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How Much Money Do You Really Make as a Travel Nurse

October 3, 2023
by Voyage Healthcare

When the itch to explore combines with a love for healthcare, travel nursing emerges as the answer. The excitement of discovering new locales and experiences is undoubtedly captivating, but the earning potential is just as magnetic. Let’s delve into the earnings landscape for travel nurses, spotlighting the highest-paying specialties and the role of location. Especially after our recent blog post, “Assessing the Value: Was Travel Nursing Worth It in 2023, and What’s the Outlook for 2024?”, it’s crucial to arm yourself with insights to maximize your earnings in this adventurous profession.

Average Earnings of a Travel Nurse

As per HealthJob & ZipRecruiter, a typical travel nurse takes home:

  • $2,019 – $2,153 every week
  • $50 – $54 each hour
  • An annual average of $105,021 – 111,956

These figures, however, only offer a general picture. Many trave

l nurses earn more than $100,000 yearly, and some even surpass $3,000 weekly. Add company-provided housing accommodations to this, and you’ve got a tempting package.

Factors Influencing Pay

Travel nurses’ salaries aren’t static. They fluctuate depending on experience, specialties, and of course, location. The starting salary itself is around $82,850, but as with any average, reporting entities can skew the numbers. As of September 26, 2023, travel nurses in the U.S. earn an average monthly wage of $8,751.

On platforms like ZipRecruiter, there’s a wide range in salaries, with some reaching as high as $12,958 and others at the lower end earning around $3,333. Most travel nurses, however, earn between $6,291 (in the 25th percentile) and $10,625 (in the 75th percentile). This significant salary variation, as much as $4,333, hints at multiple opportunities for pay hikes based on expertise, geographical location, and tenure.

Data from recent job listings on ZipRecruiter reveal an active travel nurse job market in and around Orlando, FL. In this region, a travel nurse’s average monthly earnings stand at $8,987 — that’s $236 (or 26.959%) above the national average. Among the U.S. states, Florida ranks 37th in terms of travel nurse salary averages.

Specializations and Their Pay

Niche specialties often yield heftier paychecks. Delving into specifics:

  • ICU: Topping the charts, ICU nurses earn as much as $2,807 weekly.
  • Telemetry: These professionals can expect around $130,870 annually or $2,517 per week.
  • Operating Room: On average, they earn $181,460 yearly, translating to $87 hourly. The creme-de-la-creme in this specialty can boast earnings close to $286,000.
  • ER: These critical care experts can make up to $4,285 each week.

Other lucrative fields include Labor and Delivery, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, Home Health Registered Nurses, Hospice Nurses, and Oncology Registered Nurses.

State-wise Salary Breakdown for Travel Nurses

Location can drastically influence a travel nurse’s paycheck. Each state offers distinct pay scales influenced by factors like demand, living costs, and local healthcare standards. This state-wise compensation landscape is dynamic, with fluctuations based on evolving regional needs and economic conditions. Ziprecruiter has done an outstanding job at breaking down the salary by tiers to get a better understanding of the breakdown.

Healthjobs Reports | Top-Paying States

Based on Healthjobs reports, California tops the list of annual salaries for travel nurses at $132,660, with states like New York and Alaska trailing closely. Meanwhile, in terms of weekly earnings, Massachusetts leads at $2,446, closely followed by states like North Dakota and Utah.

  • California: $132,660
  • New York: $128,277
  • Alaska: $102,260
  • Nevada: $109,193
  • New Jersey: $110,831
  • Wisconsin: $110,128
  • Arizona: $82,330
  • Arkansas: $64,130

In terms of weekly earnings:

  • Massachusetts: $2,446
  • North Dakota: $2,440
  • Utah: $2,415
  • South Dakota: $2,411

Why Certain States Offer More

Many factors like regional healthcare demand, living costs, and state-specific medical challenges mold these figures.

Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Travel Nurse Jobs

Travel nurses’ salaries in the U.S. differ significantly from one city to another. Each city has its unique pay scales, shaped by local demand, cost of living, and healthcare infrastructure. This city-specific compensation landscape is ever-changing, responding to shifts in local healthcare demands and economic factors.

The financial allure of a city can be as significant for a travel nurse as the destination itself. Barrow, AK is currently the leader, with salaries $32,179 (30.6%) above the national average of $105,021. Following closely are San Jose, CA and Oakland, CA, with the latter beating the national average by $27,021 (25.7%).

These top 10 cities exceed the national average, showcasing the potential earnings boost for nurses willing to relocate. Interestingly, there’s only a 7% salary difference between the top-paying city of Barrow, AK and a city like Seattle, WA.

Graph of Highest Travel Nurse Salary by City

However, while considering these lucrative opportunities, travel nurses should also factor in the cost of living. A higher paycheck in a pricier city might not always mean more money in the pocket.

Voyage Healthcare: Your Best Partner in Travel Nursing

Navigating the choppy waters of travel nursing? Voyage Healthcare is your anchor, ensuring you get the best deals.

The Voyage Healthcare Edge

Besides connecting you with the best opportunities, Voyage Healthcare equips you with an unfair advantage in this bustling world.

Why Choose Voyage Healthcare

Beyond the attractive pay packages, it’s their industry know-how, vast network, and unwavering support that sets them apart.


Travel nursing is more than just a job; it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle that promises not only new horizons but also substantial financial rewards. And with Voyage Healthcare as your partner, you’re set for a prosperous and fulfilling journey.


  1. Is the $100,000+ annual earning typical for all travel nurses?
    • While many earn over this figure, earnings are influenced by specialization, experience, and location.
  2. Why is there such a variation in state-wise earnings?
    • Factors like state healthcare demands, living costs, and specific medical challenges play a role.
  3. Does Voyage Healthcare assist in housing?
    • Yes, many agencies, including Voyage Healthcare, offer housing accommodations or allowances.
  4. How significant is specialization in determining earnings?
    • Extremely. Specialties in high demand like ICU and ER generally have higher compensations.
  5. Why should I opt for Voyage Healthcare for my travel nursing career?
    • Their vast network, deep industry insights, and unmatched support ensure you’re always a step ahead.

Read More: Prime Picks: Essential Amazon Products for Nurses

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