Choose Your Path: Travel Nurse Education Requirements
There are three ways to become a professional nurse, according to Cheryl J. Grab, the chief academic nursing officer at the PA College of Health Sciences in Lancaster, Pa. Check out these travel nurse schooling and education requirements based on the level of education you wish to pursue!
No matter which path you choose for travel nurse schooling, all nurses must take the NCLEX-RN exam, which certifies them as a nurse through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
In addition to travel nurse schooling, to work as a travel nurse, you should have at least one year of experience working in the field. The one-year requirement exists mainly because it’s important that the travel nurse has prior experience before taking on a temporary position. When they get to their assignment, there may be a very short orientation or none at all. They will be expected to jump into their role and get to work. Hospitals expect travel nurses to arrive and hit the ground running, as well as be an example for new graduates entering the field. Since competition is high for travel nursing jobs, it’s best to have even more than one year of experience. According to some recruiters, at least two years of experience is best because it will set you apart from all of the competition. Good clinical references, experience in an acute care facility and up-to-date medical documentation are also very important.
Travel Nurse Schooling: Continuing Education Units
Continuing Education Units are ongoing courses and training that are required of medical professionals in order to maintain a consistent growth in skills and knowledge. Each state has different requirements for how many Continuing Education Units nurses need and how often they should add them in order to remain licensed.
You Need a License for That: Nursing Licensure for Travelers
Nurses have to be licensed in each state in which they wish to practice. For travel nurses, there is a convenient type of licensing referred to as multi-state or compact license. With this, nurses can have a license in multiple states; they just need to maintain them by paying the renewal fees along with the continuing education requirements. Each state, compact or non-compact, has its own renewal cycle. Therefore, your compact license needs to be up-to-date according to the state in which you want to practice, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Most states require a license renewal every two years, but there are a few that require nurses to renew every year, three years, or even four years, the council said.
The compact nursing license will allow qualified registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to practice telemedicine or in-person care across lines of the following states:
Some states have been added to the compact nursing license but are awaiting implementation. Those states are Indiana and New Jersey.
Some states have pending legislation and are on the waiting list to be added to the compact nursing license. Those states are Alaska, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
If you want to work in any states that are not included in the compact license, you must obtain a license in that individual state.
*Please note that this information may have changed since the publication of this guide. To get current information on licensing, please visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.