How Much Do Travel Nurses Make? (April 2023)

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make? (April 2023)
Published on
April 14, 2023
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As a travel nurse, you choose your assignments. This means that you have control over your salary and benefits. After analyzing more than 11,000 registered nurse travel job listings on HealthJob's travel nurse job board in April 2023, we found that on average, travel nurses earn $2,233 per week. At current rates, a travel nurse working 52 weeks in a year would have an annual salary of $116,116. However, travel nurse salary and compensation will depend on several factors. Your assignment’s location, the number of hours you work and your benefits all play a role when comparing compensation packages.

Where Can Travel Nurses Earn The Most?

The United States faces a nursing shortage. The nurse shortage, however, is not spread evenly across the country. Some states face a greater shortFor example, California will need nearly 50,000 nurses by 2030. Their need is one of the reasons, they also have one of the highest per-hour pay rates for travel nurses.

Highest Paying States for Travel Nurses

The following states had the highest median travel nurse salary. Alaska, which has the highest salary for travel nurses, has struggled for years to train in-state nurses. They rely primarily on the lower 48 states for their health care workers. As hospitals struggle to fill nursing jobs, they are forced to rely on travel nurses.

  1. Alaska - $2,850.50
  2. Arizona - $2,760.00
  3. New Jersey - $2,595.00
  4. North Dakota - $2,580.50
  5. Wyoming - $2,570.00
StateSalaryCompared to Median
New Jersey$2,59516.2%
North Dakota$2,58115.6%
Rhode Island$2,55614.5%
New York$2,54514.0%
New Hampshire$2,4489.6%
West Virginia$2,3384.7%
South Dakota$2,2320.0%
New Mexico$2,150-3.7%
North Carolina$2,076-7.0%
South Carolina$1,822-18.4%

Highest Paying Cities for Travel Nurses

We looked at cities with more than 5 open nursing positions and found the following cities to be the highest-paying cities for travel nurses. Half of the cities in the top 10 are in California. When considering travel nurse salaries, it's important to take your destination's cost of living into account.

  1. Stockton, CA - $3,864 per week
  2. Walnut Creek, CA - $3,583 per week
  3. Ithaca, NY - $3,207 per week
  4. Santa Rosa, CA  - $3,201 per week
  5. Waterloo, IA - $3,193 per week
  6. Nome, AK - $3,174 per week
  7. Lawrence, MA - $3,173 per week
  8. Warwick, RI - $3,124 per week
  9. Greenbrae, CA - $3,070 per week
  10. Alturas, CA - $3,062 per week

What Are the Highest Paying Travel Nursing Specialties Today?

Travel nurse pay depends not just on the location, but also on a travel nurse's specialty. Contracts that are difficult to fill can often command a premium. The highest-paying travel nurse specialties in April 2023 are as follows.

  1. Assistant Director of Nursing - $4,333 per week
  2. Nursery - $3,971 per week
  3. Manager, Administrative - $3,922 per week
  4. Educator - $3,462 per week
  5. Pediatrics PACU- $3,153 per week
  6. Infection Control - $3,075 per week
  7. Infusion - $3,066 per week
  8. Vascular Access - $2,948 per week
  9. CVOR - $2,938 per week
  10. Electrophysiology Lab - $2,934 per week

What Are The Most In-Demand Travel Nurse Jobs?

The speciality with the most listings is medical-surgical nursing. Medical-surgical job listings, also known as med surg, account for 21.5% of all travel nurse job listings on HealthJob. These are the salaries for the most in-demand travel nurse jobs.

  1. Med Surg - $2,105 per week
  2. PCU - $2,277 per week
  3. Telemetry - $2,124 per week
  4. ICU - $2,220 per week
  5. ED - $2,278 per week

What Benefits Do Travel Nurses Get?

Your hourly rate is just the beginning of your compensation. When comparing contracts, you must take your benefits into account as well. Benefits can make up a large portion of your total compensation.

  • Travel Reimbursements: Some assignments will reimburse you for traveling to and from your assignment. Travel reimbursements typically come at a flat rate, but can also come in the form of a per-mile reimbursement based on the distance that you’re traveling. You might also get a flight reimbursement, though that is normally reserved for assignments in Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Licensing Reimbursements: If you need to get licensed in a new state, your staffing agency may reimburse you for getting a new license.
  • Benefits: Staffing agencies often offer benefits such as 401k plans, life insurance and other benefits.
  • Housing: Most staffing agencies will provide housing support, either in the form of a housing stipend or housing provided by the agency.
  • Tax-Free: You may get tax benefits because you are working in a state that is not your primary residence.
  • Overtime or extra time: In addition to your contracted hourly rate, some staffing companies also have an hourly rate for additional hours worked. You may be able to negotiate this rate, which will help increase your overall earnings.

As a traveler, you have more control over all aspects of your career--your salary is just one of them. In addition to salary, you choose where you want to work, the communities you will serve and the amount of time you have off. Knowing the average travel nurse's salary, however, will help you make informed decisions about your next assignment.

Do Travel Nurses Earn More Than Staff Nurses?

Travel nurses earn $2,233 per week, which is more than the average weekly wage for registered nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average travel registered nurse's salary is $77,600. Assuming that a year is 52 weeks, the average weekly wage for registered nurses is $1,492 per week. It can be difficult to determine the average annual salary for travel nurses because they decide where and when they take contracts.

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