Travel Nurse Salary, Specialty and Certifications Guide

Summary: Travel nursing offers both adventure and flexibility, with travel nurse salaries averaging $2,058 per week. By specializing in areas like cardiovascular ICU or labor and delivery, nurses can earn even more.

Travel nursing has become an enticing career choice for healthcare workers looking for adventure, flexibility, and good pay. These professionals fill vital roles in hospitals and healthcare centers across various locations, all while immersing themselves in diverse cultures and surroundings. What draws many to this field is the promise of substantial earnings.

Travel nursing salaries frequently surpass those of registered nurses due to the job’s demands for flexibility, independent thinking, and readiness to assume roles with minimal notice. As of 2024, the average salary for a travel nurse stands at $2,058 per week.

However, gaining a comprehensive understanding of travel nurse pay requires a deeper insight into the nature and expectations of the profession. 

Who is a Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses are healthcare professionals who fill temporary positions in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings where there is a high demand for qualified staff. They are flexible professionals who adapt quickly to new environments and provide essential care wherever they are needed. From neonatal intensive care units to emergency rooms, travel nurses bring their expertise to a variety of healthcare settings.

How Long are Travel Nurse Assignments?

Travel nurses sign contracts for temporary positions, which can last several days, weeks, or months. The length of the contract varies but typical durations are between eight and 26 weeks. Upon the end of the contract, travel nurses may extend their service or seek a new opportunity.

Benefits of Having a Travel Nurse Career

Travel nurses enjoy numerous perks, such as:


Travel nurses enjoy the freedom to choose assignments that fit their schedules and lifestyles, allowing for greater work-life balance and the opportunity to explore new destinations.


Travel nurses often receive reimbursements for various expenses incurred during assignments, including travel costs, relocation expenses, and continuing education fees.


Employers typically provide or subsidize housing accommodations, ensuring comfortable living arrangements for travel nurses during their assignments.


Travel nurses often receive comprehensive benefits packages, which typically include medical, dental, and vision coverage. These packages offer essential healthcare support, ensuring that nurses have access to necessary medical services.

Tax Advantages

Travel nurses may benefit from tax deductions for travel-related expenses, such as mileage, meals, and lodging, resulting in potential tax savings.

Local Commuting

Some travel nursing assignments include assistance with local commuting, simplifying transportation logistics and ensuring easy access to healthcare facilities.

Retirement Plans

Retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) or pension plans, are often available to travel nurses, allowing them to plan for their future financial security while enjoying the flexibility of their current lifestyle.

Assistance with Passports and Visas

For international assignments, travel nurses receive valuable assistance in obtaining passports and visas, streamlining the process of working abroad and facilitating smooth transitions to new destinations.

Are travel nurses in high demand?

Travel nurses are in high demand due to continuing nurse shortages. The Covid-19 pandemic created a nationwide staffing crisis, fueling the need for travel nurses. Demoralized and burned-out staff nurses quit and retire faster than they can be replaced. Temporary nursing assignments also provide greater financial allure than stable positions.

Average Travel Nurse Salary

As mentioned, the average salary for a travel nurse is $2,058 per week. A travel nurse who works 52 weeks per year earns an annual salary of $107,016. However, salaries differ based on the number of hours worked, the location, job benefit and specialty.

Highest Paid Travel Nursing Jobs

The higher the demand for travel nurses, the higher their salary. Certain healthcare specialties pay top salaries for their travel nurses. One of the most well-paid nurse specialties is in the cardiovascular intensive care unit where travel nurses earn $2,223 to $4,406 per week.

Working in maternity wards as a labor and delivery nurse is also highly sought-after. A labor and delivery travel nurse earns anywhere from $2,342 to $6,231 a week. Emergency room nurses treat patients who need immediate attention; their weekly salaries range from $1,900 to $4,284.

Progressive care unit travel nurses think quickly on their feet as they monitor the vital signs of patients. These nurses earn $1,914 to $4,333 per week. Telemetry travel nurses perform similar tasks as permanent staff nurses and bring in $1,967 to $4,191 a week, depending on assignment.

Top Nurse Certifications for Travel Nurses to Get Paid Higher

Obtaining nurse certifications can substantially increase the earning opportunities for travel nurses. Some of the most highly regarded certifications in the field include:

Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)

This certification highlights proficiency in managing critical scenarios, trauma cases, and emergencies within emergency room environments.

Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN)

Nationally recognized, this certification demonstrates mastery in critical care nursing, expanding job prospects in intensive care units and other critical care settings.

Basic Life Support (BLS)

BLS certification is essential for all healthcare professionals, including travel nurses. It demonstrates proficiency in basic life-saving techniques such as CPR, AED usage, and relief of choking in adults, children, and infants. Many healthcare facilities require BLS certification for employment and having it can make you a more attractive candidate, potentially leading to better pay rates.

 In addition to these certifications, other credentials such as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and specialty certifications in areas like critical care or emergency nursing can also enhance a travel nurse’s qualifications and earning potential.

Is travel nursing Career still worth it?

Working as a travel nurse in healthcare settings can be financially rewarding, particularly in high-need areas such as emergency rooms and operating rooms where contracts often offer premium compensation.

Nursing professionals who want control over their careers find satisfaction in working as a travel nurse. In addition to commanding a higher salary, travel nurses choose where they want to work, the communities they wish to serve, and the amount of time off they aim to maximize.

The attractive benefits of working as a travel nurse also make this profession worthwhile. Travel reimbursements offered for traveling to an assignment are given as a flat rate or a per-mile reimbursement. Flight reimbursements are provided when the work location is Alaska or Hawaii.

Travel nurses who set clear financial goals earn the highest wages by utilizing various strategies. Finding low-cost housing, accepting the provided housing, or taking a housing subsidy, for instance, mean the travel nurse takes home more pay. Plus, some states do not have a state income tax.

The excitement of traveling to new geographic areas, the competitive pay, and the luxury of choosing how many hours to work are major draws of being a travel nurse. These professionals have the freedom to work two months in one part of the country and then take a month off.

Search Travel Nurse Jobs on JobGraze

In order to find a fitting nurse position, travel nurses are encouraged to utilize JobGraze.

JobGraze is filled with healthcare specialties that appeal to travel nurses of all professional levels. Our listings include opportunities in critical care, emergency rooms, labor and delivery, and operating rooms. Job seekers can even set up email alerts to receive notifications when new opportunities arise.

Our search platform allows job seekers to apply for several travel nurse positions at once, by favoriting nurse job postings and connecting with potential employers. JobGraze makes it easy for travel nurses to continually apply for jobs in various locations throughout the country and stages of their career.

When you’ve set career goals and wish to explore opportunities in the travel nursing field, JobGraze makes it possible. We cater to every level of nursing, from recent graduates to experienced RNs as well as nurse practitioners who wish to expand their professional horizons.

Make your next career move with JobGraze. Discover a rich variety of professional travel nursing jobs that you can apply to from any device and from any location. Join our nursing job search platform today and gain access to the limitless professional opportunities that await you.

By Urmila Sharma

Urmila Sharma, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, has had an incredible journey from a quiet village in New Delhi to becoming the Chief Healthcare Officer at JobGraze. Born and raised in a small village, Urmila always had a passion for helping others. Her brothers encouraged her to pursue nursing. In 2004, Urmila got the chance to work as a nurse in the United States. Moving there wasn't easy, but she worked hard to adapt to a new healthcare system. With support from her employer, she learned all about American nursing practices. Urmila's career flourished over the years. She even earned a Nurse Practitioner degree in 2017. Now, she inspires others, especially nurses interested in working abroad. At JobGraze, she helps connect healthcare workers from around the world. Urmila's story shows that with determination, you can achieve your dreams. Today, she continues to make a difference as a Nurse Practitioner in Diabetes at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.