Travel Nursing in Australia

Travel Nursing in Australia

Travel nursing in Australia is a great option in international travel nursing if you want to be both adventurous and speaking English.  Nursing in Australia is possible only if you’ve registered through the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency, or AHPRA. Like the US, each Australian state capital has its own office, but there is no exam you have to pass to become a Registered Nurse in Australia. In order to go travel nursing in Australia, you just have to have the proper schooling and experience with verifiable proof of both.

Just hearing back from the AHPRA can take months so if you’re interested in travel nursing in Australia you should start the application right now. You’ll be sent a list of all the necessary documents from your employers and nursing school. Some of these documents include your nurse school transcript where they expect to see that you’ve taken a class in Medication Administration and Pharmacology. They’ll want to see over 800 hours logged in a clinical setting.

The board will also need employment verification from your current employer and your last 5 years of employment. The AHPRA does require letters from your employers that must include information about your employment such as the length of your employment if your employment was part time or full time and it must be on a company letterhead. You will have to sign each and every page of your Resume/CV as well. The AHPRA will want to see all the different state licenses you’ve obtained.

The AHPRA may also ask for details of your clinical time and a letter from your high school to ensure that your education was in English. If you cannot get this letter from your high school you can take the IELTS. Most travel nurses also must take the International English Language Testing System exam, or the IELTS, to prove they can speak English, but US citizens are exempt.

The application fee is $576 AU and the application process usually takes around 7 months. Once you’ve gotten your license, you’re free to look for a job! Your Australian registration also enables you to apply to be a travel nurse in New Zealand with relative ease. That process is kind of like nursing in one US state and getting a license to work in another state.

You will have to obtain a Visa to work. The varying types of Visas you can apply for depend on your age. If you are under 30 you can successfully apply for a Work-Holiday Visa if you can pass a criminal background check. These Work-Holiday Visas usually last for up to 12 months and the only caveat is that you may not work for the same employer for more than 6 months. Essentially after working at a hospital for 6 months, you have to switch to another hospital for the next 6 months.

If you are over 30 years old you have to apply for a Sponsorship Visa. In order to obtain a Sponsorship Visa, a hospital has to sponsor you and Sponsorship Visas will be valid for up to 4 years. If after 4 years you still want to live and work in Australia you can apply for a permanent residency. The island is sparsely populated so they’re very open to immigration these days.

There are 2 ways travel nurses can go about taking nursing assignments. One is per diem and the other is by taking lengthy contracts. If you work Per Diem you get the flexibility of switching locations much more easily. While contract working does provide stability, those contracts can tie you down to one location for the duration of your visa.

Switching facilities every day is made easier by the fact that the majority of hospitals in Australia still use paper charting. Only a handful of the hospitals situated around universities has electronic health records. But since you don’t have to learn a new computer charting system each time, switches occur much more seamlessly than in the United States as new nurses hardly need a five-minute orientation. Just good luck making out everyone’s handwriting! 😉

Depending on your nursing specialty, travel nursing in Australia offers pay rates that aren’t as high as California, but are relatively close to the pay rates in Florida. If you want to take the next step for travel nursing in Australia, finding an agency is just a google search away and every website is in English.  We’d recommend searching for Healthcare Australia’s Nursing Down Under!

Australia Nursing Council:
683 Murray Street
West Perth, 6005
WA, Australia


General Information Email: anci@ancilorg.au

Overseas Information Email: overseas@anci.org.au

PC:  @kaylaahussey

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