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:
- The Highest Paying States for Travel Nurses
- The Highest Paying Travel Nurse Specialties
- A Travel Nurse Pay Breakdown
- How to Find the Highest Paying Travel Nursing Jobs
- The Top Travel Nursing Agencies with Pay Transparency
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.
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|
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)
Consistently has the best pay and the most jobs by a long shot
Both inside and outside of the pandemic
- New Jersey
Solid opportunties for both pay and job availability
- Washington D.C.
Great income, but fewer job openings
High pay and lots of jobs, despite reputation for low rates
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:
Holds 9 of our top 10 spots for highest-paying metro areas
- East Coast
New York City-Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC
- Pacific Northwest
St Louis, Chicago
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 Specialty||Average Weekly Pay||Weekly 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
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|
|American Mobile Healthcare|
|Republic Health Resources|
|Advanced Travel Nursing|
|MedPro Healthcare Staffing|
|Travel Nurse Across America|
|Fusion Medical Staffing|
|Cross Country Staffing|
|Ardor Health Solutions|
|Wellspring Nurse Source|
|Travel Nurses Inc.|
|Medical Staffing Solutions|
|Prime Time Healthcare|
|Aureus Medical Group|
|Skyline Med Staff|
|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.
We'll be publishing more technical details on our GitHub in the near future.
Dropping the Mic 🖐🎤
We can't wait to hear your success stories - Tell us how the travel nurse salary interactive pay explorer has helped you.
Did we miss any questions you have about finding how much travel nurses can make?
Connect with us on social media so we can add your requests to future updates.
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Our current priority is to help as many nurses as possible while we build the full version of StellarNurse - your transparent, nurse-led travel nursing data company.