Can a New Grad Be a Travel Nurse? Get the Scoop Here 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski


You made it through nursing school and you’re ready to start building your career.

You’ve always been one to stand out in a crowd, and you don’t want your nursing career to be any different.

From the moment you heard about it, the idea of travel nursing has captivated your imagination, and you’re wondering what it would take to land one of the new grad travel nurse jobs.

Your dream can become a reality.

In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about becoming a new grad travel nurse.



Table of Contents


travel nurse agencies that hire new grads


Can You Travel Nurse Right After College?

No. In general, most facilities require travel nurses to have at least one to two years of registered nursing experience in their primary specialty. If your ultimate dream is travel nursing, you’ll need to spend a year or two as a staff nurse getting ready for that.


Why Do Travel Nurse Agencies Not Accept New Grad Travel Nurses?

Facilities do not typically hire a new grad travel nurse who is lacking in experience.

Why is this?

The bottom line is that it’s for the protection of:

  • Yourself
  • Your patients; and
  • The facility where you work

Most travel nurse positions only offer one to two days of orientation.

Add to this the fact that you will most likely be entering a short-staffed unit, and it becomes quite obvious that as a travel nurse, you need to hit the ground running and be well-prepared to handle the trials and tribulations that are sure to accompany your position.

You will need to remain unfazed by the fact that core staff may not always be available to answer any advanced clinical questions you may have.

Travel nurses need to have plenty of experience in patient care and need clinical hours under their belts to understand how to:

  • Work in a unit that may be understaffed
  • Stay organized
  • Remain calm under pressure
  • Prioritize tasks and supplies
  • Recognize when they need to reach out for help
  • Make informed, swift decisions

When it comes to travel nursing jobs, having no experience is typically a dealbreaker.

However, you shouldn’t let this discourage you!

Just because you do not have the immediate option of becoming a new grad travel RN, that doesn’t mean there are no other options for you to start moving toward your goal of becoming a travel nurse.


What Are The Requirements To Become a Travel Nurse as a New Grad?

Following your graduation from an accredited nursing program, the process for becoming a travel nurse is pretty straightforward.


Pass the NCLEX Exam

Once you are a qualified registered nurse, your next step to becoming a traveling nurse is to pass the NCLEX.

The National Council Licensure Examination is a test for the licensing of nurses in:

  • The United States
  • Canada; and 
  • Australia

Its focus is on using critical thinking skills to make nursing judgments involving patient care and determining if a nursing school grad is fully prepared to begin practicing as an entry-level nurse.




Hold RN Licensure 

Once you pass the NCLEX, your next step is to apply to your State’s Board of Nursing to obtain your nursing license.

This will involve sending the state board your:

  • Nursing transcripts
  • Application; and
  • Any required fees

But what happens if you received your nursing license in one state and want to be a travel nurse in a different state?

This is where the NLC — or Nurse Licensure Compact — can come into play. The NLC allows a nurse to hold a multi-state license, meaning they can practice in their home state, plus any other compact state.

At the moment, most states already participate in the NLC in some capacity with several more in pending legislation to join. 

The only caveat is that to qualify for a compact nursing license, you must currently reside in a compact license state. Check our Travel Nursing State Guide for more information about your home state and places you’re interested in traveling to.

So, what do you do if you don’t live in a state that participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact?

In that case, you would simply need to apply for licensure by endorsement to the State Board of Nursing in the state where you would like to practice.


Complete at Least One Year of RN Experience

Since the requirement for most travel nurse positions is at least one year of experience as a registered nurse, your next step is to land your first nursing position.

Curious about what specialties will best help you get your foot in the door for travel nursing positions? reports that the current highest-paying nursing specialties include:

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  2. Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse (NICU)
  3. Pain Management Nurse
  4. General Nurse Practitioner
  5. Certified Nurse Midwife
  6. Health Policy Nurse
  7. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  8. Registered Nurse First Assistant
  9. Nursing Administrator
  10. Family Nurse Practitioner
  11. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  12. Intensive Care Unit Nurse (ICU)
  13. Clinical Nurse Specialist
  14. Informatics Nurse
  15. Nurse Educator


new grad travel nurse agency


Are You a New Grad Interested in Travel Nursing But Missing That Required Experience? Here Are 5 Things You Can Do To Get There

If you are feeling discouraged because you are lacking in nursing experience, don’t be! Once you get the ball rolling and start in your nursing field, time will fly by and you’ll transition from new grad to travel nurse before you know it.

And it’s never too early to familiarize yourself with an essential tool for travel nurses — Pronto. Pronto is a job search built by the experienced professionals at Trusted Nurse Staffing — the same people who have been staffing nurses and allied healthcare professionals for over 15 years. 

We are an award-winning nurse staffing agency, earning industry recognition for our high standards of excellence and ongoing commitment to service. With Pronto, we’ve taken all the hassle out of the traditional recruitment process so you can focus on what matters most: finding a job you love and taking control of your career on your own terms.

In the meantime, here are five ways you can build your resume for future travel nursing jobs.


#1: Spend Time Working in an Acute-Care Setting

Facilities utilize travel nurses because they need people to fill gaps who need minimal supervision and who can hit the ground running. So getting consistent experience in one specialty or area is extremely valuable in the nursing profession.

One area of specialty you may want to check into is the med-surg unit.

Comparable to general medicine, this unit includes individuals who have been transferred from other acute care areas, including the surgery unit.

You will get a wide variety of experience while working in the med-surg unit and will become well-versed in a variety of areas, including:

  • Taking regular vitals
  • Administering meds
  • Starting IVs and giving IV medications
  • Blood transfusions
  • Class 1 telemetry
  • Cardiac drips
  • Respiratory care
  • Patient education
  • Changing dressings
  • Catheter insertion and removal




#2: Figure Out Your Specialty 

This is the perfect time to find your nursing niche by trying out different departments to see where you might like to specialize.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you consider landing on a specialty:

  • What was your favorite rotation during your nursing clinicals?
  • What shifts do you prefer?
  • Are there areas of nursing that you dislike?
  • Do you enjoy working in a high-energy setting?
  • Are you good at multitasking?
  • Are you able to think on your feet and quickly make a wise decision?
  • Do you have any physical or mental limitations that may keep you from choosing a specific area?

Also, keep in mind that your nursing specialty is not etched in stone. If you decide to change specialties at some point in your nursing career, it’s perfectly doable — and travel nursing is a great way to help you try out different areas of the field.


new grad travel nurse jobs


#3: Be Flexible

Flexibility is an important quality of life in general, and it’s particularly valuable in the field of nursing.

What does that look like as you are working on gaining experience to become a new grad travel nurse?

  • Being flexible in your choice of shifts and days off
  • Being willing to float to gain versatile skills
  • Considering taking a position that might not be your first choice for a specialty or hospital


#4: Get Advanced Certifications 

Continuing certifications will show your potential employers that you are proactive and that you care enough to want to provide the very best in patient care.

Here is a list of common advanced certifications you may want to consider:

  • CDN – Certified Dialysis Nurse
  • CPN – Certified Pediatric Nurse
  • CRNA – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • OCN – Oncology Certified Nurse
  • CHN – Community Health Nurse
  • BLS – Basic Life Support
  • ACLS – Advanced Cardiac Life Support

Not only will these certifications make you a more attractive travel nursing candidate, but they could also lead to higher pay.


#5: Talk to a Recruiter After You’ve Fulfilled Your New Grad Travel Nurse Requirements

You have completed your new grad travel nurse requirements.

Well done!

So, what’s next?

If you haven’t already gotten set up on Pronto, do that as soon as possible. You’ll create a profile, upload your credentials, and set your preferred job filters. Once you’ve done this, you can start applying to the jobs you want right away!

Next, you’ll be assigned a dream team of dedicated support staff to help you every step of the way.

At Trusted Nurse Staffing we have flexible opportunities ranging from per diem to 52-week assignments. And if you complete an assignment that you love, we can even help you extend it if it is a good fit for both you and our client.


How Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find Your First Job After You’ve Completed the New Grad Travel Nurse Requirements 

As the premier travel nurse agency, Trusted Nurse Staffing has the expertise needed to give new grads interested in being a travel RN a smooth transition into the field.

Why should you choose Trusted Nurse Staffing?

  • All of our travel nurses have 24-hour access to their recruiters.
  • We offer flexible contracts with everything from per diem to 52-week assignments.
  • Each new travel nurse receives a welcome box that includes swag from the Trusted Nurse Staffing store.
  • We provide medical, dental, and vision insurance plans.
  • We have a department devoted solely to quality assurance to guarantee that you have the best possible travel nurse experience.
  • Our loyalty program allows you to earn a wide variety of fun gifts.

And you won’t want to miss out on our newest perk: student loan assistance through the CARES Act. Once you’re a full-time employee who has worked at least 30 continuous days with Trusted Nurse Staffing, you’re eligible for tax-free student loan reimbursements of up to $5,250 per year.

No matter where you are on your travel nursing journey, Trusted Nurse Staffing is ready to help you find your next adventure.