In Travel Assignments, Travel Nurse, Travel Nursing

Travel Nurse Pay Rates

Recent nurse salary research reveals a surprising fact: Only 46% of nurses are satisfied with their earnings. Fortunately, there is a more lucrative option for these professionals — travel nursing. Apart from travel benefits, these healthcare professionals receive impressive travel nurse pay packages.

These nurse salary figures show that travel nurses make $108,070 per year on average — $36,340 more than staff nurses. If you’re looking for a massive pay increase, travel nursing might be the ideal path for you. Read on to learn more about this high-paying position.

What Is a Travel Nurse?

In most cases, staffing agencies hire travel nurses to work at local hospitals that need temporary workers. They often fill seasonal shortages or short-term demand for particular specialties.

For example, during the height of the pandemic, travel nurses were more in demand than ever because hospitals needed more coverage due to the increase in illness and hospitalizations. Healthcare facilities also employ nurses with specific skills when they exhaust their local workforce supply.

Hospitals hire these healthcare professionals to meet such demands, often in 13-week periods. Apart from a top-tier salary, you get a generous housing stipend and comprehensive insurance that includes a 401(k). Additionally, you can explore exciting new places, experience diverse workplaces, and meet new people.

Besides the money and perks, travel nursing can solidify your career. Some healthcare professionals turn to travel nursing to gain the training and experience they can’t achieve in their local hospitals. Having the experience of working in different size hospitals with different cultures looks great on your resume when searching for a new position.

Travel Nurse Requirements

As a minimum requirement, you should be a registered nurse (RN) with 1-2 years of experience in your specialty to become a travel nurse.

However, for more specialized positions, some organizations opt for individuals with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification.

If you have a specific unit in mind, you should have the necessary credentials for it. For instance, you should obtain a CCRN certification for a critical care role.

Travel Nurse Roles

Travel nurses perform diverse roles. Typically, your responsibilities will include:

  • Examining patients to learn about their symptoms and health histories.
  • Providing patients with essential health information and counsel.
  • Performing medication and treatment delivery tasks.
  • Doing further research on a particular field.
  • Working with other healthcare specialists to maintain the organization’s high standards.

Travel Nurse Pay Packages

All things considered, travel nursing pays more because recruiters work with organizations with a high demand for specialized services. Remember that healthcare companies need travel nurses during extraordinary circumstances, and they cannot afford lapses in the workplace because of staffing problems.

The latest RN salary statistics show that nurses typically make $71,730 annually or $34.48 per hour. The lowest 10% of this population makes about $50,800 per year, while those in the highest 10% earn more than $106,530.

On the other hand, travel nurses average $108,070 per year or $51.94 per hour. These figures don’t include overtime pay, stipends, and other allowances. You might even find companies that offer sign-on bonuses, referral bonuses, licensure reimbursements, and meal stipends.

Travel nurse pay packages may also include health, dental, and vision insurance plans for workers and their families.

If you’re interested in becoming a travel nurse, check out these factors that affect pay packages:


The location of your assignment heavily influences your pay. Because of cost of living and regional trend factors, some states pay higher for nursing services. These are the highest-paying US locations for travel nurses:

  1. New York City, NY: $101,508 per year / $48.79 per hour
  2. Seattle, WA: $100,678 per year / $48.39 per hour
  3. Boston, MA: $100,429 per year / $48.28 per hour
  4. Florida, NY: $99,082 per year / $47.63 per hour
  5. Washington, DC: $98,906 per year / $47.54 per hour
  6. Gallup, NM: $98,378 per year / $47.29 per hour
  7. Los Angeles, CA: $98,177 per year / $47.19 per hour
  8. Chicago, IL: $95,258 per year / $45.79 per hour
  9. Baltimore, MD: $95,057 per year / $45.69 per hour
  10. Minneapolis, MN: $95,052 per year / $45.69  per hour

Before choosing your desired location, remember that Southern states often have lower living costs. Additionally, destination states like Hawaii and Florida typically pay lower for travel nurses.


Your specialty as a registered nurse also impacts your pay. The skills below are some of the most sought after in the industry, leading to higher pay. The downside to that is because they are so specialized there may not be as many travel jobs available in desired locations.

  • Cardiac catheterization lab: Finding nurses with ample experience in this area has proven challenging for many organizations. Additionally, not all hospitals provide such services. Companies are willing to pay up to $68 per hour for these services.
  • Cardiovascular Operating Room (CVOR): CVOR nurses are critical members of any surgical team. To avoid messing up surgery schedules, hospitals hire travel nurses to complete CVOR teams. You can expect offers of up to $65 per hour for such services.
  • Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU): Pediatric ICU nurses help young patients and their families cope with difficult times. These positions require specific expertise and a caring demeanor. As a qualified PICU nurse, you can earn up to $62 per hour travel nursing.
  • Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU): Critical care nurses are always in demand. However, organizations often need to fill CVICU positions because of the skills they require. You can earn up to $53 per hour as a CVICU travel nurse.
  • Oncology nurse: Finding professionals with experience dealing with cancer may be challenging for organizations, especially those certified to administer chemotherapy medications. If you have experience with adult and pediatric patients alike, you have significant bargaining leverage. Companies are willing to pay $50 per hour for this service.


There are multiple shift opportunities for travel nurses. If you want to earn more as a nurse ask your recruiter if there is any differential in pay between day and night shifts. Occasionally a facility may offer you more to work during the night shift if you are interested.  This is one way to learn how much do travel nurses make a year.

Work As a Travel Nurse Now

Are you interested in becoming a travel nurse and opening a world of opportunities for your career? AB Staffing Solutions can help you achieve your goals. We are an award-winning staffing company providing reputable healthcare facilities with travel nurses since 2002.

No matter your specialization, we can connect you with the best organization for you. Apply to be a travel nurse now to turn your career and personal goals into reality.

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