How Much Do Travel Nurses Make in 2015? (ANSWERED)

Travel and work don’t usually mix – except for travel nurses.

These registered nurses (RNs) may work on a rotating basis in a cath lab or dialysis or any other general nursing unit.
Locations can vary between a local hospital to hospital or clinic miles from your home.

How much does a travel nurse make a year?

Travelling RNs earn a higher salary than most other RNs, and they earn substantially more than the median.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the median annual salary for over 2.6 million RNs is $66,220 with the top 10% earning more than $96,320.

In comparison, most travel registered nurses earn between $66,220-$96,320, but due to the fact that they are often hired to render specialized care such as in a cath lab or for dialysis treatment in a patients home they are paid higher than the median range.

For instance: At the low end of the median annual travel nurse salary, he/she would make $31.83 per hour. At the high end, a travel nurse makes $46.30 per hour. Granted, the hours worked, location, and/or the specialized training for that RN will impact salary, along with benefits received.

Travel nurse salary: Big bucks and benefits?

Employers attract travelling RNs with perks and benefits including hefty bonuses, travel allowances, medical and dental coverage, accommodations, meal subsidies and other privileges.

All these multiple gains ultimately hinge on the travel nurses’ specialty, skills and expertise, training, and experience.

For instance, a typical head nurse working in the industrial field earns a median of $74,545 a year. That can go as high as $92,914 annually, according to

RNs with the right mix of training and experience can get about and earn as high as these wages.

Nurse practitioners for specialty care earn a much higher median of $99,590 annually, with the upper 10% earning $115,394 or higher, according to the same source.

Top-paying states and industries

According to a survey conducted by Onward Healthcare, a national travel nursing agency, the top-paying states for travel nurses are as follows:

Mississippi – Travelling RNs have a salary range of $43,000 to $103,000 compared to the regular salary range paid to permanent position RNs which is $38,000 to $94,000.

New York – They earn from the salary range of $64,000 to $101,000 compared to the regular salary range paid to permanent position RNs which is $57,000 to $94,000.

Washington, DC – Travelling registered nurses earn from the salary range of $74,000 to $99,000 compared to the regular salary range paid to permanent position RNs which is $66,000 to $92,000.

International opportunities also abound for travel nurses.

Housing accommodation usually forms an integral part of the assignment or hiring package that is typically managed by a separate travel nursing agency.

What do travel nurses do?

The travel nurse’s duties and responsibilities vary depending on the nurse’s area of specialization; a cardiac care specialist works in the cardiac care unit or the ICU, while a surgery specialist assists doctors performing surgery.

The scope of travel assignments may run from eight (8) to fifty two (52) weeks, albeit, thirteen (13) weeks is the usual span of time per assignment.

How do I become a travel nurse?


There are two routes to becoming a registered nurse fast. You can:

  • Earn an associate’s degree in nursing which takes two years to complete.
  • Pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing a BSN

After completing your nursing degree, you have to take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination before you can become a registered nurse.

You may further pursue such areas of specialization as surgery, pediatrics, acute or cardiac care – any of which you can accomplish by working in the unit. You couls also get a master’s degree in nursing (MSN).


Apart from having earned your nursing education, nearly all hospitals or healthcare facilities strictly require travel nurse applicants to have completed at least one year of on-the-job training in order to qualify for the position.

Licensure Agreement

Licensed registered nurses interested to work in other states as travel nurses are required to execute a multi-state licensure agreement, commonly referred to as the Nurse Licensure Compact.

This agreement allows them to work in any other states that are parties to the compact, provided their continuing education credits and licenses are duly updated.

For individual state requirements, visit or check with the Nurse Licensure Compact in the state where you intend to work.

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Flexibility and adaptability are just among the many traits a travel nurse should possess to work effectively in various places, whether domestic or international.

It will be to their advantage if they communicate well; this minimizes barriers across different cultures and practices, which makes the delivery of medical care to patients more effective.

A travel nurse should be keen on details and proficient in analysis and evaluation.

What are the prospects of a career in travel nursing?

Overall, there are bright prospects for registered nurses including those who travel.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts around 26% employment growth for registered nurses, with a similar growth rate for travel nurses.

The demand for RNs nowadays is due mainly to advances in medicine and technology.

This has positively impacted people’s longevity and contributed to the increasing population.

Travel nurses can take advantage of a variety of opportunities in the field of education, clinical nursing, or healthcare management.

I hope this has answered your question how much do travel nurses make?