You love your nursing job and are ready to take it to the next level.

Exploring the country as a traveling nurse sounds irresistible.

But you’re wondering, “Do you need a BSN to be a travel nurse?” 

In this guide, we will review all the educational and licensing requirements you will need to hit the trail as a travel nurse.

 

travel nursing bsn

 

Table of Contents

Travel Nursing Licensing Requirements

A travel nurse is a registered nurse who is hired to work on a contract basis to fill short-term healthcare staffing needs. 

Typically, a travel nurse contract is 13 weeks long, but assignments can range from anywhere between 4 weeks to a year.

Travel nurses can be called on to fill a number of diverse positions, including:

  • Providing coverage during staffing shortages
  • Covering for staff who are out on vacation or medical leave
  • Giving extra coverage during busy times such as pandemics or natural disasters
  • Filling in during flu season

One of the perks of being a travel nurse is the ability to take nursing assignments in a wide variety of healthcare settings such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Schools
  • Correctional facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient facilities

To fill travel nursing positions in the United States, you will have to be licensed in the state where you will be working.

Depending on the state, this can happen in a couple of different ways.

If you want to pursue travel nursing positions in the state where you currently reside, your state license will be sufficient, and there will be no need to obtain any additional licensing. 

But if you are hoping to practice out of your current state, you will either need to obtain a license from that state, or you must be licensed through the Nurse Licensure Compact.

It’s important to note that not all states participate in the NLC, so you will need to be sure to check the NLC status of the state where you would like to practice. 

If you are unsure if your credentials meet the requirements, your Trusted Nurse Staffing recruiter will be able to tell you everything you need to know.

 

 

Is a BSN Required for Travel Nursing?

Do you need a BSN to be a travel nurse?

No.

A Bachelor of Science Degree (BSN) is not required for travel nursing positions.

The minimum requirement for travel nursing is an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).

However, depending on the hospital or facility, a BSN may be preferred.

Is Having a BSN Preferable for Travel Nursing?

Do you need a BSN to travel nurse?

No.

Is a BSN preferred for travel nursing?

Yes.

While it is favored for travel nursing, ultimately the need for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing depends upon the health care facility. 

Medical facilities who have a high patient ratio, such as hospitals or Level 1 Trauma Centers, sometimes prefer to hire nurses with a four-year degree versus a two-year degree.

The fact is, while it is not required, having a BSN can make you more competitive when you are applying for travel nursing positions.

Is an ASN Acceptable for Travel Nursing?

Yes.

You can become a travel nurse with an Associate of Science in Nursing degree. 

Keep in mind, however, that experience matters. 

So, if you have an ASN, you may want to consider adding one of the following to your resume to make it more competitive: 

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) 
  • Stroke certification
  • Advanced labor and delivery certification

 

do you need a bsn to be a travel nurse

 

Factors That Will Determine Educational Requirements Such as the Need for a BSN 

In your travel nursing journey, you will find that occasionally there may be circumstances that will change the educational requirements for travel nurses. 

Here are a couple to consider.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

The crisis of the COVID -19 global pandemic turned the healthcare industry upside-down.

Due to maxed-out hospital populations and the overwhelming need for additional healthcare workers across the field, some states made the decision to relax travel nursing requirements.

In a number of circumstances, the requirement for experience was waived, allowing less experienced nurses to practice.

Some hospitals even took on new grads to fill the need for healthcare workers.

Additionally, some states made the decision to waive nursing licensure requirements due to the overwhelming need for additional nurses.

Specific Facility Requirements or Preferences

At times, a facility may specifically be looking for nurses who have a four-year degree as opposed to a two-year degree. 

For example, hospitals or Level 1 Trauma Centers, where patient ratios are greater than average, may have advanced requirements for the nurses they hire.

 

 

Benefits of Having a BSN When Applying for Travel Nursing Jobs

As you are well aware, nursing is a highly competitive field.

While having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is not a requirement for travel nursing, here are a few ways holding a BSN can set you apart from the crowd when applying for travel nurse assignments.

Potential for Higher Pay

Since the potential to earn extra money is one of the top reasons nurses begin traveling, you’ll be glad to hear that the earning potential for BSN nurses is higher than it is for nurses who hold an Associate Degree in Nursing. 

Take a look at these numbers … 

According to ZipRecruiter: 

  • The average yearly salary for an RN is $70,335
  • The average yearly salary for a BSN is $79,335

Do you need a BSN to travel nurse? 

No, but with a $9,000 difference, it is safe to say that a BSN degree can pay quickly for itself.

A Larger Job Selection to Choose From

Having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing gives you a wider array of jobs from which to choose.

For example, did you know that 4 of the highest paying nursing jobs … 

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse practitioner 
  • Clinical nurse specialist

… require you to have a BSN? 

Plus, if you have aspirations down the road for moving into teaching or administration, you will need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or higher.

Preferred Placement

Finally, having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing can help you land the travel nursing position you have been dreaming of.

Nurses with a BSN take additional classes and have training that hones their critical thinking and decision-making skills, meaning they are more highly sought after by health care facilities. 

They have been taught to practice across a variety of outpatient and inpatient settings, giving them a desirable versatility.

And research shows that healthcare facilities that employ a higher percentage of nurses who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree have better patient outcomes with significantly lower mortality rates.

 

is a bsn required for travel nursing

 

Additional Requirements for Travel Nursing Eligibility

What do you need to have, besides your degree, to make your travel nursing dream a reality?

1-2 Years of Nursing Experience

Once you have all of your educational requirements under your belt, your next step will be to gain nursing experience.

In general, most positions will require at least one to two years of experience. 

Although it isn’t the rule, some agencies may be flexible depending on the need at the time.

Relevant Nursing Credentials

The two most basic required certifications are:

  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

Beyond that, you will need to have additional credentials if you choose to specialize in a specific unit, for example:

  • Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) for labor and delivery
  • Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) for critical care

How to Find and Apply for Travel Nursing Jobs Whether You Have a BSN or ASN

You have decided that travel nursing sounds like something that is right up your alley, but how do you go about finding that perfect assignment?

Enter Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

We have the connections and the know-how to get you on your way. 

Your first step is to complete your profile. 

Once that is complete, one of our recruiters will get in touch with you to learn more about you and find out exactly what you are looking for in a traveling nurse position.

You will submit your:

  • Resume
  • Skills checklist
  • Credentials
  • License 

Once we’ve received everything we need, we take it from there, connecting you with healthcare facilities that match your requirements.

Trusted Nurse Staffing is a trusted leader in helping travel nurses just like you find the perfect position.

Start Your Travel Nursing Career With Trusted Nurse Staffing

Why should you trust us with your travel nursing career?

At Trusted Nurse Staffing we go above and beyond for our clients by:

  • Giving each of our nurses 24-hour access to their recruiter.
  • Offering a wide variety of flexible contracts with everything from per diem work to 52-week assignments. 
  • Providing medical, dental, and vision plans.
  • Having a quality assurance department that is devoted to ensuring that you have the best travel nurse experience possible. 

Get in touch with us today for more information on finding the travel nursing position you’re dreaming of.