Who wouldn’t love a career that allows them to get paid while traveling all over the world, helping others and experiencing personal growth? There are 340 travel nursing companies and 25,400 traveling nurses in the U.S. alone. Applicants who are licensed and ready to travel can begin an exciting new career that will take them all over the world.
Becoming a traveling nurse is not as simple as hopping in your car and showing up at a hospital halfway across the country. In order to become a traveling nurse, you will need at least one year of clinical experience. You will be expected to show up at your new hospital and jump into the fray almost immediately so experience is a must. For this reason, it would be highly beneficial to have many years nursing experience under your best before pursuing this career.
You must also be licensed to practice medicine within the state. If you live within a state that is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLCA), you will only be required to have a license in good standing within your home state. Membership within the NLCA will allow you practice medicine within any of the other states. Those states include:
Once you take care of your licensing, you are ready to begin applying for jobs within the state you wish to work. Your best bet is to apply through one of the 340 traveling nurse agencies in the United States. These agencies will allow you to only fill out the substantial amount of paperwork once rather than filling out new forms with each application.
The agency will also negotiate on behalf of you. They will review each offer, subtract their costs and overhead from the deal and report back to you with a detailed account of the hospital’s offer. This can include hourly wages, medical benefits, travel reimbursements and housing.
When negotiating, look for a wage that will allow you to live within that location’s cost of living. For example, a job that pays $35/hour in New York might not be as financially rewarding as a job that pays $32/hour in Omaha. The cost of living will make a big difference in the level of pay you receive in each area. Look for contracts that include housing. Many hospitals will set traveling nurses up in housing as part of the contract and this can dramatically reduce your cost of living in the new city.