What Certifications Are Needed to Become a Travel Nurse?

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So, what are the requirements or certification required to become a travel nurse?

The certifications needed to become a travel nurse—or work as a travel nurse you could say—are no different than those required to work in your home state as a staff nurse (at least for domestic travel nursing). Depending on your nursing specialty, you will be required to have up-to-date certifications in your area of expertise.

For example, if you’re an ICU nurse, you’ll likely be expected to have your Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and/or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certifications.


To begin a career in travel nursing, you must have:

  • An active nursing license in the state that you wish to practice in as well as any additional certifications relevant to your nursing specialty
  • At least one year of clinical experience in the specialty that you want to focus on within the last three years
  • Up-to-date health records, including current documentation for flu shots, TB shots, and other immunizations; recent physicals; titers; blood tests; fit mask tests; and PPDs

With the above qualifications, you’re most of the way to beginning your journey as a travel nurse. If you're not quite at this point yet, and you need more information first, you can check out our state-by-state nurse licensure guide that will let you know exactly what you need (and need to do) to receive a nursing license in a given state.

One of the best things about travel nursing is that you quickly come to learn that nurses of all backgrounds, ages, and specialties travel all over the country to work in different hospitals and other clinical settings. Regardless of where they're coming from, each traveler plays an integral role in delivering the best patient care possible in a variety of medical facilities.