To become a flight nurse, obtain a basic education, including a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and a degree in nursing. Additionally, gain experience in trauma or critical care nursing, and apply for flight nurse positions. Most flight nurse employers look for candidates who demonstrate three years or more experience in emergency room or critical care nursing. In some states, emergency medical technician training is also required.
Requirements differ among employers, but most flight nurses are registered nurses with a minimum of associate degrees in nursing under their belts. The more prestigious bachelor’s degree in the science of nursing is more desirable, although it takes four years of training instead of two or three.
Registered nurse candidates must pass the national NCLEX-RN exam and apply for licenses in the states where they plan to work. Requirements vary by state; some states require nurses to pass criminal background checks. Due to the nature of the job, some employers may only hire flight nurses licensed to work in multiple states.
After obtaining a nursing license, gaining experience in critical care or emergency room nursing is vital to standing out as a flight nurse candidate. Experience in the military or disaster or trauma relief is also ideal for flight nurse job seekers.