How to Become a Travel RN

Traveling Registered Nurses are in high demand across the nation. Discover the benefits of being a travel RN, what they do, and how to pursue a career as one in this article.
How to Become a Travel RN

If you have a passion for nursing and would like to see more of the country, becoming a traveling Registered Nurse (RN) could be a great option for you. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities hire travel RNs to address nurse shortages, cope with seasonal population fluctuations, fill in for a lack of skilled RNs in the area, and for many other reasons.

1. Finish Nursing School

Earn your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

With your degree, you'll be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Pass it to earn your RN license.

3. Work for at Least One Year in a Hospital Setting

Gain relevant work experience to qualify for positions as a travel RN. If possible, work in the area of specialty that you'd like to pursue later. For instance, work in the pediatric ward if you are interested in pediatrics as a specialty.

4. Earn a Specialty Certification

With experience in your specialty under your belt, earn certification in that area. For instance, if you are interested in oncology, the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation offers an Oncology Certified Nurse, or OCN, certification.

5. Connect with a Travel Nurse Agency

Certain staffing agencies specialize in helping travel RNs find work. They're typically known as travel nurse agencies, and they will take your education, certifications, desired locations, and other credentials into consideration to help you find positions around the country.

6. Consider Obtaining a Compact RN License

If you have a specific state where you'd like to work as a travel RN, obtain your RN license there. If you'd like to keep your options open and be qualified to work in multiple states, consider obtaining a compact RN license. This credential lets you work in a number of states without having to obtain separate nursing licenses.

7. Compare Offers and Interview for Positions

Due to the high demand for travel RNs around the country, you should receive multiple offers quickly. After comparing them, sit down for interviews for the ones that align with your needs the best.

8. Start Working

Accept the offer that you like the best and start working as a travel RN. You can then move around to different positions at different facilities. If you like a position a lot and the employer feels likewise, you may be able to get your contract extended.


If you are a compassionate, adventurous, and independent RN, then a career as a travel RN could be a great fit for you. Travel RNs enjoy the flexibility and variety of their work, as well as the opportunity to travel to new places and experience different cultures.

No matter where you are in the process, it's never too late to pursue a career as a travel RN.

With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals and become a successful travel RN.

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