What is a Travel Nurse: Requirement, Salary, & Agency Selection 2024

Due to a shortage of staff, travel nurses are highly sought after. Companies nationwide are utilizing their services to deliver the best care possible to patients. Travel nurses have many advantages over traditional nursing. In this post, we will discuss all the vital points, such as job profile, education qualification, salary, benefits, and more. 

What Is a Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses are healthcare professionals who provide short-term or long-term care to patients in various settings. They are typically dispatched by travel nurse agencies, which match qualified nurses with available contracts and assignments at hospitals, clinics, private practices, skilled nursing facilities, and other medical facilities around the country. Travel nurses are responsible for providing direct patient care, administering medications, developing treatment plans, and managing overall patient care. 

Travel nursing can be an attractive career for those looking for adventure and new experiences. For those unsure of their next step in life, travel nursing provides the perfect opportunity to test the waters in a unique setting and explore different locations and cultures. Additionally, travel nurses can receive higher pay rates and bonuses than those working as full-time employees at one facility. 

What Do Travel Nurses Do?

Travel nurses provide direct, high-quality patient care in various settings, including hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. They function with physicians and other healthcare professionals to develop and implement treatment plans for patient care. Travel nurses must also have excellent communication skills to accurately assess their patients’ condition and provide any necessary education to the patient or family members. 

Travel nurses may also be responsible for implementing new protocols and procedures following current standards of practice. They must stay up-to-date with changes in the medical field, such as technological advances, which could affect their ability to deliver quality care. Additionally, travel nurses must maintain accurate records and documents and may also be required to monitor patient progress. 

Difference Between Travel Nurse Vs. Regular Nurse

Regular Nurse

A regular nurse is a healthcare professional who works full-time at one facility, providing direct patient care. They may also be responsible for developing treatment plans and managing overall patient care. 

Travel Nurse

A travel nurse is a healthcare professional who provides short-term or long-term care to patients in various medical settings nationwide. They are typically dispatched by travel nurse agencies, which match qualified nurses with available contracts and assignments. 

What are the Top Travel Nurse Specialties?

The most common travel nurse specialties include: 

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)– ICU nurses care for critically ill patients in the hospital. They are responsible for continuously monitoring and evaluating patient vitals, administering medications and treatments, and providing emotional support to patients and families.

Emergency Room (ER) – ER nurses care for patients in high-pressure environments. They must be able to quickly assess and treat any medical emergency and provide emotional support and care to patients and families. 

Operating Room– Operating room nurses assist surgeons by preparing patients for surgery, monitoring vital signs during the procedure, and providing post-operative care. 

Pediatric– Pediatric nurses care for infants, children, and adolescents. They may monitor a patient’s health, administer medications and treatments, and provide emotional support. 

Psychiatric– Psychiatric nurses care for patients with mental and emotional disorders and those suffering from addiction. They may also be responsible for counseling patients and providing education on proper mental health care. 

Cardiac– Cardiac nurses specialize in caring for patients with heart conditions. They must be acquainted with the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques used for cardiovascular diseases and recognize the signs and symptoms of heart problems. 

Rehabilitation– Rehabilitation nurses work with patients recovering from injuries or illnesses, helping them regain strength and normal functioning. 

Labor & Delivery Nurses– Support women during childbirth by monitoring fetal heart rate, providing pain relief, monitoring labor progress, and more

Telemetry– Telemetry nurses monitor the vital signs of patients in hospital settings and alert staff to any changes or possible problems. 

Home Health– Home health nurses travel to patient’s homes and provide medical care, such as administering medications or changing dressings. 

Med-Surg – Med-surg nurses specialize in providing medical and surgical care to various patients. 

Oncology – Oncology nurses care for cancer patients and their families. They must know about the latest treatments and supportive care for cancer patients. 

Travel Nurse Case Management– Travel nurse case managers coordinate patient care across multiple settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. 

Long Term Care and Rehabilitation.- Long-term care and rehabilitation nurses care for patients with long-term illnesses or disabilities. 

Best Travel Nursing Agencies in 2024 

Many travel agencies offer great opportunities for nurses. Some of the highest-rated agencies in 2024 include: 

Triage Staffing

Triage Staffing is a leading travel nurse agency for nurses who want to explore the country while impacting healthcare. They offer competitive compensation and benefits, as well as ongoing training. 

Onward Healthcare

Onward Healthcare offers a variety of short-term and long-term travel nursing positions in all 50 states. 

Advantis Medical

Advantis Medical is a travel healthcare staffing agency that provides nurses access to exclusive opportunities. They offer competitive pay, flexible scheduling, and personalized support. 

MedPro Healthcare Staffing

MedPro Healthcare Staffing provides travel nursing assignments in acute care, long-term care, and rehabilitation settings. 

Aya Healthcare

Aya Healthcare provides travel assignments in various specialties, and their placements are tailored to each nurse’s interests. 

Cross Country Healthcare

Cross Country Healthcare offers travel placements in various specialties, and they are known for their quality customer service. 

Fusion Medical Staffing

Fusion Medical Staffing offers travel nursing opportunities in the United States and abroad. They specialize in finding placements that match a nurse’s skills and preferences. 

Aureus Medical Group

Aureus Medical Group specializes in travel nursing and allied health placements in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. 

Tailored Healthcare Staffing

Tailored Healthcare Staffing offers many travel nursing opportunities in the country and abroad. 

RN Network

RN Network offers a variety of travel nursing assignments in the US and abroad, as well as permanent positions. 

These agencies offer nurses the opportunity to work in various medical settings and specialties, all while providing competitive wages, benefits, and travel reimbursements. With so many options available, nurses must research their options before committing to one agency. Be sure to read reviews, speak to nurses who have worked with the agency, and ask questions about the specific assignments before signing a contract.

What are the Best Paying States for Travel Nurses 

The best-paying states for travel nurses in 2024 are given below.

California– California offers some of the highest pay rates for travel nurses in the US. 

Alaska– Alaska pays some of the highest wages for travel nurses, especially in rural areas. 

Hawaii– Hawaii is known for its competitive pay rates and luxurious lifestyle.  

New York– This state has some of the country’s highest wages for travel nurses. 

Massachusetts– Massachusetts is home to some of the nation’s finest hospitals and medical facilities, making it an ideal location for travel nurses.  

Oregon– Oregon is great for travel nurses, offering competitive wages and beautiful scenery. 

Washington– Washington offers some of the highest pay rates in the US. 

Texas– Texas offers competitive wages for travel nurses and an abundance of medical facilities.  

Illinois– Illinois is a great place for travel nurses, with many hospitals and medical centers. 

Minnesota– Minnesota pays some of the highest wages in the US for travel nurses. 

New Jersey– New Jersey is an ideal destination for travel nurses, boasting many medical facilities and competitive wages.  

Travel nurses can use these high-paying states to maximize their earning potential and gain valuable experience. With the right agency and assignment, travel nurses can enjoy the best of both worlds: an excellent salary and a fulfilling career. 

Benefits of Being a Travel Nurse

Flexible Schedule– Travel nurses can choose assignments that fit their lifestyle, allowing them to work when and where they want.  

Variety of Specialties– Travel nurses can choose from various specialties, allowing them to gain experience in different settings and locations. 

Competitive Pay– Travel nurses often receive higher wages than traditional nurses, allowing them to maximize their earning potential.  

Great Benefits– Many travel nurse agencies offer benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings plans. 

Professional Development– Travel nurses can receive ongoing professional education and training, furthering their career goals.  

Personal Growth– Travel nurses can explore new places, meet new people, and experience different cultures. 

Work/Life Balance– Travel nurses can work when and where they choose, allowing them to maintain a healthy work/life balance.  

 Challenges for a Travel Nurse

Homesickness– Being away from home can be challenging, and some travel nurses struggle with homesickness while on assignment.   

Stress– The pressure of a challenging assignment can be overwhelming, and travel nurses must find ways to manage their stress levels. 

Adapting to Different Settings– Travel nurses must often quickly adapt to different settings, which can be difficult if they haven’t had the opportunity to train in the new location. 

Time Management– Travel nurses must be able to juggle multiple tasks and stay on top of their assignments to maximize their earning potential.  

Isolation– Long-term assignments can lead to feelings of isolation, and travel nurses must find ways to stay connected to their friends and family back home. 

How to Become A Travel Nurse


Obtain a nursing license– The first step in becoming a travel nurse is obtaining an active nursing license in the state where you wish to practice. 

Research travel nurse agencies– Once you have your license, research different travel nurse agencies and find one that fits your needs.  

Submit your resume– Once you have identified a few agencies, submit your resume and start the application process.  

Secure an assignment– Once accepted, the agency will help you find an assignment that meets your needs.  

Prepare for your journey– Before starting your assignment, it’s essential to research the area and prepare for any challenges that may arise. 

Educational Qualification

Bachelor’s degree in nursing– Most travel nurses must have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree from an accredited institution. Having a bachelor’s degree will give you an edge in your career.

Registered Nurse (RN) license– Travel nurses must have a valid RN license from the state where they wish to practice. 

Clinical experience– Most travel nurse positions require at least two years of recent clinical experience in the specialty they wish to practice. 

Certifications– Some travel nurses positions, such as a BLS or ACLS, may require additional certifications. 


 Necessary skills to be a Travel Nurse are as follows:

Adaptability– Adapting to different settings and environments is vital for travel nurses.  

Communication– Travel nurses must communicate effectively with other healthcare professionals and patients. 

Problem-Solving– Travel nurses must be able to think on their feet and quickly make decisions in the face of a crisis. 

Organization– Travel nurses must stay organized and on top of their assignments to maximize their earning potential. 

Flexibility– Being flexible is a must for travel nurses, who may need to adjust their schedule or plans on the fly. 

Self-motivation– Travel nurses must be able to work independently and stay motivated in the face of adversity. 

People Skills– Travel nurses work with various people, so good interpersonal skills are a must. 

Physical Fitness– Travel nurses must maintain their physical fitness to meet the job’s demands. 


Travel nurse orientation– Most travel nurse agencies will provide a direction to familiarize you with their policies and procedures. 

Clinical education– Travel nurses will receive clinical education in the specialty they are working in, so they can provide the highest quality of care to their patients.  

Safety training– Most travel nurse agencies will provide safety training to ensure nurses follow all safety protocols and procedures. 

Professional development– Travel nurses should take advantage of any opportunities to pursue professional development to stay current with the latest advances in their field. 

What is the Salary of a Travel Nurse

The salary of a travel nurse will vary depending on the specialty and assignment. Most travel nurses can expect to earn between $35-$50 per hour, potentially earning bonuses and additional income from overtime and night shifts. Travel nurses can also take advantage of housing stipends, transportation reimbursements, and other benefits offered by their agencies. 


What travel nurses are in the highest demand? 

The highest-demand travel nurse specialties include an emergency room, intensive care unit (ICU), operating room, telemetry, and labor/delivery. However, there is an increasing demand for travel nurses in specialty fields such as radiology and physical therapy. 

Where do travel nurses work? 

Travel nurses can work in various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and home health care agencies.  

How often do travel nurses get paid? 

Travel nurses are typically paid on a bi-weekly basis. Some agencies may offer a weekly pay schedule. 

How long do travel nurse assignments typically last? 

Travel nurse assignments typically last 13-26 weeks, depending on the agency and assignment. Some assignments may be shorter or longer, depending on the facility’s needs. 

Do travel nurses need to be licensed in each state? 

Yes, travel nurses must obtain a valid license to practice in each state they work in. Most agencies assist with getting the necessary licensure. 

Final Words

Travel nursing is excellent for nurses to gain experience in different settings, earn competitive wages, and take advantage of the many benefits of being a travel nurse. With the right skills and attitude, travel nurses can make a difference every day in the lives of their patients while pursuing an exciting and rewarding career. 4

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