Are you a registered nurse? Do you love to travel? If you answered yes to these two questions, then a career as a traveling nurse would be a great option for you.

When you take on travel nursing jobs, you have the freedom to work when you want and where you want. You will be given opportunities to branch out into new specialties and work in the field of nursing that you want. There are also lucrative travel nursing benefits, including higher pay than staff nurses earn. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about travel nursing jobs and find out which states and specialties garner the highest pay rates for travel nurses.

Finding the Highest Paying Travel Nursing Assignments

In order to find high-paying travel nursing assignments, you can start your search online to get leads to ideal opportunities. You should reach out to travel nursing agencies to see how they can help you find the best assignments. A good travel nurse staffing agency will be there to walk you through the process of job searching and landing that first interview. Your staffing specialist will play a pivotal role in securing your contract and negotiating your pay with the hiring facility or hospital.

Make a list of the items that you consider must-haves for your travel nursing contract. Be sure that you discuss these items upfront with your travel nurse recruiter so that you are both on the same page when it comes to searching for assignments. Be sure that you choose a nurse staffing agency who is supportive of your needs and understands your preferences when it comes to travel nursing jobs.

Another important thing to do before searching for travel nursing assignments is to determine why you want to be a travel nurse. Do you want to meet new people? Experience new cultures? See new places? Take advantage of a lucrative salary? By figuring out what your driving reason for becoming a travel nurse is, you can have a better idea of what to look for in potential nursing assignments.

Length of Travel Nursing Assignments

One of the many benefits of travel nursing is that there are short- and long-term contracts to choose from. Generally speaking, travel nursing assignments range from eight to 26 weeks in length. However, the most common assignment length is 13 weeks in duration. Many times hospitals will ask you to extend the contract and continue to work beyond the original timeframe.

It’s up to you to decide what is an ideal length for an assignment for your needs and lifestyle. If you end up in a position that causes a lot of stress, you will be grateful for a shorter assignment length. On the contrary, if you are in a comfortable position that you enjoy, you may be happy to extend the contract and enjoy a longer travel nursing assignment.

Location is Everything in Travel Nursing

As a travel nurse, you have the ability to choose where in the country you want to work. There are a lot of destinations that are highly coveted by travel nurses including New York, Hawaii, and California. However, you also have the opportunity to earn more money in remote locations in states like Minnesota and Alabama there are not so popular because they really need the staff.

How many contracts are available will depend on the need for travel nurses. A study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2017 projected that the need for travel nurses will continue in California, South Carolina, and New Jersey well into the year 2030. These three states are estimated to have the highest need for travel nurses, as such, you can often find monetary incentives, such as sign-on bonuses to work in these areas.

Top 10 Highest-Paying Cities for Travel Nurses

When it comes to hourly wage based on location, Ziprecruiter deemed the following ten cities the highest payers for travel nurses:

  • New York City (NY): Hourly Wage – $48.82 / Annual Salary – $101,547
  • Seattle (WA): Hourly Wage – $48.43 / Annual Salary – $100,725
  • Boston (MA): Hourly Wage – $48.29 / Annual Salary – $100,449
  • Florida (NY): Hourly Wage – $47.78 / Annual Salary – $99,382
  • Washington (DC): Hourly Wage – $47.58 / Annual Salary – $98,960
  • Los Angeles (CA): Hourly Wage – $47.22 / Annual Salary – $98, 208
  • Gallup (NM): Hourly Wage – $46.64 / Annual Salary – $97,005
  • Chicago (IL): Hourly Wage – $45.80 / Annual Salary – $95,263
  • Minneapolis (MN): Hourly Wage – $45.60 / Annual Salary – $95,010
  • San Diego (CA): Hourly Wage – $45.63 / Annual Salary – $94,915

Travel Nursing Specialties in Highest Demand

When it comes to travel nursing specialties, some areas are in higher demand than others because they require specific skill sets. Nurses who have a background in these specialties have a high level of skill and training. Hospitals have increased needs in these areas because it costs more and takes longer to train new graduates than it does to hire a travel nurse. Therefore, if you are a nurse who works in any of the following specialties, you will have more options when it comes to travel nursing contracts and pay rates:

1. Labor & Delivery
2. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
3. Emergency Room
4. Operating Room (including training in Cardiovascular and Orthopedics)
5. Intensive Care Unit

However, considering there is a nursing shortage nationwide, even if you are not skilled in any of these particular areas, you should still not have any problems finding a travel nursing contract that works for you. If you have the appropriate training, most hospitals will consider nurses with a variety of backgrounds. Furthermore, if you are a travel nurse who has taken contracts before and you are comfortable floating in a hospital, then you will be in high demand as well.

Find Your Dream Travel Nursing Assignment Today

Are you ready to start searching for travel nursing assignments? We are here to help. Give us a call today at 208-378-1338 and one of our travel nurse staffing specialists will be happy to discuss opportunities to advance your nursing career with Elite Specialty Staffing.

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Written by Curtis Anderson

The first film I saw in theaters as a child was Walt Disney’s Aladdin. The year was 1992, and I was 4.

It. was. a. trip. 

After the film, my parents drove me across the mall parking lot and treated me to Arby’s. I didn’t know there were screens that big or that cherry turnovers were a thing until that night. As we left the city and drove more than 90 minutes back to our home, in the dark - I sat wide awake in the backseat of our Chevy van watching the visible stars, and wondering what other treasures the universe contained that I had yet to discover. My curiosity was piqued, and my imagination was on fire. I’ve been trying to keep up with it since.

I love stories, all sorts of stories, and the process of discovering stories, and the people who tell them. I have spent the majority of my life seeking out opportunities to hear the best stories. I strive to learn from the greatest storytellers. I’m grateful to have come of age in the most prolific era of storytelling in history. From Apple, Netflix, and Broadway to pre-school "Show and Tells" across America, we are surrounded by opportunities to drink in the most compelling, vivid, and visceral tales of all time. it’s enriching, enabling, and inspiring. I love it, and I aspire to be better at telling my own stories.

In life, it seems as though we’re all always right in the middle of our own stories, and it can be hard to sort out the “ends” and the “beginnings.” One of our central focuses is to dive in and gain a greater understanding of what keeps you going through the twists and turns of your career as a nurse, as well as what stops you dead in your tracks. 

I love working with creative people to bring something to life! As well as swimming, food recommendations from people that turn out to be a party for your tastebuds, discovering new things, consistently learning, time with Stacie, my wife, and our children - 

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