Special Report

Highest-Paying States for Travel Nurses

The United States is experiencing a nursing shortage – and with health care workers facing burnout due to staffing issues that arose during the pandemic, the situation is getting worse. According to a survey from AMN Healthcare, an executive search company serving the medical profession, 30% of nurses are planning on leaving their jobs for alternate careers – which is bound to exacerbate the burnout rate in those remaining in the field. (It’s not only nurses who are in short supply in some places. These are the states with the fewest doctors per person.)

The shortage of nurses hits some areas harder than others. According to predictions from the Health Resources and Services Administration, for instance, California will be short over 44,000 nurses by 2030. That’s one reason why staff nurses in California make some of the highest average wages in the country.

However, traveling nurses – those who take temporary positions in places where nursing professionals are most needed – can earn much higher wages than even the best-paid nurses on staff. According to HealthJob – which compares salaries, education requirements, and responsibilities across health care careers – travel nurses earn an average yearly salary of $116,116, compared to $77,600 for the average registered nurse on staff.

To identify the states where travel nurses make the most money, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the HealthJob, a job board for healthcare professionals. Data on wages and employment of registered nurses by state came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics database.

Click here to see what travel nurses get paid in every state

The average hourly wage for travel nurses is $2,233 per week, and in 29 states, their average hourly wage exceeds the national average. Even in South Carolina – the state that pays travel nurses the least – the average yearly salary is $94,744 – over $15,000 higher than the average annual salary for registered nurses.

Alaska – a state that has struggled to train in-state nurses and relies on health care workers from other states to fill positions – is the highest paying state for travel nurses. Other states that pay the highest wages include Arizona, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Massachusetts. Here are 65 jobs with six figure salaries.

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