Are you considering becoming a travel nurse and want to maximize your travel nursing pay package? In this article, we discuss the latest nursing news and the average travel nursing salary. We also review the pros and cons of travel nursing and how you can earn a 100k travel nursing salary.
State of Travel Nursing in 2023
In the latest nursing news, hospitals are experiencing staffing shortages, which means the demand for travel nursing has increased along with a higher travel nurse salary. Depending on the assignment, some travel nurses receive almost double what they would have earned pre-pandemic. While there has been a slight decrease in demand for travel nurses, the nursing job outlook is still projected to increase by 6% by 2031. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also predicts that the nursing field will have around 203,000 job openings each year until 2031. Thus, many hospitals and travel nursing companies are still looking to hire travel nurses.
Average Travel Nurse Salary
According to Indeed.com, the average travel nurse's salary in the United States is $2,243 per week. However, depending on the travel nursing assignment, some healthcare facilities hire travel nurses for a higher salary and offer large bonuses. In fact, Ffor some travel nursing contracts, travel nurses receive over $5,000 a week.
There are many travel nurse specialties out there, and depending on your specialty and location, you can earn more. Below we detail some of the travel nurse specialties that can earn you higher travel nurse pay or are featured travel RN jobs. Remember, to earn a gross average annual salary of over $100k a year, you need to earn at least $1,924 a week.
Cardiac Catheterization Lab travel nurses earn an average of $2,818 per week
Interventional Radiology travel nurses earn around $3,016 per week
Home Health travel nurses earn $2,071 weekly
Wound Care travel nurses earn $2,115 weekly
Infusion Therapy travel nurses earn $3,101 weekly
Operating Room travel nurses earn $3,495 per week
Emergency Room travel nurses each $2,477 weekly
Oncology travel nurses earn $2,430 per week
Dialysis travel nurses earn $2,375 weekly
Pediatric Telemetry travel nurses earn $2,659 per week
Vaccine travel nurses earn $1,924 weekly
Rehab travel nurses earn $2,069 per week
Post-anesthesia care unit/PACU travel nurses earn $2,176 per week
Long-term acute care travel nurses earn $2,283 per week
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) travel nursing jobs have many sub-specialties. ICU travel nursing jobs include areas such as cardiac ICU travel nurses burn ICU travel nurses, and neuro ICU travel nurses. The national average annual salary for ICU travel nurses is $143,210.
There are plenty of other travel nursing opportunities out there that can earn you $100k (especially the featured travel RN jobs), including psychiatric travel nurses, correctional travel nurses, registered nurse first assistant RNFA travel nurses, and orthopedic travel nurses. No matter your specialty or interest, you can find your niche. If you're interested in researching travel nurse salary information or comparing travel nurse salaries, a quick Google search can provide valuable data.
In addition, although some specialties may hire travel nurses at higher pay rates, this is not the case for travel nurse jobs in certain states. Some of the highest-paying states have travel RN jobs paying more for medical surgical travel nurses than medical ICU travel nurses. Some of the highest paying states are California, Hawaii, Texas, and Massachusetts. However, it's important to consider that travel nurses incur costs that may be higher in these areas. Accepting a travel nurse contract in a high-cost-of-living state may decrease your take-home amount.
Many travel nurses can earn over $100k a year because travel nurse agencies offer big bonuses. Or they offer travel nursing contracts with tax-free stipends, which are not subject to travel nursing tax. It's important to remember that just because you are earning a higher hourly travel nurse pay, that does not necessarily mean you are earning a higher pay. This is because your hourly wage is a taxable hourly wage, which is subject to travel nursing tax. So look at your travel nursing pay package as a whole, considering hourly pay, benefits, location, tax-free stipends, paid sick leave, and living costs. For more myths and truths of travel nursing, check out our travel nursing blog.
Challenges of Getting to a $100K Salary
As a travel nurse, earning a sizable salary is likely high on your priority list. In fact, you may have wondered to yourself, “Can I make $100,000 a year as a travel nurse?” This goal could be within your reach if you make the best use of your assets and opportunities. $100K paying travel RN jobs (a travel nurse contract completed within 52 weeks that yield a gross travel nursing salary of $100,000 or more) aren’t available for all nurses. When searching for six-figure travel nursing pay, consider the following:
In many cases, travel nurses earn $100K travel RN salaries. Neonatal intensive care unit and labor and delivery travel nurses earn easily over $100K for jobs. This is because these skills are typically more sought after by facilities, which usually means higher travel nurse pay. Pediatric ER travel nurses earn a high average annual salary, as well as PICU travel nurses and hospice travel nurses. Just like nursing, there are plenty of travel nurse positions to choose from! Depending on your specialty, you may also need to obtain additional certifications. This may include basic life support, advanced cardiovascular life support certification, cardiovascular operating room, orthopedic nurses certification, or national telemetry association certifications.
Optimal candidates for $100K travel nursing jobs should be minimally selective about location—you’ll need to be willing to go where the money is. For example, while southern Florida may be your dream destination for travel nurse positions, six-figure jobs may be more common in rural areas where it’s more difficult for healthcare facilities and travel nurse agencies to attract nurses. For high-paying jobs, you’ll need to focus more on the dollar amount and less on the location.
High-paying travel nursing jobs attract a larger pool of applicants. To land $100K assignments or travel nurse positions offering big bonuses, candidates need to act quickly (jobs open today likely won’t be there tomorrow). This often means working with a recruiter you trust (and giving them the green light) to submit you for high-paying jobs as soon as they become available. When pursuing $100K travel RN assignments, there really isn’t time for indecisiveness.
Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing
Let's explore the pros and cons of accepting a travel healthcare job or travel nurse job.
Travel nursing provides a great deal of flexibility. Depending on the healthcare facility and assignment, you can pick the shifts and days you would like to work. If you have specific days that you would like off ahead of time, communicate these to the unit nurse manager and your recruiter. You also have the flexibility of taking time off between assignments if you choose. However, you may not get paid if your agency doesn't offer paid sick leave. Also, just like staff nurses, travel nurses work in a variety of specialties. You have the flexibility of trying new specialties, depending on your prior clinical nursing experience (i.e. travel critical care nurses often require intensive care experience).
Travel nursing salaries are generally higher than staff nurses. However, travel nursing pay packages and travel nurse salaries vary depending on the travel RN assignment details. So, before each assignment, decide if high-paying travel nurse jobs or location is your priority. You may change your mind depending on the assignment. With the travel nurse role, you are also entitled to tax-free stipends. Remember, your hourly pay is a taxable hourly wage.
With the travel nurse role, you can work while exploring the United States, which is an opportunity like no other. You get the chance to build your clinical nursing experience and expand your professional network, all while providing direct patient care.
First, it can be difficult to stay connected with family and friends, since travel nurses work away from home. Thus, it's important to set aside time to speak with them each week, or plan for them to visit or for you to return home during your stay.
As a travel nurse, you will almost always be the new person on the unit. Therefore, you will need to adapt to change and learn quickly (i.e. learn electronic medical records or float to another unit) and have the ability to meet new people easily. This can be nerve-racking at first, but it will be easy to get used to after your first assignment. Also, you may become friends with a fellow travel nurse.
Finding housing can also be challenging, so it's crucial to research and plan ahead. If you have a home mortgage, you will incur duplicate living expenses, which can also cut into your budget. If you're interested in traveling to a particular state, research the nursing licensure requirements well ahead of time. Not every state is part of the nursing licensure compact, so you may need to apply for a separate nursing license that sometimes takes weeks to receive. You wouldn't want to delay your assignment start date, so make sure to plan ahead.
Overall, travel nursing is a great career, and you can easily earn over $100K a year with a travel healthcare job. If you want to earn over $100K annually, you will need to look for high-paying jobs and communicate to your recruiter your assignment needs. Remember to look at your travel nursing pay package as a whole, including tax-free stipends, housing, reimbursement, cost of benefits, and cost of living expenses.
About Health Carousel Travel Nursing
HCTN has many benefits that we offer to our travel nurses such as health insurance, paid sick leave, 401k, and much more. If you want to read more about how to make your benefits work for you, visit our full circle of support page. If you want to learn more about high-paying travel nursing jobs, visit our travel nurse 100k salary myths, truths of a travel nurse 100k salary, or our travel nursing blog.
Are you interested in pursuing a career in the travel nursing industry? HCTN has many high-paying travel nurse assignments to offer on our job board. With our On Demand app, you can search and apply for many travel nursing jobs. You can even save and upload your required nursing documents and licenses.