First Travel Nursing Job: How Hard Is It to Get Your First Job?

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By CareerStaff Unlimited

May 11, 2023



How Hard Is It to Get Your First Travel Nursing Job?

CareerStaff Unlimited provided this article.

Travel nursing has taken off in a big way recently, offering more opportunities than ever before. But as more nurses pursue the traveler lifestyle, employers have sometimes become a little more selective. For new or experienced nurses new to traveling, just how hard is it to get your first travel nursing job in 2023?

first travel nursing job

What to Know About Travel Nursing in 2023

Always a favorite career for adventure seekers and those looking for new experiences, travel nursing is now appealing to many other types of people, too. From nurses who want the flexibility of working as contractors to those driven to help communities in need, travel nursing offers some pretty rewarding outcomes. Alongside visiting exciting destinations across the country, there are multiple reasons why nurses are going mobile!

If those benefits sound good to you, you’re not alone. More nurses are pursuing travel nursing jobs than ever. But the good news is that there are also more opportunities than ever. After the Covid-19 pandemic, many employers started using more travel nurses as contingency staff — a trend that will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

The not-so-good news is that travel nursing jobs aren’t always so easy to land, especially in great facilities or popular locations. As more and more nurses choose to travel, the average experience goes up. As a result, new nurses may find themselves competing with many other, more qualified applicants.

Checklist: How to Get Your First Travel Nursing Job

With that in mind, what should people new to travel nursing understand about working as a traveler? What steps do you need to take to get your first travel nursing job?

first travel nursing job

✓ Earn your degree. Any type of nursing job begins with getting the right education. For RNs, that means an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited university. For LPNs, LVNs, and CNAs, it means graduating from a college nursing program or similar training — check out the technical schools or community colleges in your area to see what’s available.

Get licensed. All RNs and LPNs will have to pass the NCLEX to get licensed in their home state. A travel job may require getting licensed in another state, too. If this is the case, your recruiter will guide you through the process of getting the license you need to travel.

Pro tip: Getting licensed in a Nurse Licensing Compact state lets you work in dozens of states with a single license!

Get certified. If you’re pursuing a specific specialty, you’ll need to get certified before working in that field. For instance, nurses who want to work in the ICU will need a Critical Care Nurse Certification (CCRN®). If a job requires additional certification, your recruiter should be able to help you get it.

Pro tip: Always ask questions, and discuss the specific path you should take to land your dream job!

✓ Develop skills. Some of the skills that can help you stand out from applicants don’t always require certification. If you really want to make sure you land the job you want, demonstrating skills in communication, organization, and leadership are always valued by employers. Once you gain those skills, remember to spruce up your nursing resume!

first travel nursing job

✓ Get experience. A look at current job listings for nurses and nurse support professionals shows that some jobs still make a point of accepting new grads. However, many hospitals and skilled nursing facilities prefer RNs with one to two years of experience and LPNs/LVNs and CNAs with at least six months of experience.

✓ Develop relationships. At a time when jobs are competitive, professional references are more important than ever. Cultivating strong relationships in school, during conferences or events, or at other times could be the difference in making your travel nurse application stand out among the rest.

✓ Find a recruiter. As your greatest resource in landing that first travel nursing job, a good recruiter will be dedicated to making sure you find the job that’s the best fit for you. They’ll also help walk you through any additional licensing or certification you may need and be on call to help you through any issues.

So, just how hard is it to get your first travel nursing job in 2023? It’s a little more competitive than it was a few years ago. However, aspiring travel nurses who have honed their skills or built strong connections are more likely to have their choice of great travel assignments than ever before!

Good luck with your next travel adventure! If you’re looking to land your first travel nursing job, CareerStaff Unlimited has opportunities across the United States and great recruiters to help you find the one that’s right for you. Visit for all the details.

Our job board is a great place to search for your next travel nurse assignment. We have you covered with our housing page if housing is an issue. You can search for what you are looking for.

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