You’ve earned your degree — seriously, if you’re in the field of nursing, you’ve earned it — but the learning doesn’t stop once you have your degree.
For nurses and every other healthcare professional, continuing education is a crucial aspect of the job.
Travel nurses, who are often jumping right into patient care, are no exception. Continuing education units ensure that travel nurses’ skills, techniques, and knowledge about industry changes are always up-to-date and accurate.
But what exactly do continuing education requirements consist of for travel nurses? And how can you complete these requirements when constantly shifting from assignment to assignment?
You’ve got questions. Trusted Nurse Staffing has answers. Continue reading to learn exactly what continuing education units are, how you can earn those units, and more.
Table of Contents
- What Are Continuing Education Units, Exactly?
- 4 Ways Travel Nurses Can Earn Continuing Education Units
- How Can Travel Nurses Find Continuing Education Opportunities?
- How Much Does Continuing Education for Travel Nurses Cost?
- Trusted Nurse Staffing Will Help You With All of Your Continuing Education Needs
What Are Continuing Education Units, Exactly?
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are also called Continuing Education Credits (CECs). These are credits are used to measure the amount of time spent participating in educational courses and other approved activities and pieces of training.
One CEU is equal to 10 hours of instruction, called “contact hours.” The term refers to the amount of time spent in a course. Depending on your state, one contact hour can equal 50-60 minutes of class time.
Do Travel Nurses Need Continuing Education?
Generally, yes, travel nurses need continuing education credits — although some states do not require CEUs. So it’s important to check with the board of nursing in the state you’ll be traveling to.
Although a travel nurse may not need a specific amount of CEUs to work in a particular state, they may need to maintain the appropriate amount of CEUs for the state license(s) they hold.
Facilities may also require you to maintain specific continuing education courses. Before traveling to your next assignment, we advise our nurses to contact their upcoming facility to ensure they are up-to-date on any CE requirements.
How Many Continuing Education Units Do Travel Nurses Need?
CE requirements vary by state.
Some states do not require any continuing education units, while others expect up to 45 CEUs to maintain your nursing license.
Some states may allow alternative activities in place of contact hours — like pursuing certification in nursing specialties, publication in a peer-reviewed journal, or completing various nursing refresher courses.
Other states may require specific units to be completed, such as substance abuse or pain management education courses.
California, for example, requires Registered Nurses to complete 30 contact hours every two years to maintain an active license. Acceptable courses in the state of California include:
- Home studies
- Continuing Medical Education (CME Category 1)
- College Courses
New Hampshire, on the other hand, requires Registered Nurses to complete 20 contact hours every two years. These hours can include:
- Other educational offerings that enhance nursing knowledge and skills
Contact your state’s board of nursing for more information on continuing education requirements.
If you are struggling to find the information you need for each state, consider using Trusted Nurse Staffing’s CEU tool for an overview of each state’s specific nursing CEU requirements.
4 Ways Travel Nurses Can Earn Continuing Education Units
#1: Specialty Certifications
One of the most common ways for travel nurses to earn CEUs is to pursue specific certifications. These provide nurses with opportunities to expand their existing knowledge and experiences and pursue different career opportunities and passions.
Examples of these specialty certifications include:
- HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse
- Electronic Fetal Monitoring
- Holistic Nursing
- Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Critical Care Registered Nurse
- Neonatal Resuscitation Program
Most specialty certifications, like the ones mentioned above, must be renewed every two to five years and typically count toward CE requirements.
#2: Online Programs
As a travel nurse, you likely feel constantly on the move. As a result, scheduling in-person classes and events can feel impossible — especially when moving from assignment to assignment.
But if your only reason for not jumping onboard as a travel nurse is that you’re unsure of how you’ll complete any CE requirements, you’re in luck. Many online courses are accepted as CEUs.
For example, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses offers a wide variety of online courses that help meet your CEU requirements.
Western Schools is another accredited online platform that allows nurses to complete CEU requirements online.
#3: Workshops, Seminars, or Conferences
CEUs don’t have to come specifically from classes.
Events like healthcare seminars, workshops, and even research activities may be approved or accredited to count toward your CEU requirements. Your recruiter and agencies like ANA can provide a host of information on where and when these events are taking place.
Occasionally, especially when working at a larger facility, your supervisor may know of various workshops and conferences in or around your surrounding area.
The most secure way for travel nurses to meet continuing education requirements involves earning credits from an accredited college, university, or private nursing school.
These schools are usually already regionally and nationally accredited, so almost any nursing continuing education course from these institutions may be approved by your state’s Board of Nursing.
These courses must be nursing related — as stress-relieving as a pottery class might be, it won’t count toward your CE requirements. Instead, you can not only meet your CE requirements but also earn a more advanced nursing degree at the same time.
How Can Travel Nurses Find Continuing Education Opportunities?
Speak to Your Agency Recruiter
When searching for continuing education opportunities as a travel nurse, one of the easiest — and potentially most reliable — ways to find the information you need is by speaking with your agency recruiter.
Your recruiter can connect you to programs in your area or provide you with contact information for your next facility. This will allow you to find information on what CEUs you may need and where you can complete them.
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our recruiters are available 24/7 to support you. Whether you need assistance …
- Finding continuing education courses
- Finding housing
- Extending your contract
- And more
… our dedicated support team is here to help.
Talk With Other Travel Nurses
As you continue your travel nursing journey, you will be able to network with other nurses who are — or have been — in similar situations as you. These nurses can provide valuable information and insight on how to meet your continuing education requirements.
Don’t be afraid to ask for contacts or ask questions about which courses to take or avoid. More experienced travel nurses may be able to guide you or, better yet, invite you to conferences and give guidance while studying.
Embrace your community of travel nurses — many want to see fellow nurses succeed and support you on your journey.
Checking With Your State’s Board of Nursing
Online searches can provide a host of information, but they can also send you down a rabbit hole — which may be false or old information.
When in doubt, always check with your state Board of Nursing. Generally, all the information you need can be found on their website or by contacting them via phone.
Not only can you find CEU requirements, but you can find suggestions as to where these units can be completed.
Explore School Resources
Many colleges provide career development support for current students and graduates. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your school with questions or to ask for help even after you’ve graduated.
Ask about continuing education courses they offer, whether you can complete them online, or if they offer pathway programs that may help you meet your long-term career goals and CE requirements.
How Much Does Continuing Education for Travel Nurses Cost?
The cost of continuing education varies based on where and how you complete them.
Some CEUs are free, with other units may be available for a fee per course or as part of a subscription. The American Nursing Association, for example, offers a variety of courses varying in price from $0-300 or more.
Paying for continuing education courses may play a role in which courses you choose and where you decide to complete them, so talk with your recruiter to find out whether or not your agency has any reimbursement policies.
When you choose to work with Trusted Nurse Staffing, you may receive reimbursement for almost any CEUs you need to complete for a travel nursing assignment.
Trusted Nurse Staffing Will Help You With All of Your Continuing Education Needs
Have you dealt with travel nursing agencies in the past that leave you feeling unsupported and lacking the resources necessary to thrive in your career?
Trusted Nurse Staffing isn’t that agency.
We believe continued education is necessary to ensure your growth as a nurse and as a person.
This is why we help with all of your continuing education needs. Need help finding a CE course? We can help. Trying to get reimbursed for classes you’re taking to start your travel nurse adventure? Connect with your recruiter for more information!
But we also go above and beyond helping with your continuing education needs. Our team is here to help you thrive in every aspect of your life. At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we value our relationship with our nurses.
We’re dedicated to helping our employees achieve their goals and work on assignments that they love. Our team of professionals wants to inspire our nurses to do their best work and is here to help you navigate all of the ins and outs of each of your positions.
We’re committed to designing jobs that motivate you to work hard while giving you the freedom you deserve in other areas of your life.