Kathleen Gaines
Kathleen Gaines
November 17, 2022 - 4 min read

Travel Nursing in Florida | Top Paying Specialties & Cities 2022

By: Kathleen Gaines MSN, BA, RN, CBC

Florida has more than 825 miles of sandy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the perfect location for a travel nursing assignment. Nurses will find the perfect mix of sun, sand, and adventure in the Sunshine State.

Travel nurses in Florida will find a diverse population, including a large number of geriatric patients, which is ideal for those nurses with experience. If you are ready for an adventure – Florida might be the state for you. Keep reading to find out more!

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make in Florida?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurses in Florida earn an average annual salary of $72,000 which is lower than the national average of $77,600. The compensation for travel nurses is directly reflective of this as well as the ongoing need for nurses. Florida is unfortunately one of the lower-paying states for nurses, including travel nurses.

Indeed.com reports an average base salary of $2,287 per week, with top locations in Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Gainesville.

CityHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly Wage
Fort Myers$58.49$2,497$9,662
Tampa$55.13$2,354$9,107
Jacksonville$53.73$2,294$8,876
Daytona Beach$52.60$2,246$8,690
Gainesville$51.70$2,207$8,543

Highest Paying Nursing Specialties in Florida

The pay range for travel nursing specialties throughout the state of Florida varies widely as it’s such a large state and the need for nurses in certain specialties is different in each part of the state. Florida has also been a popular travel nursing destination, but not because the pay has been above average. Unfortunately, because the pay is low for staff nurses, many nurses leave the state after graduation and passing the NCLEX.

Additionally, during winter months there is an influx of residents as many of the older population move south for the winter, more commonly known as “snowbirds.”

Medical surgical nurses, long-term care nurses, and clinic nurses will see significantly lower rates than other specialties, but this is generally the case even for staff nurses. Increased certifications, credentials, and skills will command higher pay.

Historically speaking, the top-paying travel nurse specialties are:

  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Labor & Delivery
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Operating Room (OR)
  • Post-anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

Top 5 Hospitals in Florida

Florida has 247 hospitals in total. Of those, 38 met U.S. World News and Report’s high standards qualifications. Of the 38, here were the top five hospitals in the Sunshine State:

1. Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville

  • Location: Jacksonville
  • Nationally Ranked: 7 Specialties
  • High Performing: 2 Specialties & 18 Procedures/Conditions

2. AdventHealth Orlando

  • Location: Orlando
  • Nationally Ranked: 6 Specialties & 1 Children’s Specialty
  • High Performing: 4 Specialties & 17 Procedures/Conditions

3. Tampa General Hospital (TIE #3)

  • Location: Tampa
  • Nationally Ranked: 7 Specialties
  • High Performing: 5 Specialties & 11 Procedures/Conditions

3. UFHealth Memorial Hospital (TIE #3)

  • Location: Gainesville
  • Nationally Ranked: 5 Specialties & 5 Children’s Specialties
  • High Performing: 3 Specialties & 15 Procedures/Conditions

5. Cleveland Clinic Weston

  • Location: Weston
  • Nationally Ranked: 1 Specialty
  • High Performing: 4 Specialties & 12 Procedures/Conditions

Cost of Living for Travel Nurses in Florida

As the national cost of living continues to rise, Florida is also seeing a rise in the cost of living. In fact, an ongoing issue for travel nurses is finding affordable housing during contracts. There have been many reports of travel nurses not being able to find housing until days before or even days after a contract starts.

While all travel nurse companies provide a stipend for housing, at times it is not enough. Furthermore, depending on the location, hotels are not a viable long-term solution. Travel nurses have resorted to utilizing alternative websites such as Airbnb and Furnished Finders to find housing while traveling.

Cost of living is defined as the amount of money needed to cover basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare. According to Bestplaces.net, Florida’s overall cost of living rate is 103.1 on an average of 100. An amount below 100 means Florida is cheaper than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Florida, Florida is more expensive. Let’s take a look at some of Florida’s top cities:

Unfortunately, the cost of living continues to rise in desirable locations. Florida, known for its sunny weather and endless beaches, is being hit by inflation and rising costs. Travel nurses that do not take the housing stipend are finding it increasingly more difficult to find safe and affordable housing.

According to Bestplaces.net, Florida’s cost of living is rated 103.1 which is above the national average. A rating greater than 100 means that Florida is more expensive than the national average. Here is a breakdown of some of Florida’s top cities:

Miami, FL

  • National Average: 17% higher
  • Median Home Price: $556,157
  • Median Rent: $1,699 / month
  • Average Energy Bill: $173.18 / month

Tampa, FL

  • National Average: 5% lower
  • Median Home Price: $352,976
  • Median Rent: $1,078 / month
  • Average Energy Bill: $166.70 / month

Orlando, FL

  • National Average: 1% lower
  • Median Home Price: $380,465
  • Median Rent: $1,162 / month
  • Average Energy Bill: $162.26 / month

Geneva, FL

  • National Average: 2% higher
  • Median Home Price: $424,800
  • Average Median Rent: $1,298 / month
  • Average Energy Bill: $162.26 / month

Hollywood, FL

  • National Average: 10% higher
  • Median Home Price: $425,244
  • Median Rent: $1,299 / month
  • Average Energy Bill: $173.18 / month

Why Florida?

There are countless reasons why you should find a travel nursing position in Florida. First, Florida is part of the eNLC (Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact). The eNLC allows nurses to hold one license to practice in participating states without having to pay additional licensing fees. For those nurses that hold primary residence in an eNLC state, traveling to Florida can be simple. As a non-resident of an eNLC state, you can apply for licensure by endorsement but will only be issued a single-state license instead of the compact license. Nurses can hold multiple single-state licenses.

A 2021 study found that Florida currently has a nursing shortage of around 1,600 nurses; however, it is expected that Florida will have a surplus of nurses by 2026 of over 5,000 Registered Nurses! Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to travel nurses as there may not be as many contracts available. In general, since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has also been a decrease in the number of bedside nurses and nurses successfully graduating from nursing school. This is encouraging news for travel nurses interested in finding contracts in this southern gem of a state.

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