How to Become a Travel Nurse in Canada


Working as a travel nurse is a great way to use your background in nursing while getting to experience various workplaces and travel around the country to help areas with the greatest need for extra care. However, there are a few steps to take to become a travel nurse in Canada, such as getting the proper credentials and experience in the field. Here are some more details about how to become a travel nurse in Canada, with steps you can follow to jumpstart your career.

Get Registered as a Nurse

The first step you can take toward establishing a career as a travel nurse in Canada is securing your Registered Nurse (RN) credential. To become a registered nurse in Canada, you’ll need to complete high school, attend a nursing program, show proficiency in English, and apply for a nursing license. When choosing which nursing program to attend, it’s important to make sure your program is accredited by the Canadian Nursing Association (CAN) or another credentialing body that’s specific to your province. After you graduate and get your RN credential, you can keep working toward a travel nurse position.

Build Experience in Critical Care

After you become a registered nurse, spend at least two years building professional experience in critical care. This is an essential part of the process, as travel nurses in Canada most often help in critical care departments like the ICU and the NICU. As you earn more experience in critical care, you’ll learn about key operations and protocols for travel nurses that will help you succeed once you start taking travel nurse contracts on your own.

Show Proficiency in English and French


Another important step in becoming a travel nurse who works in Canada is proving your proficiency in the English and French languages. This is because Canada has both English and French as its national languages, with some provinces using primarily French, like Quebec.

While provinces like Quebec that use French heavily typically require French proficiency for travel nurses, it’s also beneficial to familiarize yourself with French if you plan to work in a different province. This will help ensure you can provide outstanding care to every patient you meet, as you’ll be able to find people in almost any area of Canada who speak French as their first language.

Research Travel Nursing Agencies

When exploring travel nursing opportunities in Canada, start by researching various agencies to compare their reputation, contract offerings, and support services. Agencies differ in the benefits they provide, such as housing, insurance, and completion bonuses. Look into their requirements, such as experience levels and specific nursing credentials. Evaluate how well each agency aligns with your career goals, including opportunities for professional growth and locations of interest. Checking reviews and seeking feedback from current or former travel nurses about their experiences with these agencies can provide invaluable insights. This step ensures you partner with an agency that not only offers attractive contracts but also supports your overall career aspirations.

Obtain Additional Certifications

Enhancing your qualifications through specialized certifications, like Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), can significantly boost your attractiveness to travel nursing agencies and healthcare facilities. These certifications demonstrate your commitment to providing high-quality care and your ability to handle complex patient care scenarios. Moreover, they can open up more job opportunities, including in specialized units that require such certifications. Investing time and resources into obtaining these credentials can set you apart in the competitive travel nursing market, potentially leading to higher pay rates and more desirable assignments.

Develop Cultural Competence


Canada’s cultural diversity, especially in regions with significant Indigenous populations, necessitates a high level of cultural competence for healthcare professionals. Developing an understanding of the cultural norms, values, and health beliefs of the communities you’ll be serving is crucial. This competence enables you to provide culturally sensitive care, fostering trust and rapport with patients from diverse backgrounds. Engaging in cultural competency training or workshops can equip you with the skills needed to navigate cross-cultural healthcare scenarios effectively, enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.

Understand Healthcare Regulations

Each Canadian province and territory has its own healthcare regulations, licensing requirements, and scope of practice for nurses. Familiarizing yourself with these regulations is essential for ensuring compliance and maintaining professional standards. This knowledge is also vital for travel nurses who move between jurisdictions, as it helps in adapting to different healthcare environments quickly. Staying informed about legislative changes and updates in nursing practice through professional nursing bodies or regulatory authorities is a proactive approach to managing your career in travel nursing.

Network with Peers

Networking with other travel nurses and healthcare professionals can provide support, advice, and valuable insights into the travel nursing lifestyle. Joining online forums, social media groups, or attending networking events can connect you with a community of peers who understand the unique challenges and rewards of travel nursing. Sharing experiences and advice can help you navigate the complexities of travel assignments, from adjusting to new clinical settings to managing work-life balance on the road.

Consider Housing and Travel Arrangements

Accommodation and transportation are critical aspects of travel nursing. Researching housing options near your assignment location is essential for ensuring comfort and convenience during your stay. Some travel nursing agencies offer housing stipends or accommodations, while others leave it up to the nurse to arrange. Likewise, consider your travel options between assignments, including the feasibility of driving, public transportation, or flights, and how these are supported or reimbursed by your agency.

Prepare Financially


Travel nursing can involve unique financial considerations, from managing licensing fees across provinces to budgeting for travel and accommodation expenses. Understanding the tax implications, including deductions and allowances related to travel nursing, can help you maximize your earnings. Setting aside funds for professional development, such as additional certifications or conferences, can also be beneficial for career growth.

Stay Flexible and Adaptable

The nature of travel nursing requires a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. Assignments can change, and schedules may vary, necessitating an open-minded approach to each new role. Embracing these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning can enhance your resilience and job satisfaction. Developing adaptability skills enables you to thrive in diverse healthcare settings, making you a valuable asset to any team or facility.

Obtain the Necessary Licensure

Before you start working as a travel nurse in Canada, you’ll need to get licensed. The travel nurse licensing requirements include getting a Candian Nursing License in the province or territory you want to work in and holding citizenship or proper documentation as a landed immigrant. Once you pass your licensing exams and pay any related fees, you can start accepting contracts as a travel nurse in the province where you’re licensed to practice.

These are the steps you can take to become a travel nurse in Canada. Whether you’re a registered nurse with several years of experience who’s looking to change career paths or a new graduate who’s evaluating different career options, knowing the process of becoming a travel nurse in Canada can guide your efforts to ensure you’re prepared for the job.