Working in healthcare can be an enriching career path. There are many fields to choose from, and the demand for travelers isn’t slowing down. The best way to start entering the healthcare field and begin traveling is to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Alongside registered nurses, CNAs perform many physical and complex tasks, such as:
- Monitoring vital signs
- Assisting with patient mobility and transfers
- Performing hygiene tasks, such as bathing and grooming patients
- Serving and assisting with meals
- Coordinating patient care activities
- Communicating patient updates and concerns with healthcare staff
- Providing emotional support and companionship to patients
- Being available to aid as needed
Working as a CNA traveler can provide personal and professional growth by exposing you to different medical practices, diverse patient populations and offers more flexibility toward a better work-life balance, allowing you to choose where and when you work.
If you’re considering becoming a CNA or curious about how travel can advance your career, here are four ways to showcase this modality’s strengths and the heights you can achieve by hitting the road.
4 big benefits of becoming a CNA traveler
1. The ability to explore
The elephant in the job description is that becoming a CNA traveler means— being able to travel. Every new assignment is an opportunity to explore a new city and experience new adventures. Whether that means hiking in the mountains, surfing the ocean, or quietly sitting in a busy coffee shop reading— the world is your oyster.
2. Opportunities for increased pay
Travel CNAs typically earn an annual salary ranging from $40,000 to $70,000, depending on their location and level of experience. In 2023, the average hourly rate for travel CNAs is $37.43, significantly higher than that of $14.56 for full-time permanent positions.
Earning more money can mean a few things for CNAs. More can be put aside for savings, whether for emergencies, retirement, or other long-term goals, creating a comfortable sense of financial stability not found in different entry-level positions. And, of course, having more money can lead to an overall higher quality of life: upgrading your living situation, traveling more, or having the mental capacity to try new hobbies.
3. Flexibility and a better work/life balance
Piggybacking off that last sentiment, becoming a CNA traveler provides the opportunity to obtain a better work/life balance. Travel nursing offers much flexibility, allowing individuals to customize their job requirements based on their preferences. Travelers can discuss their salary requirements, scheduling preferences, the types of specialties they want to work in, and the length of their contracts with their recruiters to find fits that align with long-term goals and preferred lifestyles.
4. Professional growth and development
Traveling CNAs can work in a variety of facilities, each with its unique needs and requirements:
- Long-term and short-term care facilities: These include places like nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Lots of CNAs are needed to cover shifts and ensure that there isn’t a coverage gap.
- Hospitals: The shortages that hospitals continue to face need CNA travelers to relieve burnout, provide coverage during gaps in scheduling, and fill in for leaves of absence.
- Private homes: CNAs can work as private nurses in homes, providing safety, cleaning, and assistance with daily activities like bathing. This can be particularly helpful for elderly individuals who need extra hands.
Learning about different CNA positions and experiencing diverse teams and environments can help you create a unique resume and boost your professional growth. When searching for new CNA jobs, consider your goals. Is there a specific specialty you’d like to work in? Is there a particular facility you wish to work for? Are you dreaming about a certain part of the country you’d like eventually to plant roots? Target jobs that will enhance your experience and prepare you for your desired opportunities.
How to start your journey as a CNA traveler
No college degree is needed to receive a CNA certification, but you do need to obtain a high school diploma or a GED to take the classes required. Besides passing a CNA certification exam, you’ll need to complete a state-approved CNA training program, which can be done in community colleges, organizations like the American Red Cross, or even online. In these programs, you will learn about infection control, documentation, vital signs, direct patient care, anatomy and physiology, legal and ethical issues, and end-of-life care. Afterward, there is a minimum of 75 hours of in-person clinical requirements. One year of professional experience is needed to become a CNA traveler; a background check is standard.
If you’re a first-time traveler:
- Do your research! Before accepting any contract, make sure to research travel and living expenses, locations for housing, and the city you’ll be in so that you’re setting yourself up to be overwhelmed.
- Have your documents in order. It’s essential to have both physical and electronic documents organized to assist with taxes and compliance.
- Be upfront with your recruiter about what your priorities are. Do you want to be in the heart of a city or have more room to breathe? Are you thinking about bringing pets or a significant other along? Do you want a cheaper living space to save money or to splurge on a nest to settle in after a long day? Don’t be nervous to ask your recruiter questions. Healthcare traveling is a complex system, and your recruiter is there to guide you whenever you need it.
Take your healthcare career to the next level with Magnet Medical
Becoming a CNA traveler allows you to explore, gain invaluable experiences, and push yourself professionally and personally. So, if you’re in, we’re in with you. Magnet strives to provide smooth, exceptional experiences for all involved in healthcare. We offer 24/7/365 service to our travelers to guarantee we meet your needs.
We also know travelers need more than just adventure to keep them going. So, we provide benefits for their daily lives and where they’re headed.
Magnet traveler benefits include:
- Vacation pay
- Continuing education reimbursement
- Certification reimbursement
- License reimbursement
- 401K, competitive pay packages & disability benefits
Contact our team today to learn more about how to get started on your travel CNA path!