15 Top-Paying Travel Nurse Cities

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
February 16, 2022
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(Pssst - they’re not all in California!)

You finally decided to make the leap and take a travel nurse assignment, but how do you decide where to go? There are many factors that go into securing the best travel assignment possible. Needless to say, pay ranks high on that list. Here are some high-paying cities for you to consider.

The Pay Breakdown

Historically, travel nurses make around $3,000 per week. They are reimbursed for housing and travel and typically have per diem compensation for meals. These should all be factored in when you are given a weekly rate. Your hourly rate is taxed. Your stipends, such as housing, meals, and travel, are not. This is important to remember when negotiating a contract. Think about where you are going and how the pay is allotted to you to ensure that you end up getting the most money for your 12-hour shifts.

For instance, if you are working in Dallas, Texas, your dollar will go a lot further than it would in San Francisco, California. You will be working three to four days a week, so the cost of the activities you do on your days off should factor into your pay negotiations.

The Pandemic Changed Everything

Due to the impact of the pandemic, offering a travel nurse $3000 per week won’t lead to many takers these days. In Los Angeles, there are currently contracts posted for over $10,000 per week. Massachusetts offers positions for $6,700.

When nurses are working with high-patient ratios, mandatory overtime, limited staff, and high-risk conditions, the pay needs to rise to meet the job demands. It’s no secret that the role has changed dramatically in the last two years and while nurses still love their jobs, they also want compensation for the risks they are taking and the labor performed during long shifts.

Highest-Paying Cities for Travel Nurses

If you have been watching the travel nurse boards for any amount of time, you know that California cities are consistently among the top payers. listed the top 10 paying cities for travel nurses, and all 10 cities were in California. The pay in the following cities ranged from $149,200 to $110,860:

  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose/Sunnyvale, CA
  • Vallejo, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Salinas, CA
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Modesto, CA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Redding, CA

Other High-Paying Cities for Travel Nurses

If you are looking for a position outside of California, other states that top the charts regularly are Alaska, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. According to, the top 10 highest-paying cities include:

  • Tanaina, AK
  • Wasilla, AK
  • Summersville, WV
  • Jackson, WY
  • Norwalk, CT

The salaries for these positions ranged from $118,400 to $116,000.

Whether you are looking for an east, west, north or south location, you can choose your dream travel assignment and still make top dollar for your efforts. Connect with your recruiter to get the ball rolling!


Jennifer McDonald, FNP-BC is a nurse practitioner with 17 years of healthcare experience. She has worked in medical research for six years, teaches nurse practitioner students, and spent many years in acute and family care. Her love of medicine is rivaled only by her love of coffee and running with her endlessly energetic puppy.

Health Carousel Travel Nursing

Find the Travel Job that’s Right for You

Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

Woman standing with suitcase looking out at the city