The U.S. has many of the best-paying travel nursing positions in the world. In fact, according to Travel Nursing Central, the U.S. is the most popular destination for foreign nurses working abroad because of its high pay rate. Before deciding to leave the U.S., do a little research -- the best-paying travel nursing jobs may be close to home.
California Gold -- and Higher Living Costs
Although there is no difference in the job duties, travel nurses usually make more money than permanent position nurses. In a 2012 study by Onward Healthcare, six California cities are among the the highest-paying U.S locales for travel nurses. Travel nurses in San Jose made the most per year, with a range of $73,000 to $116,000. Travel nurses in San Francisco made $73,000 to $111,000 yearly while travel nurses in Oakland made $73,000 to 109,000. Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Diego rounded out the top cities in California. When you're considering where you'd like to work, remember that the cost of living varies from city to city across the country -- the hourly average may be higher but you may be paying more for food, entertainment, clothes and necessities. A higher wage doesn't necessarily mean more pocket money.
States that Pay the Most
Mississippi has the highest top rate for travel nurses at $103,00, according to Onward Healthcare. Next are New York and Washington, D.C., at $101,000 and $99,000, respectively. Other high-paying states include Massachusetts with a top rate of $99,000, California ($96,000), Georgia ($94,000), Connecticut ($93,000), New Jersey ($91,000), Illinois ($91,000) Rhode Island, Alabama and Montana at $88,000, and Indiana, Maryland and Virginia at $87,000.
If you yearn to travel further afield, the nursing shortages around the world should make it easy to find work. According to Travel Nursing Central, some Middle Eastern countries offer relatively high pay. Saudi Arabia, tends to match the nursing salaries of the nurse's home country, and the salary is free -- in Saudi Arabia. You still are responsible for taxes in your home country.
If you're the type of person who thrives in new situations -- and don't mind the potential workplace friction that arises from making more money than many of your coworkers, travel nursing could be a sound career choice. You'll need at least a year of experience (possibly more depending on the assignment) and be willing to relocate. Popular retirement destinations -- like Florida, California and Arizona -- are expected to continue having many available nursing jobs. Research an area before accepting an assignment. You may not enjoy snowy winters if you're used to a temperate climate, for example. Keep in mind that states have different licensing requirements. Ask your recruiter or staffing company about any regulations associated with the assignment. You can also check to see if the state where you're currently licensed belongs to the Nurse Licensure Compact, which offers multi-state licensure for nurses to practice aross state lines.