So, you want to enter the lucrative field of healthcare travel? Embarking on a career as a travel nurse or allied health traveler gives you the chance to blend your passion for helping others with the thrill of exploring new places across the country. But how do you get started?
Whether you’re an aspiring nurse or allied health professional, finishing your degree, or working as a perm staff member, we’re here to help guide you toward success. These are the steps to get started as a traveling healthcare professional.
- Complete the required education
- Get licensed in your field
- Gain real-life experience on the job
- Apply for travel jobs through a reliable agency
- Interview with healthcare facilities
- Prepare for your first healthcare travel assignment
- ✨BONUS ✨Frequently asked questions
How To Get Started in Healthcare Travel: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Complete the required education
No matter what type of medical professional you are or want to be — from nursing to medical technology to physical therapy and beyond — you must meet specific educational requirements and complete an accredited program related to your field. Oftentimes, you’ll need to acquire an associate, bachelor’s, master’s degree, or doctoral degree, depending on your area of practice.
Associate degree medical jobs
🎓 Certified nursing assistants
Bachelor’s degree medical jobs
Master’s degree medical jobs
🎓 Health educators
Doctoral degree medical jobs
🎓 Laboratory pathologists
2. Get licensed in your field
Now that step one is complete and you have the appropriate degree in hand, it’s time to obtain your healthcare licensure. The process for doing so varies depending on your specific healthcare profession, but typically involves passing a standardized examination that verifies your knowledge and competency.
For example, nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination, aka NCLEX, while physical therapists must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination, or NPTE. Eventually, you can apply for compact licensure, which will allow you to work and travel across the country without having to get multiple state licenses.
Once you’ve aced your test, you can apply for a professional license from your state’s licensing board. But the fun doesn’t stop when you receive your license. If you want to keep it, you must participate in ongoing education and licensure renewals at intervals specified by your particular licensing board. Getting licensed is an important step when entering nursing or allied health professions because it demonstrates your skills and commitment to your career, as well as to your patients.
3. Gain real-life experience on the job
Equipped with your degree and licensure, you may be ready to hit the road and officially call yourself a travel nurse or allied health traveler. But there is one more item on your to-do list that you need to cross off before applying to travel jobs and that’s to gain IRL experience in your healthcare profession.
Generally, to become an allied health traveler or travel nurse, you’ll need at least one year of experience in a healthcare setting. The only exceptions to this rule are occupational therapists, COTAs, physical therapists, and PTAs who can start traveling right after graduation.
Having healthcare experience under your belt before traveling enhances your expertise, hones your problem-solving capabilities, and gives you the confidence needed to handle tough situations. This step in becoming a travel nurse or allied health traveler bridges the gap between academic knowledge and practical application, ensuring that you’re fully ready to provide top-notch care wherever you are.
4. Apply for travel jobs through a reliable agency
Your moment to shine has finally arrived. With steps one through three behind you, you can get your name out there and apply for travel jobs through a reliable allied health and travel nursing agency, like us at Fusion Medical Staffing!
Before you submit your job application, make sure your healthcare resume is up to date, highlighting your most recent experience, special skills, and education/training. Then, complete an online quick app (or full application) and don’t forget to fill out your skills checklist!
From this point in the travel process, you’ll be vetted by an App Specialist who will make sure you have the proper qualifications and credentials for the job you applied for. If all goes well, you’ll be matched with a Fusion Medical Staffing recruiter. Here, your recruiter is your personal cheerleader who will be by your side for the entirety of your Fusion Medical Staffing travel journey.
After you’ve connected with your allied health or travel nurse recruiter, they’ll get to know you more and build an internal profile that will help them help you find assignments that align with your lifestyle. Using this information, the resume team creates a Fusion Medical Staffing-specific resume that’s shared with hiring managers at various medical facilities across the country.
5. Interview with healthcare facilities
Your recruiter found a job that checks all your boxes, now what? Now you get to show the hospital or healthcare facility exactly what you’re made of in a phone interview.
Job interviews can be intimidating; however, they’re necessary to not only ensure you’re a good fit for the facility, but that the facility is also a good fit for you. Most times, the interview process includes questions about your work experience, capabilities, and adaptability, plus extra time for you to ask the interviewer questions.
It won’t be long after the interview that you find out if you got the job, and knowing you, the chances of getting hired are high! As long as you and the facility vibe, they’ll send a travel contract to your allied health or travel nurse recruiter, who will then share it with you to make sure the job details fit what you’re looking for.
All signs point to yes? The last step of the process is to work alongside your Fusion Medical Staffing team, including your recruiter, clinical liaisons, and compliance specialists, to complete any facility requirements.
The job offer isn’t what you thought it would be? Luckily, your recruiter can help you negotiate more favorable contract terms or point you in an entirely new direction that may better fulfill your needs. Either way, you call the shots — we’re simply here to bring your vision to life.
6. Prepare for your first healthcare travel assignment
Finished school. ✅ Passed the licensure exam. ✅ Collected a year of experience. ✅ Applied for travel jobs. ✅ Interviewed with the healthcare facility. ✅ What’s next?
The final to-do item to become a travel nurse or allied health traveler is to get ready for your very first travel assignment! Prepping for your first travel job looks different for everyone and can include everything from pre-travel housekeeping to packing your bags to obtaining additional state licensure, and then some. Other tasks could be researching your destination, printing copies of essential documents, or finding pet-friendly housing.
Preparing for this new adventure in advance will smoothen the transition and boost your self-confidence, allowing you to enter your first day on the job feeling like your best self.
Frequently asked questions
Who can become a healthcare traveler?
Healthcare travelers like travel nurses and allied health professionals exist to fill staffing gaps in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. So, almost any health professional can enter the world of travel, as long as there’s a need for your role. The most popular traveling healthcare jobs are in nursing, physical and occupational therapy, and imaging services.
What allied and travel nurse specialties make the most money?
The more specialized your healthcare area of expertise, the more money you can make as a traveler. For example, professionals who work in the intensive care unit (ICU), operating room (OR), and labor and delivery (L&D) unit tend to make the highest salaries across the industry.
The reason these specialized positions have an increased travel nurse salary is because of their inherent complexity and the level of training required. Additionally, traveling healthcare professionals like you make more than your staff counterparts due to housing stipends, travel reimbursements, referrals, and other financial benefits that can amplify your earning potential.
What are the benefits of being a travel nurse or allied health traveler?
A career as a travel nurse or allied health traveler comes with a unique set of advantages. Are you ready for it? These are just a few perks of being a healthcare traveler:
😏 High pay
😏 Continuous education/training
😏 Job security
😏 Enhanced flexibility
😏 Travel opportunities
Why should I travel with Fusion Medical Staffing?
Spoiler alert: choosing to work with Fusion Medical Staffing will be the best (and easiest!) decision you’ve ever made.
Not only do we have comprehensive benefits ranging from day one medical insurance and $0 copay for mental health services (for you and your partner), but we also offer bonus benefits that you can’t find anywhere else. To name a few, think short-term disability, professional liability insurance, the Lifeworks employee assistance program, identity theft protection, paid time off, and passionate recruiters who serve as your main point of contact. To top it off, we have a dedicated housing department to help you find where you’ll temporarily live if finding your own place isn’t your forte.
No matter what type of healthcare traveler you are, we’re here to provide the resources and support you need to be successful, fulfilled, and happy in your career.
Want to do what you love and love what you do? Healthcare travel could be the move for you. Regardless of where you are in the process, at the beginning stages or gassed up and ready to cross the finish line, there’s no wrong time to launch your healthcare travel career. And now you know how!