costs on employing and training new and full-time nurses.

Hospitals can save on labor costs and other incentives if they choose to hire travel nurses.

Prevent Nurse Burnout

Travel nurses have the privilege of choosing where they want to work for a short period of time which is usually 13 weeks.

This allows the nurses to spend less time in one unit and prevent burnout.

There are more reasons why hospitals may be in high demand for travel nurses.

These hospitals usually utilize the services of qualified and skilled travel nurses during specific periods of time.

Steps on How To Become A Travel Nurse

Becoming a travel nurse comes with a number of benefits.

For instance, you will be able to choose where you want to work, and how you would like to get your payment.

You will also be getting free accommodation amongst other things.

If you have an interest in learning how to become a travel nurse, you may be wondering what’s next.

It is important you know that there are specific requirements that you need to fulfill. This also varies according to the work location.

Below are 10 steps on how to start your career as a travel nurse:

Point Out Your Work Motive

Many a time, some individuals may venture into a career path they have no idea about. Some may not be able to point out what they want out of the career path they have chosen.

That is why this step is very important. It will help you to make your choices clearly.

Take time to ask yourself why you want to be a travel nurse and what you should expect from the career in the long term.

Also, set up goals for yourself and aim to achieve them as you carry out your assignments.

Complete A Nursing Degree

The first step on how to become a travel nurse is to get an education as a certified nurse.

It is necessary that you obtain at least a Bachelor’s degree in nursing before starting on your career path.

If you are already a nurse duly registered, you can skip this step. There is also other nursing education you may obtain in order to become a registered nurse licensed to work.

Take The NCLEX Exam

Every registered nurse had to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before they could practice. This is the next step to take to become a travel nurse.

The NCLEX exam is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN) and must be completed by aspiring nursing professionals.

Completing this step makes it easy for you to proceed with the remaining steps on how to become a travel nurse.

Get License

As a nurse, it is necessary that you obtain the relevant license in order to practice.

After you have completed and passed the NCLEX exam, you can proceed to choose what state you would prefer to start working in.

This step is very important when deciding on how to become a travel nurse because it will help you stand out among the crowd.

Understand that each state may require a different license, you can check on the website NursingLicensure.org to find out each state’s requirements.

Gain Necessary Experience

In finding out how to become a travel nurse, it is important to note that you require some level of experience.

Depending on the hospital and clinic you are sent for work, you may need to have at least one year of nursing experience.

This is necessary to give you the opportunity to start working without training since you are filling in as an extra hand.

In other highbrow hospitals, you may have to get more than one year of experience to stand a chance. It is usually competitive in such areas.

Get Your Certifications

The next step in proceeding on your quest to become a travel nurse is to get certifications.

Obtain as many certifications as you can to boost your chances of getting a reputable hospital to work in.

As a travel nurse, you can get certified in ACLS, PALS, or BLS. You may obtain some of these certifications online.

Select An Agency

You are almost set on your path on how to become a travel nurse if you have gotten to this step. Now, you have to do a little bit of research and select a travel nurse agency that is suitable for you.

Find out what they offer, how they work, and assign their nurses as well as other information you may need to know.

The good news is that there are a lot of travel nurse agencies available and you can search for them online.

You may also decide to ask your travel nurse friends or anyone you might know who is currently working as a travel nurse.

Before passing over this step, take a while to fully understand any agency you select and ask questions when necessary.

Put Together Your Submission Profile 

After getting in touch with your preferred travel nurse agency, the next thing to do is to compile your submission profile.

It is the practice for most hospitals to request agencies to submit a profile of qualified nurses.

This submission profile usually contains your skills, references, and other necessary information. It is similar to submitting a resume.

Your agency will also request you to fill out a submission profile once you sign up with them.

The hospitals in turn go through these submissions before selecting the profiles that meet their criteria for interviews.

Get Ready for Your Interviews

After getting all your necessary documents and certifications ready, your agency will assist you in submitting job proposals.

All you need to do at this point is to get ready to take your interviews. This is a very important step you need to pass on how to become a travel nurse.

Most of these interviews for travel nurses can be done on the phone which means you don’t have to be physically present.

This should give you an edge, but above all practice and get ready to answer as many questions as you can comfortably.

Select Your Preferred Assignments

Get in touch with your agency and express what you want from them. Point out necessary details like where you would like to work, the state, how you wish to get paid, and so on.

With this information, your recruiter can assist you in streamlining relevant work options for you.

You can then make a selection of the job which suits your needs.

There is always a high demand for nurses so you don’t have to worry about getting enough jobs to make your selection.

Following the above steps one after the other will definitely put you on the right path to becoming a travel nurse.

It is an added advantage if you are adventurous and love to explore new opportunities.


What Are the Benefits of Becoming A Travel Nurse?

Travel nursing comes with a number of benefits for individuals who are adventurous.

Not every registered nurse can be a travel nurse since it takes a lot of dedication to work.

You will be moving from one place to another, therefore having a stable life can be quite challenging. Regardless, there are benefits to enjoy if you choose this career path and these are:

The Pay

Travel nurses are usually paid well because they are filling up for hospitals that may be understaffed or in an emergency.

The nurses in local environments may be paid less than their city counterparts.

The work location is a major factor in how well travel nurses are paid.


Travel nurses get to enjoy several incentives like free healthcare, reimbursement packages, vacation, sick time off, and lots more.

Free housing

Free housing is usually provided for travel nurses because they relocate from one place to another.

The travel nurse agency you are registered with is responsible for providing housing for you throughout your work time.


As a travel nurse, you will get to see new places that you might never have been before.

You also get to explore while relishing every moment as you continue on your career path.

Gain more experience

Travel nurses are usually more experienced than their counterparts.

This is because they have worked in different hospitals while learning about new practices.

As a travel nurse, you will also get to improve your career in the medical field.

Job satisfaction

For nurses who have decided to live the travel nurse life, they can experience job satisfaction.

This is because they can choose where to work, stay for a brief period, and go somewhere else.

In this way, they can prevent burnout and instead enjoy their career for as long as they desire.

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Becoming a travel nurse can be an exciting and rewarding career, especially for an adventurous healthcare professional seeking to explore new experiences. Daily Migrant has compiled this guide to outline the essential steps on how to become a travel nurse with ease.

With the above steps, you can become equipped to plunge into the world of travel nursing.

There is a continuous demand for travel nurses and there are numerous opportunities to explore in different locations.

You not only get to work in various healthcare settings, but you will be making a positive impact on the lives of patients.

By following these above steps on how to become a travel nurse, you can enjoy a fulfilling career as a travel nurse while experiencing the joys of adventure and professional growth in the medical field.

Your path to becoming a travel nurse starts here at Daily Migrant and the possibilities are endless. Safe travels on your exciting nursing journey!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most needed specialty in travel nursing?

The most needed specialty in travel nursing is ICU nurses.

These types of nurses work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of hospitals.

They take care of patients with serious conditions and those who need extra care.

Examples are patients who are ventilated, intubated, and receiving other life-saving care.

What is a must-have as a travel nurse?

A first aid kit is an important tool every travel nurse must own. You might be in an emergency situation that needs attention and your box will come in handy.

Items usually in the first aid kit include bandages, vitamins, aspirin, ibuprofen, and any other emergency kits.

Do travel nurses only travel in the US?

No, travel nurses can work in any country or state that has a shortage of medical practitioners. There are international travel nurses who work outside of the United States.

These individuals are assigned to fill any position available in a hospital with more patients than healthcare providers.

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