How Do I Become a Travel Social Worker?

Now that we have the "What is travel social work question" covered in a basic form, let's tackle the most frequent question I come across:  How do I become a travel social worker?  I'm going to take you back before I get to the answer.

Over a decade ago, I was sitting in my friend's apartment in NYC on Christmas day.  We were playing Wii Fitness and he mentioned that his mom, a nurse, was back in town from Hawai'i, where she had been spending 9 months out of every year for the past five years working at a hospital as a Travel RN.  WHAT?  She does WHAT?  "Why doesn't this exist for me?" was my only thought.  Back then, it just didn't.  So I plugged along in the workforce, moving up the ladder.  The higher you go, the further away from direct practice you get.

About three years ago, I found myself itching to get out of a director position, and with the summer off, I applied for what I thought was a temporary job in Chicago - where I was then living - at a hospital.  The job was for 13 weeks, which was perfect.  I applied.  A few days later, I was contacted by a recruiter who informed me this was a travel position.  I couldn't believe it.  Travel Social Work!  And I just fell into it!  While that recruiter didn't help me with much (another topic for another day), I was outreached by someone else, who was happy to answer my questions and communicate openly with me about the process.  The Chicago position never manifested, but three weeks later, I found myself driving across the country with my cat to start a position in San Jose, CA.

Since then, I've discovered a number of agencies with these positions.  So if you're wondering how do I become a travel social worker, the simple answer is, apply.  Take action.  The beauty of this business is that if a recruiter contacts you, work with them, openly communicate about what you are looking for and let them help you.

If you're looking for concrete steps:
  • Create a LinkedIn profile
    • Include in your headline that you're interested in Travel Social Work opportunities
    • Ensure that your online resume includes that you've work in hospitals, home health agencies, hospices, or whatever type of Travel Assignment you're seeking.
    • Include in your online resume what electronic health records you're familiar with - keeping in mind that your facility might call its version of Epic something else (call it Epic in your online resume)
  • Apply.  Fill out applications on websites like AMN, MedPartners, Meleeo, Magellan.  Heck, if you want even more specifics, check out my post, "Which Agency Do I choose?"  
    • I say in the beginning, choose multiple agencies.  It really doesn't hurt to apply.
Think about it this way:  if you over analyze, scour the job postings and think you're not fully qualified for anything you see posted, you may miss out on one of the most amazing opportunities of your lifetime.  For what?  A little worry?  A little fear?  I ask you this:  if you are incredibly happy in your current position, why look at travel social work?

So really, just apply!  A recruiter will let you know which opportunities will fit.  Heck, I first applied for a short term position in Chicago and ended up in California.  That was because I wanted to travel and was open to where I could go.


Exploring the Pacific Northwest at Olympic National Park


  1. Replies
    1. Absolutely! I really do say, just take action. If you don't qualify for something, the recruiter will work with you to find something that works!!!

  2. This was huge information for all ,those who needed these type article. This was really good and of course knowledgeable. Thank you for sharing this much information with us.Agency Social Work Jobs 


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