How to Become a Traveling CNA

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Written by Ayana Dunn, BSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
A healthcare professional in a car contemplates how to become a traveling CNA.

Traveling assignments aren’t just for registered nurses — certified nursing assistants (CNA) can live this exciting lifestyle too! The first step is to figure out how to become a traveling CNA. Below you can learn about traveling CNA requirements, useful skills, duties, and other commonly asked questions.

What Is a Traveling CNA and What Does a Traveling CNA Do?

CNAs assist nurses by helping patients with daily living activities, monitoring patient progress, and communicating any important changes to other members of the healthcare team. Some facilities also allow CNAs to administer certain medications.

The only difference between a CNA and traveling CNA is that travelers take short-term assignments in healthcare facilities with high staffing demands, which is similar to the role of a travel nurse. Traveling CNAs complete the same types of tasks as the staff employees at each facility.

These CNAs typically work with travel CNA agencies to find assignments across the country, lasting from a few weeks to a few months. When you work with an agency, it acts as an intermediary between you and the facility. If you seek out the agency, you’re assigned to a recruiter who will guide you through the hiring process. Sometimes recruiters will reach out to you first.

While staff CNAs are in direct contact with the facility during the hiring process and beyond, travel CNAs usually have a different process. The agency will match you with a facility, negotiate your contract, and inform you about what you need to do to begin working there. You can also turn to your recruiter for support when there’s an issue between you and the facility.

Traveling CNA Education

After obtaining your high school diploma or GED, you must complete a certified CNA program to become a CNA. The length of the program will vary by state, but they can last as little as four to six weeks. Afterwards, you’ll need to pass an exam to become certified and eligible to work.

If necessary, your agency may require you to complete education unique to the population with which you’ll be working. Also, make sure you’ve met the continuing education requirements for the states in which your new facility is located. Aside from that, there’s no extra traveling CNA requirements needed if you are already certified as a CNA.

Traveling CNA Skills

Some skills to develop when learning about becoming a travel CNA include:


The fact that you will be working in a variety of new environments is enough reason to require flexibility. On top of that, you’re likely called to a facility because of short staffing. You must think and adapt quickly to keep up with the demands of travel CNA jobs.


You’ll be a new face to your patients — maybe even one of many new faces. This can be difficult for some of them to cope with, especially the elderly. There will be a transition time in which you both have to adjust to each other. Empathy will go a long way in making your patients feel comfortable with you, and for your peace of mind.

Clear Communication

You must advocate for yourself while working with travel CNA agencies and various facilities. You don’t have the same familiarity nor support as you would as a staff employee, so make sure you speak up when need be instead of waiting until a small issue snowballs into a big problem.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Travel CNA?

CNA program lengths vary, but many take around one month to complete. Before traveling as a CNA, it’s important to get experience. You’ll need to build competency so you’re equipped to be thrown into new work environments. Most CNAs will need at least two years before considering travel assignments.

Where Can a Traveling CNA Work?

Traveling CNAs can work in the same locations as staff CNAs. This includes:

  • Long-term care facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Post-acute care

Traveling CNA Salary

So, how much do travel CNAs make? The average salary for a traveling CNA in the U.S. is $34,459, but this can range between $29,288 to $38,334 per year. This varies based on a few factors including your agency, the number of contracts you work, the location, your experience, and the facility.

Wondering where do cna get paid the most? These metropolitan areas pay the highest annual salaries to CNAs:

Learning How to Become a Traveling CNA Just Got Easier

Are you interested in a traveling CNA position? Start pursuing this exciting path today! Search for travel nursing jobs on IntelyCare to find one that fits you best.