How Much Do Travel Nurses Make? A Breakdown by Specialty

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make? A Breakdown by Specialty

This article will provide you with information about How Much Travel Nurses Make And a Breakdown by Specialty, accompanied with frequently asked questions if you can make a career from being a traveling nurse.


If you’re interested in becoming a travel nurse, you’ve probably already figured out that the pay isn’t bad. But how much do travel nurses make, exactly? This can depend on several different factors, including your specialty, how long you choose to stay with one facility, and where you decide to travel to. In this article, We’ll break it down by specialty here, based on the latest data available from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). the average hourly wage of all types of travel nurses, plus what factors can affect your pay. This gives us a good picture of what most nurses earn in different specialties and parts of the country.

Before we move further, let’s understand the concept of what a Travel Nurse is

What is a Travel Nurse?

A Travel Nurse is a nurse who travels to various health care facilities and provides nursing care to patients. A Travel Nurse is also called a “traveling nurse” or “traveling healthcare professional”. The travel may be for the purpose of providing temporary staffing, permanent employment, or both.

A Travel Nurse can work in any field of nursing, including oncology, intensive care, emergency room (ER), pediatrics and more. Travel Nurses often work in areas where there is a shortage of qualified nurses and are paid more than their counterparts in traditional positions.

The Average Annual Salary

Travel nurses make a median salary of $59,000. The amount of money you can make is dependent on the specialty in which you work, with some making as much as $100,000. If you are looking to make more money than that, you will need to find a contract job. Salaries for these positions range from $65,000-$80,000 depending on experience and specialization.

The Most Lucrative Specialties

The Highest-paying specialties are: Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurological Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Urology, Cardiovascular Disease. Lowest-paying specialties: Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology. The average salary for a travel nurse is $64,000.

ALSO SEE: Why You Should Travel with Nuwest Travel Nursing Agency

The Least Lucrative Specialties

Some of the least lucrative nursing specialties include geriatrics, neonatal intensive care, and hospice. In these positions, nurses can earn anywhere from $27-$29 per hour. The average hourly wage for a nurse is $35. 57 per hour. The highest earning travel nurses are in cardiac surgery with an average salary of $120,000 annually or $40 per hour.

Top Paying States for Traveling Nurse

The best-paying states for travel nurses are California, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Illinois. 

The top paying metropolitan areas are San Francisco Bay Area in California; Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas; Newark and Jersey City in New Jersey; Springfield in Massachusetts; and Chicago.

Nursing Jobs With The Highest Starting Salaries

Nursing professionals are always in high demand and there are many different specialties for you to choose from. If you’re considering a career in nursing and want to know how much travel nurses make, then check out the list below! 

The average starting salary for these positions is $75,000 per year. However, it can depend on the specialty that you choose. Hospice nursing is one of the most lucrative specialties with an average starting salary of $103,000 per year.

The Cheapest States to Live in While Traveling As a Nurse

Nurses are among the most in-demand professionals in the U.S. today, but it’s not always easy to figure out which states offer the best opportunities for nurses. In this post, we’ll break down how much travel nurses make in each state and provide a few other factors to consider before you decide where to go. The cost of living is low in these four states—plus they all have relatively low income tax rates. These places also happen to be some of the most affordable locations to buy or rent homes too.

Some of these states include Iowa, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. These are some of the cheapest states for nurses because they have low cost of living, good healthcare systems and low housing costs. However, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing where you want to go such as family or personal connections or just your own.

ALSO SEE: Everything You Need to Know About Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary

5 Unusual Ways Nurses Earn Extra Money While on Assignment

Nurses also have many opportunities to make money on the side while they are working an assignment. These opportunities range from dog-sitting to tutoring and even photography. Read more about 5 of these unusual ways to make money as a travel nurse here. 

1) Dog-sitting: If you’re passionate about dogs or want extra exercise, then you may want to look into becoming a pet sitter! The going rate for dog sitting is around $25 per night. 

2) Tutoring: When it comes to paying jobs, nurses are not always in high demand because they work nights and weekends, but if you’re qualified, there’s usually plenty of potential clients waiting for you online with apps like Tandem or Chegg Tutors. On average, tutors earn anywhere from $12 to $60 per hour. 

3) Photography: Another opportunity for photographers looking to earn some extra cash is doing photo shoots at nursing homes or assisted living facilities. These facilities might be looking for someone who can provide that human connection through capturing meaningful moments through the lens. 

4) Volunteering at animal shelters: For people who love animals and volunteering their time, this opportunity might be right up your alley! Animal shelters often need volunteers to help out with tasks such as walking the dogs, taking care of cats or helping clean up after messy kennels. 

Two hours a week at a shelter will typically net you between $20-$50 depending on where you live. 

Many facilities also offer free food and housing options for those who choose to volunteer.

5) Taking Surveys Online: Another way that traveling nurses can make a little extra cash while they’re on assignment is by participating in online surveys (think opinion polls). Most survey sites have participants sign up with their Facebook accounts or other social media platforms, so participants don’t have to divulge any personal information other than their first name and email address.

ALSO SEE: How to Make a Fortune Working With Prolink Staffing Travel Nursing Company

What Are The Best Locations to Find Travel Nursing Jobs?

It is important to find a travel nurse job in a location that can help you achieve your personal and professional goals. There are many factors that influence the salary of a travel nurse, including their specialty, experience level, and geographic location. Here are some of the best locations for finding travel nursing jobs.

California: California has an abundant number of hospitals and medical facilities which offer both permanent positions as well as temporary ones. 

Florida: Florida has both traditional and more specialized hospitals that offer employment opportunities to nurses. Some of the more common specialties in Florida include pediatrics, neonatal intensive care, maternal fetal medicine, hematology oncology, cardiology, transplantation surgery and neurology.

Advantages Of Travel Nursing

Traveling nurses are becoming more and more popular in the healthcare industry. In this section, we will discuss some of the advantages of being a Travel Nurse, and advantages that travel nurses have over their peers who work at one hospital.

This include the following:

Great Pay: One of the biggest advantages is that they can make more money as a travel nurse than they would as a permanent staff member. This is because hospitals pay travel nurses on an hourly rate, which is higher than what they would pay a permanent staff member.

Choose Your Location: Another advantage of being a travel nurse is that you are able to choose your location and assignments, which means you can find the perfect fit for your family and lifestyle.

Flexible Schedule: As a travel nurse, you have the flexibility to choose your own schedule which means that you can work when it is convenient for you. You can also take time off when you want without having to worry about getting fired or losing your job.

Short-Term Commitment: If you decide to take up travel nursing as a profession, then there is no need for long term commitment because these jobs are usually short-term contracts lasting from one month to one year or so depending on your assignment length.

Continuing Education: Travel nurses also have access to free continuing education opportunities through their employers, which helps them stay up-to-date.

They are able to have time off for vacations, holidays, or emergencies.

ALSO SEE: How Much a Labor and Delivery Nurse Make

FAQs for How Much Travel Nurses Make

Here are some of the most common questions that people ask when they consider becoming a travel nurse.

What Are The Requirements for Being a Travel Nurse?

In order to become a travel nurse, there are a few requirements that must be met. First and foremost, the person must be an RN. 

Second, they need to have a current license in their state of residence. 

Third, they need to have at least one year of experience in the field of nursing. Fourth, they need to be willing and able to travel across the country for work.

Finally, it is important that they are flexible and able to take on any type of assignment that is offered by the hospital or agency they are working with.

How to Find Travel Nurse Jobs

In order to find a job as a travel nurse, you need to first be certified as an RN. This can be done by completing the necessary training and passing the certification exam. If you are already an RN and have experience in the field, you can also apply for positions that require less experience.

The best way to find a job as a travel nurse is through networking and asking around with friends or family members who work in the healthcare industry. You can also go online and apply for positions at various websites like Indeed or Monster Jobs, Vivian Travel Travel Nursing Agency, and NuWest Travel Nursing Company.

What is The Salary of a Travel Nurse?

The salary for travel nurses varies depending on location and the type of nursing. For example, the median annual salary for general travel nurses is $50,000. Whereas for nurse anesthetists it ranges from $100,000 to $200,000 annually.

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make Per Hour?

A travel nurse is a type of nurse who travels to different hospitals for different shifts. Travel nurses are paid per hour and can make anywhere from $30- $50 an hour, depending on specialty, location and also the experience.

How to Become a Traveling Nurse

The first step to becoming a traveling nurse is to complete the application process for certification and licensure. These certifications and licenses will vary from state-to-state, so it is important that you research your state’s requirements before you apply.

Next, you will need to find an agency that hires traveling nurses. You can do this by searching online or by asking around at your hospital or medical facility.

Finally, you will need to complete an interview with the agency and provide them with all of your credentials and certifications.


Being a Travel Nurse is not just about how much you make per hour or annually, the traveling nurse profession allows nurses to travel to different places and have temporary jobs.

The benefits of being a travel nurse are numerous. You get to experience new cultures and meet new people while still making money. You also get the opportunity to work in different hospitals and clinics, which can be beneficial for your career as you learn more about medicine.

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