Top 10 Highest-Paying States for Travel Nurses

Travel Nurse Jobs, Travel Nursing

What States Pay Travel Nurses the Most

Navigating the healthcare landscape to find the best financial opportunities is key for many nurses. When it comes to finding the right travel nurse job to increase your earnings, certain states offer more lucrative compensation than others. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 highest-paying states for nurses to consider when looking for that next travel nurse assignment.

What States Pay Nurses the Most?

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average annual salary for an RN in the U.S. is $94,480, and the average hourly wage is $45.42. Like many other industries, the state or area you work in can significantly impact how much you earn as a travel nurse. Below is a list of the top 10 states nurses get paid the most.


  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $137,690
  • Average Hourly Wage: $66.20

California remains the highest-paying state for nurses, a testament to its expansive healthcare sector and higher living costs. Cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles are hotspots for nursing professionals, offering competitive pay despite the steep cost of living. The diverse healthcare settings, expansive beaches, and variety of California travel nurse jobs make the Golden State an appealing choice for nurses looking for both financial and career fulfillment.


  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $119,710
  • Average Hourly Wage: $57.55

Known for its breathtaking landscapes, Hawaii also stands out as a highly rewarding state for nurses, especially regarding pay. Given its unique healthcare demands and remote position, nurses are in high demand. While living costs, particularly in Honolulu, are high, the allure of taking a Hawaii travel nurse job and residing in such a breathtaking location is a significant attraction. Hawaii’s commitment to health and wellbeing further increases job satisfaction levels among nurses.


  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $113,440
  • Average Hourly Wage: $54.54

Oregon stands out for its attractive nurse salaries due to its solid healthcare framework and on-the-rise population. Cities like Portland, Medford, and Bend are ripe with job opportunities featuring appealing perks. The state’s dedication to community health and progressive policies ensures a continuing need for skilled nurses, adding to the charm of taking an Oregon travel nurse job and enjoying the state’s natural beauty and cultural vibrancy.


  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $111,030
  • Average Hourly Wage: $53.38

Known for its commitment to improving communities and robust healthcare system, Washington continues to rank among the highest-paying states for nurses.  Seattle, in particular, offers high salaries, exceptional benefits, and access to premier healthcare facilities such as the University of Washington Medical Center. The state’s focus on public health initiatives provides a supportive backdrop for healthcare workers, while its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture make it a great place for nurses to snag a Washington travel nurse job.


  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $109,210
  • Average Hourly Wage: $52.51

The unique challenges and remote settings in Alaska elevate nursing roles, making it one of the highest-paying RN states. The average nurse salary in Alaska mirrors the demanding nature of the work, which includes working in more rural and scattered populations. Despite its complex and varied weather, the adventure and opportunity to impact patient lives draw many to take a travel nurse job in Alaska.


  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $108,850
  • Average Hourly Wage: $52.33

Home to leading hospitals and medical schools like Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, there’s a reason Massachusetts offers top compensation and is considered one of the highest-paying states for nurses. Boston is especially rich in opportunities for advanced practice nurses and nurse practitioners. The state’s investment in healthcare innovation and education means you can grow professionally while enjoying East Coast eats when you take a travel nurse job in Massachusetts.

New York

  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $106,620
  • Average Hourly Wage: $51.26

New York, especially New York City, opens up opportunities and top salaries for nurses. Its diverse populace and globally acclaimed medical facilities, such as New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Mount Sinai, and Montefiore Medical Center foster a dynamic nursing environment. Although living costs are high, the blend of professional growth and lifestyle offerings is unmatched if you’re considering travel nurse jobs in New York.

 New Jersey

  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $101,960
  • Average Hourly Wage: $49.02

With competitive salaries and close to key metropolitan areas like New York City and Philadelphia, New Jersey offers robust employment options in healthcare. The state’s living costs are balanced by high wages and attractive benefits, making it a favorable setting for those looking for travel nurse jobs in New Jersey. Not to mention, the cultural diversity and beautiful shorelines along the Jersey Shore add to its appeal.


  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $101,840
  • Average Hourly Wage: $48.96

Connecticut’s emphasis on high-quality healthcare and the presence of renowned healthcare institutions ensure that nursing professionals are well-compensated. Cities like Hartford and New Haven boast excellent medical facilities and schools, presenting numerous career paths. Plus, the area offers a quintessential New England lifestyle with the advantage of being near major cities like New York and Boston, which means a Connecticut travel nurse job should definitely be on your list.


  • Average Annual Salary for an RN: $97,700
  • Average Hourly Wage: $46.97

Finally, Nevada’s fast-growing healthcare sector brings forth plentiful opportunities for nurses, backed by competitive compensation packages. Its vibrant cities and evolving medical landscape, especially in Las Vegas and Reno, make it a noteworthy state for nurses aiming for high earnings and diverse work experiences. Not to mention, the area boasts significant natural attractions like the Sierra Nevada mountains, perfect for any adventurer who is considering Nevada for a travel nurse job.

Factors Influencing Travel Nursing Salaries

Now, it’s also important to remember that not all travel assignments in the above states will pay more than the average salary for a perm position. There are a variety of factors that can influence your earnings:

  • Specialty: Your pay rate can vary significantly based on your specialty, as some fields involve certain certifications, education, and skills that might be in more demand.
  • Education: Higher levels of education often lead to better-paying assignments, as advanced degrees and certifications can make you more valuable to employers.
  • Shifts: The timing and duration of your shifts can impact your earnings, with night shifts, weekends, and holidays typically offering higher pay rates.
  • Type of Assignment (EX. Crisis or Strike): Assignments involving crisis situations or strikes often attract higher pay due to their urgent and challenging nature.
  • Demand: High demand for certain skills or roles in specific locations can increase compensation, with employers willing to pay more to fill critical positions quickly.

While compensation is an important factor, nurses should also consider the cost of living, work environment, and personal lifestyle preferences when choosing where to work. States like Alaska, Hawaii, and New York offer not only high wages but also unique living experiences that can enhance both personal and professional fulfillment. If you want to add one of these high-paying travel nurse states to your bucket list, apply today, and our recruiters will help you get started.

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Elle Reed is a content specialist with a knack for writing that informs, uplifts, and makes a difference in the healthcare realm. With an educational background in English and psychology, she combines her love of storytelling and knowledge seeking to ensure clinicians are constantly in the know and appreciated. She’s based in the Midwest with her husband and her baby pup, Porter.