How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?

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Travel nurses can work virtually anywhere. They are not on any specific hospital or health care company’s payroll, and they work similarly to independent contractors. This means that travel nurses have more flexibility to choose their hours and their salaries, dependent, of course, upon the specific offerings of wherever they choose to fill in and the demand for nursing positions.

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?

In the U.S., the average salary of a travel nurse is about $2,660 per week. 

 The factors that determine a travel nurse’s salary from state to state include agencies that fill travel nurse positions, the cities that travel nurses work in, the demand for their position to be filled and special training that a travel nurse may have. An area’s cost of living also plays a role in local salaries.

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Salaries for travel nurses can vary widely. In Massachusetts, for example, a travel nurse makes an average of $101,000, while in Texas, the average travel nurse salary is $80,000 per year. 

The availability of nursing professionals in each state also plays a role in local salaries. California is one of the states to be hit the hardest by the nursing shortage, driving up average salaries for travel and resident nurses. 

Why Do Travel Nurses Make So Much?

The main proponent put forth about why travel nurses make so much money is that their job is never guaranteed because they don’t have a single employer or employment contract. Therefore, potential benefits — such as job security, healthcare plans, vacation time and retirement accounts — are not set in writing or as clear as those of a traditional nurse.

In exchange for higher salaries, travel nurses must deal with constant roving for work and a consistent lack of stability in the workplace. Because of the less secure lifestyle of a travel nurse, these professionals are paid more to compensate for these inconveniences.

What Is the Highest Paid Traveling Nurse Position?

Travel nurses who specialize in a particular field or skill requiring extra education or training are not only the most sought-after travel nurses, they are also the highest paid types of travel nurses. The following are a few of some of the highest paid specialties within the travel nursing field

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Telemetry

Having a specialty in telemetry means that a travel nurse can read and interpret reports given from machines. They can review and understand data that measures vital signs and other patterns of the human body. Because not every nurse has this skill, telemetry travel nursing pays more when compared to general travel nursing. 

ICU

It’s not a surprise that travel nurses with Intensive Care Unit specialization are highly paid and in demand, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Safely handling ICU patients takes experience, specialized training and a personality that can handle distressing situations and someone that make smart decisions under high levels of stress. These special requirements mean that ICU travel nursing professionals demand higher salaries. 

Emergency Room

The high-stress environment and need for quick thinking under pressure are two of the factors that make emergency room travel nurses invaluable. There is often a shortage of ER personnel in many hospitals in general, especially around the holiday season when most household accidents statistically occur. The demand for ER travel nurses puts them at the higher end of the salary range for travel nurses.

Final Take

Being a travel nurse isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many perks to the job. Flexibility, exploring new places, meeting new people, making professional connections and receiving a higher salary make travel nursing an appealing profession for those with the freedom and mobility to pursue it.

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Nursing professionals who are looking for new experiences and ways to improve their resumes as a nurse may enjoy travel nursing. This profession may be especially appealing for single nurses or for those who don’t mind being away from home for work. Travel nursing can be an excellent addition to any nursing CV, not to mention it provides a boost to any savings account.

Travel Nurse Salary FAQ

Here are several commonly asked questions about travel nurse salaries.
  • Do travel nurses make good money?
    • Travel nurses make an average of $2,660 per week, although the potential to make even more exists, depending on a nurse's location and skill set.
  • Is travel nursing worth the money?
    • Along with their hourly rates, many travel nurses are also provided with accommodations through their agencies or the institution they're working for. With covered housing, a travel nurse may take home between $80,000 to upwards of $110,000 per year. Of course, it's a personal choice whether the job is worth the money, but many travel nurses find the work and relocation to new places to be exciting and rewarding.
  • How much do you make a month as a travel nurse?
    • The average monthly salary for a travel nurse working in the U.S. is $9,790.

Information is accurate as of Sept. 28, 2022. 

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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Sarah Horvath is a skilled copywriter with more than seven years of experience in B2B and B2C copy. She specializes in financial and investment writing, though she also has experience with fashion and home maintenance.
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