Travel Nurse Employment FAQs – Medical Express
Medical Express - Travel Nursing Job Site for Nursing Professionals

Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Questions About Travel Nurse Employment

To help you get to know us a little better, we have compiled answers to many of the most frequently asked questions we hear from healthcare professionals.

If you're thinking about travel nurse employment, or even if you've worked in this field before and want to switch companies, we know you have questions about us, our assignments and what we have to offer.

If you don't see your question here, please call us at (800) 544-7255 or drop us a line at

Click on any of these questions to get an answer: 

Getting started with Medical Express 

About travel assignments 

Compensation and bonuses 


Housing and travel 

Getting started with Medical Express 

What do I need to do to get started as a Medical Express traveler?
The very first step you need to take is to apply with Medical Express in 3 easy steps. Complete your online application, skills checklist and professional reference request. Once your forms are approved, a recruiter will get in touch with you to begin the process of finding the right assignment for you.

What are the minimum requirements for travel nurse employment?
The minimum experience requirements depend on your area of specialty, the facility, unit and sometimes even the location. The facilities we work with have different requirements and preferences, but the majority request a minimum of 18 months of experience. For some specialties such as Med-Surg, Psych and Rehab, the minimum can be as high as two years, and for LPN/LVN the minimum is typically six years.


How can I determine if a travel nursing career is right for me?
If you enjoy diversity in your work environment and feel stimulated by constantly expanding your knowledge and exploring new ways of doing things, then a travel nursing career is probably a great choice for you. With each new assignment you'll have the opportunity to boost your career by working alongside seasoned professionals and utilizing state-of-the-art techniques. If you love exploring new places and meeting new people, travel nurse employment could be just what you're looking for!

Is beginning a career in travel nursing career a smart move in tough economic times?
Demand for travel nurses continues to grow and with salary ranges for travel nurses at all time highs, a career in travel nursing may be just what you need to get ahead of the economy.

As a travel nurse, you can choose an assignment at a location where the cost of living is lower and salaries higher to increase your earnings power. You’ll also enjoy the security of knowing that when you work with Medical Express, you’ll always have thousands of facility choices in all 50 states—including Guaranteed Pay assignments. Once you’ve started your assignment, you can work with your recruiter to start planning your next position, or in many cases, extend at the same facility.  Our generous benefits, including free housing and increased travel reimbursement, add even more job and income security during these uncertain economic times.

Are there any fees associated with your service?
No, never. Our services are entirely free to you.

How quickly can I begin working as a travel nurse?
Some travel nurses start their first assignment within two weeks of submitting their application, while others plan their assignments several months down the road. How quickly you can get started depends on whether your documentation is in order and licensure is current for the state where you want to practice. We will work with you to help you get all your credential requirements organized in time for your assignment start date.

Do I have to commit to a long-term contract?
No, your commitment to Medical Express only extends for the length of the travel assignment you agree to take. At the end of your assignment you are free to make your own choices.

Can I take your housing if I bring a pet or family member?
Absolutely! It's a great way to explore the country and to share the new discoveries of your travel experiences. You will be provided with free, private housing, and if you're traveling with your furry companion, you may be required to pay a pet deposit. Refer to our housing section for more details.

What about the licensing requirements for different states?
You need a license for every state in which you accept travel nurse employment. Each state has different licensing rules and regulations, and most states require a fee and verification. Your recruiter and quality management specialist will assist you every step of the way to make the process as simple as possible. For more information, go to our licensure information page.

About travel assignments 

Where do you offer travel assignments?
We work in thousands of facilities in all 50 states. Whether you want to work in one of the nation's big cities, like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia or Houston, or a small town in New England, the Midwest or Alaska, we have a wide choice of assignments for you.

What kinds of facilities will I be able to work at?
Our travelers work primarily in hospital settings. The size of the hospitals can range from large university teaching facilities to remote community hospitals. You get to decide what kind of facility is right for you.

How long are travel assignments?
Our typical travel assignment is 13 weeks. However, travel nurse employment can range from 8 to 52 weeks, depending on the needs of the facility. Many times you can extend an assignment you particularly enjoy.

How do I choose an assignment?
You and your recruiter will discuss your assignment expectations, goals and your desired destination. Once your recruiter knows what you are looking for, you will be presented with available assignments, including details on the facility, pay rates, shifts, unit and bonuses. From that list you will interview with the facilities of your choice over the phone. After the interview you and your recruiter will decide whether the assignment, the facility and the work environment match your needs.

When am I committed to an assignment?
After interviewing with the facility, they will decide if they want to extend an offer to you. Once you are presented with an offer, you can decide if you want to accept the assignment. You are never obligated to accept an assignment, and turning down an offer will not affect any of your future assignments.

Will I work full-time or part-time?
All of our assignments are for full time 36- or 40-hour weeks. Many assignments also offer the opportunity to work overtime.

What happens after I complete my assignment?
Once your assignment ends you have a number of options. You can travel to a new assignment, possibly extend your current assignment, apply for a permanent position at your current facility, or return home and travel at a later date.

Are travel assignments available for two nurses wishing to go to the same city?
Sure! Many of our travelers choose to travel together. We can arrange for you to share a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment or condo for free, or you can organize your own housing and we'll give you a generous housing stipend every month.

Does Medical Express offer clinical support?
Absolutely! Our experienced clinical liaisons—many have been travel nurses themselves—are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you with any clinical issue or concern you may have while on assignment.

Compensation and bonuses 

How much will I be paid?
With our new take home pay rates, you can now earn up to 15% more each paycheck. The take home pay program from Medical Express now includes a daily meal and incidental allowance. This means your pay package will have a new tax free component in addition to a set pay rate. All of our traveling healthcare professionals will be getting the meals and incidental allowance. But remember, by maintaining a permanent tax home, you will see even more money in your take home pay. If you don’t maintain a permanent tax home—don’t worry. You will still receive the meal and incidental allowance; however the allowance will be taxed.

How is our Take Home Pay plan different from others?
Unlike some other “tax advantage” programs, our take home pay package complies with IRS guidelines.  You can feel confident knowing that our team of tax professionals worked diligently to research all applicable tax laws, making our traveling nurses the first priority. Our program offers a consistent and easy payment structure, which could eliminate the need for you to track receipts—making things easy for you! 

Unlike a typical tax advantage plan other travel companies might offer, with Medical Express, your overtime rate is still paid on a competitive hourly rate, instead of an artificially lowered rate.  In addition, other items that are affected by your base pay rate, such as social security, disability and even credit scores will not suffer any drastic changes.

You can read more about our new take home pay plan and permanent tax home statuses on our More Take Home Pay page.

Does Medical Express offer shift differentials?
Yes, the majority of our assignments offer shift differentials for evening and night shifts, giving you the opportunity to earn extra pay for each hour worked during your travel nurse employment.

When and how will I be paid?
When you take an assignment with Medical Express, you will be paid directly from our payroll. We provide payment by direct deposit into your bank account every two weeks. If you'd prefer, we can mail your check directly to you by overnight mail.

Do you offer completion bonuses?
Most definitely! Many of our facilities offer generous completion bonuses ranging from $500 to $6,000. Ask your recruiter for further details.

Will I earn a bonus if I refer a friend to Medical Express?
Yes, we encourage you to refer your friends and coworkers to Medical Express. To show our appreciation we will send you $500 when your friend completes his or her 13-week assignment. For more information, visit our Refer a Friend page.


What does your benefits package include?
As a Medical Express employee, you will enjoy one of the most comprehensive benefits packages in the industry. Besides earning competitive pay, we also offer our healthcare professionals free, private housing,comprehensive health insurance coverage, dental insurance, life insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan, free continuing education, generous travel reimbursements, incentive programs and much more. For more information, please visit our pay and benefits section.

Can I add my spouse or children to my insurance?
Certainly. You can add your spouse or children to your insurance for an additional premium, which we'll deduct from your paycheck on a pretax basis.

Will I still have health benefits if I'm between assignments?
Yes. You can take up to 30 days off between assignments and still maintain your full health benefits.

Do you offer free continuing education?
Yes, we do. Because your professional development is so important to us, we offer free continuing education courses to all our mobile professionals through our service partner, This fully accredited site offers more than 200 contact hours online and an instant certificate upon successful completion of your course.

Housing and travel 

Is housing really free?
Yes, that is one of the great perks of travel nurse employment. For all company-paid assignments, you will be provided with free, private, one-bedroom accommodations. In some locations, you may be housed in a studio apartment. We go out of our way to ensure that you are accommodated in a safe, attractive neighborhood, close to your workplace. We even furnish your apartment and arrange for utilities, prior to your arrival.

What type of housing do you provide?
Medical Express only works with pre-screened, preferred housing companies in an effort to provide you with well-appointed accommodations in desirable neighborhoods close to your assignment facility. Typically our housing consists of a free, private, one-bedroom or studio apartment in a safe, secure, high-quality community. Many properties include amenities such as swimming pools, spas, fitness centers and clubhouses. Your housing will be in move-in condition upon your arrival, complete with furniture and utilities. Visit our housing section for more details.

Will Medical Express provide housing if I travel with my family or friends?
Absolutely! We will provide you with free, private, one-bedroom accommodations in a comfortable, well-maintained community close to your workplace. We can also provide you with private two-bedroom accommodations. You may be required to pay a nominal fee for private, two-bedroom housing. If you prefer, you can arrange your own housing and Medical Express will pay you a generous housing subsidy every month.

Will I be provided with housing if I travel with a pet?
Yes, in fact many of our healthcare professionals travel with their pets. If you bring a pet on assignment, we will provide you with free, private accommodations. You will need to pay a pet deposit, which will be returned to you upon completion of your assignment if your accommodations are clean and well-maintained.

Will I be reimbursed for my travel expenses?
Yes. No matter how you get to your assignment destination, we will help pay the costs. We provide our travelers with a generous travel reimbursement for each leg of their travel. Best of all, your reimbursement is tax-free.

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