Healthcare Jobs

How to Get Your First Travel Nursing Job

New grad travel nurse opportunities might seem appealing. If you like freedom, exploring new places, and want to work where you are truly needed, a career as a travel nurse may be ideal for you. However, you will also have to be comfortable with constant change and ambiguity, as you may not always know what is next.

While you cannot immediately become a new grad travel nurse, the process is not difficult or all that time-consuming. Here are the key travel nursing requirements and the steps you need to take to become one.

Can you become a travel nurse right out of college?

Many people wonder whether you can become a travel nurse right out of college. Travel nursing for new grads is generally not available. You need to rack up some clinical experience in different work environments to be able to excel as a travel nurse.

Travel nursing requirements for new grads

What are the requirements for new grad travel nurses? And perhaps more important to ask when getting started is: What are the new grad travel agency requirements you need to meet?

The most important requirement is that you have a nursing degree with a license to practice in your particular state. Licensing requirements can vary from state to state but you do not typically need a license in every state you may work. To make things easier, you can apply for a compact license that can be used across many states but not all. Always check with the state you want to work in to ensure you meet their specific licensing requirements.

The next requirement is two years of experience. Some agencies may accept less experience for more in-demand positions, but situations like that are the exception. to earn the necessary work experience, you can explore traditional nursing jobs.

When you are ready at last, the final requirement is finding a position that suits your experience and interests. You can explore a variety of available travel nursing positions with us.

8 tips for getting your first job as a travel nurse

Though you cannot start with a new grad travel nurse agency right out of school, if you know you want to eventually be a traveling nurse, you can think ahead and get ready. If you are thinking about how to become a travel nurse as a new grad, here are some tips to get you started down that path.

New grad travel nursing tips.

1. Build connections and use your medical network

As a prospective new grad travel nurse, start building your network early. has events and a LinkedIn site that can get you started, as does Nursing World. If you meet a traveling nurse, be sure to connect and ask questions. Having connections is important for your career.

2. Be flexible with your options and work schedule

Remain flexible when doing your job and be accommodating when it comes to scheduling. You want to demonstrate that as a potential new grad travel nurse, you are up to the constantly changing demands that this area of specialization requires.

3. Work with a new grad travel nurse agency

Working with a reputable new grad travel nurse agency will ensure you get quality contracts. They will also help you know what to expect when you start. Reputable agencies are clear about job listing details, accreditation, and go out of their way to set you up for success.

Sunbelt is a leader in the area and has won several awards from national publications. Submitting an application is easy, and we can help you find the right positions and show up ready to succeed.

4. Keep your nursing licenses and certifications up-to-date

Keep your nursing license and certifications organized, up-to-date, and accessible. Unlike a nurse who has to present these once in the application process, you will have to share them for each contract. You may be asked to produce them for administrators repeatedly at job sites. You will enhance your professional reputation if you always have what they need to see handy.

5. Update and maintain your resume

New grads looking to enter the field of travel nursing should keep their resumes current. As with your licenses and certifications, you will be sharing your resume often. And each new contract you complete can strengthen your credentials. If you want to know what experiences to highlight on your travel nurse resume and how to make them compelling, we offer this travel nurse resume guide.

6. Consider a temporary travel nurse job

When you are nearing your eligibility to be a travel nurse, get started by taking a temporary job at clinics and hospitals. The experiences will enhance your resume and can raise your profile with your travel nurse agency.

7. Focus on a nursing niche or area of specialization

Specializing can help increase your value as an aspiring travel nurse. Become an expert in emergency room care, working in nursing homes or rehab centers, or consider hospice. Consider getting a certification in your area of specialization that will document your expertise and put your skills in high demand.

Of course, your specialization is not the only thing that matters when evaluating your options. Explore what to consider before accepting a travel nursing assignment.

8. Compare the pay in different locations

The amount of money you can earn depends on your experience and resume. Your area of specialization can increase your value and your pay. Where you work also influences your earnings.

For example, California has the highest average hourly rate vs. other states, but that can vary by whether you are working in a city or the countryside, as well as by the type of institution. You might find midsize cities to offer the right balance between level of pay and quality of life.

Find your first travel nursing job with Sunbelt

If you still have questions, you may want to review these travel nursing frequently asked questions. You are also welcome to contact us so that we can help you take the next steps on this adventurous and rewarding path.

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