travel nurse on her phone
A smiling young nurse dressed in her scrubs uniform sitting in her car holding her mobile phone, taking a break from work.

How Much Experience Do You Need To Be A Travel Nurse?

Becoming a travel nurse offers you the chance to work in different environments while applying your skills to help patients throughout a state or country. Research indicates travel nursing has become an increasingly popular employment option among nurses in the United States in recent years. If travel nursing appeals to you, you may wish to learn more about what type of experience you should have to take on such a role.

There’s no universal answer to the question of how much experience you need to become a travel nurse. The amount of experience necessary to get into travel nursing can vary depending on several factors. Generally, though, the following guidelines tend to apply in most circumstances:

One Year of Hospital Nursing Experience

A travel nurse is typically a nurse whose work involves filling short-term roles at different healthcare facilities in various locations. To demonstrate your ability to successfully adapt to new work environments, you should have at least one year of experience working in a hospital.

Twelve months of experience is a minimum. The more experience you have working in a particular location, the better the odds a travel nurse staffing agency will be able to place you in short-term positions at new facilities.

Professional References Are Key

Showing a travel nursing staffing agency that you have experience working in a hospital or other major healthcare facility for at least twelve months in the recent past can help you demonstrate why you may be ready for travel nursing. To further improve your odds of finding work as a travel nurse, strive to develop positive relationships with doctors and other supervisors who can provide you with letters of recommendation and other such endorsements. If other medical professionals can vouch for your experience and dedication, those who make hiring decisions at medical facilities in need of travel nurses may be more willing to give you a job.

Specialty Training

Undergoing additional training in a specialty area may not be a requirement for becoming a travel nurse. That said, if you can show that you have taken continuing education courses in an effort to specialize in a particular type of nursing (such as medical-surgical nursing), you could make yourself a more attractive candidate for open positions a travel nursing agency may help fill.

Be aware that continuing education opportunities for nurses may be more abundant than ever thanks to online classes, webinars, and other such accessible options. The American Nurses Association offers resources to help you find opportunities that suit your professional goals and lifestyle.

The Experience You Need to be a Travel Nurse: Important Factors

Remember, this is merely a general overview. Many factors can influence how much experience you might need to get into travel nursing. They include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:

  • The specific types of assignments available in a given area
  • Whether you’ve earned any specialized certifications
  • Whether you’ve demonstrated any unique or in-demand skills

Keep in mind that there are various ways you can gain more experience if you wish to eventually make the shift to travel nursing. For example, you can volunteer at hospitals and clinics to gain more work experience, or you can participate in a mentorship program.

Coordinating with the right travel nurse staffing agency can also play a major role in your ability to find work. Axis Medical Staffing helps qualified nurses find rewarding job opportunities every day.