Guide to the Highest Paid Travel Nurse Jobs

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What are the Highest Paid Travel Nurse Jobs and Specialties? Today we’re exploring what travel nurse specialties pay the most money, and why!

When it comes to travel nursing, it has become a very popular way of life over the past 2 years. New nurses, old nurses, and everyone in the middle have packed their bags and begun filling in spots where needed. Why? Because it’s incredibly lucrative and travel nurses get paid a lot of money.

But, which type of travel nurses make the most money? What are the highest paid specialties for travel RN’s? That’s what we’re here to explore. While some specialties have seen drastic highs and lows over the past few years, there is a somewhat consistent trend in pay.

What is a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse or agency nurse is a nurse that works for a staffing agency to provide help for hospitals understaffed. If you’re interested in being a travel nurse we have a full guide on How to Start Travel Nursing!

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?

Travel nurses can make upwards of over $14,000 per week (especially over the past few years). However, more typical pay for traveling RN’s can range anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 weekly.

Highest Paid Travel Nurse Specialties

Before we get into the highest paid jobs and specialties, I want to go over exactly how we’re formulating this list. Travel RN jobs can range and vary drastically from location to location. Additionally, they function similar to the stock market and will fluctuate based on supply and demand.

Travel Nurse Demand Rankings

In order to explore the different salaries of specialties, we have to understand exactly what specialties are in demand. Table sourced from bluepipes.com.

1 ICU – Intensive Care Unit 20.62%
2 Med/Surg – Medical Surgical 18.37%
3 TELE – Telemetry 11.26%
4 ER – Emergency Room 7.38%
5 OR – Operating Room 7.24%
6 SDU 4.70%
7 PCU 3.15%
8 Labor and Delivery 3.06%
9 PACU 2.72%
10 CVICU 2.06%
11 MS/TELE 2.05%
12 Psych 1.92%
13 Home Health 1.88%
14 Oncology 1.32%
15 Cath Lab 1.29%
16 Dialysis 1.10%
17 LTC 0.84%
18 Endoscopy 0.83%
19 Rehab 0.76%
20 Long Term Acute Care 0.68%
21 Case Manager 0.58%
22 CVOR 0.58%
23 PICU 0.54%
24 Neuro ICU 0.55%
25 NICU 0.49%
26 PEDS 0.49%
27 SICU 0.42%
28 Hospice 0.36%
29 MICU 0.32%
30 CCU 0.31%
31 Interventional Radiology 0.30%
32 IMCU 0.26%
33 MS/Ortho 0.25%
34 Urgent Care 0.19%
35 OB/GYN 0.16%
36 PEDS ER 0.11%
37 Post Partum 0.10%
38 Infection Control 0.07%
39 Wound Care 0.07%
40 Mother Baby 0.07%
41 RNFA 0.06%
42 Burn ICU 0.06%
43 Ambulatory Care 0.06%
44 SNF – Skilled Nursing Facility 0.05%
45 Cardiac Cath Lab 0.05%
46 EP 0.04%
47 Infusion 0.04%
48 Geriatrics 0.02%
49 Utilization Review 0.02%
50 DOU 0.02%
51 House Supervisor 0.02%
52 PICC 0.02%
53 Corrections 0.02%
54 GI Lab 0.02%
55 Bone Marrow Transplant 0.01%
56 Nursery 0.01%
57 Occupational Health 0.01%
58 Patient Care Coordinator 0.01%
59 Transplant 0.01%
60 Flight Nurse 0.01%
61 Radilogy 0.01%
62 Urology 0.01%
63 Nephrology 0.00%

While there are many different variables, typically travel nurse salaries stay consistent as far as what specialties make more and less. So, we’ll be basing our list on not only current assignments, but trends of past assignments. With that being said, let’s get into it!

Disclaimer – The salaries and weekly pays posted are opinions/estimations generated around the time of posting. The accuracy of weekly pays may vary depending on travel nurse fluctuations. The trends presented should remain similar.

1. Cath Lab Travel Nurse – $6,200/wk

Cath lab nurses have always had a demanding rate when it comes to travel pay. They are an extremely specialized group of nurses and therefore demand a higher premium. Similar to operating room nurses, cath lab RN’s go through a very long orientation that again is very specialized.

2. Operating Room Travel Nurse – $5,500/wk

Operating room nurses (similar to cath lab RN’s) have typically had a fairly demanding rate. The operating room is not something that nurses typically learn a ton about in nursing school, so they are also quite specialized. OR nurse travel pay has varied a lot the past few years, however usually close to the top.

3. ICU Travel Nurse – $5,600/wk

ICU travel nurses are pretty much always in demand. Why? Because, ICU nursing has extremely high turn-over and there are a lot of positions often available. ICU assignments have been incredibly lucrative over the past few years with some even reaching $16,000 per week. While they have somewhat stabilized, they are still one of the top earners.

4. Med-Surg Travel Nurse – $4,700/wk

Again, similar to ICU positions, medical-surgical travel positions were incredibly lucrative the past few years. However, they are also coming to be more stable. But, still as a top earning specialty.

5. Vaccination Support Travel Nurse – $2500/wk

Finally, we have the vaccination support travel nurses. While this specific area of nursing was not in extreme demand a few years ago, things have changed. Vaccine nurses are some of the best paid agency nurses due to the increase in need. You can still find decently priced vaccine nurse assignments.

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Full Time Nurse

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