The Ultimate Guide to Travel Nursing: Highest Paying Cities And Jobs

The Ultimate Guide to Travel Nursing: Highest Paying Cities And Jobs

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
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Travel nursing is an exciting career path that allows healthcare professionals to work in different geographic locations and clinical settings while providing quality care to patients. One of the biggest advantages of this profession is the ability to earn a higher salary compared to traditional nursing jobs. In this ultimate guide to travel nursing, we will explore the highest-paying cities and jobs in the industry. Whether you're a seasoned travel nurse or just starting out, this guide will provide you with the information you need to maximize your earnings and advance your career.


Highest Paying Cities for Travel Nurses

When it comes to national travel nurse jobs, some cities and states tend to offer much higher pay than others. This is usually due to many factors, such as the cost of living, demands for specific nursing specialties, and the availability of medical facilities.

The Top 5 Highest Paying Travel Nursing Cities

1. San Francisco, California:

San Francisco is a city known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge, vibrant cultural scene, and tech industry, and it also happens to be one of the highest-paying travel nursing cities. Due to the high cost of living, the travel nurse salary in San Francisco typically covers housing stipends and other benefits to help nurses manage their expenses. The average base salary for travel nursing jobs here is well above the national average pay.

2. San Diego, California:

Another Californian city on our list, San Diego is famous for its beautiful coastlines, pristine beaches, and world-class medical facilities. Travel nurse jobs in San Diego offer competitive salaries, especially for those with experience in specialized areas like critical care, neonatal nursing, and oncology. The travel nursing jobs in San Diego are often found in prestigious institutions, providing an excellent opportunity to expand your professional network.

3. North Carolina:

The Tar Heel State offers some of the best national travel nurse jobs with competitive salaries. Along with attractive pay packages, North Carolina provides travel nurses with plenty of opportunities to explore its beautiful landscapes, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Coast. Cities like Charlotte, Raleigh, and Durham offer high-paying positions in both urban and rural medical facilities.

4. South Dakota:

South Dakota, known for its vast expanses of natural beauty and outdoor recreational activities, is another high-paying state for travel nurse jobs. Medical facilities in cities like Rapid City and Sioux Falls offer competitive salaries and incentives to attract qualified travel nurses. As a travel nurse in South Dakota, you can enjoy exploring Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, and numerous historical sites while earning a substantial income.

5. South Carolina:

Attractive pay packages are just one aspect that draws travel nurses to the scenic state of South Carolina. With beautiful beaches and historic cities like Charleston, South Carolina offers an excellent work-life balance for travel nurses. South Carolina's highest-paying travel nursing cities include Columbia, Greenville, and Myrtle Beach. Nurses working in specialized fields like cardiac, dialysis, and labor and delivery can expect even higher salaries.

Understanding the Fine Print: How Much Do Travel Nurses Really Make?

The Fully Detailed Pay Packages for Travel Nurses

Travel nurse salary packages can be complex and vary depending on factors such as location, specialization, and experience. A standard pay package may include an hourly wage, housing stipend, per diem allowances, and travel reimbursements. In certain locations, such as North Dakota, Western States, or the East Coast, these packages may also include bonuses, such as sign-on, completion, or extension bonuses.

Understanding the various components of a travel nurse salary package is essential to making an informed decision about the opportunities available and how well they align with your financial goals. It's crucial to review NCLEX questions and negotiate pay packages, including stipends and allowances, during the interview process.

Travel Nurse Salary: Negotiating for the Highest Pay

Negotiating your travel nurse salary and benefits can be a complicated process, but it's vital to ensure you're fairly compensated for your skills and experience. Here are some tips for negotiating the highest pay possible:

1. Know your worth: Research the average travel nurse's salary for your specialty and experience level in the location you're considering. Websites like Glassdoor and Payscale can provide salary data for different nursing specialties and geographical areas.

2. Be prepared to discuss your experience and qualifications: Highlight your certifications, relevant experience, and any additional skills that set you apart from other candidates. Make sure to mention any particularly challenging assignments you've handled in the past.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for more: If you receive an offer that is below your expectations or less competitive than similar job postings, it is acceptable to ask for a higher salary or additional benefits like a housing stipend, travel reimbursement, or bonuses.

4. Weigh the entire package: Remember, your travel nurse salary is just one component of your overall compensation package. Be sure to consider factors like housing, medical benefits, and opportunities for professional growth when comparing different travel nursing jobs.

How to Find the Best Paying Travel Nurse Jobs

Finding the best-paying travel nurse jobs involves a combination of research, networking, and persistence. Here's how to maximize your chances:

1. Utilize reputable job boards: Websites like or are great resources for finding travel nursing jobs with competitive salaries. Keep an eye out for listings in the highest-paying travel nursing cities and states.

2. Partner with a travel nursing agency: A good travel nursing agency, like Health Carousel Travel Nursing, can help you find the best-paying travel nurse jobs tailored to your preferences and qualifications. They can also help with negotiating salary and benefits on your behalf.

3. Network with other travel nurses: Join online forums, and social media groups, or attend conferences and meetups for travel nurses. Networking with other professionals in the field can provide valuable information about high-paying travel nurse jobs and potential employers.

4. Be open to relocating: Some of the highest-paying travel nurse jobs might be in locations that weren't initially on your radar, such as North Dakota, South Dakota, or cities along the East and West Coast. Be open to exploring new locations to benefit from these lucrative opportunities.

As the demand for nursing professionals continues to grow, national travel nurse jobs in cities like Raleigh, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sioux Falls present fantastic prospects for those seeking well-paid opportunities. Understanding the pay structure and remaining proactive in your job search will help ensure that you find high-paying travel nursing jobs in the most rewarding locations.

Top Travel Nursing Jobs and Specializations

Travel nursing is an exciting and rewarding profession with numerous job opportunities for skilled healthcare professionals. With diverse specializations and locations, travel nurses can grow their careers while exploring new places. In this article, we'll focus on some popular travel nursing jobs and their respective specializations, such as Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Anesthesia Care Unit (ACU) travel nursing jobs.

Licensed Practical Nurse Travel Nursing Jobs

As travel nurses, LPNs can find opportunities across the country, working in various medical facilities such as hospitals, outpatient centers, and long-term care facilities. Some popular regions for national travel nurse jobs include California, North and South Dakota, and the East Coast. LPNs are in high demand as they provide essential care to patients, like administering medications, dressing wounds, and assisting with daily tasks.

Travel nurse jobs for LPNs often offer competitive salaries. According to recent data, the travel nurse's salary is typically higher than the national average pay, allowing professionals to save money while exploring different parts of the country. With paid travel expenses, housing options, and flexibility in assignment duration, LPNs can enjoy a more comfortable and adventurous lifestyle.

To qualify for LPN travel nursing jobs, candidates must pass the NCLEX-PN exam, which prepares them for practical nursing roles. Completing NCLEX questions and gaining experience in various medical settings can equip LPNs to handle different patient populations and healthcare environments. This versatility makes LPNs even more appealing to employers offering travel nursing jobs.

Anesthesia Care Unit Travel Nursing Jobs

Another promising specialization within the travel nursing field is working in Anesthesia Care Units (ACUs). Ensuring patient safety and comfort during surgical procedures, ACU travel nurses provide vital support to anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists. They monitor patients before, during, and after surgeries, administer medications, and maintain proper documentation.

Travel nursing jobs in ACUs are available in various medical facilities throughout the country. Nurses can choose assignments based on their preferences, selecting from locations along the West Coast, such as Los Angeles, or in the northern and western states like North Dakota, South Dakota, and numerous others.

ACU travel nurses are rewarded with competitive salaries, which often exceed the national average pay. As with other travel nurse jobs, benefits like paying travel expenses, furnished housing options, and flexible assignment lengths make these positions highly attractive, enabling nurses to pursue their passions and enjoy a balanced lifestyle.

To qualify for ACU travel nursing jobs, candidates must complete their RN degree, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and gain experience working within anesthesia care settings. This experience serves as a solid foundation to excel in ACU travel nursing roles, as well as to potentially further specialize in areas such as the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) or the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

In conclusion, travel nursing jobs present healthcare professionals with excellent opportunities to grow and diversify their careers. As healthcare environments change and new challenges arise, travel nurses equipped with specialized skills like LPNs or those in the Anesthesia Care Unit (ACU) will continue to be in high demand, allowing them to enjoy nationwide opportunities, competitive salaries, and fulfilling work experience.

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.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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