Salaries of Traveling Nurses Guide

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Written by Norman Diokno

October 9, 2022

Salaries of Traveling Nurse has been quite the the talk for these past years and many are really intrigued on how much money they make. Traveling nurses has become more common in the last few years as the healthcare industry has become more competitive.

As a traveling nurse, you don’t have to worry about commuting to work or paying off student loans, and your wages will be higher than the other working nurses.

However, you face several other pitfalls that might make you not enjoy that salary if you are not well informed. Here are guides on the wages of traveling nurses in the United States today.

What Is A Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses, also known as contract nurses, have an agreement with a company called an agency for temporary assignments at different hospitals. Many travel nurse jobs are for a set number of weeks or months, but some can last as long as one year. Travel nursing is an option if you’re looking for work outside your home state and want more variety than traditional nursing offers.

option if you’re looking for work outside your home state and want more variety than traditional nursing offers

Travel Nurse Salary

The average stipend for traveling nurses is $70,000 per year. This number can be higher or lower depending on where you are traveling and what type of experience you have. It’s important to remember that this figure is an average and ranges significantly based on location, speciality, and years of experience for the salary of traveling nurses.

For example, if you live in California and specialize as an ICU nurse, your salary would likely be around $71,800 per year. On the other hand, if you live in Texas and specialize as a maternal-child health nurse, your average salary would be closer to $56,500.

How Much Money Do Travel Nurses Make?

Salaries of Traveling Nurse stethoscope heart

Nurses make an average salary of $74,000 per year. Some nurses, especially those with more experience and certifications, earn as much as $120,000 annually. A few factors that contribute to a nurse’s salary are, 

  • Where they work
  • Their certification level 
  • Years of experience
  • The location

Nurses who have worked for 10 years or less typically earn around $70,000 annually, while someone with a decade or more experience could get up to six figures annually.

Salaries Of Traveling Nurse By State – Highest To Lowest

You may find that certain states pay a higher traveling nurse salary than others. The cost of living compares the overall price of goods and services. This post will give you an idea of how much a traveling nurse can make per hour for each state.

  • California is ranked number one with $57.96 per hour
  • New York is ranked number two with $43.10 per hour 
  • South Dakota is ranked number three with $42.00 per hour 
  • Colorado is ranked number four with $41.00 per hour 
  • Nevada is ranked number five with $40.80 per hour
  • Alaska is ranked number six with $39.90 per hour
  • Idaho is ranked number seven with $39.70 per hour
  • Wyoming is ranked number eight with $38.50 per hour
  • Arkansas is ranked number nine with $37.90 per hour
  • North Dakota is ranked number ten with $37.50 per hour

How Does Salaries of Traveling Nurse Pay Differ From Staff Nurse Pay?

Salaries of traveling nurse on assignment typically earn a higher hourly wage than staff nurses because they are paid a premium for the extra expenses that come with being away from home. Staff nurses usually have their costs covered by their employer, but travel nurses pay for everything themselves. 

Travel nurse pay can be anywhere from $35-$50/hr, and staff nurse pay starts at $25/hr. As you might expect, the more experience a nurse has, the more money she will make. For example, an RN with 3 years of experience earns about $30-40 per hour, while one with 10 years or more earns around $50 per hour.

Income for a Traveling Nurse with Bachelor

The average income for a traveling nurse with a bachelor is $35,000 per year. The starting salary ranges from $22,000 to $50,000 based on experience and certifications. With experience and credentials, nurses with a bachelor’s degree have an average salary of $50,000 per year.

What Factors Impact Your Pay as a Travel Nurse?

This is a question that many traveling nurses ask themselves before accepting a contract. Many factors can impact your pay as a traveling nurse, including the type of work you do, where you work, and your license status. Here are some factors that may affect your pay as a travel nurse.

  • Type of Work: What kind of nursing job do you want? Do you want an ICU position or something more administrative? 
  • Where you work: Your desired location will play a role in what kind of position you apply for. It’s important to know if you’re willing to relocate for a specific opportunity because it could mean a difference between $5,000-$10,000 per year.
  •  When deciding on a contract: whether you would like to take short-term or long-term contracts, for example, short-term contracts might be appealing if you are planning on returning to your home state soon after completing the assignment. 

If not, then long-term may be better suited for you! Remember, your desires change over time, and so does the cost of living in different cities.

How to Find the Highest-Paying Travel Nurse Assignments

Identifying assignments that can provide a higher salary is essential for nurses. How do you find them? Several factors contribute to determining how much a position pays. 

  • What type of assignment is it (staff, travel, or per diem)
  • Your previous experience as a nurse. 

To ensure that you have the most options available to you, be sure to fill out our application here on our website. We consider all of these factors when we review your information to help match you with jobs near your home and ensure that they will provide you with a competitive wage.

Different Types of Salaries of Traveling Nurse

Travel nurse salaries can range from $45,000 to $90,000, depending on where you work and your specific duties. Below we’ve outlined the salary ranges for different travel nursing positions.

  • Registered Nurse traveling salary: $47,000
  • Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse: $36,000
  • Licensed Physical Therapist: $42,000
  • Occupational Therapist: $52,000
  • Speech Pathologist: $54,000 
  • Certified Nursing Assistant: $27,000
  • Medical Assistant: $30,000
  • Laboratory Technician: $32,000
  • Radiologic Technologist and Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (ultrasound): $51,000.


What other Benefits will You Receive as a Travel Nurse?

Travel nursing offers a lot more than just a paycheck. Many benefits come with this job, such as:

  • Unlimited Earning Potential: As a travel nurse, you can make as much money as possible if you’re willing to work long hours.
  • Flexibility: Unlike many other jobs, travel nurses can pick and choose where they want to work and what days they’d like their schedule.
  • Many opportunities for advancement: It’s possible to advance from an RN (Registered Nurse) position into a managerial position, as well there’s no limit on how high you can go.
  • You get to see the world: Travel nurses are constantly on the move, which means they have access to parts of the world that others don’t get to see.
  • Being able to work for various hospitals.
  • The ability to travel with your significant other.

    Salaries of Traveling Nurse gloves

    How To Boost Your Travel Nurse Salary?

    There are several options if you’re looking for a way to boost your salary as a travel nurse. You can look for higher-paying assignments, ask for a salary increase, or negotiate your salary package. Other ways to make more money with traveling nursing jobs don’t involve a pay increase. 

    For example, some travelers work during peak hours, which means they’ll make more per hour because shift rates are higher than non-peak rates. Other nurses work different shifts every day of the week, so it’s possible to make more if you want to do two weeks on, two weeks off instead of one week on/one week off.

    Salaries of Traveling Nurse by City

    Becoming a travelling nurse might be a perfect fit if you have a passion for travel and nursing. With an average of $70,000 of salaries of traveling nurse per year , it’s an opportunity that can bring significant benefits and many challenges. To help make your decision easier, we’ve put together these wages for traveling nurses by city.

    • Houston – $73,500
    • San Francisco – $71,900
    • Seattle – $70,700
    • Denver – $67,300
    • Los Angeles – $65,400
    • New York City – $64,600  
    • Philadelphia – $63,600 
    • Chicago – $62,200 
    • Phoenix – $62,200 
    • Boston – $61,800 
    • Austin – $60,900

    The 10 Best Travel Nursing Agencies to Work for in the United States?

    If you’re considering a career and want to experience the salaries of traveling nurse, you must do your research before making any decisions. Here are 10 agencies for nurses in the United States that pay well, have good benefits, and offer competitive salaries.

    • Cross Country TravCorps
    • Advanced Medical Staffing
    • Nursing Spectrum 
    • RNnetwork
    • MedPro Healthcare Staffing
    • Access Healthcare 
    • Labor Finders 
    • General Healthcare Resources 
    • Remote Year 
    • Ventana

    Top 10 Highest Paying Travel Nursing Specialties | 2022

    The highest-paying salaries of traveling nurse specialities depend on various factors, including location, demand, and urgency of needs. Here are the most paying travel nursing specialities.

    • Surgical Nurse – $104,000
    • Critical Care Nurse – $91,800
    • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse – $88,400
    • Medical-Surgical/Coronary Intensive Care Unit (MICU/CCU) Nurse – $86,600
    • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurse – $81,900
    • Orthopedic Surgeon – $76,500 
    • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) Nurse – $76,100
    • Neurosurgical ICU Nurse – $74,300
    • Operating Room (OR) Supervisor – $72,200

    Bottom Line

    Nursing is one of the fastest-growing careers, with more job opportunities than applicants in many cases. If you are considering becoming a traveling nurse, take some time to look at the nursing salaries in different states and the cost of living in those states, so you can make an educated decision before starting your next travel assignment. 

    The guide above tells more about the salaries of traveling nurses in the United States, annual wage by state, and average hourly pay by state so that you can find exactly how much travel nurses make where you live and work.

    How to Become a Travel Nurse (Everything You Need To Know)

    Have you ever wanted to travel and work at the same time, then becoming a travel nurse is a great option for you. Know more on how to become a travel nurse

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