How Much Do Travel Nurse Make? Unveiling the Truth

How Much Do Travel Nurse Make? Travel nurses typically make between $25 to $45 per hour, depending on their specialty, location, experience, and the healthcare facility they are contracted to work for. As the healthcare industry continues to grow, so does the demand for qualified travel nurses.

These healthcare professionals are contracted to work on a short-term basis at various locations across the country, providing crucial staffing support to hospitals and clinics. The role of a travel nurse can involve a wide range of responsibilities, such as administering medication, assisting with surgery, and educating patients and families.

This career path offers the opportunity to see new places, work with different patient populations and healthcare teams, and earn a competitive salary. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that impact travel nurse pay and offer tips for maximizing your earnings in this rewarding profession.

Factors That Affect Travel Nurse Salaries

Travel nursing is a unique and exciting opportunity for those who desire the freedom to travel and explore while pursuing their nursing career. Travel nurses fill in the temporary staffing gaps at facilities all over the country, making their services in high demand.

However, one question that many potential travel nurses ask is: how much do travel nurses make? Well, the answer is not that simple. Many factors go into determining a travel nurse salary, including geographic location, the type of facility, specialty, shift differentials, and experience.

Geographic Location

The geographic location is a significant factor in determining a travel nurse’s salary. A travel nurse working in a metropolitan city may make more than a travel nurse working in a rural area. The cost of living may also affect their pay.

Here are some geographical locations that may affect travel nurse pay:

  • West coast: Travel nurses working on the west coast, specifically in california, can expect higher pay due to a higher cost of living and a shortage of nurses.
  • Northeast: Hospitals, specifically in new york city, are known to offer higher pay for travel nurses due to a high demand for staffing.
  • South: The pay for travel nurses in the south typically falls somewhere in the middle. However, states such as texas and florida have a high demand for travel nurses and may offer higher pay rates.
  • Midwest: Travel nurse pay rates in the midwest typically fall on the lower end of the pay scale, with exceptions varying by location.

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Type Of Facility

The type of facility that a travel nurse works at can also affect their pay. Different facilities have different functions and populations they serve. Some facilities to consider include:

  • Hospitals: Travel nurses who work in hospitals, whether they are teaching or non-teaching, can expect higher salaries compared to clinics or outpatient facilities.
  • Urgent care: Travel nurses who work at urgent care clinics may experience higher pay rates due to fewer staff and longer hours of operation.
  • Rehabilitation centers: Travel nurses who work at rehabilitation centers can expect a slightly lower pay rate due to shorter lengths of stays and generally lower nursing ratios.
  • Home healthcare: Travel nurses who specialize in home healthcare can expect to earn slightly less than those who work in traditional healthcare facilities due to the independent nature of the job.


A travel nurse’s specialty is another crucial factor when it comes to determining their pay. Certain specialties are in higher demand, which affects their pay. Some specialties to consider include:

  • Oncology: Travel nurses who specialize in oncology may earn slightly higher pay due to their level of expertise.
  • Critical care: Travel nurses working in critical care may earn more than other travel nurses due to the higher level of acuity of their patients.
  • Pediatrics: Travel nurses who specialize in pediatrics can expect a higher pay rate due to the specialized training required.
  • Labor and delivery: Travel nurses working in labor and delivery may earn more due to the unpredictable nature of the job and the high demand for experienced nurses in this specialty.

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Shift Differentials

Shift differentials can add up and increase a travel nurse’s overall pay. Shift differentials are extra pay given for working outside of the typical 9 to 5 schedule. Shift differentials may include:

  • Overtime pay
  • Weekend pay
  • Holiday pay
  • Night shift pay


Finally, experience is a crucial factor in determining a travel nurse’s salary. Travel nurses who have years of experience, certifications, and specialties may earn more than those who are new to the field.

There are many factors to consider when determining a travel nurse’s salary. Factors such as geographic location, the type of facility, specialty, shift differentials, and experience all play a role in a travel nurse’s pay rate. It is essential to research and compare different travel nurse contract offers to ensure that you are getting the best pay rate for your skills and experience.

Average Annual Salary For Travel Nurses

Travel nursing has gained popularity over the years as a profession allowing nurses to explore new locations while working. One of the factors that make the travel nursing profession so attractive is the pay package. In this section, we will delve into the average annual salary of travel nurses, the general salary ranges for registered nurses, and how travel nurse salaries compare to permanent positions.

General Salary Ranges For Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (rns) are some of the highest-paid professionals in the healthcare sector. The salary range for rns varies based on factors such as location, level of experience, and the type of facility they work in. Here is a list of the general salary ranges for rns:

  • Entry-level rn: $52,000 – $70,000
  • Mid-level rn: $70,000 – $90,000
  • Experienced rn: $90,000 – $110,000

Comparison Between Permanent And Travel Nurse Salaries

Travel nursing is often assumed to pay more than permanent nursing. Although this is generally true, the salaries vary based on location and experience. Here is a comparison between average permanent and travel nurse salaries across the us:

  • Permanent rn salary: $73,551 per year
  • Travel rn salary: $101,963 per year

Explanation Of The Travel Nurse Pay Package

Travel nurses receive a pay package that includes more than just a salary. Below are some of the components of a travel nurse’s pay package:

  • Hourly rate: The most significant part of a travel nurse’s pay package is the hourly pay rate. This rate is usually more than an rn’s permanent hourly rate.
  • Housing: Travel nurses are given options for housing. They can opt for the agency’s insurance that provides housing or choose to find housing on their own.
  • Travel reimbursement: This component reimburses travel expenses, such as airfare or gas mileage incurred by the nurse when traveling to their location.
  • Sign-on bonus: Many agencies offer a sign-on bonus to entice the nurse to work for them. The bonus can vary from $500 to $10,000.

Travel nursing offers a lucrative pay package that includes a generous salary, housing options, travel reimbursement, and a sign-on bonus. Although the salary is often higher than their permanent counterparts, it varies based on location and experience. As such, it is essential to do your research before venturing into travel nursing to ensure you are getting the best financial package possible.

Benefits Of Working As A Travel Nurse

Travel nurses are healthcare professionals who work on temporary assignments at medical facilities across the country, ranging from hospitals to clinics. They make exceptionally well, given the fact that they accept short-term jobs that could be in a different state or even across the country.

This blog post will discuss the many benefits of working as a travel nurse, with specific emphasis on financial, personal and professional, and work-life balance or flexibility.

Financial Benefits

One of the most significant advantages of working as a travel nurse is the financial benefits it provides. Here’s a breakdown of some of these benefits:

  • Contract rates are higher than those of traditional nursing jobs
  • Travel nurses enjoy tax-free stipends for housing, meals, and other living expenses
  • Travel reimbursement is usually covered by the agency, which helps to offset travel costs
  • Incentive programs such as bonuses for signing on or completion of assignments are available

Personal And Professional Benefits

Travel nursing also comes with several personal and professional benefits for healthcare professionals. Here are some of them:

  • Opportunities for personal and professional growth in a variety of healthcare settings
  • Exposure to different work cultures, protocols, and procedures that expand your knowledge base
  • Opportunities to work with new technologies and advanced equipment
  • Chance to work with new colleagues and network with people from diverse backgrounds

Flexibility And Work-Life Balance

One of the biggest selling points of travel nursing is its flexibility and work-life balance benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Opportunities to work in multiple locations and choose contract assignments that best suit your needs
  • Flexibility in choosing the work schedule that suits you best, whether that’s per diem, part-time, or full-time contracts
  • Ability to balance personal and professional life, particularly if you want to travel and explore new destinations

Travel nursing provides healthcare professionals with incredible financial, professional, and personal benefits. Travel nurses enjoy flexibility in their schedule and work-life balance, as well as the opportunity to grow their career through exposure to different healthcare settings, cultures, and technology.

If you’re considering a career as a travel nurse, the benefits outlined in this post could be a good incentive to take the leap!

How To Make The Most Money As A Travel Nurse

Travel nursing can be a lucrative career option for nurses who prefer flexibility and diversity in their work environment. Travel nurses not only have the chance to explore different parts of the country, they can also earn more than the average registered nurse.

In this section, we’ll discuss negotiation tactics, working in high-demand specialties, and taking advantage of overtime and bonuses, to help you make the most money as a travel nurse.

Negotiation Tactics

Negotiating your travel nursing contract can be intimidating, but it’s essential if you want to maximize your earning potential. Here are some negotiation tactics to keep in mind:

  • Do your research and find out the average pay rates for travel nurses in your specialty and the location you want to work in.
  • Highlight your experience, skills, and achievements to justify your desired pay rate.
  • Be flexible with your contract terms, such as housing and travel arrangements, to increase your bargaining power.
  • Consider signing up with multiple travel nursing agencies to increase your job options and leverage for negotiations.

Working In High-Demand Specialties

Working in high-demand specialties can also boost your earning potential as a travel nurse. Here are some specialties that are in high demand:

  • Icu/ccu
  • Emergency and trauma
  • Labor and delivery
  • Oncology
  • Pediatric

By specializing in any of these areas, you can increase your chances of securing high-paying travel nursing jobs.

Taking Advantage Of Overtime And Bonuses

In addition to negotiating your contract and working in high-demand specialties, taking advantage of overtime and bonuses can also increase your earnings. Here are some tips:

  • Communicate with your supervisor about available overtime shifts.
  • Be proactive and willing to work overtime when it’s offered.
  • Look for contracts that offer sign-on bonuses, completion bonuses, or housing stipends.
  • Keep track of your performance metrics and use them to negotiate for higher bonuses.

Earning top dollar as a travel nurse is all about knowing your worth, being flexible, and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Use these negotiation tactics, consider working in high-demand specialties, and make the most of overtime and bonuses to increase your earning potential.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How Much Do Travel Nurse Make

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make Per Hour?

The travel nurse hourly rate ranges from $22 to $48 per hour, depending on their specialty, experience, and location. On average, travel nurses earn around $31 per hour.

Do Travel Nurses Get Bonuses?

Yes, travel nurses get bonuses for signing up, overtime, and referrals. Some companies offer completion bonuses where travel nurses receive a lump sum of money when their contract ends.

What Are The Benefits Of Being A Travel Nurse?

Travel nursing offers higher pay rates, bonuses, free housing, flexible schedules, and exposure to different healthcare facilities and patients. Moreover, travel nursing provides opportunities to explore new cities, learn new skills, and meet new friends.

Do Travel Nurses Get Benefits?

Yes, travel nurses get benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and continuing education. Some companies also offer reimbursements for travel expenses, certifications, and licenses.

What Is The Average Length Of A Travel Nurse Contract?

The typical travel nurse contract lasts for around 13 weeks. However, it may vary depending on the employer’s needs and the travel nurse’s preference. Some travel nurses opt to extend their contracts or take short-term assignments.

What Is The Difference Between A Travel Nurse And A Regular Nurse?

A travel nurse is a registered nurse who works on temporary assignments instead of a permanent position. On the other hand, a regular nurse works in a specific healthcare facility with a long-term employment contract. The travel nurse’s job involves traveling to different states or countries on short-term assignments.


Based on the information we have highlighted in this blog post, it is evident that travel nurses receive competitive salaries when compared to their counterparts in traditional nursing roles. With factors such as location, specialty, experience and demand heavily impacting their pay, the average salary for travel nurses can vary widely across different states and healthcare facilities.

However, the overall consensus is that travel nursing offers an excellent opportunity for nurses to earn a high salary while gaining invaluable experience and exploring new destinations. The growing demand for healthcare services and the decreasing supply of experienced nurses, along with the freedom and flexibility that comes with travel nursing, make this career path even more attractive to today’s adventurous and ambitious nurses.

So, if you are a nurse with a passion for travel and care for patients, travel nursing is truly a rewarding and lucrative profession worth considering.

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