Becoming a travel nurse offers the unique opportunity to care for others while traveling all across the country. Travel nurses are in high demand in various places in the world. It takes special individuals to become a travel nurses. Those with the highest level of skill in nursing qualify for these type of nursing jobs.
What is a Travel Nurse?
A travel nurse travels across the country providing short-term nurse care for their profession. In some cases, a travel nurse may work outside of the country in which he or she lives. The short-term positions may last 3 to 12 months, but in some cases, the positions may last over a year, if the need exists.
Positions outside of the country may last 1 to 2 years in certain cases. The positions can potentially lead to permanent positions at the end of the designated time.
Travel nurses sign contracts with agencies that assign positions to nurses. It is necessary to complete an extensive application packet to find a position that fits the desired career needs.
The application may consist of information pertaining to certification, skill assessment, verification of immunization, work history, and licenses.
Many benefits come with being a travel nurse. A travel nurse may receive several stipends, including housing stipends, which may include utilities, basic furnishing, and housewares; travel allowance stipends, and health insurance reimbursement.
It is also common to receive bonuses, higher salaries, and relocation assistance as a travel nurse. It is the responsibility of the travel nurse to request these benefits during the negotiation process.
Travel nurses may have 2 days or less to get acquainted with their new assignment area. Some travel nurses receive no orientation of their new assignment before beginning work; this information should also be discussed during the negotiation process.
Traveling Nurse Requirements (Education)
A travel nurse must first earn a nursing bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC). It is possible to complete the bachelor’s degree by receiving a nursing certificate or associates degree prior to earning the bachelor’s degree.
Nurses with associates degrees can also become travel nurses. The bachelor’s degree or higher offers the greatest amount of opportunity as a travel nurse due to the competitive nature of the field of nursing.
It is necessary to receive a license as a registered nurse to become a travel nurse. Many receive a nursing license by taking the nursing board exams also referred to as the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Since each state has its own licensing requirements for nurses, it may be necessary to apply for a temporary license to work in another state. The license is usually valid for one year.
A travel nurse is expected to be extremely knowledgeable and experienced in his or her area of specialization. It is required that a travel nurse have at least one year of experience in his or her specialty area. Some agencies require that a travel nurse have 2 or more years of related experience.
See the video below for additional tips on becoming a travel nurse, as well as the “likes and dislikes” of this area of nursing.
Traveling Nurse Salary
A travel nurse has the potential to make a substantial amount of money. In addition to the lucrative nursing salary, a travel nurse can earn bonuses, stipends, and reimbursements so it is possible to make large sums of money and save a great deal of money as well.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses (in general) earn an average of $33.55 per hour or $69,790 per year, as of 2014. The BLS does not break down nurse earnings by specialty for travel nurses. In addition, earnings can vary dramatically depending on the contract terms. Some agencies offer housing allowance, travel reimbursements, stipends, bonuses, and even benefits. Therefore, it is important to study the details of the contract carefully to estimate your income after considering living and traveling expenses.
Some travel nurses make an hourly salary of $30 to $40 per hour, with additional wages that depend on the agency and the work location. It is possible to make $90,000 or more per year as a travel nurse working in certain areas. According to Payscale.com, travel nurses can make a range of between $44,776-$93,882.
Travel Nursing Jobs Outlook
The job outlook for a travel nurse is very promising. There is expected to be an enormous increase of nursing positions that will need to be filled over the next 10 years. The outlook is so promising because there is currently an abundance of nursing positions currently open, and the need will continue to exist due to the large number of private and public clinics and hospitals that are under construction in the country.
The greatest number of travel nurse positions can be found in California. Other places with a high number of travel nurse positions are Chicago, San Francisco, New York. A travel nurse may also find jobs in major metropolitan areas around the country.
Economic downturns can impact travel nursing jobs, as employers will often cut these jobs to save money. The economic downturn in 2008 impacted travel nursing, but high demand does exist in many areas, and this may grow in the future as the economy improves.
A travel nurse must be very focused and dedicated to his or her job in order to succeed in the changing positions. The high salary, opportunity to travel, and benefits make being a travel nurse a very promising prospect.
The need to provide assistance in needy clinics and hospitals around the country is just one of the many things that make a travel nurse so special.