Top 10 Travel Nurse Certifications

This article will explore the top certifications for travel nurses, including requirements and benefits.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 14 min read

Certifications are important for travel nurses in the job market because they demonstrate a level of professional competence that is highly valued by employers. Certifications provide validation of a nurse’s knowledge and skills, as well as their ability to apply them in practice. They also serve as evidence that a nurse is up-to-date on the latest best practices and standards of care. Certification also helps travel nurses stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs, increasing their chances of being hired. Finally, certifications can help travel nurses gain access to higher pay and more desirable assignments.

This article reviews the top certifications for Travel Nurses and explains how they can contribute to a Travel Nurse's career by providing enhanced job opportunities and improved salary potential.

What are Travel Nurse Certifications?

Travel nurse certification is a credential that recognizes healthcare professionals for their specialized knowledge and skills in providing care to patients in the travel nursing field. This certification demonstrates a level of expertise in the area and can help distinguish those nurses who have gone above and beyond the basic training requirements of their profession.

The certification process involves an extensive educational program that covers topics such as travel nurse safety, patient advocacy, cultural competency, professional ethics, medical terminology, legal issues, financial management, and more. Upon completion of the coursework, the applicant must pass a written exam to prove their mastery of the material.

Having this certification on one’s resume can be beneficial for both current and prospective employers. It shows that the individual is dedicated to staying up-to-date on best practices in the industry, has a thorough understanding of how to provide quality care while traveling, and understands how to handle any potential legal or ethical issues that may arise while on assignment. Additionally, it can give employers confidence that they are hiring someone who is knowledgeable and well-prepared for their role as a travel nurse.

Overall, travel nurse certification is an important credential that can help demonstrate an individual's commitment to their profession and ensure they have access to top opportunities within the field.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the specific requirements for travel nurse certification in the state or country you plan to work in. Different states and countries can have different regulations and certifications, so it's important to make sure you understand the requirements before you start your travel nursing career.

Related: What does a Travel Nurse do?

Top 10 Travel Nurse Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Travel Nurses today.

1. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is a set of clinical algorithms and protocols developed by the American Heart Association (AHA) to provide high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in emergency situations. ACLS is an advanced form of CPR that includes a combination of life-saving skills such as chest compressions, airway management, defibrillation, and medication administration. It is designed to help healthcare providers respond quickly and appropriately to cardiac emergencies.

The AHA offers an Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider Course which can be completed in two days. The course covers topics such as basic life support, recognition and treatment of cardiovascular emergencies, airway management, rhythm recognition, pharmacology, and team dynamics. Upon successful completion of the course, participants receive an ACLS Provider Course Completion Card valid for two years.

The cost to take the ACLS Provider Course varies depending on the provider offering the course. Generally speaking, it costs around $200-$300 per person for the two-day course.

2. Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) is a certification course designed to teach healthcare providers the appropriate responses to life-threatening emergencies in pediatric patients. It focuses on the recognition and treatment of cardiopulmonary arrest, shock, and other respiratory or cardiac emergencies. The course covers topics such as airway management, resuscitation techniques, assessment of vital signs, pharmacology, and more.

The PALS course typically takes two days to complete and is offered by the American Heart Association (AHA). The cost of the course varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $200 - $400. To obtain PALS certification, participants must attend an AHA-approved training center and successfully pass both written and practical examinations.

3. Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)

The Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) is a comprehensive educational program designed to teach healthcare professionals the skills and knowledge necessary to resuscitate newborns. The NRP is jointly sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the American Red Cross (ARC).

The NRP course consists of an online self-directed learning module, followed by a hands-on skills session. The online module takes approximately 4 hours to complete, and the hands-on skills session lasts approximately 3 hours. Participants must successfully complete both components before they receive certification.

To get certified in NRP, you must register for a course at an approved training center. You can find approved training centers in your area by searching on the AAP website or contacting your local AAP chapter. The cost of the NRP course varies depending on where you take it; however, most courses range from $50-$150 per person.

4. Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)

Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) is a certification offered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). The CEN certification is designed to recognize nurses who have demonstrated expertise in emergency nursing and provides them with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in emergency care.

The CEN certification requires nurses to pass an exam that covers topics such as patient assessment, trauma management, pharmacology, medical emergencies, and critical care. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within three hours.

To be eligible for the CEN certification, applicants must have at least two years of experience as a registered nurse in an emergency department or equivalent setting. Additionally, applicants must hold a current RN license in the United States or its territories.

The cost of the CEN exam varies depending on when you take it. If you take the exam before December 31st each year, it will cost $225 for BCEN members and $325 for non-members. If you take the exam after December 31st each year, it will cost $250 for BCEN members and $350 for non-members.

5. Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC)

The Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) is a two-day course designed to provide nurses with the knowledge and skills necessary to care for trauma patients. The course focuses on the recognition and management of trauma patients, as well as providing an understanding of the principles of trauma nursing. It is offered through the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA).

The TNCC course takes approximately 16 hours to complete, including lectures and hands-on skills practice. Course topics include: assessment, airway management, respiratory care, shock management, fluid resuscitation, wound care, patient positioning and transport, and trauma team dynamics.

To get TNCC certification you must attend an approved TNCC program. You can find a list of approved programs on the ENA website. The cost of the program varies depending on location but typically ranges from $200-$400 USD.

Once you have completed your TNCC program, you will be eligible to take the TNCC exam which consists of multiple choice questions related to trauma nursing care. Passing this exam will earn you your certification in Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC).

6. Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN)

Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) is a national certification offered by the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB). It is designed to recognize registered nurses who have demonstrated expertise in medical-surgical nursing practice. The CMSRN credential is awarded to nurses who pass an exam that tests their knowledge and skills in medical-surgical nursing.

It typically takes about three months to prepare for the exam, although some nurses may be able to complete their preparation more quickly. Preparation typically involves studying textbooks and other resources related to medical-surgical nursing, as well as taking practice exams.

To get the CMSRN credential, you must first meet the eligibility requirements, which include having a current RN license and at least two years of full-time or equivalent experience in direct patient care within the past three years. You must also provide proof of continuing education credits related to medical-surgical nursing. Once you meet these requirements, you can register for the exam online.

The cost of the CMSRN exam varies depending on where you take it, but typically ranges from $350-$400.

7. Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)

A Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) is a specialized type of RN who has completed additional training and certification to provide care for critically ill patients. CCRNs must have at least two years of experience in critical care nursing, be licensed as a registered nurse, and pass the CCRN exam. The CCRN exam is offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

It typically takes about one year to prepare for the CCRN exam. This includes completing required coursework, taking practice exams, and studying for the test. To get started, you will need to obtain an application packet from the AACN website or contact their office directly. Once your application is approved, you can register for the exam and pay the associated fee.

The cost of the CCRN exam varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically ranges from $400-$600 USD. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with preparing for the exam such as study materials or review courses.

8. Travel Health Nursing Certification (THNC)

Travel Health Nursing Certification (THNC) is a certification program for registered nurses who want to specialize in travel health. The program is administered by the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). To obtain the certification, nurses must demonstrate their knowledge and experience in travel health nursing by completing an online application and passing an exam.

The application process includes submitting a resume, references, and proof of current licensure as a registered nurse. Once approved, the applicant will be given access to an online exam that covers topics such as infectious diseases, immunizations, pre-travel consultation, post-travel follow-up care, and cultural competency. The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions and must be completed within two hours.

In order to maintain the certification, nurses must renew it every five years by completing at least 40 hours of continuing education related to travel health nursing. The cost for taking the initial exam is $400 USD. Renewal fees are $200 USD every five years.

9. International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners Certification (IBCLC)

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLC) Certification is a certification program that recognizes the expertise of health care professionals who specialize in helping mothers and families with breastfeeding. The IBCLC credential is recognized worldwide as the gold standard for lactation consultants.

To become certified, individuals must meet certain educational and clinical requirements. This includes completing at least 90 hours of lactation-specific education, passing an exam, and having at least 1000 hours of experience in lactation management over the past five years.

It usually takes between one and two years to complete all the requirements for certification. Individuals must first complete the required coursework, followed by passing the exam administered by IBLCE. After passing the exam, applicants must submit documentation demonstrating their experience in lactation management to receive their certification.

The cost for IBCLC certification varies depending on where you live and what type of courses you take. Typically, it can cost anywhere from $500-$2000 USD to become certified.

10. Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)

A Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) is a specialized type of registered nurse who has received additional training and certification to provide medical care to patients during air transport. The CFRN designation is granted by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN).

To become certified as a CFRN, nurses must have at least two years of experience in critical care nursing and pass an exam administered by BCEN. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as air medical operations, patient assessment, emergency pharmacology, and aeromedical physiology.

The cost of the exam is $325 for BCEN members and $400 for non-members. It typically takes about four hours to complete the exam. Once a nurse passes the exam, they will be awarded the CFRN credential and will be able to practice flight nursing.

Do You Really Need a Travel Nurse Certificate?

The answer to whether or not you need a travel nurse certificate is, it depends. It depends on where you want to work, what types of positions you are looking for, and the requirements of the facility or agency.

If you are interested in working as a travel nurse, then having a certificate may be beneficial. A travel nurse certificate can provide evidence that you have been trained in the necessary skills required to perform the job. It can also demonstrate that you have taken additional courses related to working with patients who are traveling and away from home. Having this certification may give employers confidence in your skills and qualifications and make them more likely to hire you for a travel nursing position.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a traditional nursing role that does not involve travel nursing, then having a certificate may not be necessary. The majority of facilities will still require that applicants have some form of certification or license before they can begin employment. However, having a travel nurse certificate might help your resume stand out from the rest when applying for these types of jobs.

Overall, it is up to each individual to decide if they need or want to pursue a travel nurse certificate. If it is something that interests you and would benefit your career goals, then by all means go ahead and get one!

Related: Travel Nurse Resume Examples

FAQs About Travel Nurse Certifications

1. What certifications do I need to become a Travel Nurse?

A: To become a travel nurse, you will need to have a valid RN license in the state you plan to work in, as well as any additional certifications required by the facility where you will be working. Depending on your specialty, you may also need to obtain certifications such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and/or Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP).

2. How often do I need to renew my certification?

A: Depending on the certification, renewal requirements can vary. Generally, most certifications will need to be renewed every two years. It is important that you keep track of when your certifications expire so that you can ensure they are kept up-to-date.

3. What is the process for obtaining certification?

A: The process for obtaining certification will depend on the type of certification needed and can range from completing an online course or attending an in-person class to taking a written exam or completing clinical training hours.

4. Are there any special requirements for travel nurses?

A: Yes, depending on the state and facility where you plan to work as a travel nurse, there may be additional requirements such as obtaining additional certifications or completing specific training courses prior to beginning your assignment.

5. What if I forget to renew my certifications before they expire?

A: If your certifications expire while on assignment, it is important that you renew them as soon as possible in order to remain compliant with regulations and avoid any potential penalties or fines. You should contact your staffing agency and/or the facility where you are working for guidance on how best to handle this situation.

Related articles

Top 16 Travel Nurse Resume Objective Examples

This article provides readers with examples of effective travel nurse resume objectives and tips on how to create their own.

What does a Travel Nurse do?

Learn all about Travel Nurse duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Travel Nurse.

Top 10 Travel Specialist Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best travel specialist certifications to help you become a qualified and successful travel consultant.

Top 10 Travel Coordinator Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best certifications for travel coordinators, including details on requirements and benefits.

Top 10 Travel Consultant Certifications

This article explores the best certifications for travel consultants, including their benefits and requirements.

Top 10 Corporate Travel Agent Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most popular and sought-after certifications for corporate travel agents.