The Ultimate Travel Nurse Salary Guide: 1,061,319 Jobs Analyzed (August 2020)

We aggregated more than a million travel nursing salaries from the past year. Now we're revealing pay rates and job trends nationwide with our all-new interactive pay explorer!

Average Pay (per week)
$1,723.04
Based on 1,061,319 jobs analyzed across all travel nurse specialties, nationwide
25th percentile
$1,460.52
75th percentile
$1,985.57
Travel Nursing By Month (pay and count)
All jobs
Nationwide
Best Travel Nursing Agencies 🚀
  • Highest Paying
  • Nomad Health
    5,000+ jobs
    $245.43 above average
  • Aequor Healthcare
    5,000+ jobs
    $211.19 above average
  • Skyline Med Staff
    5,000+ jobs
    $175.77 above average
  • TaleMed
    5,000+ jobs
    $136.38 above average
  • MedUS Healthcare
    5,000+ jobs
    $121.29 above average
  • Aureus Medical Group
    5,000+ jobs
    $107.91 above average
  • Wellspring Nurse Source
    5,000+ jobs
    $103.34 above average
  • Job Availability
  • Host Healthcare
    5,000+ jobs
    $23.78 above average
  • TotalMed Staffing
    5,000+ jobs
    -$33.07 below average
  • American Mobile Healthcare
    5,000+ jobs
    -$162.23 below average
Top Locations Nationwide
  • Highest Paying
  • California
    5,000+ jobs
    $299.82 above average
  • New Jersey
    5,000+ jobs
    $274.45 above average
  • New York
    5,000+ jobs
    $236.49 above average
  • Washington
    5,000+ jobs
    $67.57 above average
  • Connecticut
    5,000+ jobs
    $50.27 above average
  • Job Availability
  • Pennsylvania
    5,000+ jobs
    -$47.18 below average
  • Virginia
    5,000+ jobs
    -$102.10 below average
  • Texas
    5,000+ jobs
    -$126.89 below average
  • North Carolina
    5,000+ jobs
    -$160.76 below average
  • Florida
    5,000+ jobs
    -$162.48 below average
  • Pay is standarized to 36 hour per week.
  • TrustedHealth data coming soon.
  • For agency and metropolitan area ratings, results are compared against average for specialty and state. Nationwide average pay used if no state is selected. Top paying agencies and metro areas with less than the median job count for the category are excluded.
  • View all footnotes

The Ultimate Travel Nurse Salary Guide: 1,061,319 Jobs Analyzed (August 2020)

Veronica Cooper, BSN, RN, RNC-OB; CEO @ StellarNurse
Amer Kawar, Data & Software Engineer, CTO @ StellarNurse
Veronica Cooper, Amer Kawar
8 min read

Wondering how your travel nurse salary stacks up to average rates across the country? We've got that data for you.

We analyzed public listings of travel nursing pay packages from July 2019-August 2020 to bring you insights on the current job market.

Welcome to our all-new travel nurse salary interactive pay explorer!

In this ultimate guide you’ll see:

Check out our never-before-seen findings.

Highest Paying States for Travel Nurses

Which states are really worth the extra license fees? Let's dig into some data to find out.

Our map shows the highest paying states for travel nurses over the entire past year, including crisis rate market fluctuations.

https://stellarnurse.ghost.io/content/images/2020/08/Weekly Pay-by-State--36-Hours Week-Contracts-2-.png

For more specific travel nurse salary by state, scroll through our table highlighting the highest paying states with detailed pay trends and job availability.

We've included the standard deviation. This shows you how the majority (68% to be exact) of pay offers spread above and below the average rates.

For example, 68% of California travel nurse salaries are $2110.98 +/- $395.33 = pay range of $1,715.65 - $2,506.31. We warned you we're nerds!

Highest Paying States for Travel Nurses

State Weekly Pay Average (36 hrs) Standard Deviation Job Count
CA $1,976.43 $372.63 112,547
NJ $1,859.12 $370.87 5,433
AK $1,784.67 $320.56 5,264
DC $1,768.29 $261.94 2,611
RI $1,761.28 $307.85 903
WA $1,718.56 $298.29 25,727
CT $1,713.39 $309.11 8,514
NY $1,706.70 $304.99 21,206
ND $1,699.11 $303.18 3,620
NV $1,691.80 $284.90 5,339
DE $1,683.77 $283.05 1,055
MA $1,679.66 $303.16 15,491
OR $1,673.71 $279.84 13,504
PA $1,672.99 $283.08 16,987
MT $1,671.06 $291.04 10,897
NE $1,662.82 $246.67 4,206
VT $1,659.00 $250.28 5,937
WY $1,657.98 $252.08 2,635
SD $1,657.41 $288.58 3,871
WI $1,654.86 $273.96 14,972
NH $1,643.23 $282.46 6,366
AZ $1,619.03 $239.37 17,377
AR $1,617.59 $274.49 7,314
GA $1,608.20 $248.57 18,274
IA $1,608.00 $247.27 5,941
KY $1,607.97 $238.02 7,646
ME $1,601.78 $238.13 6,920
VA $1,601.38 $228.43 22,427
IL $1,597.46 $257.24 16,156
ID $1,597.09 $302.30 3,254
MN $1,595.24 $298.26 4,241
HI $1,592.39 $259.69 5,385
OK $1,587.99 $229.53 8,060
NM $1,587.05 $268.13 12,434
TX $1,579.58 $251.13 26,058
CO $1,575.87 $261.79 15,297
KS $1,575.71 $237.74 4,899
MD $1,570.29 $245.03 12,465
MO $1,568.03 $229.91 17,058
MI $1,562.38 $280.44 8,796
IN $1,555.26 $260.42 15,066
NC $1,547.93 $220.34 22,138
UT $1,547.55 $322.55 1,535
SC $1,540.53 $187.27 13,786
OH $1,539.65 $270.60 11,848
TN $1,533.42 $223.73 10,054
WV $1,532.96 $204.40 4,567
AL $1,496.24 $214.99 3,658
LA $1,488.73 $211.49 10,135
FL $1,483.76 $214.64 21,225
MS $1,429.29 $240.71 1,695

Curious what the market looked like pre-COVID19?

Below is a compilation of the states that offered the highest pay from July 2019 - February 2020. Compare this list to our above map and table to see what difference the past 5 months have made.

Top 5 Highest Paying States for Travel Nurses (pre-COVID19)

  1. California
    Consistently has the best pay and the most jobs by a long shot
    Both inside and outside of the pandemic
  2. New Jersey
    Solid opportunties for both pay and job availability
  3. Washington D.C.
    Great income, but fewer job openings
  4. Alaska
    High pay and lots of jobs, despite reputation for low rates
  5. Connecticut
    Regularly pays above average with frequent job openings

Highest Travel Nurse Salaries by Metropolitan Area

Not sure which areas of the country to start searching for good pay?

We've got a summary here to get you started. Get even more location-specific data on high paying opportunities using our interactive pay explorer.

Top 5 Highest Travel Nurse Salaries by Metropolitan Area

Go after high pay AND lots of job openings in these locations:

  1. California
    Holds 9 of our top 10 spots for highest-paying metro areas
  2. East Coast
    New York City-Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC
  3. Pacific Northwest
    Seattle-Tacoma, Portland
  4. Midwest
    St Louis, Chicago
  5. Arizona
    Phoenix, Tuscon
Pro Tip: Investing in a California license is worth your time and money if you're looking for LOTS of job options.

Highest Paying Travel Nurse Specialties

Feast your eyes on the largest travel nurse specialty comparison available including more than 130 specialties.

Our interactive table shows nationwide pay averages including standard deviation for you to get an accurate overview.

Travel Nursing SpecialtyAverage Weekly PayWeekly Pay St. Deviation# Jobs Observed
Dosimetrist (Allied / Dosimetrist) $2,721.51 $455.42 76
Doctor of Pharmacy (Allied / PharmD) $2,423.78 $591.51 49
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (RN / CRNA) $2,152.49 $892.40 150
Nurse Educator (RN / Ed) $2,103.90 $410.14 84
Registered Nurse First Assist (RN / RNFA) $2,068.94 $502.95 1,440
Pediatric Oncology (RN / Peds Onc) $2,031.31 $427.95 73
Electrophysiology Lab (RN / EP Lab) $1,973.75 $364.92 608
Clinical Lab Scientist (Allied / CLS) $1,958.61 $336.53 507
Cardiovascular Operating Room (RN / CVOR) $1,939.65 $359.98 9,575
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (RN / PICU) $1,937.35 $371.49 12,073
Cardiac Cath Lab (RN / Cath Lab) $1,928.52 $342.23 21,874
Coronary Care Unit (RN / CCU) $1,903.98 $375.28 4,508
Radiotherapy (Allied / Radiotherapy) $1,898.34 $325.77 134
Infection Control (RN / Infection) $1,895.84 $439.88 273
Operating Room Circulating Nurse (RN / OR Circ RN) $1,887.42 $360.83 429
Labor & Delivery (RN / L&D) $1,886.22 $367.28 55,057
Surgical Intensive Care Unit (RN / SICU) $1,884.30 $464.32 1,558
Public Health (RN / Pub Hlth) $1,884.17 $428.45 96
Interventional Radiology (RN / IR) $1,878.76 $305.57 5,776
Intensive Care Unit (RN / ICU) $1,873.28 $497.10 134,182
Pediatric Operating Room (RN / Peds OR) $1,865.54 $365.42 643
Cardiac Cath Lab Technician (Allied / Cath Lab Tech) $1,865.27 $255.11 6,590
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RN / NICU) $1,860.88 $344.27 17,311
Electrophysiology Lab Technician (Allied / EP Lab Tech) $1,853.41 $218.51 125
Utilization Review (RN / UR) $1,852.56 $358.93 435
Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (RN / CVICU) $1,848.53 $396.45 15,569
Patient Care Coordinator (RN / PCC) $1,826.30 $661.19 72
Antepartum (RN / Antepartum) $1,818.53 $367.59 555
Wound Care (RN / Wound) $1,816.81 $294.70 1,223
Operating Room Scrub Nurse (RN / OR Scrub RN) $1,816.55 $297.74 486
Pediatric Post Anesthesia Care Unit (RN / Peds PACU) $1,814.67 $296.96 136
Operating Room (RN / OR) $1,803.63 $328.85 77,993
Case Manager (RN / CM) $1,801.01 $340.14 10,559
Neurology Intensive Care Unit (RN / Neuro ICU) $1,797.68 $360.66 1,898
Echocardiography Technician (Allied / Echo Tech) $1,795.72 $204.53 2,855
Observation (RN / Obs) $1,789.29 $229.20 192
Pediatric Emergency Room (RN / Peds ER) $1,784.25 $339.87 1,688
Bone Marrow Transplant (RN / BMT) $1,780.53 $338.06 418
Radiology (RN / Radiology) $1,778.11 $301.06 5,349
Interventional Radiology Technician (Allied / IR Tech) $1,778.09 $283.73 3,584
OBGYN (RN / OBGYN) $1,770.52 $272.94 1,896
Emergency Room (RN / ER) $1,768.60 $389.50 102,116
Medical Social Worker (Allied / MSW) $1,768.14 $256.96 228
Gastrointestinal Lab (RN / GI Lab) $1,765.87 $303.13 738
Nuclear Medicine Technician (Allied / Nuc Med Tech) $1,765.16 $175.05 349
Float Pool (RN / Float) $1,758.13 $398.99 1,219
Ultrasound Technician (Allied / Ultrasound Tech) $1,754.90 $210.27 7,756
Pediatrics (RN / Peds) $1,752.66 $336.06 11,853
Cardiology (RN / Cardio) $1,752.55 $312.59 576
Direct Observation Unit (RN / DOU) $1,734.15 $314.90 396
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technician (Allied / MRI Tech) $1,731.49 $206.98 2,081
Perioperative (RN / Peri-op) $1,730.76 $253.37 1,617
Mammography Tech (Allied / Mammo Tech) $1,728.53 $202.12 762
Step down (RN / Step Down) $1,724.77 $350.65 12,330
Post Anesthesia Care Unit (RN / PACU) $1,724.50 $274.55 27,285
Postpartum (RN / PP) $1,713.86 $328.29 6,956
Telemetry (RN / Tele) $1,701.90 $361.24 70,827
Computed Tomography Technician (Allied / CT Tech) $1,691.98 $220.42 6,311
Oncology (RN / Onc) $1,682.62 $273.28 17,957
Neurology (RN / Neuro) $1,679.76 $271.40 2,258
Progressive Care Unit (RN / PCU) $1,677.27 $340.37 38,314
Endoscopy (RN / Endo) $1,674.34 $257.51 6,500
Dialysis (RN / Dialysis) $1,670.59 $451.01 10,736
Infusion Therapy (RN / Infusion) $1,670.38 $284.55 568
Progressive Care Unit (Allied / PCU) $1,663.03 $349.27 81
Urology (RN / Urology) $1,661.74 $198.31 171
EKG / Tele / Monitor Technician (Allied / EKG / Tele / Monitor Tech) $1,660.57 $448.46 187
Medical Surgical (RN / Med Surg) $1,647.60 $312.11 54,990
Hospice (RN / Hospice) $1,646.78 $226.47 2,900
Radiology Technician (Allied / Rad Tech) $1,639.19 $261.34 1,781
X-Ray Technician (Allied / X-Ray Tech) $1,636.37 $264.08 2,343
Respiratory Therapist (Allied / RT) $1,632.96 $492.41 23,727
Orthopedic (RN / Ortho) $1,623.04 $227.36 3,818
Occupational Health (RN / Occ Health) $1,621.54 $287.88 230
Medical Surgical Telemetry (RN / Med Surg Tele) $1,618.51 $340.93 97,039
Behavioral Health (RN / Behavior) $1,616.46 $176.04 1,073
Home Health (RN / HH) $1,605.75 $277.04 12,606
Physical Therapy (Allied / PT) $1,588.38 $182.56 15,787
Corrections (RN / Corr) $1,584.86 $211.63 379
Registered Dietician (Allied / RD) $1,580.98 $237.18 106
Ambulatory Care (RN / Amb) $1,571.60 $240.67 1,338
Outpatient Clinic (RN / Outpatient) $1,570.78 $286.02 3,686
Speech Language Pathologist (Allied / SLP) $1,568.41 $183.03 16,684
Cardiovascular Technician (Allied / CV Tech) $1,564.10 $350.49 142
Rehabilitation (RN / Rehab) $1,556.85 $288.54 5,859
Psychiatric (RN / Psych) $1,553.28 $222.24 16,784
Occupational Therapy (Allied / OT) $1,552.49 $185.43 5,516
Special Procedures Technician (Allied / Spec Pro Tech) $1,550.90 $273.22 303
First Assist Tech (Allied / FA Tech) $1,544.26 $260.69 91
Urgent Care (RN / Urgent Care) $1,535.20 $499.29 73
Long Term Acute Care (RN / LTAC) $1,523.92 $373.28 5,014
Histotechnician (Allied / HT) $1,518.08 $144.71 665
Medical Assistant (Allied / MA) $1,514.40 $346.59 1,911
Antepartum (Allied / Antepartum) $1,506.94 $873.26 142
Rehabilitation Therapy (RN / Rehab Therapy) $1,492.64 $152.94 341
Electroencephalographic technician (Allied / EEG Tech) $1,491.99 $192.79 679
Medical Lab Scientist (Allied / MLS) $1,484.27 $251.37 2,536
Long Term Care (RN / LTC) $1,466.97 $294.71 4,725
Medical Lab Technician (Allied / MLT) $1,460.15 $225.64 4,525
Cardiovascular Operating Room (Allied / CVOR) $1,457.79 $254.75 812
Skilled Nursing Facility (RN / SNF) $1,454.82 $280.79 2,971
Obstetric Technician (Allied / OB Tech) $1,444.45 $303.01 373
Physical Therapy (RN / PT) $1,416.52 $245.52 50
Operating Room (Allied / OR) $1,415.95 $344.71 80
Cardiovascular Operating Room Technician (Allied / CVOR Tech) $1,410.32 $236.03 1,135
Anesthesia Technician (Allied / Anesthesia Tech) $1,386.57 $228.59 353
Speech Language Pathologist Assistant (Allied / SLPA) $1,366.25 $256.06 59
Long Term Acute Care (LPN / LVN / LTAC) $1,340.26 $278.18 105
Endoscopy Technician (Allied / Endo Tech) $1,301.32 $262.23 170
Operating Room Technician (Allied / OR Tech) $1,266.60 $202.40 25,865
Long Term Care (LPN / LVN / LTC) $1,241.32 $204.73 994
Medical Surgical (LPN / LVN / Med Surg) $1,220.15 $270.39 237
Home Health (LPN / LVN / HH) $1,212.28 $115.60 261
Corrections (LPN / LVN / Corr) $1,138.41 $178.90 43
Physical Therapy Assistant (Allied / PTA) $1,137.42 $260.87 1,107
LPN / LVN (LPN / LVN / LPN / LVN) $1,130.81 $218.79 1,180
Pharmacy Technician (Allied / Pharm Tech) $1,126.42 $390.54 450
Sterile Processing Technician (Allied / SPT) $1,122.18 $155.02 5,106
Dialysis Technician (Allied / Dialysis Tech) $1,120.90 $154.22 212
Psychiatric (LPN / LVN / Psych) $1,104.89 $131.10 70
Occupational Therapy Assistant (Allied / OTA) $1,101.49 $244.54 528
Skilled Nursing Facility (LPN / LVN / SNF) $1,089.22 $222.24 180
Outpatient Clinic (LPN / LVN / Outpatient) $1,056.77 $212.29 1,180
Phlebotomy (Allied / Phlebotomist) $1,049.95 $251.41 248
Long Term Care (CNA / LTC) $924.85 $264.02 182
Skilled Nursing Facility (Allied / SNF) $860.61 $315.49 41
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA / CNA) $812.25 $195.49 684

We removed specialties with very low job counts and supervisory roles. This keeps our data relevant to the travel nursing specialties with high pay AND regular job availability.

For a different view, we've got an interactive bubble chart displaying the highest paying travel nurse specialties by their job availability. Hover over the bubbles to identify the specialties.

Not all specialties have a regular high need for travelers. For example, RN's in Electrophysiology Lab (EP Lab) regularly have higher pay offerings, but don't have the plentiful job options that ICU or L&D nurses have.

If you aspire to work consistently in travel healthcare, gain experience in a specialty with higher job availability.

Travel Nurse Pay Breakdown

How do travel nurses get paid? Understanding this will help you compare pay offers and spot the jobs that are worth your relocation.

Travel nurses are typically hired as contracted temporary employees of travel nursing agencies, getting paid on a weekly basis to work in a variety of facilities.

The most common travel nurse contracts offered are for hospital inpatient units. These usually commit you to work:

  • 12 hours/shift
  • 3 shifts/week
  • 36 hours/week
  • 13 weeks total
  • 468 work hours total

Our interactive pay explorer standardizes all pay package data around these contract hours to accurately compare numbers.

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?

A Pay Package Example

Here's an average offer for a Medical-Surgical Nurse working 36 hours/week:

  • $350 M&IE (Meals & Incidental Expenses) - Weekly
  • $2,400 Housing Stipend - Monthly
  • $500 Travel Reimbursement - One Time
  • $20 Base Rate - Hourly

It's confusing! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Let's break this offer down to view your potential pay per week and per hour. Convert all parts of your pay to a standardized rate, then combine to calculate.

Pay Package Offer Pay per Week (36 hrs) Pay per Hour
$350 M&IE Weekly $350 $9.72
$2,400 Housing Stipend Monthly $600 $16.67
$500 Travel Reimbursement One-time $38.46 $1.07
$20 Base Rate Hourly $720 $20
Total Gross Pay (Pre-Taxes) $1,708.46 $47.46

Keep in mind there are several more deductions that may come out of your travel nursing paycheck:

  • Taxes based on your tax home rates
  • Agency health insurance - rates can start at $20/week (optional)
  • Agency 401k retirement plans (optional)

Taxable vs Non-Taxable Pay

Following on from our pay package example above, your travel nurse pay is made up of taxable and non-taxable income.

Weekly Income per Offer Taxable?
$350 M&IE (Meals & Incidental Expenses) N
$600 Housing Stipend N
$38.46 Travel Reimbursement N
$720 Hourly Base Rate Y
$1,708.46 Total $720 Taxed

Notice that almost half of this pay package is not taxed. Cha-ching!

Non-taxable reimbursements, or "Per Diem" pay, are based on daily maximum rates set by the government.  Check out gsa.gov's Per Diem rates for your next contract location - they even have a mobile app for convenience.

Travel nurses are eligible for Per Diem non-taxable pay reimbursements when working away from your tax home. You must duplicate living/housing expenses per IRS rules.

You can still get temporary assignments without travel, the difference is your income will be fully taxed.

To get the full scoop on managing your taxes as a medical traveler visit TravelTax's site. The CEO, Joseph Smith, is a former travel respiratory therapist turned accountant.

Find the Highest Paying Travel Nursing Jobs

How can you filter through the tons of job boards to find and land the highest paying travel nursing jobs? Our mission at StellarNurse is to solve this problem.

After analyzing the market for the past year, here's our best advice:

  • Get the market's best offers, customized and delivered to your inbox
  • Use our interactive pay explorer to check pay ranges, job availability and agencies for your specialty across the country
  • Work with multiple travel nursing agencies for options - focus on agencies that regularly offer above-average pay with lots of jobs for your specialty
  • Keep current state licenses for the locations that have your specialty's best pay and highest job availability
  • Breakdown pay offers to weekly or hourly income to accurately compare
  • Prioritize high pay - above personal convenience, best locations, nicest recruiter or agency loyalty
  • Move fast for Crisis or Rapid Response rate offers

In a nutshell, stay flexible. The best offers are competitive and often need help fast. Be ready to adjust plans quickly, coordinate with a new agency or arrange travel to an unexpected location.

Top Travel Nursing Agencies with Pay Transparency

As advocates for pay transparency, we're giving a shout out to the travel nursing agencies that publish pay details clearly on their websites or public job boards.

Here are the most transparent agencies according to our data set:

Top Travel Nursing Agencies with Pay Transparency
TotalMed Staffing
Host Healthcare
LRS Healthcare
American Mobile Healthcare
trustaff
Trusted Health
Republic Health Resources
Advanced Travel Nursing
Stability Healthcare
MedPro Healthcare Staffing
OneStaff Medical
AHS Staffing
Travel Nurse Across America
TRS Healthcare
Aequor Healthcare
Anders Group
Fusion Medical Staffing
Cross Country Staffing
Ardor Health Solutions
Wellspring Nurse Source
Travel Nurses Inc.
ARM Staffing
TaleMed
Assured Nursing
Nomad Health
Atlas MedStaff
Medical Staffing Solutions
MedUS Healthcare
Prime Time Healthcare
Aureus Medical Group
Skyline Med Staff
Ventura MedStaff
Accountable Healthcare Staffing
Nurse First Travel Agency
Advantis Medical Staffing

A couple of travel nursing focused marketing agencies do a great job posting clear pay rates and are worth a special mention: Wanderly and Nursefly.

We only included travel nursing agencies that publish their pay package rates, and strongly encourage all agencies to do so.

If you’re an agency and don’t see your name, contact us to get your data added!

Our Data Sources

All the data collected and consolidated by StellarNurse is publicly available on the named travel nursing agency’s website or LinkedIn.

Methodology

We'll be publishing more technical details on our GitHub in the near future.

Dropping the Mic 🖐🎤

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