Travel nurses can have an exciting career that combines flexibility with the adventure of a new location. Travel nurses often receive higher pay than regular nurses, as well as paid lodging, their choice of schedules and sometimes bonuses through their company. Although assignments can vary, most of them last 13 weeks. After that, it’s time to decide where to go next. Some nurses know right away where they want to go next, and which are the best states for travel nursing. They might even have a list of places they’d like to work and visit, and do whatever they can to land that perfect assignment in the ideal location. For others, they may choose their travel nurse assignment destination based on their desire to work in a specific medical center where they can practice their skills to their maximum value. The following are the best and highest-paying states for travel nurses.
Travel Nursing in California
California has three major hospital organizations that are likely to be hiring (though there are some smaller hospitals, too), which are probably a good place to start looking for assignments: Kaiser Permanente, which owns more than 38 hospitals throughout the state. Dignity Health, which operates at least 32 hospitals, and Sutter Medical Foundation, which runs a minimum of 19 hospitals.
California Travel Nurse Pay
California, the fifth largest economy in the world, is often a choice destination for travel nurses, and among the highest paying states for travel nurses. If you’re curious how much nurses make in California, rest assured it’s higher than most states. California pays its nurses well, with a mean annual wage of $106, 905 and a mean hourly wage of $51.41 per hour, though pay rates tend to be higher in Northern California. Though keep in mind that California also has one of the highest costs of living in the United States.
If the great pay isn’t attractive enough, there are myriad things for nurses to do in California in their off time. Northern California nurses can take advantage of miles of beautiful coastline, great for surfing, fishing and sightseeing, as well as the mammoth, ancient redwoods. City lovers might check out all that San Francisco has to offer, such as taking a ferry to Alcatraz, fine dining, museums or music out. Southern California travel nurses can catch the sun in seaside towns like Santa Monica, check out the allure of Hollywood’s entertainment scene, find their inner child at Disneyland, or take a bucolic drive to the scenic desert.
Travel Nursing California License
Travel nurses will need to be sure they are a registered nurse (RN) or licensed professional nurse (LPN) before taking any assignments, and must also have a California nursing license. Since the licensing process can take some time, the quickest way to get your California RN license is to visit the state’s capital, Sacramento, bringing the required paperwork directly to the Board of Registered Nursing in person and completing the fingerprinting process. Most nurses will receive their licenses within two weeks by following that procedure.
Travel Nursing in Hawaii
When it comes to cushy travel nurse assignments, there is probably none more desired or competitive than Hawaii. These tropical islands have an allure all their own that draws nurses from all over the country. Because of its coveted destination, however, these assignments are also incredibly sought after, which might mean having to wait to land one of these spots.
How Much Do Travel Nurses Make in Hawaii?
While the mean annual wage for a Hawaii travel nurse is $98,080, and the mean hourly wage is $47.16, the cost of living in Hawaii is also quite expensive. One nursing blog suggests a travel nurse here may just barely break even on cost of living. It may make sense to take a housing stipend and find your own housing here, in order to save money. It might pay better to go to the less tourist-heavy locations, as well, say the Big Island over Maui, or Oahu instead of Kauai. You may have more success by joining a nursing agency or registry on the islands.
It’s no surprise that travel nurses long to come to the Hawaiian islands, where it’s almost always sunny, the water feels great, and the natural beauty astounds. Visitors enjoy the unparalleled white sand beaches, its ancient volcanoes, rainforest jungles, and opportunities to get up close and personal with sea life.
Any travel nurse in Hawaii must be a registered nurse (RN). If the nurse is licensed in another state, they may be able to receive a Hawaii nursing license by endorsement, or by obtaining a temporary permit while they complete the licensing process in Hawaii.
Travel Nursing in Massachusetts
When you think of the most appealing places for a travel nurse to go, New England may not be the first area to come to mind, and yet Massachusetts ranks high on our list of best travel nursing locations. While winters can be chilly, there are lots of snow-based activities in Massachusetts. From the Berkshires to Cape Cod, there is also incredibly variety in scenery that draws people from around the country. Fall is an astonishingly beautiful time in this state, with bursts of color. It’s also close to the other New England states, which are all easily accessible by car.
How Much Do Nurses Make in Massachusetts?
This great state, home to the Red Sox and Fenway Park, among other notable destinations, offers a competitive mean annual wage of $92,140 and a mean hourly wage of $44.30. Travel nurses working in Massachusetts must be RNs or LPNs. Because Massachusetts is not a member of the nurse licensure compact, which allows nurses to practice in other states beyond the state of their license, travel nurses who wish to work here will have to obtain a Massachusetts nursing license. LPNs can obtain a Massachusetts license by endorsement if they have done one of the following 1) graduated from an LPN or RN program approved by the board in another state or US territory or 2) have withdrawn from an RN program while in good standing. They must have passed the required licensing exam.
Travel Nursing in Oregon
People flock to this northwestern state for a variety of reasons, from the entrancing theater culture of Ashland, which holds an annual Shakespeare Festival, to the foodie-friendly and artistic enclave of Portland, to its unparalleled natural beauty such as Crater Lake National Park, the gorgeous Oregon coast, or skiing and hiking on Mt. Hood.
How Much Do Nurses Make in Oregon?
Oregon, with its vast natural beauty, hip, artistic cities and excellent pay draws many travel nurses to its pastoral beauty. Oregon also pays competitively, with a mean annual wage of $91,080, and a mean hourly wage of $43.79.
Travel nurses coming to Oregon need to have an RN or LPN degree. Those who originate from out of state, or don’t have an Oregon nursing license, may apply for one by examination or endorsement, depending on the stage of your career. It may be possible to handle license verification online, but the nurse will need verification from their original state of licensure.
An RN who is applying by way of endorsement will pay $195 plus $52 for fingerprint processing. Nurses who have been out of the field a while may be required to take a re-entry course.
Travel Nursing in Alaska
Alaska is an outdoors enthusiast’s dream, with millions of miles of unparalleled and pristine nature, including national parks and wildlife areas. There’s something for everyone here: boating, fishing, hiking, skiing, bird watching and much more. And city life is nothing to sneer at either. You might even catch the Northern Lights at the right time of year. Although travel assignments in Alaska may not be in abundance, any assignment here will likely be a memorable one. As in other states, nurses need to be registered as either RNs or LPNs. Out of state nurses will have to verify that they have put in at least 320 hours of practice in the two years before their application date. Otherwise, they will either need to demonstrate that they meet the Board’s continuing competency requirements or take a refresher course.
What Do Nurses Make in Alaska?
Big cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau are great locations for travel nurses to investigate in the Land of the Midnight Sun, Alaska. Alaska pays nursing a mean annual wage of $89,310 and a mean hourly wage of $42.84. Pay tends to be better in the bigger cities, but that doesn’t mean a good wage can’t be found in one of Alaska’s smaller towns, too.
Nursing License in Alaska
License verification should otherwise be provided through the site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Travel Nursing in New York
New York is an exciting travel nursing spot year-round. New York City has a lot of large hospitals as well as smaller facilities, which may often be short staffed, which creates a demand for healthcare travelers. If you land a travel job in New York City, you will have plenty to do and see. With museums, attractions, sports, nightlife and outdoor activities, New York City certainly doesn’t disappointment when it comes to things to do. There are also other locations around the state that may be worth a look such as Rochester, Albany and Buffalo. If you’re lucky, you can find an assignment with apple orchards nearby, so you can go apple picking and enjoy fresh apple cider donuts.
How Much do Nurses Make in New York?
The mean annual wage for nurses in New York is $85,610 and a mean hourly wage of $41.16. While New York is not a member of the nurse license compact, nurses who have met similar requirements in other states may be able to obtain the proper licensure quickly.
Travel Nursing in Arizona
From Phoenix to Tucson to Sedona, there are several top medical centers that could use the help of travel nurses in Arizona. Enjoy plenty of outdoor activities and famous sites, such as the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and Desert Botanical Gardens.
How Much do Nurses Make in Arizona?
Arizona is a Nurse Compact state, meaning that candidates from other compact states won’t need to apply for licensure. The exception to this would be if a candidate is making Arizona their primary state of licensing. The mean annual wage for nurses in Arizona is $77,000 and a mean hourly wage of $37.02.
Travel Nursing in Florida
If you are thinking about a healthcare travel job, Florida has a lot to offer. Maybe you are hoping to live in a warmer climate during the winter or you love the idea of going to the beach on your days off. Whatever your reason for considering Florida as an assignment destination, you won’t be disappointed.
How Much do Nurses Make in Florida?
Florida’s mean annual wage for nurses is $66,210 and a mean hourly wage of $31.83.
Keep in mind that competition for healthcare travel jobs may be steep, especially in the winter months. But with perseverance, ambition and the help of the Sunbelt Staffing team, you could land a great Florida assignment. Whichever region you decide upon, there are both large medical centers and small community hospitals. There is plenty to do throughout the state including outdoor activities, tourist attractions and sports.
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