Many travel nurses start their travel nursing career path by working a bit closer to home. But if you’re considering taking an out-of-state job for your first assignment, you probably have many questions, from obtaining a license to travel costs, housing, and what you need to pack. Speed is important when you want to land your dream travel nurse job. When you travel with us, you will get submitted quickly to top travel nurse jobs and be first in line for an interview. Get started in On Demand. Here is what to know when moving as a travel nurse.
YOUR NURSING LICENSE
As a travel nurse, you will need to obtain a nursing license in the state where you choose to work. Each state has its own nursing license requirements, and some are part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) agreement which allows nurses to hold one valid nursing license that will work in multiple states. You’ll be able to practice in any of the 39 states (as of May 2023) that are currently part of the NLC without getting an individual license for each one.
If you hold a state license that is not part of the Nursing Licensure Compact agreement, you won’t be able to get a compact nursing license unless you make an official move to a state that is. You can still obtain a license, but it will only be valid for work in that particular state. If you move to a compact state from your noncompact state, you could obtain a license for multiple states as long as you meet the eligibility and residency requirements. You will be required to declare your primary residence by changing legal documents like the address on your federal income tax return and driver’s license.
Even if the state you’d like to work in isn’t part of the NLC agreement, obtaining a license is usually fairly straightforward. You’ll have to apply for a license in that state, and it will be for that state only; however, there is no limit to the number of single-state licenses you can have. For more information, check out our ultimate guide to compact states.
The cost of traveling to your assignment is often covered as part of a travel stipend. The amount is just another part of the pie, along with housing, bonuses, etc. Travel stipends don’t always cover the entire cost of traveling to and from a particular travel nursing job, as they’re often a set amount. Some agencies pay half the travel assignment on your first check and the other half on the last check of your assignment. That way if the nurse decides to go elsewhere for higher pay or before it’s complete, the agency won’t lose as much money. That said, once you develop a good track record with the company, they may be more willing to take the chance by providing you with a higher travel stipend at the start.
In some situations, like when airfare is required, the agency might buy the airline ticket, like if you’re traveling between Florida and California. They won’t recoup the cost until all contracted hours are complete, but they’re willing to take the risk.
HOW TO FIND HOUSING IN ANOTHER STATE
If the agency you work with secures housing for you, it can make going to a new state a whole lot easier. You’ll work directly with your recruiter or the agency’s department, voicing your requirements and preferences to ensure the best fit. That means there will be no need to spend hours researching, pay an expensive deposit, worry about turning utilities on, etc. Most agencies have multiple connections in places where they often have open assignments, making it easier to find the right housing. For a travel nurse going to another state for the first time, this is usually the best way to go. Get assistance and recommendations from our travel and housing experts.
Suppose you do decide to take a housing stipend, which means you’ll receive an amount for housing in your paychecks. In that case, you will need to locate, secure and pay for everything involved in renting a place to live during that assignment, such as any deposits and the monthly rent, along with expenses like utilities and Internet. The good news is that finding a place out of state may be easier these days thanks to the many travel nurse groups and forums on social media networks like Facebook that can provide leads. Even still, it takes more work on your part and initially more money upfront.
RESEARCH YOUR NEW LOCATION
It’s important to ask your recruiter plenty of questions about your new assignment and the facility, and the location itself. The more information you have, the more likely you’ll keep a positive attitude. Don’t forget about your personal time outside of work, either. Do some research to find out about the food scene, nightlife, cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and so on. Not only will you be better prepared, but you’ll be more excited about going. Once you start your assignment, don’t be afraid to ask other nurses if they have tips and tricks for must-see attractions or restaurants.
Also, consider what you’ll need to pack when researching your new location. Look up the weather during the time of year and pack accordingly. While you want to pack light, you don’t want to under-pack. If you’re traveling during the winter and have large, oversized coats or sweaters to pack, try compression bags to make more room for your personal items and important documents.
How do travel nurses relocate?
Travel nurses typically relocate between assignments and use the travel expense stipends offered through their travel nurse contracts. As a new traveler, make sure you are taking advantage of the travel expenses stipend. If you don’t see this in your contract, ask about it before signing. When planning your relocation, plan to arrive early to familiarize yourself with the area before your first week. If you plan on taking a week or two off between assignments to visit family members, consider this as well.
How often do travel nurses relocate?
Once your travel nursing contract has ended with your current facility, you will most likely have to relocate back home or to your next assignment. Your travel nursing agency will help you find your next travel nursing assignment and is one of the best resources to help you relocate. Land your ideal job faster when you travel with us. Get submitted quickly to top local and national travel nurse jobs and be first in line for an interview. Remember, most agencies offer a travel expense stipend once you have signed your next travel nurse contract.
Do travel nurses move a lot?
Since most travel nursing assignments are 13 weeks, travel nurses often relocate to a new city every 13 weeks. This can vary depending on whether you extend your contract or accept a shorter-term one.