Questions from Readers

Each month I will include a blog entry answering some of the most common questions I get from readers about locum tenens as a nurse practitioner. Feel free to comment any questions you have or email me at


  • How long does it take to start your first assignment?


The answer to this question varies depending on if you are looking to work in your current state or accept a federal healthcare site position. In these cases, you can start your first assignment within 1 week.

If you are looking to travel to a new state working in the private sector, then starting your first assignment can take about 1-3 months from initiating your search.

After realizing you are interested in working as a traveling nurse practitioner, your first step would be to contact multiple agencies and become credentialed with them. Then you want to go ahead and apply for one or two licenses in another state. Check out my licensing page to see the average timeline for states licenses. Ideally for your first job you want to choose a state that will grant a license quickly such as Montana or Washington.

So that first month is really about establishing a relationship with agencies and recruiters, and obtaining licenses. In the mean time, you can search for locum tenens positions and your recruiter will present you to these sites while your licenses are pending. The timeframe between being presented to a job, interviewing, and then accepting an assignment can be 1-2 weeks. After accepting an assignment you will need to become credentialed, depending on the site this can take 1 week to 1 month.

To be on the safe side try to plan for at least 1-3 months before starting your first assignment. That means do not quit your current job until you have officially accepted an assignment. If your current lease is ending in the upcoming months, start your job search at least 3 months out.

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