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Nursing Jobs in the U.S. – What You Need to Know

Skilled nurses are sought-after worldwide. With hundreds of thousands of job openings across the country, opportunities are also opening up for nurses who have trained abroad.

    Nursing Jobs in the U.S. in Brief

    The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that more than 275,000 nursing jobs will need to be filled in the United States over the next decade. The demand for registered nurses is growing by 9%, and not all vacancies can be filled quickly. 

    Nursing in the United States is a varied career. Registered nurses work in hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, and home health services. Growth is exceptionally rapid in long-term rehabilitation facilities and outpatient care centers. With the fast-growing demand for nurses, job opportunities are also opening up for foreign-trained nurses. 

    How Nurses Can Take Advantage of U.S. Job Opportunities

    Working as a nurse in the United States means choosing a secure, rewarding career. Average salaries for nurses may vary depending on their qualifications, job specifications, and geographical location in the country. In many areas, nurses can earn over $100,000 annually. 

    Qualifying to work as a nurse in the U.S. involves a process of several steps, including:

    • Crosschecking educational requirements
    • Completing a foreign-educated nurses (FEN) course
    • In some cases, passing an English language test
    • Passing the national licensing examination
    • Evaluation of credentials
    • Working with an employment agency or a direct employer
    • Applying for an immigrant visa
    • Starting work as a registered nurse

      Checking Educational Requirements

      To qualify as a foreign-trained nurse in the U.S., international candidates need to meet minimum education and experience requirements. Apart from having graduated from a registered nursing program with an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, they need to be licensed as a registered nurse or equivalent. To qualify for work in this country, foreign nurses must have worked for at least two years. 

      Practical or vocational nurses and patient care assistants cannot qualify to work here based on their existing degrees and experience. 

      Completing a FEN Course

      The FEN course is a refresher course that most states require in addition to checking qualifications. The FEN training consists of 120 classroom and 120 clinical practice hours, which are completed under the supervision of a licensed registered nurse. 

      English-Language Proficiency Test

      Depending on a nurse’s country of origin, they may also need to pass three standard tests:

      • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
      • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
      • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

      Nurses from English-speaking countries are exempt from the test, as are those who completed their training in English using English textbooks. All others need to complete the tests, with results sent directly to the individual state’s nursing board.

      Passing the National Licensing Examination

      With education and language requirements met, candidates must apply for the NCLEX examination in the state where they intend to become employed. The examinations are held abroad before arriving in the United States. 

      Evaluation of Credentials

      Before sitting the licensing examination, foreign-trained nurses must meet the requirements of their intended state’s credentialing organization. The process involves the examination of all training transcripts and education history from the nurse’s home country. Levels of credentialing depend on the state where a nurse intends to work after they move to the United States. Before choosing a state, it is worth considering potential employment opportunities and earning potential.

      Working with an Employer or Employment Agency

      Finding and selecting a US-based employer or employment agency is the first step toward obtaining an employment visa. The two most common options are working directly with an employer or a staffing agency. 

      In most cases, working with an independent recruiter is often a more straightforward option for foreign nurses. Most agencies have a process that ensures all steps of the process are being adhered to, and all paperwork is completed and submitted accurately. 

      Obtaining a Nursing Employment Visa

      Depending on a foreign nurse’s country of origin, they may be eligible for temporary or permanent visas. Temporary visas can be obtained for specialized roles such as emergency room, cardiology, and critical care nurses. Hospitals in underserved communities may also be able to issue temporary visas. However, most nurses moving to the United States obtain permanent work permits. 

      Finding Work as an RN in the United States

      Finding a reputable agency to work with is one of the most critical steps in the process of working as a nurse in the United States. 

      An experienced agent can smooth the transition, answer questions, and ensure the process progresses as planned. Once completed, the agency can also offer access to a wide variety of licensed nursing positions, allowing candidates to find a place that matches their qualifications and requirements. 

      TrueCare has the knowledge and expertise to help foreign-trained nurses build a gratifying career. Our team understands that moving to another country is a big step, and they are there for new candidates. 

      For employers, working with TrueCare makes staffing easy. When hiring foreign-trained nurses, employers must ensure all credentials are checked and requirements fulfilled. Partnering with a reputable, proven agency gives prospective employers the peace of mind of knowing that they are hiring highly qualified, experienced staff.

      About TrueCare™

      TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.
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