With nursing jobs continually increasing, travel nursing provides health care organizations with the perfect solution.
First, travel nurses work with agencies that scout healthcare facilities needing medical assistance.
Then, they pay travel nurses to fly out and work on temporary assignments (usually lasting from 1 – 12 months).
During this time, nurses may receive additional assistance (beyond the travel nurse salary) to perform their duties adequately.
Because healthcare organizations are in high demand, travel nurses are often well compensated for relocating while on assignments.
They may benefit from perks such as 401k plan contributions, special sign-on bonuses, job completion bonuses, higher wages, reimbursement for licenses, and CEUs.
Moreover, nurses may receive relocation pay and permanent job offerings after completing a nursing assignment.
A qualified registered nurse must meet specific criteria for a travel nurse job.
Notably, they must have at least one year of clinical care experience before applying for travel nurse positions.
Nevertheless, most travel nurse agencies suggest that qualifying nurses have at least 2 – 3 years of experience.
Furthermore, additional training/certifications can make hiring more accessible, and nurses with more experience may choose better assignments.
Lastly, travel nurse positions may be available for some LPNs and CNAs; however, this is much less common.
How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?
The average salary a travel nurse makes varies depending on several factors.
These factors include the assignments/agencies nurses choose, assignment length, number of hours worked, and additional perks/benefits.
Travel nurses can earn anywhere from $35 – $57 or more per hour, depending on their employer.
Furthermore, overtime offers opportunities to increase income beyond the expected yearly salary.
Nurses working in high-paying locations with reputable agencies and overtime pay can make $133,000 – $172,000 per year.
With that said, most travel nurses’ $170,000+ is at the high end.
For instance, travel nurses working in New York earn around $118,000 – $133,600, while other states may pay substantially less.
Furthermore, it’s essential to understand that some locations have a higher cost of living.
Consequently, this can influence a travel nurse’s after-tax income if they live in an expensive area.
Lastly, a pandemic or severe nursing shortage can significantly increase travel nurses’ hourly wages and salaries.
In short, their salaries may also increase when the demand for qualified registered nurses increases.
When you include travel benefits, bonuses, car and housing compensations, 401 k contributions, tax-free travel reimbursement, and other perks, it becomes clear that travel nurses can earn an excellent income.
However, It’s vital to note that not all travel agencies and healthcare organizations provide the same benefits.
For example, some places offer tons of perks and bonuses to those willing to travel outside their hometown.
In contrast, others may offer little or no additional benefits.
Therefore, it’s essential to work with various travel nursing agencies/recruitment firms to find the best work assignments and locations.
States with the highest travel nurse salary
- New York
- Omaha, NE
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Dallas, TX
- Plano, TX
- Phoenix, AZ
- New Orleans, LA
Remember that a travel nurse’s pay can change significantly depending on when and where needed.
At other times, travel nurses may earn substantially more working in other states with higher demand.
Factors That Influence a Travel Nurse’s Salary
- Work location (the facility they work at)
- State of work (the state/city they work in)
- The agencies negotiated rate
- Bonuses and benefits
- Overtime pay
- Work experience and specialty
- The current need for additional staffing
As mentioned earlier, numerous factors influence a travel nurse’s salary.
Beyond their salary, travel nurses can earn additional income through benefits/perks, tax-free travel reimbursement, and bonuses.
Moreover, compensations such as 401K contributions, health savings accounts, and paid housing can provide financial assistance.
It can substantially increase a travel nurse’s salary or reduce daily expenses.
Travel Nurse Benefits and Compensation
- 401 (K)
- 401 (K) matching
- AD & D insurance
- Dental Insurance
- Disability insurance
- Health insurance
- Health savings account
- License reimbursement
- Life insurance
- Paid housing
- Car rental reimbursement
- Referral program
- Vision insurance
Nurses receive numerous benefits and compensations depending on the agency and hospital agreements.
Ultimately, the agency, hospital, and healthcare system supply the nurse benefits/compensations.
Therefore, you’ll want to discuss the benefits in advance when working with an agency to determine what you can expect.
It ensures proper compensation and allows travel nurses to choose the most desirable assignments/agencies.
Is Travel Nursing Worth The Money?
Working as a nurse is worth the money for travel nurses who enjoy meeting new people, appreciate working through fresh challenges, and don’t mind traveling.
In addition, travel nursing offers many benefits for those who don’t mind leaving home to work elsewhere.
For nurses who enjoy being home, prefer complacency, or struggle with leaving family, traveling nursing may not be for you.
You’ll have to consider the money you’ll earn while away from home and determine if it’s worth the cost.
Everyone that works as a travel nurse has their own opinions and lifestyle preference.
As a result, what’s best for you may not be best for someone else and vice versa.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do I mind being away from home for extended periods?
- Am I ok with being separated from friends and family?
- Do I want to travel to new destinations?
- Am I flexible with my schedule and ok with working overtime?
- Do I have licenses for multiple states?
- Are there responsibilities that prevent me from working out of state?
- Am I able to work well with new and diverse staff?
- Do I enjoy adventure and challenge?
- Am I ok with traveling and making travel arrangements?
- Do weather changes in different states bother me?
Although there is a lot to think about when determining whether to become a travel nurse, these questions are beneficial.
Ultimately, you can use these questions to understand better how you’d feel traveling regularly.
Family and friends are among the most significant factors for those who become travel nurses.
Additionally, connecting with diverse workgroups in various environments and adjusting to different climates is a must.
Travel nursing offers a lot in return for those who can handle these factors.
Why Are Travel Nurses Paid So Much?
A travel nurse’s money varies greatly depending on the state, salary agreement, and nurses’ experience.
With that said, travel nurses can earn more money than regular registered nurses.
Firstly, travel nurses work on assignments filling roles in much-needed healthcare positions.
As a result, hospitals are willing to pay a premium for any additional help they can receive.
Secondly, in high-demand areas, the pay for a travel nurse may increase due to several hospitals competing for staff, further increasing rates.
Third, crucial care, ICU, and neonatal care roles may earn more due to their experience and specialized position, especially if those critical settings severely lack staff.
Fourth, travel nurses can negotiate their pay every time they sign a new assignment.
Travel nurses can choose jobs and locations that pay the best rates based on their needs.
It gives travel nurses control over how much they earn and the length of their terms.
In short, travel nurses earn a high salary when they work in high-demand areas with limited staffing and increased competition.
Conversely, when competition decreases, a travel nurse’s salary decreases in low-demand settings.
Fortunately, there are always locations that need travel nurses if they’re willing to work in different environments.
All in all, travel nurses do often earn a high income.
However, they have to make sacrifices. After all, not every nurse is willing to become a travel nurse just for the pay.
Some nurses enjoy working in a specific location, spending time with family and friends, and going home after a busy workday.
Conversely, travel nurses are frequently away from home, family, and friends.
So, in the end, it’s about the nurse’s personality and willingness/desire to travel for work.
Career Opportunities and Outlook
Travel nursing provides nurses with a fantastic opportunity to travel the states or even the world.
One of the best ways for travel nurses to find jobs is to work with several travel nursing agencies.
Essentially, travel nurse agencies provide nurses with excellent job opportunities.
In addition to finding a job, a travel nursing agency also helps you receive various perks and benefits.
It can include benefits such as high-end health insurance, 401k contributions, sign-on/completion bonuses, paid luxury housing, rental car reimbursement, and relocation pay.
They’ll even stay in contact with you while traveling to ensure your relocation goes smoothly.
I’ve included several travel nursing agencies on this page to assist you in your search for travel jobs.
Below you can find various agencies to help you find a job, negotiate benefits/pay, and assist you with your relocation.
Each company has its advantages and disadvantages.
Therefore, it’s best to find several agencies that fit your needs and provide you with the best job opportunities and benefits.
Also, keep in mind that this is not a complete list.
There are many more travel agencies available to you than shown here.
Additionally, you may want to research to find a suitable travel nursing agency that meets your needs.
Travel Nurse Agencies List
- American Mobile Healthcare
- American Travel Nurse Liaison
- Axis Healthcare Staffing
- Cirrus Medical Staffing
- Cross Country TravCorps
- Expedient Medstaff
- Freedom Healthcare Staffing
- Flex Care Travel Nursing
- Healthcare Seeker
- Medical Express
- Nightingale Nurses
- Nurses Rx
- O’Grady Peyton International
- Preferred Healthcare Staffing
- Prime Time Healthcare
- Premier Healthcare Professionals
- Response 1 Medical Staffing
- Valley Healthcare Systems
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with any of the companies/agencies listed and are not responsible for any of the links, content, products, and services offered by these websites. Suppose you have concerns with the companies/agencies listed on this page. In that case, it is in your best interest to do further research and gather as much information as possible, especially before following their advice, giving out personal data, or choosing a travel nursing agency to work with.
No single travel agency can provide you with all job opportunities and benefits.
Therefore, your best option is to work with several agencies to find the assignments that interest you most.
And if possible, look for reviews and references to help you better understand how each travel nursing agency performs.
Importantly, look for performance based on the agency’s ability to help with relocation assistance, job opportunities, employee benefits, pay, and customer service.
Those interested in becoming travel nurses will be happy to know that travel nursing has some of the industry’s best opportunities.
Because they are willing to travel, there is no shortage of available jobs.
Travel nurses are in high demand, and with the nursing gap expected to increase, it will be even more for healthcare organizations to find qualified nurses.
As a result, travel nurses who fill in the gap can look forward to increased benefits, perks, and opportunities.