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The 10 Best States for Travel Nursing in the US

April 16, 2024

Are you a registered nurse looking for your first healthcare travel assignment (or your next destination)? If so, it’s important that you do your homework so you can find the ideal landing spot.

Fortunately for your career prospects, many American regions are facing nursing shortages. As a result, you’ll have plenty of destinations to choose from. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best states for travel nursing.

Our top states for travel nurses were chosen based primarily on these factors:

  • The number of staffing assignments typically available
  • The average pay in those states compared to the national average
  • The diversity of positions being offered

There are plenty of other great options for travel nursing jobs across America, including Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, to name a few. However, in the following guide, we focused on the places with the most opportunities and the best pay.


Table of Contents


Top Considerations When Choosing a State for Travel Nursing

Before we get into our list of the best states for travel nursing, it’s helpful to take a closer look at four factors you need to consider when choosing your next destination:

Job Availability and Demand

Historically, the states on our list have plenty of travel nurse opportunities. However, you should still explore positions in your specialty to ensure there’s adequate demand and job availability. Keep in mind, too, that the more certifications and experience you have, the easier it will be to land top travel nurse pay.

For instance, there’s typically a high demand for ICU and ER nursing professionals. If you have experience in one of these departments, hold your BSN, and have a strong resume, you’ll stand out from candidates with fewer credentials or less experience.

Salary and Benefits

One of the biggest appeals of travel nursing is the opportunity to earn more than you could in your home state. Medical centers, hospitals, and other care facilities in high-wage states pay top dollar for in-demand professionals, including RNs and nurse practitioners.

With that in mind, carefully read the job descriptions of travel nursing positions and ensure that you are happy with the salary being offered. Make sure you look at other benefits as well, such as housing expense reimbursement plans and per diems, to cover your daily food costs.

Often, recruiters in high-cost-of-living areas like San Francisco will offer perks like these to make their vacancies more appealing. While the reimbursement plans may not completely offset your living expenses, they can help close the gap so you can keep more of what you earn.

Cost of Living

While it may be tempting to look solely at the highest-paying states for travel nursing, you should also consider the cost of living in each region. After all, you are going to be living there for 8–12 weeks or more, which means you’ll be paying for housing, groceries, and transportation.

Therefore, it’s important to compare the average costs of rent in each of your prospective destinations. If you find healthcare facilities that pay well and are positioned near safe, affordable housing, you can pocket more of your paycheck.

Lifestyle and Work-Life Balance

Moving to a new state can be an exciting step in your nursing career. However, it can also be challenging to get settled into a healthy routine, especially if you don’t know anyone in the area. That’s why you need to be proactive about creating a good work-life balance.

Use some of your time off to explore the city you are living in, but don’t forget to take it easy and recharge, too. It’s important to choose a city that you’ll enjoy living in for several months. For instance, if you love the beach and warm weather, choosing an assignment in Florida or California might be the ideal choice. If you like where you live, it’ll be much easier to achieve a good balance.

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The 10 Best States for Travel Nursing in 2024

Based on the criteria listed above, here are the states offering the best opportunities for career growth, compensation, and lifestyle.

1. California


The Golden State remains one of the premier landing spots for travel nurses. There are plenty of opportunities for nurses in key specialties, such as operating rooms, pediatrics, and the ER. You’ll find the most opportunities in and around major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

California is one of the highest paying states for travel nursing, with RNs earning $2,411 per week on average. On the high end, travel nurses can earn up to $3,198 per week.

As for your lifestyle, you can hang out on beautiful beaches and visit national parks or immerse yourself in vibrant urban life. It’s a great place if you like outdoor activities and a dynamic social scene. However, the cost of living in certain areas can be high, so prioritize jobs that offer housing stipends and top pay.

Explore Nursing Jobs in California with GHR

2. Texas

The Lone Star State has experienced explosive growth in recent years, which has increased the demand for travel nurses, especially in cities like Houston, Dallas, and Austin. On average, travel nurses can earn about $1,869 weekly. While this is significantly lower than what’s offered in California, the cost of living is much lower, too.

While living in Texas, you can embrace the quiet country lifestyle or immerse yourself in vibrant cities like Austin. The huge state offers so many diverse environments that you are sure to find attractions and amenities to suit your preferences.

Explore Nursing Jobs in Texas with GHR

3. Florida

Are you looking for lots of sunshine and plenty of great beaches without California’s high cost of living? Check out Florida, which has a steady demand for travel nurses, particularly in cities like Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. Average salaries for travel nurses are $1,897 per week, with top positions paying nearly $2,5000 weekly.

The Sunshine State lives up to its name, offering a subtropical climate and easy access to many great beaches. It’s also home to some awesome theme parks, including Disney World and Universal Studios.

Explore Nursing Jobs in Florida with GHR

4. New York

If you’ve got your sights set on the Big Apple, you are in luck. New York has great pay and lots of opportunities for nurses in key specialties such as ICU, ER, and pediatrics. Weekly pay averages at $2,408, with some travel nurses earning over $3,000.

New York City offers a fast-paced lifestyle with world-class entertainment and dining. You’ll have plenty to do on your days off and will have a chance to make lifelong memories during your travel assignment.

Explore Nursing Jobs in New York with GHR

5. Washington

Washington State has a mix of rural areas and dense city centers. The densely populated areas, especially Seattle, have many travel nursing positions available. The pay is competitive, too, with travel nurses earning approximately $2,129 weekly.

Washington has a stunning coastline and lots of beautiful scenery. If you like outdoor activities and want a cooler climate than California or Florida, Washington may be a good landing spot. However, some areas do get lots of rain, so pack accordingly.

Explore Nursing Jobs in Washington with GHR

6. Pennsylvania

The Keystone State is known as the birthplace of America. When it comes to nursing jobs, the most appealing opportunities are in and around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The average travel nurse salary in Pennsylvania is $1,708 weekly. Of course, rural job listings can impact those figures, and urban positions tend to pay more. On the high end, travel nurses can earn $2,700 per week.

On your days off, you can channel your inner history buff or visit the state’s many cultural attractions. Some of the more rural destinations include the Pocono Mountains and Amish Country.

Explore Nursing Jobs in Pennsylvania with GHR

7. Delaware

Delaware has a growing demand for travel nurses, with opportunities concentrated in cities like Wilmington and Dover. Delaware travel nurses make $1,848 weekly on average. However, the state has one of the broadest pay ranges of any destination on our list, with top earners bringing in more than $3,000 per week.

If you take an assignment in the summer and fall months, you’ll have an opportunity to visit the state’s beautiful beaches. You’ll also be close to major cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Explore Nursing Jobs in Delaware with GHR

8. Colorado

The Centennial State has a high demand for travel nurses. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find the most opportunities in and around Denver and Colorado Springs, two of the state’s fastest-growing areas. In Colorado, you’ll earn about $2,085 weekly, on average. If you find an in-demand position or have lots of experience and certifications, you could earn up to $2,800 per week or more.

No matter what time of year you move to Colorado, you’ll have plenty of activities to enjoy. The state has an ideal environment for outdoor pursuits like biking, hiking, and skiing.

Explore Nursing Jobs in Colorado with GHR

9. New Jersey

New Jersey offers numerous job opportunities for travel nurses in cities like Newark, Jersey City, and Trenton. If you enjoy the state, you can also settle in and explore travel nursing assignments in neighboring cities. For instance, Newark is only about 11 miles away from New York City.

On average, travel nurses make $2,298 per week in New Jersey. It also has higher top-end pay than almost any other state, with the most credentialed and in-demand travel nurses bringing in more than $3,300 weekly.

New Jersey provides lots of different lifestyle options. You can find a quiet, suburban neighborhood or immerse yourself in one of the state’s large cities.

Explore Nursing Jobs in New Jersey with GHR

10. Arizona

Arizona has a high demand for travel nurses, especially in its largest cities like Phoenix and Tucson. In Arizona, the average pay for travel nurses is $2,295 per week.

While most of the state has an arid climate, there are some forested areas. However, even those parts of Arizona get extremely hot, so make sure you are comfortable with a warm climate before taking an assignment there.

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Find Your Next Assignment With GHR Healthcare

Whether you want a place with year-round sunshine like Florida or a cooler climate like Colorado, you’ll have no problem finding a travel nursing assignment that aligns with your personal preferences and career goals. Wherever you decide to venture, make sure to do your research, secure housing, and check that all of your licenses and certifications are up-to-date.

Are you ready to find an assignment in one of the best states for travel nursing? If so, connect with GHR Healthcare, a leading travel nursing agency that connects skilled healthcare professionals with facilities across the country.

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