Travel Nursing in Massachusetts | Top Paying Specialties & Cities 2023
New England is a region made up of six different states: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. As a travel destination, it’s beautiful, historic, and easy to navigate given the compact size of the area and the availability of trains throughout the region. And for travel nurses in particular, Massachusetts is also home to some of the nation’s best hospitals—as well as some of the best beaches and mountains.
Fortunately, if you’re a travel nurse looking to work in Massachusetts, the demand for travel nurses is still high, with over 5,000 jobs currently listed on job search sites such as Indeed. According to Indeed, the average travel nurse’s salary in Massachusetts is currently $2,406 per week. Plus, Massachusetts has plenty of activities and experiences to keep you busy during your time off, which is why you started traveling in the first place.
For instance, travel nurses in Massachusetts will be able to take advantage of living in one of the central states of New England, which is a great starting place for sightseeing in the area. There are also opportunities to take care of patients in coastal locations such as Boston and Cape Cod, or more rural settings around central and western Massachusetts.
How Much Do Travel Nurses Make In Massachusetts?
Top-paying cities for travel nurses in Massachusetts
Exact payment can vary by specialty (for instance, if you’re in a specialty field, you may make more in a less-in-demand city), as well as contract and agency, but in general, here are the top-paying cities in Massachusetts:
- Hyannis: $3,118 per week
- Tewksbury: $2,784 per week
- Pittsfield: $2,750 per week
- Brighton: $2,576 per week
- Worchester: $2,571 per week
Highest-paying specialties in Massachusetts
Speaking of specialties, here are some of the top-paying nursing specialties in Massachusetts, according to Indeed:
Registered nurses specializing in sports medicine and orthopedics are paid an average of 22.63% more than the average base salary in Massachusetts. There are currently 34 job openings for this specialty in the state.
Labor and Delivery
Labor and delivery nurses are paid an average of 17.93% more than the average base salary in Massachusetts. There are currently 784 job openings in the state in this area.
Cardiac catheterization lab
Cardiac catheterization lab nurses are paid an average of 16.56% more than the average base salary in Massachusetts. There are currently 460 job openings.
Oncology nurses are paid an average of 14.52% more than the average base salary in Massachusetts. There are currently 519 job openings for oncology nurses in Massachusetts.
Cardiology nurses are paid an average of 11.72% more than the average base salary in Massachusetts. There are currently 1,584 job openings in this area in the state.
Top 5 Hospitals in Massachusetts
Choosing a facility to work at in Massachusetts may be a challenge, as there are many reputable options to choose from. The leader in hospital rankings, U.S. News and World Report, most recently evaluated 101 hospitals in Massachusetts. According to their report, the top 5 hospitals in the state are:
1. Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, MA
In addition to nabbing the #1 Massachusetts hospital ranking by U.S. News and World Report, MGH also ranks as the number eight hospital in the entire nation. It is nationally ranked in 12 adult specialties and 3 children’s specialties. Working at MGH as a travel nurse, you will have the opportunity to work in one of the best research hospitals in the state and get access to a large base of support. MGH is also incredibly transparent about nursing staff ratios, publicly reporting nursing staffing information on PatientCareLink.org. MGH also uses advanced acuity software to ensure patient acuity is reflected in staffing calculations.
2. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, often known simply as “The Brigham,” ranks as not only the number two hospital in Massachusetts but also as the number 14 hospital in the nation. It is nationally ranked in 12 adult specialties and has a Center for Nursing Excellence (CNE), which focuses on advancing the clinical practice of nurses and collaboration between different healthcare team members to enhance patient care.
3. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, MA
BIDMC, which is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox, is nationally ranked in three adult specialties. Working at BIDMC gives nurses another opportunity to work at an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) designated Magnet hospital. The facility is focused on the professional development of its nurses, with opportunities to be involved in research, networking, and grand rounds, as well as the ability to receive nursing excellence awards and scholarships.
4. Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, MA
Lahey Hospital is a surgical and general medical hospital rated as high performing in stroke care and in 11 procedures and conditions. The Cunningham Department of Nursing at Lahey emphasizes the core values of respect, caring, teamwork, excellence, and integrity in providing nursing care. Lahey Nursing also publishes ICU staffing data on its website. Like MGH, Lahey publicly reports nursing staffing information on PatientCareLink.org, in addition to patient quality metrics.
5. Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA
Tufts Medical Center is both an academic teaching hospital and a full-service medical facility for the community. The well-known hospital is an ANCC-designated Magnet hospital in the Boston area. Tufts places an emphasis on incorporating major nursing theories into the everyday work of nurses at Tufts. Tufts also has a nursing professional practice model which emphasizes the use of evidence-based practice in patient care.
Cost of Living for Travel Nurses in Massachusetts
Overall, travel nurses might expect to find the cost of living—including housing and things like groceries and utilities—to be higher-than-average in Massachusetts.
Using 100 as an average cost of living index in the United States, the overall cost of living in Massachusetts is 127.5, according to BestPlaces.net, which also offers a cost-of-living comparison calculator between cities. This means that the average cost of living in Massachusetts is higher than the average of other areas in the United States.
Specifically, the cost of housing is 175 on a 100-point index. The cost of groceries is 108.9, utilities are 112.9, and transportation is 107.9 on a 100-point index.
The cost of living may also vary based on where your assignment is specifically. For instance, the Boston and Cape Cod areas will be higher compared to central and western Massachusetts. The cost of living will be even higher on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. It can be helpful to take the higher cost of living into consideration when negotiating your travel contract, especially for housing costs.
Pros & Cons of Travel Nursing in Massachusetts
OK, now that you have a better grasp of what hospitals and specialties are in the area, let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of travel nursing in Massachusetts.
Pros of travel nursing in Massachusetts:
1. High-quality healthcare
Massachusetts is rated as the second-best state for healthcare in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to be part of high-quality and cutting-edge patient care, which may include new technology and new treatments for patients.
2. Emphasis on education
Massachusetts has a very high proportion of colleges and universities compared to other states, which may explain why many of the hospitals in the area are teaching and research hospitals. Working in academic-based facilities could mean that you can be on the ground level for new breakthroughs, discoveries, and treatments.
3. Centrally located for travel
Massachusetts is a major travel hub for other cities in the United States, as well as for international travel. It will be easy for you to visit cities like New York by train or even take an international trip from Logan Airport.
4. Rich in history
As one of the original 13 colonies of the United States, Massachusetts is full of historic sites to explore including Plymouth Rock, the home of Paul Revere, and the world’s oldest still-floating ship—the USS Constitution—just to name a few.
5. Massachusetts has natural beauty
The beaches of Cape Cod are synonymous with the natural beauty of Massachusetts and are a popular destination for travelers. You will also find beauty inland, such as in Western Massachusetts, home to the Berkshire Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountains.
Cons of travel nursing in Massachusetts
Next up, the cons to consider before booking a travel contract. (Although to be fair, the beauty of travel nursing is that nothing is permanent, so even the worst assignment might only last 13 weeks at max!)
1. Massachusetts is not a compact state
Massachusetts is not currently a nursing compact license state, which means you will need a Massachusetts nursing license to work as a travel nurse there. However, if you plan ahead and have your license ready to go, there may be less competition for travel jobs than in compact states.
2. The winters can be rough
Winter in Massachusetts can be very cold and bring the risk of severe winter storms. Still, if you’re a snow lover or just want a change of pace, there are many outdoor activities such as skiing, ice skating, and sledding to enjoy during the winter.
3. High cost of living
The cost of living in Massachusetts is higher as compared to other states. Massachusetts also has a state income tax, so you will pay state income tax on the money you make in Massachusetts, even though you are not a permanent resident. This is likely to be reflected in the compensation that is offered to you as a travel nurse.
4. Parking can be a challenge
While Boston has many great hospitals to work in, the area can be very congested, and parking can be expensive or non-existent. For this reason, Boston is known for having excellent public transportation.
5. Unfriendly reputation
While this is a subjective “con,” it might help to be aware going in that Massachusetts natives do not have a reputation for being particularly welcoming to travelers. Big7Travel.com ranked Massachusetts as the 47th friendliest state out of 50.
Things To Do on Your Days Off
Wondering what there is to do on your day off as a travel nurse in Massachusetts? Fortunately, there is no end to the fun that can be had in this state. From local parks where you can soak up nature or see classic sights, here are some suggestions for what to do in Massachusetts.
1. Visit Boston
When most people think of Massachusetts, they think of the capital city, Boston. Boston is a great place to visit while traveling or to have as your home base. Here are some sights we recommend:
- Walk the Freedom Trail. A classic Boston activity is walking the Freedom Trail, which is a 2.5-mile walking trail that takes you on a journey through 16 historic landmarks in the city.
- Catch a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. Bonus points if you spot Nurse.org while you’re there!
- Relax in Boston Commons. Spending time in the oldest public park in the United States is a great way to spend an afternoon.
- Take a duck tour. Be sure to seek out the well-known Boston “duck tour” to see the city and learn about history at the same time.
- Check out a Boston bookstore. Boston is home to some of the most beautiful bookstores and Beacon Hill Books & Cafe is a local fave.
2. Take a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard
Located only seven miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard is a popular tourist destination. If you’re staying in Boston, it’s possible to visit on a day trip.
3. Pay a nod to Nantucket
If Martha’s Vineyard isn’t your style, swing over to Nantucket, another popular island destination, and an easy day trip from Cape Cod.
4. Do some whale watching
Both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are great locations to go whale watching. Peak whale season is from March to December, and many areas will offer whale-watching cruises and trips.
5. Enjoy some nature activities
Central and Western Massachusetts is home to activities such as skiing, whitewater rafting, and hiking. The New England Trail alone spans 215 miles of hiking through Connecticut and Massachusetts. You can choose to hike the entire trail or spend a day on many smaller trails that make up the New England Trail. Or, just find a local park that offers trails for something on a little less grand scale.
Massachusetts has seemingly endless opportunities for travel nurses, both in the hospital and outside of it. As a travel nurse, you can visit a variety of cities, landscapes, and sights on days off and weekend trips while still working at some of the nation’s best hospitals.
But remember, Massachusetts is not a compact license state, so if you’re interested in working there, be sure to start applying for your license now so you can secure the assignment you want.