Black Travel Nurses

Top States with the Best Pay for Travel Nurses

Top States with the Best Pay for Travel Nurses

One major allure of travel nursing is the chance to explore new destinations across the U.S. But more than just adventure, your location also greatly impacts your compensation. 

Pay for travel nurses fluctuates substantially based on regional factors. Knowing the top states with the best pay for travel nurses – as well as up-and-coming areas – can help you not only increase your earnings potential enables, but also make informed decisions when evaluating assignments.

Overview of Pay

As a travel nurse, your paycheck ultimately reflects your hard work and dedication. But nestled within the dollar amounts are also clues illuminating geographic differences. 

An ER assignment paying $2,000 per week in Arizona may command over $3,000 for the same skills and hours in California.

The forces of supply, demand, and cost of living converge to create significant variances in travel nurse pay between states. Read on to discover current compensation trends across the country so you can compare and select optimal locations.

Regional Influencers on Travel Nurse Pay

Several key factors shape earnings opportunities in metropolitan areas:

Cost of Living – States like California and New York with sky-high rents and taxes must offer higher packages to attract travel nurses after factoring expenses. Beware that higher salaries do not always mean increased savings potential though.

Supply and Demand – Regions experiencing dire nursing shortages amplified by factors like aging populations and understaffed hospitals compete for talent, boosting pay rates. In contrast, oversaturated markets exert downward pressure on earnings.

Specialization Needs – Specific specialties like ICU, ED, CVICU and L&D tend to command premiums, especially in facilities modernizing care through expansions. Local shortages in specialty units lift pay.

Agency Competitiveness – Areas saturated with agencies fighting for talent often elevate pay through bidding wars. Researching multiple agencies for a region reveals who offers the most attractive packages.

Seasonal Needs – Pay fluctuates with seasonal needs. For example, cold winter climates see higher fall/winter pay rates. Seasonal vacation hotspots also boost summer compensation.

Keeping these dynamics in mind aids choosing locations with ideal pay potential.

Where the Money’s At – Top Paying States

While your specialty, experience, and agency impact earnings, geographic base pay rates create salary floors. 

Here are some of the top states for travel nurse pay:

California – Offering it all, from scenic beaches to redwood forests to the Sierra Nevadas, California also provides the highest travel nurse salaries in the country currently. The ultra-high cost of living, especially in popular coastal cities, drives rates up. Licensed nurses can earn $5,000+ per week in regions like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Competition is high for California contracts.

New York – The Big Apple anchors salaries in New York State. However, upstate cities like Buffalo, Rochester and Albany also offer lucrative opportunities, averaging $3,500-$4,500+ weekly. As a hub of internationally renowned healthcare systems, New York attracts top talent with premium pay in metro areas.

Massachusetts – Anchored by prestigious medical institutions like Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s, the Greater Boston area rewards travel nurses with some of the highest pay on the East Coast, regularly exceeding $3,000+ per week. The academic environment also provides learning opportunities.

Alaska – Don’t overlook Alaska when considering your next travel gig. The remote locales and challenging weather conditions make recruiting travel nurses tough. To attract top talent, pay reaches $3,000-$4,500 per week on average. Seasonal contracts in the winter can be especially lucrative.

Maryland – Driven by prestigious university hospitals, robust federal healthcare demand in D.C., and competitive private systems like Johns Hopkins, Maryland offers weekly pay from $2,500-$3,500 on average and is rising. The desirable Baltimore-Washington corridor entices travel nurses.

Washington – Major hospital systems in desirable Seattle and emerging facilities in Spokane drive up travel nurse pay, which commonly reaches $3,000-$4,000 weekly in the Evergreen State. Generous salaries coupled with breathtaking natural beauty makes Washington appealing.

Illinois – The Windy City stands out with some of the best travel nurse pay potential in the Midwest at $2,500-$3,500 per week. Several elite medical centers and universities feed Chicago’s demand for top nursing talent. And vibrant city amenities complement the bright career prospects.

Noteworthy Up-and-Comers

While not yet reaching the peak rates of the highest paying states, a few emerging locations to watch include:

Arizona – Driven by growing demand in Phoenix and retirement haven Tucson, salaries in AZ can reach $2,500-$3,000/week with the right specialty mix. The state’s warm climate and low taxes enhance the appeal.

Nevada – Las Vegas, Reno and surrounding regions are becoming hotspots for travel nurses, with compensation ranging from $2,000-$2,800 per week. Casinos and health systems are competing for talent.

Texas – Spanning massive geography and population centers, Texas offers something for everyone. Rates run from $2,200-$3,000/week, with cities like Dallas, Houston and Austin leading demand.

Florida – Retirement expansion and snowbirds boost Florida’s seasonal needs, especially in popular coastal cities. Pay spans $2,000-$3,000/week during peak times, with hotspots like Miami topping the charts.

Georgia – Driven by major metropolitan hubs like Atlanta, travel nurses here earn $2,000-$2,500/week on average. Southern charm coupled with competitive pay entice nurses.

North Carolina – Rapidly growing hospital networks spanning Charlotte, Raleigh, and other hubs create solid travel nurse opportunities paying $2,000-$2,500/week on average. NC is an emerging market to watch.

Evaluating emerging high-growth states can get your foot in the door before pay spikes upward due to shortages.

Factoring the Full Experience

While the paycheck justifiably holds your focus, also carefully weigh additional factors as you select your next assignment:

  • Licensing Requirements – Some states have quick processes while others like California can take months.
  • Family & Friends Nearby – Having loved ones a short flight away can ease the transition between contracts.
  • Lifestyle Perks – If you’ve always wanted to ski, hike, or sunbathe during downtime, some locales simply align better.
  • Professional Growth – Academic hospitals offer more learning for those focused on advancing their career.
  • Diversity & Culture – Finding a welcoming community you identify with socially can be vital.

The highest paying contract won’t necessarily deliver the richest overall experience. But focusing first on pay creating shortlists narrows options to your best personal fits.

Optimizing Your Travel Nursing Salary

With preparation and strategy, you can maximize your compensation through travel nursing:

  • Research pay rates thoroughly for your specialty and experience level in prospective states. Get multiple agency perspectives.
  • Weigh benefits, bonuses, and stipends into the equation – not just base hourly pay. These can add thousands.
  • Consider seasonal peak times where possible. Winter contracts in cold regions or summer gigs in vacation destinations often pay more.
  • Gain critical care experience – ICU, ED, L&D and OR nurses virtually always command top-tier compensation.
  • Be flexible – take on tougher last-minute needs or extended contracts in higher paying regions.
  • Review taxes and cost of living to determine your best net income opportunities.

Armed with insights on current state compensation trends, you can effectively compare and leverage options in your favor. 

Whether you’re motivated by fortune, adventure, or seeking the best of both, put this intel to work as you map out the journey ahead. Your dedication as a nurse deserves a paycheck that reflects your true worth.


Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top