Courtni Sladek
Courtni Sladek
February 20, 2017 - 5 min read

My Favorite Travel Nursing States

We all know what they say about opinions. But alas, that is what this article is about, my opinion on the top 5 states to travel to. However, I’m going to go ahead and pull the experience card. I may not have been to all 50 states for this to be 100% accurate but I am about to start my 15th assignment and my 5th year of traveling, so I do know a few things and want to share them with you.

So without further ado, here are the top places for travel nursing – from an actual travel nurse’s point of view.

Find your dream assignment here.

Top Spot Goes To California!

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Once you get past the craziness that is the licensing process, California is easily my favorite spot to travel to. California has everything you could possibly want from a travel assignment – great pay, stunning beaches, lush forests and mountains, and so many things to do you couldn’t get bored even if you tried.

In northern California you can expect to make about $45-50 per hour, and that’s not even including any type of housing, housing stipend, or meals reimbursements. You’ll also find cool summers, fun in San Francisco, and the picturesque Redwood National Park.

Southern California will satisfy your Mexican food cravings, help you work on your tan, and allow you to finally learn to surf, an activity not limited to summertime. Southern Californian hospitals typically pay around $30-$35 per hour not including housing or meals.

Never fear snow bunnies, no matter where you are in the state of California, you are within driving distance of beautiful resorts and great skiing. Not mentioned yet are the many amazing hospitals you’ll have the opportunity to work at. A few of the award-winning hospitals are UCLA Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai, UCSF Medical Center, and Stanford. If you plan your assignments right, you can have an entire year of sunny 70 degree weather.

Apply now for travel positions in California!

Make It Big In New York

An entire article could be written about all the things New York City has to offer. Tons of history, prestigious hospitals, and something to appeal to every single person in the world. No matter what time of the year you go, you will never run out of things to do . Central Park in the summer is great for biking, running, and sightseeing. In the wintertime, cold weather calls for indoor activities like going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum, seeing a Broadway show, eating at any of the top-rated restaurants, or take advantage of some of the greatest shopping in the world.

Traveling to NYC will give you the chance to work at New York Presbyterian Hospital and NYU Langone Medical Center where you can expect to bring home approximately $45 per hour. With everything NYC has to offer, money is the last thing on my priority list.

New York is waiting. Start your travel nursing adventure now.

Colorado: Sports, Natural Beauty, and Craft Beer

When I think of Colorado, the following things come to mind: professional sports, the great Rocky Mountains, and delicious craft brew. The city of Denver is known for the Broncos and Rockies, however it is also known for its variety of microbreweries and craft beer. If you choose to partake in the adult beverage and consider yourself a “beer snob” or “connoisseur” then Denver is the place for you. If that’s not your scene, fear not, the Rocky Mountains run the entire length of the state and offer miles of hiking and biking trails, skiing, scenic drives, and historic mountain towns.

Denver is home to University of Colorado Health System and Children’s Hospital of Colorado. Depending on specialty one might expect to make approximately $30 per hour here that you can put right toward your ski lift ticket. Not convinced yet? It’s a compact state! Yep, no need to apply for licensure if your initial license is compact.

Take your career to a new high in Colorado. Travel nurses needed now.

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

Full disclosure: I am a native Texan. However, I’ve spent most of the last 5 years out of state so I feel like I can be mostly unbiased at this point. Texas is hands down one of the best places to be during the wintertime. If kayaking, standup paddle boarding, or paddle boating in January and February sounds like a good time, Austin is the place for you. Austin is also known as the live music capital of the world and hosts many live music festivals like Fun, Fun, Fun Fest, South by Southwest, and Austin City Limits. Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio are also mild winter options for those who are tired of those northern snow storms or have never lived north of the Mason-Dixon.

Texas is home to Baylor University Medical Center and Houston Methodist Hospital – both highly esteemed in the medical community. In Texas you’ll take home $20-$30 per hour. Don’t be discouraged by the lower hourlies, the cost of living in Texas is a lot lower than California or New York so your money will go further there. It’s also another compact state!

Ready for a Texas-sized opportunity? Travel nurses make up to $10k per month!

Last But Not Least: Maryland

This one might seem a little bit out of left field. As far as I know, it doesn’t make any top lists of places to visit in the travel nurse world. That’s too bad, because it is such a great state. Before traveling to Baltimore, Maryland I had no idea where it even was on a map. I found out it’s a lush, green state, full of history and great opportunities. My favorite thing about Maryland is its rich history. The cities of Annapolis and Baltimore date back to the 1700s and you can still eat and drink in places that have been in existence for over a hundred years.

Maryland is also right in the middle of the east coast. If you’re the type of traveler who likes to get good bang for your buck, Baltimore is it. In 3 hours or less, you can drive to New York City, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and beachy Ocean City, Maryland. Washington D.C. is just an hour train ride to the south. So just one assignment in Baltimore can get you to all those amazing cities. Maryland is also great for outdoorsmen and women. Maryland’s outer banks have lovely beaches and Assateague State Park where you can spot wild horses in their natural habitat. Further inland, you can take advantage of the many state parks for hiking, mountain biking, and waterfall hunting.

Let’s not forget the biggest selling point for travel nurses, Johns Hopkins Hospital. It’s one of the best hospitals in the nation and it’s the only hospital I’ve been back to twice. Hourly rates in Maryland are $20-$30 per hour depending on what hospital you work at and what company you’re traveling with which is true for each state. And once again, Maryland is a compact state.

Related: Current Nursing Compact States – What You Need To Know

These are but a humble traveler’s top 5 states for travel nursing. The second I get back from Alaska or Hawaii, it’s possible this list could change, but I’ll stand by it for now. Also, it’s important to note that ten of the hospitals I mentioned hold spots in U.S. News’ Best Hospitals Honor Roll for 2016-2017. My favorite 5 states are rich in history, adventures, and great medical care. Please do yourself a favor and travel to all of them! Twice! 

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