Highest Paying Travel Nurse Specialties in 2024

Travel Nurse Jobs, Travel Nursing

High-Paying Travel Nurse Specialties You Should Consider

As with permanent nursing jobs, your specialty plays a big role in determining how much you get paid as a travel nurse. While your goals should always be considered when finding your ideal travel nurse job, if your goal is to increase your salary, then you might be interested in what travel nurse specialties make the most. Every specialty has many rewards, and every nurse has their own journey; however, some roles offer substantial financial rewards more than others. We’ve compiled a list of some of the highest-paying travel nurse specialties in 2024.

Emergency Room (ER) Nurses

ER nurses thrive in fast-paced, high-pressure environments. They provide care for patients experiencing acute injuries or illnesses, often in chaotic settings. Their ability to quickly assess and manage a wide variety of medical emergencies makes them invaluable. The demand for travel ER nurses is particularly high in areas with seasonal population spikes or during public health crises, which often translates to higher pay rates.

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) Nurse

If you have specific experience in cardiac and neuro ICUs, you’ll most definitely have an edge over other critical care nurses when it comes to getting placed on assignment. CVICU nurses care for patients recovering from cardiovascular surgery or dealing with severe cardiac conditions. This role requires proficiency in advanced cardiac life support, hemodynamic monitoring, and post-operative care. The critical nature of their work and the specialized skills required make CVICU nurses among the highest-paid in travel nursing.

Cardiovascular Operating Room (CVOR) Nurse

As a part of the cardiovascular surgical team, CVOR nurses tend to make more per hour because surgeries bring in a large portion of hospital revenue. CVOR nurses assist in complex cardiac surgeries, requiring in-depth knowledge of surgical procedures, sterile techniques, and post-operative care. Their role is crucial in ensuring successful surgical outcomes, which directly impacts hospital revenue and patient health. The expertise required and the critical nature of their work drive the high pay rates for travel CVOR nurses.

Cardiac Catheterization Lab Nurse

Hospitals struggle to find nurses with experience in procedural areas like the cath lab, making these jobs in higher demand with more lucrative hourly rates. Cardiac catheterization lab nurses assist in diagnosing and treating heart conditions using catheter-based techniques. Their role involves patient preparation, monitoring during procedures, and post-procedure care. The technical expertise and precision required for this specialty result in higher pay for travel nurses with cath lab experience.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

CRNAs require more education than many other nurse specialties due to the added risk and accountability associated with anesthetics. Due to this requirement, CRNAs are often in short supply. They are responsible for administering anesthesia and monitoring patients throughout surgical procedures, ensuring patient safety and pain management. The advanced training, high responsibility, and critical nature of their work make CRNAs among the highest-paid nurses in the travel nursing field.


NICU III travel nurses are always in high demand because hospitals need experts who can care for critically ill babies and support the needs of parents and families during this emotional time. They handle the most severe neonatal cases, requiring advanced knowledge of neonatal care, ventilator management, and the ability to perform life-saving interventions. The specialized training and high-stress environment of the NICU contribute to the high salaries offered to these travel nurses.

Oncology Nurse

Hospitals are consistently seeking oncology nurses with hands-on experience caring for patients (both medical and surgical) with various types of cancer. Oncology nurses play a crucial role in the care continuum, managing chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and postoperative care for cancer patients. This specialty requires a deep understanding of cancer pathophysiology and treatment protocols, making oncology nurses indispensable in hospital settings. The complexity and emotional intensity of oncology nursing contribute to its higher pay rates, especially for travel nurses who can fill critical staffing shortages.

Operating Room (OR) Nurses

Operating Room nurses, or perioperative nurses, play a crucial role in surgical procedures, assisting before, during, and after surgery. Their expertise in maintaining a sterile environment, managing surgical instruments, and ensuring patient safety is indispensable. Because surgeries are a constant in healthcare, the demand for skilled OR nurses remains robust, leading to higher pay for travel nurses who can step into these roles.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurse

Experience and qualifications for working with young patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of a children’s hospital will keep you in high demand. PICU nurses provide critical care to infants, children, and adolescents with life-threatening conditions. The ability to manage complex pediatric conditions and provide emotional support to families is essential in this role. Hospitals consistently need skilled PICU nurses, especially those willing to travel, which leads to higher compensation.

Psychiatric Nurses

Psychiatric nurses specialize in the mental health field, providing care for patients with psychiatric disorders. Their role involves administering medication, conducting therapy sessions, and managing crises. With the rising awareness and need for mental health services, psychiatric nurses are in demand, and those willing to travel can command higher salaries.

While specialty does play a major role in higher pay, it’s important to understand that it’s not the only factor that leads to a bigger earning potential. There are lots of other factors to that go into pay such as location, shifts, demand, or education and certifications. The great thing about travel nursing is that it offers numerous opportunities and avenues for increasing your earning potential. If maximizing your income is a priority, apply today and our team of experts will help you achieve your goals!

Learn more: 

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.