From LPN to Travel Nurse

Many people who want to go into nursing choose to begin their careers as LPNs (licensed practical nurses) since it often is the fastest track into the profession of nursing. There are approximately 700,000 LPNs practicing in the US. Becoming an LPN requires completing a state-approved practical nursing program of study and passing the NCLEX-PN exam for licensure.

However, if you aspire to other types of nursing, whether it’s an advanced practice degree, or specializing in one area, or even becoming a travel nurse — you’re going to need to head back to the classroom. That’s because before you pack your bags to head toward a travel nursing career, you need to become a registered nurse (RN), and accumulate at least one year of experience working as one.’

The roles of the LPN and RN are different. Generally, LPNs provide basic medical and nursing care and often work in long term care settings. RNs administer more medications, have oversight of the nursing team, and use more critical thinking skills.


Step One: Become an RN

As mentioned above, to become a travel nurse, you must earn the registered nurse (RN) licensure. Becoming an RN can take anywhere from two to four years, depending on the type of educational program you choose and whether you go full or part-time.

While the minimum education required to become an RN is an associate degree, if you’re already an LPN, there could be an even faster way. To fast track your RN training, to find out more about this call us today at 877-682-5601. 

Step Two: Gain Experience in the Field

The other major requirement to become a travel nurse is that you must be a working RN for at least one year. Unfortunately, you can’t speed up this part of the preparation. The idea is that you must hone your everyday nursing skills and get plenty of hands-on patient care practice before you can take your practice on the road.

Perhaps you would want to spend some of that year working in nursing you’d like to pursue for a future travel contract. If the opportunity presents itself, try out different areas of patient care to find the one that are a good fit for your interest and skills.

Step Three: Making Yourself Marketable

Once you have an RN license and one year of experience, you now have the minimum qualifications needed to become a travel nurse.

However, if you want to set yourself apart from the job competition, it’s a good idea to specialize or get a certification in a area of nursing (like ICU, Oncology, or ER) certification. 

Step Four: Starting the Travel Nurse Job Hunt

When you’re ready to start looking into travel nursing jobs, know that you might have to obtain your RN license in the new states you wish to practice, and that process can take a few weeks to months to occur. If you are from and are planning to work in a compact license state, however, it may only require some basic paperwork since your multi-state license will follow you.

Going from LPN to travel nurse might seem like a long journey, but it’s a necessary one since you’ll learn so much along the way to prepare you for each new venture. Once you finally do get started as a travel nurse, you’ll then have many job options across the United States as a travel nurse.



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