Travel Nursing in Alabama | Top Paying Specialties & Cities 2023
Alabama is a state full of outdoor activities, historical landmarks, and rich cultural experiences that spread from the northernmost border to the southern border. Although many people who haven’t spent time in the South associate the state with Forrest Gump or Reece Witherspoon’s time on screen, the state offers many wonderful experiences to embark on during your travels.
As with many states in the South, travel contracts will not pay as much as they do on the West Coast, but the cost of living will help make this money go much further. Alabama contains multiple large cities which ensures that specialty jobs and nursing jobs, in general, remain a constant need. Take a look at some of the beautiful coastlines and incredible food to see if Alabama might be your next destination.
How much do travel nurses make in Alabama?
The nature of the beast for states in the southern part of the country is that their pay rates hardly ever compete with big-name travel states. However, as we will discuss later, the cost of living in Alabama is considerably lower, and although you might be making less money than with other contracts, you will also be spending less on basic necessities.
According to Indeed.com, travel nurses in Alabama make an average of $1,910 a week, which is lower than the average travel nurse salary of $2,317. According to Indeed, the highest-paying cities within the state are as follows:
- Mobile, AL – $2,498/ week
- Tuscaloosa, AL – $2,251/ week
- Alexander City, AL – $2,238/ week
- Montgomery, AL – $2,218/ week
- Dothan, AL – $2,055/ week
Highest-paying specialties in Alabama
A trend that we’ve seen in the travel industry over the past few years remains true in Alabama – there are certain specialties that generally pay nurses substantially more than others. Our guide to the highest-paying nursing assignments can you identify these specialties. As of spring 2023, the highest-paying specialties in Alabama are as follows
- OR- $3,513/ week
- CVOR- $3,542/ week
- Interventional Radiology- $3,219/ week
- Behavioral Health- $3,145/ week
- Med/Surg – $3,023/ week
Top Hospitals in Alabama
With so many hospitals to choose from, it’s important to know what qualities matter in a hospital to you:
- Does it need to specialize in a given procedure?
- Does it need to be a designated stroke or heart center?
- Is it nationally known?
Alabama has 116 hospitals, so doing your research on the hospital can have large payouts for your overall happiness and experience on your travel contract.
According to U.S. New World and Reports, these are the top-rated hospitals in Alabama.
1. University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Location: Birmingham
- Nationally Ranked: 8 Adult Specialties
- Cardiology and Heart Surgery
- Diabetes and Endocrinology
- Ear, Nose, and Throat
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Pulmonary and Lung Surgery
- High Performing: 3 Specialties & 17 Procedures/Conditions
2. Huntsville Hospital
- Location: Huntsville
- Nationally Ranked: Not Ranked
- High Performing: 9 Procedures/Conditions
3. Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham
- Location: Birmingham
- Nationally Ranked: Not Ranked
- High Performing: 7 Procedures/Conditions
4. DCH Regional Medical Center
- Location: Tuscaloosa
- High Performing: 8 Procedures/Conditions
Cost of Living for Travel Nurses in Alabama
One of the best things about moving to Alabama for a short time is that your dollar will go so much further here than in other states. According to the Missouri Economics and Research Center, Alabama is ranked as having the 4th lowest cost of living in the United States.
Zillow estimated that the average cost of a house in 2023 in Alabama was only $207,145 and the average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom was $739. Even when paying more for a furnished apartment, travel nurses will be making plenty to cover the cost of basic housing while staying in Alabama. Keep in mind that the bigger cities will always have higher rent prices than the more rural areas.
Studies on the cost of food for a household place the average American budget at $7,316 every year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) consumer expenditure survey. However, they also project that this same budget is only $3,261 for those living in Alabama. That is less than half of the national average which does a wonderful job of exemplifying how much lower the cost of living in Alabama is compared to the rest of the country.
Pros & Cons of Travel Nursing in Alabama
Pros of Travel Nursing in Alabama
- Although the weather can be blistering hot and muggy in the summers, it lends to beautifully warm and mild winters. If you are searching to avoid the cold for your winter times, Alabama could be a wonderful state to explore and escape the snow and cold.
- The food is amazing. Take time while you are here to try a wide variety of fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and biscuits and gravy. Lend yourself some time in the classic Deep South and find your favorite local BBQ joint.
- Beaches on the coast, with mountains inland. What more could you ask for? There is a wide variety of landscapes and outdoor activities to fill your days off.
- There is a slower pace to life, and Southern hospitality is a real thing. Enjoy slowing down for a little bit and having genuine conversations with strangers on the street.
- Many places and things to do. With so many historical sites, there is no shortage of museums or noteworthy landmarks to spend day trips visiting.
Cons of Travel Nursing in Alabama
- Hot and muggy. The late spring through fall can have very warm temperatures with high humidity levels. This can lead to instant sweating and having to fight off larger bugs than you have ever seen anywhere else.
- Although the food is delicious, it also brings with it a rather unhealthy population living in the state. Since you will be working in the hospitals while living there, keep in mind that patients might have more comorbidities and may be generally sicker than the majority of the rest of America.
- Alcohol laws are still enforced and can make it tricky to buy liquor in some counties. Sundays and dry counties continue to add a curveball to obtaining alcohol if you do not plan ahead.
- The crime rate is slightly higher than the national average. Since poverty and crime typically mimic each other (and there is a large amount of the population living below the poverty line) this isn’t surprising. However, it is something to consider if you plan on living in some of their larger cities.
Things To Do on Your Days Off
The most visited attraction in all of Alabama is the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. This includes training centers, simulations, and a wealth of information about all things space travel. They host the largest space camp that brings thousands of people to the region every year to participate in all that the center has to offer.
If you are craving a day or two of relaxation or the Caribbean beach vibe, spend some time at the Gulf Shores. From this base camp, you can plan fishing trips, rent kayaks, or even plan trips to swim with dolphins.
If you enjoy golfing, the Robert Trent Golf Trail is composed of 11 different locations throughout the state with over 400 holes to play. These courses are known around the world, and some of the courses are worth a visit even if you don’t play golf due to their luxurious spas at the hotels. If you are searching for a day spent in the great outdoors, go take a hike a Cheaha State Park. This park is beautiful year-round and takes you to the highest point in the state. The colors in the fall can take your breath away, and the waterfalls in the spring and summer provide a refreshing delight from the warm temperatures.
Although it is not one of the most talked about states people mention when talking about travel nursing, Alabama can provide you with such a unique and fun experience. The Deep South culture with its warm, Southern hospitality can bring you countless new friends and kindred spirits. You can use it as a launching pad to explore the coast, the mountains of the northern part of the state, and potentially see many of the historical sites around the region.
Alabama has a low cost of living, so it can also be a great opportunity to bulk up your savings account while you are finishing your contract. Overall, this state has a lot to offer, and it can give you an experience unlike what many other states can provide when it comes to travel nursing.