How to Become a Travel Nurse
Steps for Licensure, Certification & Compliance Requirements
We will help you get licensed in whichever state you choose! For example, we can help you expedite the process in California, which is one of the highest paying and most sought after destinations and thus has longer than average wait times. To become licensed you must apply separately in each state unless you maintain a permanent residence in a compact state. In that case, you can travel among the 31 states that participate in multi-state licensure (see map below). Every state has its own set of requirements, and we help you navigate them all.
Degrees and Certifications
As a travel nurse, you don’t need any additional degrees or certifications that are different from what you’d need to be a staff nurse.
- RN degree. You will need a degree as a registered nurse (RN) with a minimum of an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree.
- NCLEX-RN exam. After graduating from a nursing program, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). This is a standardized exam that each state board uses to determine whether a nurse is ready to practice.
- License to practice in the state you choose. At Aya Healthcare, we can help you with the licensing process. More information on licensing can be found below.
- Additional Certifications. Depending on your specialty of choice, you may need additional certification.
You will need at least one year of experience in your specialty, preferably in a hospital setting, before you can become a travel nurse. Some hospitals require two or more years of experience, and others require previous travel nursing experience. Speak with your recruiter to find assignments that will best fit your level of experience.
Your personal Aya team will include a credentialing specialist to help you navigate and stay on top of any required paperwork. If you ever need guidance, they will be right there to help you with any of the following:
- Licensing and Certifications. At Aya Healthcare we keep these on file for you, but it’s best if you keep all documents for your records as well. The licensing process varies state to state, and we may be able to help you expedite the process.
- Vaccination Records & Physical Exam. You will need to complete a physical and provide proof of a current TB test and specific immunizations before you start an assignment. Again, your credentialing specialist can help you set up any necessary vaccinations and your physical exam.
- Drug Screen & Background Check. You will also need to complete a drug screen and background check before you begin a new assignment.
- Additional Documentation. The items listed above are the most commonly required, but there may be other documents needed by specific healthcare facilities. Your credentialing specialist will help keep you up-to-date by alerting you to any pertinent deadlines and helping you meet them.
If you ever need anything updated, your credentialing specialist will contact you!