The 8 Highest Paying Travel Nurse Jobs in 2024

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Higher earning potential is why many RNs chose to transition to travel nursing in the last few years. Other reasons you might consider making this transition yourself may include: 

  • A change of work environment and an opportunity to learn new hospital cultures. 
  • The ability to travel to and explore new places. 
  • Job security, with options nationwide. 
  • Broadened experience and skills. 

No matter your reason, a travel nurse salary can be extremely lucrative. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all assignments and locations pay more than perm positions.  

Factors like the city/state of your assignment, your specialty, and even the shift you’re willing to work have a significant influence on your paycheck as a travel nurse. Here are a few key factors healthcare travelers should consider when seeking out the highest-paying travel nurse jobs. 

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Travel Nurse Specialties 

As with perm nursing jobs, your specialty plays a big role in how much you get paid. Your travel nursing goals should always be taken into account, however, if you’re set on increasing your travel nurse salary, consider one of the following higher-paying specialties.  

  • Oncology Nurse – Hospitals are consistently seeking travelers with hands-on experience caring for patients (both medical and surgical) with different varieties of cancer.  
  • NICU III Nurse – NICU III travel nurses are always in high demand, as hospitals need people who can care for critically ill babies and support the needs of parents and family during this emotional time.  
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurse – Qualifications for and experience working with young patients in the PICU of a children’s hospital will keep you in high demand, filling a need that hospitals consistently have. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

Highest Paying Travel Nurse Locations 

California – The most populous and geographically diverse state in the U.S., California is known for its vibrant culture and varied landscapes and climates. 

  • Average Weekly Pay Range: $3,200 – $3,550 
  • Average Monthly Pay Range: $12,800 – $14,200 
  • Average Annual Pay Range: $166,400 – $184,600 

Alaska – The largest state in the U.S. is characterized by its extreme and diverse climate, with cold winters, long summer days, and vast wilderness expanses for outdoor lovers! 

  • Average Weekly Pay Range: $2,600 – $2,875 
  • Average Monthly Pay Range: $10,400 – $11,500 
  • Average Annual Pay Range: $135,200 – $149,500 

Connecticut – This New England landmark is known for its subtropical summers, cold winters, charming coastal towns, and historical significance.  

  • Average Weekly Pay Range: $2,375 – $2,750 
  • Average Monthly Pay Range: $9,500 – $11,000 
  • Average Annual Pay Range: $123,500 – $143,000 

New York – A bustling and iconic state, New York state is known for its cultural richness and diverse neighborhoods.  

  • Average Weekly Pay Range: $2,100 – $2,745 
  • Average Monthly Pay Range: $8,400 – $10,980 
  • Average Annual Pay Range: $109,200 – $142,740

Massachusetts – Massachusetts is a historic and intellectually vibrant state in the New England region, distinguished by prestigious universities and known for its gorgeous fall foliage as the weather cools for winter.  

  • Average Weekly Pay Range: $2,400 – $2,740 
  • Average Monthly Pay Range: $9,600 – $10,960 
  • Average Annual Pay Range: $124,800 – $142,480

Hawaii – Hawaii is a tropical paradise boasting a consistently mild climate with warm temperatures year-round.  

  • Average Weekly Pay Range: $2,300 – $2,540 
  • Average Monthly Pay Range: $9,200 – $10,160 
  • Average Annual Pay Range: $119,600 – $132,080

Washington – This rainy state comes along with vibrant urban areas, stunning natural beauty, and a diverse culture.  

  • Average Weekly Pay Range: $2,290 – $2,500 
  • Average Monthly Pay Range: $9,160 – $10,000 
  • Average Annual Pay Range: $119,080 – $130,000

New Jersey – Residents of New Jersey will boast about its suburban communities and bustling urban areas with a diverse landscape and climate.  

  • Average Weekly Pay Range: $2,250 – $2,500 
  • Average Monthly Pay Range: $9,000 – $10,000  
  • Average Annual Pay Range: $117,000 – $130,000 

In addition to location, your hours may vary depending on your specific assignment and specialty, significantly influencing your wage*. For example, cities with a higher cost of living typically pay higher wages — but keep in mind that you do have to consider your other needs associated with that cost of living.  

It’s also common to see a trade-off between desirable locations and pay rates. For example, Hawaii is a highly desirable state for many travel nurses, so you may find pay rates there are inversely a bit lower. On the other hand, a less desirable location, like North Dakota in January, may inversely offer a higher pay rate.    

The big takeaway about the location of your travel nurse job is that your flexibility is key, and determining high-paying states for travel nurses is dependent on several factors beyond the base pay package. The more flexible you are regarding location, the more likely you are to go where current demand takes you—and that often means a higher paycheck.  

If you can be uber-flexible on location, it’s wise to maintain multiple state licenses and know your way around the nurse licensure compact. That way, you can more swiftly apply for and accept high-demand jobs wherever they may be. 

* Estimated pay and benefits packages based on current job data. Bill rates can change frequently and without notice. Exact pay and benefits package may vary based on several factors, including, but not limited to, guaranteed hours, travel distance, demand, experience, eligibility, etc.


Highest Paying Travel Nurse Assignments 

Regardless of location and specialty, unexpected circumstances can also present financial opportunities for travel nurses. When you travel with Medical Solutions, our expert team is always here to help you quickly acquire the licenses and certifications needed for rapid response, crisis, or strike assignments. Plus, we offer licensure and specialty certification reimbursement!   

  • Crisis and Rapid Response Assignments 
    Hospitals and medical facilities are willing to pay travel nurses top dollar to fill roles when there’s an urgent need. If you have the flexibility to arrive quickly and stay as long as the need keeps you there — and if you’re open to traveling anywhere the need may take you — you can find yourself with assignments that are rewarding in pay and experience.  
    Crisis travel nurse jobs look fantastic on resumes, making these travelers even more appealing to employers, and increasing the likelihood of matching with high-demand roles in the future. 
  • Strike Assignments 
    Strikes most often occur when a hospital and union cannot come to an agreement on a labor contract that’s up for renewal or when workers face unsafe conditions. Despite the reason for a strike, continuity of care is crucial for patients in affected facilities and travel nurses can make a good sum of money in strike assignments because of the urgent need.

Travel Nurse Qualifications 

Any travel nurse with the proper certifications and experience deserves a high-paying travel nursing job if that’s what they want. The basic requirements to become a travel nurse include: 

  • Earning your ADN or BSN degree.
  • Passing the NCLEX.
  • 1-2 years of recent, in-hospital experience as a nurse. 
  • Earning your appropriate licensure and certifications per location and chosen specialty.

Meeting these requirements will put you well on your way to accessing the highest paying travel nursing jobs.

To check out if Medical Solutions currently has any high-paying assignments for travel nurses or allied health professionals, contact your recruiter or call our 24-hour customer care line at 1.866.633.3548. We’re always hard at work placing talented travel nurses and negotiating to get them the highest travel nurse pay possible.  

Original post created by Sarah Wengert Nov. 5, 2020.


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