If you work as an RN and love traveling, then a career as a travel nurse might be right for you. This exciting job provides opportunities all over the country and helps in places that need it the most.
With that in mind, TravelNursing.io is here with a comprehensive guide on the travel nurse landscape in the US. As an experienced recruiter, we will cover all the job logistics for RN travelers. Read on to learn more, then speak with one of our recruitment specialists today!
What Is a Travel Nurse?
A travel nurse travels and works for short-term stints in facilities around the world. S/he is uniquely equipped to fill a vital role in the healthcare industry by covering positions whenever there are worker shortages.
Given the nursing shortages all over the country, many have decided to pursue travel nursing jobs to help regions that require the most assistance. During COVID-19, the delivery of reliable medical care is more important than ever.
Generally, travel nurses are employed by an independent staffing company rather than a hospital. The company acts as a recruiter and assigns jobs either close to home or in a completely different city or state.
Many are drawn to the job thanks to the flexibility and excitement. They get to experience different clinical settings, explore the world, and meet new people nearly every single day.
The best part of a travel nursing job is the perks. They receive competitive pay, excellent employment benefits, and, in some cases, complimentary housing when at their locations. So, if you are looking for a flexible new position with great benefits in a fast-paced field, then a travel nursing job might be good for you.
How to Become a Travel Nurse
1. BSN Degree
The first step to becoming a travel nurse is to receive a BSN. Most BSN degree programs take four years, though there are accelerated programs for students who already have an ADN. To apply for a BSN, you must have a high-school diploma or GED.
2. NCLEX Exam
In the US, all prospective RNs must take and pass the appropriate National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN). The test includes sections on clinical practice, medical ethics, education, and theoretical knowledge.
3. Obtain Your License
Most states have their own nursing license requirements. Some states participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact, so licenses have cross-state validity. If your state is a compact state, a license earned in another compact state is valid.
There are currently 39 compact states that have either full or partial implementation. You can receive a compact state license through the board of nursing in your state. Make sure you understand the parameters of your particular compact state.
4. Find a Job
Most travel nurse agencies require two years of experience. Candidates who have experience in a medical specialty such as OR, ER, ICU, or surgery tend to fare better in the job market.
5. Apply at a Travel Nursing Agency
Travel nurses find assignments through travel nurse agencies that match employees with opportunities. Recruiters find positions to fill in hospitals and other medical employers across the country. Agencies can match you with a position or company that fits your skills and expertise.
How Does Travel Nursing Work?
Travel nursing jobs fill staff shortages at locations that need extra help. When you start, you will get various assignments you can accept. Each job can range in length from just a few weeks to several months.
When you start your assignment, you will move to the location and stay for the duration of the job. Once the job concludes, you move on to the next assignment.
Many travel nurses will work on assignments, then take a few weeks off. They enjoy the freedom to plan their schedules more or less however they want.
You can choose to take assignments far away from home or accept opportunities closest to where you live. The only difference is that you won’t be able to get a housing stipend.
Requirements to Becoming a Traveling Nurse
Generally speaking, you must be a registered nurse with a license to qualify for travel nursing jobs. Company policy may dictate that you have at least two years of experience. Beyond that, there are no additional standardized requirements.
However, many states currently are waiving licensure requirements due to labor shortages during COVID-19. Depending on where you want to work, you may not have to meet traditional license requirements to land a job. Speak with your recruiter to get more details.
Travel Nursing Jobs
Travel nursing jobs are largely the same as staff RN jobs, aside from the traveling part. As a travel nurse, you will work in various medical facilities with various nursing duties, including but not limited to:
● Meeting and examining patients
● Discussing symptoms and medical histories with patients
● Delivering effective medical treatment
● Providing patient care
● Performing medical research
● Collaborating with doctors and other hospital staff
Travel nursing jobs are largely the same as travel nursing jobs can vary significantly depending on your experience and specialty. In-demand nursing specialties will increase your chances of finding a higher-paying job. These include:
● Case management
● Critical care
● Labor and delivery
● Medical Surgeries
Travel nursing jobs have increased in popularity thanks to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. More RNs are looking for a flexible career and have found they can make a lot more money working travel nursing jobs.
So, if you have any interest in a travel nursing job, speak with a recruiter near you today!
Travel Nursing Salary
Travel nurse positions have competitive salaries, and many start at more than $3,000 per week. They also often receive complimentary housing and accommodations when they are on assignment.
Recent nursing shortages across the country mean that travel nurses can command a superior rate. Some assignments may offer tens of thousands for a 13-week stint. With these kinds of rates, it is easily possible for a travel nurse to earn over $100,000 a year.
Additionally, travel nurses save a lot of money as many contracts include living expenses as a perk. So, not only do you start at a higher salary, but you also keep more of your take-home pay.
Staff Nurse Pay vs. Travel Nurse Pay
Travel nurse pay is different from staff nurse pay. Staff nurses normally receive a set salary per year, with incremental raises over the years.
Travel nurse pay can vary from assignment to assignment and might include benefits such as tax-free stipend amounts, travel reimbursement, or tax-free daily allowances.
If you plan to be a travel nurse, you can expect a higher hourly rate with several excellent benefits to speak of.
Factors That Affect Travel Nurse Salary
Location heavily affects pay as different locations have different costs of living in addition to regional trends. Generally speaking, southern states have lower living costs and lower-paid opportunities. In contrast, travel nursing jobs in “destination” states, such as Hawaii, may have lower pay.
Your nursing specialty affects nursing pay heavily. Non-specialty positions have lower pay, while specialties such as ER, ICU, ophthalmology, or family nurse practitioners will have higher pay.
Most agencies and recruiters will offer higher pay for night shifts and multi-shifts. If you want to earn as much money as possible right from the beginning, you need to be flexible with scheduling. Travel nurses may also work on team shifts.
Travel Nurse Housing
Since travel nurses are always moving from city to city and state to state, most assignments include some kind of housing allotment. Accommodations can include a monthly housing stipend or furnished dwellings. Some companies will reimburse you for a portion of living costs, such as food and other essentials. Some travel nursing jobs also include a daily allowance to cover living expenses.
Why You Should Work with a Travel Nursing Agency
As a travel nurse, you have a lot of flexibility over where, when, and how you work. Here are just some of the benefits of working with a nursing recruiter company.
The typical assignment is about 13 weeks though assignments can vary between eight to 26 weeks. If you do not work with a recruiter, then it might take some time to find a job in the area.
A travel nursing agency will provide your next assignment, so you don’t have to worry or plan to find a position to fill. You can set your schedule with an agency to include vacations, time off, and more.
Most RNs who travel solo are independent contractors, meaning that they do not receive health insurance from the hospitals and clinics where they work. Travel nursing agencies provide full-time staff with benefits such as:
● Health and dental insurance
● 401(k) w/match
● Employee assistance (e.g., counseling, legal resources, financial assistance, etc.)
● Disability insurance
● Paid vacation
● Travelers insurance
● Housing stipend
● Continuing education funding
● Hazard pay for dangerous jobs
Agencies can bring peace of mind with job security, stability, and excellent benefits.
Many travel nursing agencies offer sign-on bonuses, overtime bonuses, shifter differential bonuses, and seasonal bonuses, depending on the workload. Some agencies will even offer referral bonuses if you refer a nurse to a position. There are always opportunities to get paid more if you opt for seasonal shifts, extra shifts, and emergency shifts.
As a traveling nurse, you will work in a wide array of team and clinical environments. Travelers have a unique opportunity to learn on the job in a competitive field. You will be in a fast-paced position that requires you to quickly build expertise in your field. Moreover, a well-run agency will always have some jobs lined up for you, so you never have a lull in work.
Working as a solo nurse, finding jobs can be very difficult. Agencies can help you have a steady supply of nursing jobs thanks to their industry connections. Agencies that have been around for a number of years will have several professional contacts to help you find jobs.
Additionally, a travel job will give you possibilities for future employment. Through a travel nursing agency, you will get the training and experience you need to push your career even further.
Many travel nursing agencies have jobs and exclusive contracts with clients, meaning that only they staff them. Established agencies that have exclusive contracts with healthcare facilities in the area are more able to offer the best jobs and assignments to the adventurous travelers out there.
Travel nurses work at various hospitals and team members, so there is always something new on their plate from week to week. Whether you’re part of a team or going solo, you will work in different hospitals in different positions, so being adaptable is key.
In addition to the variety of work is the variety of traveling itself. One week you could be on the east coast and the next on the west coast. Travel nursing jobs also give you a small taste of what working long-term in one location feels like.
One of the best aspects of working for a nursing recruiter is the flexibility of the job. You can work a job for 12 weeks, then take a few weeks off before heading to the next assignment. Travel nursing agencies allow you to choose your own schedule so you can work as little or as much as you want, in a large team or a smaller operation.
Why Choose TravelNursing.io?
TravelNursing.io provides a streamlined way for traveling nurses to find high-paying jobs. Using our platform, you can find the best-paid nursing jobs and browse thousands of assignments. We are created by trusted travel nurses, so you can be sure we understand the industry.
We work with the top recruiter agencies to match nurses with jobs that suit their skills, handling all the details, whether it is compact state licensure or travel accommodation arrangement. Simply fill out a form, and we can start matching you with jobs.
Our recruitment team works with partners in all 50 states, so no matter what city or state you’d like, we can find a position for you.
If you would like to learn more about travel nursing jobs and positions or have any questions about travel nursing, contact us online. We are always interested to hear from prospective nurses.
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|Job Category||Travel Nurse|
|Feature 1||Great Pay|
|Feature 2||Travel The Country|
|Feature 3||Resume Builder|