How Much Does A Travel Nurse Make – Travel Nurse Salary Facts

Travel Nursing Salary Information

Becoming a nurse is one of the most stable and flexible career paths in the healthcare industry, and maybe even in the job market. A registered nurse who has completed the appropriate requirements can choose to become one of the many variations in nursing. These different specialties include:

  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Emergency Room Nursing
  • Cardiac Nursing
  • Nurse Informatics
  • Anesthetists
  • Flight Nursing 
  • Intensive Care Nursing….and many more.

What Is Travel Nursing?

One of the many includes travel nurses. Travel nurses work with a travel nursing agency to place nurses in healthcare facilities that are experiencing a temporary labor shortage. Travel nurses have the same responsibilities as regular nurses. They provide medical care and emotional support to patients suffering from illness or injury. Their main priority is help the patient regain their physical and emotional health.

Travel nurses educate the patients and their loved one about their illness or injury and the treatment they are about to receive. They deliver and administer medication to the patient. Execute rehabilitation programs. Work with doctors and other nursing staff to maximize patient care.

Travel nurses can work at any healthcare facility needs as long as they meet the organization’s qualifications. If travel nurse does then the benefits can become pretty nice. Healthcare facilities will pay nurses to travel out to their location, give them a stipend for housing, and pay them to help out with nursing duties.

Hospitals and healthcare organizations are in greater need for nurses. Travel nurses are compensated generously for leaving their old lives behind to help medical care facility in a foreign location. There are many benefits to traveling nursing.

Obviously, one of them is greater salary. Others include generous retirement packages, 401k matching and contributions, job completion bonuses, signing bonuses, permanent job offer, payment for relocation, and reimbursement for any certifications or licenses you needed to receive to do the nursing job.

There are both official requirements such as training, education, and certifications, and other requirements such as the flexibility to travel when needed. Travel nurses can consist of Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, etc. Most hospitals usually require these nurses have at least 2 years of experience (ideally 3 or more) before applying to be a travel nurse.

This ensures travel agencies are giving the qualified labor to hospitals and other healthcare organizations that need it. So if you want to become a travel nurse, pay your dues in clinical care for 2 to 3 years and try applying for these traveling nursing jobs.

Travel nurses do not work in the same location for more than a couple months and will often travel to other states or even countries for work. Unless the travel nurse decides to stay at that location long term. That does happen at times.

Some of the many advantages with travel nursing is that you will be able to choose the location of your next assignment, which means you can choose where you’ll live, work and have moments of pleasure. However, the downside is that you will rarely see your family.

This is one of the major disadvantages of travel nursing and is supposedly the reason why travel nurse salary is, usually, higher than the salary of a regular registered nurse.

Career Options

Travel nurses have the amazing option to travel country (and sometimes the world) and still keep working and racking up experience as a nurse. They get help to go travel to other healthcare facilities and help with the nursing shortage that is currently taking place around the world. They will always get paid well because they are willing to travel to another location for work.

Travel nurses are in high demand and that is only expected to increase with the growing nursing labor shortage. There is expected to be a gap of more than 800,000 jobs in nursing industry by 2020. Therefore it will be even more important for the healthcare facilities to have qualified travel nurses to help with the patient load.

As the demand for nurses increases, more and more travel nurses will be called upon. The best find good travel nursing opportunities is to link with a couple different travel nursing agencies. They specialize in finding travel nurses great work opportunities.

These travel nursing agencies are also responsible for helping you find opportunities that have:

  • Great 401k and retirement benefits.
  • Signing and job completion bonuses.
  • Good health and life insurance.
  • Luxury housing near the workplace.
  • Reimbursement for relocation
  • Opportunity for permanent placement if wanted.

Every travel nursing agency has its costs and benefits. There is also no way one travel nursing agency can find you all the great opportunities available. It is probably best to work with a couple different travel nursing agencies and find the one that is good at finding opportunities yo are interested in.

It is in your best interest to for reviews of these travel nursing agencies. See what others are saying about them. Especially when it comes to job opportunities, relocation assistance, job benefits and bonuses, and their customer service. These are all very important to determine if you will want to do business with these travel nursing agencies.

What is the average travel nurse salary?

One of the most common questions asked about travel nurses is “how much does a travel nurse make?” The reported annual travel nurse salary can sometimes be inaccurate due to the abnormal work schedules, and varying pay. There are many factors that need to be considered, such as international conversion rates, days spent working in a year, the pay rate, etc.

Based on several sources, the range of salaries is around $55,000 up to $100,000 a year. The hourly pay rate could be as low as $21 and as high as $50, but the normal rate is $30 to $40. The chart below shows average annual salary as of October 2014.

State Median Annual Salary
DATA AS OF 2014. Source:
Alabama $68,000
Alaska $50,000
Arizona $55,000
Arkansas $69,000
California $72,000
Colorado $60,000
Connecticut $78,000
Delaware $59,000
Florida $63,000
Georgia $77,000
Hawaii $42,000
Idaho $44,000
Illinois $77,000
Indiana $65,000
Iowa $66,000
Kansas $62,000
Kentucky $58,000
Louisiana $60,000
Maine $60,000
Maryland $69,000
Massachusetts $81,000
Michigan $68,000
Minnesota $59,000
Mississippi $71,000
Missouri $66,000
Montana $56,000
Nebraska $49,000
Nevada $51,000
New Hampshire $67,000
New Jersey $73,000
New Mexico $59,000
New York $82,000
North Carolina $64,000
North Dakota $60,000
Ohio $65,000
Oklahoma $62,000
Oregon $65,000
Pennsylvania $65,000
Rhode Island $61,000
South Carolina $67,000
South Dakota $51,000
Tennessee $63,000
Texas $65,000
Utah $52,000
Vermont $60,000
Virginia $68,000
Washington $70,000
West Virginia $64,000
Wisconsin $60,000
Wyoming $56,000

See also RN Salary

What factors affect the travel nurse pay?

Travel nursing salary is, usually, higher than normal and can sometimes vary between work locations. Working with a travel nurse agency will provide a lot of benefits including negotiating wages.

Understanding what factors affect travel nurse pay will play a significant role in choosing where you will work next. Some of the many factors include the following.

  1. Travel nurse agency salary negotiations – Most travel nurse agencies are competing with each other to fill positions at hospitals, clinics, etc. Normally a hospital will post the paid salary and will not care which travel agency fills the positions, so to compete with other agencies, they will sometime offer travel nurses a slightly lower wage to get the position. Since the wages are fixed, you can certainly negotiate with the agency to increase the wage. However, this will affect your chances of getting the job.
  2. Higher paying agencies – For a variety of reasons, there have been no reliable information regarding which agencies pay more. Agencies choose the pay based on a number of reasons, such as availability, your background, the job rate, and whether they are new or already established. Newer agencies can sometimes offer slightly higher travel nursing pay to attract more workers, however this is not always the case. Some hospitals, clinics, or medical centers will choose to hire from agencies they have worked with before. But in most cases, they will not care which agency provides the nurse.
  3. Qualifications and experience – Obviously one of the most common factors to affect travel nurse practitioner salary. Whether you have more experience in the field or have completed a more advanced degree, they will definitely affect the salary and even the jobs that you can qualify for. The more positions you can qualify for, the more flexibility you will have with work locations, and as a result, more payment options.
  4. Work location – The work location may not affect the pay too often in terms of different locations in a country. However, if you are an international traveling nurse, this is something you must consider. There will be variations in pay with work locations due to economic factors in that country. However, many ignore the lower pay in exchange for sight-seeing. Perhaps you wish to take it lightly for a while and focus more on traveling, you can take a position with less pay in exchange for more sight-seeing opportunities.
  5. Length of assignment – The time spent at a work location affects how much you will be paid. Since most travel nurses choose their profession for the short term work schedule, they will most likely be paid more when given a longer work term.
  6. Packages – There are sometimes pay variations due to the package you will receive for working at a location. Some companies or medical institutions will offer extra benefits such as dental, health, insurance, etc. in exchange for a lower pay. On the other hand, some will offer a much higher salary, but will include few other benefits. Although most are balanced with travel accommodations, health insurance, and more.

See also Uap nursing


Travel nursing is a unique profession where only some individuals can meet the requirements, as a result of low supply and constant traveling, the pay is normally higher. However, there are a variety of factors that will affect the pay rate. Some include length of assignment, work location, previous experiences, and more.

Horizon Travel