Title Tag: The Best States for Travel Nursing - Trusted Nurse Staffing 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

If you’ve been travel nursing more than a minute, you know that perks abound. And one of the best ones is the opportunity to travel.

But have you ever wondered about the best states for travel nursing?

If so, you’re in the right place.

Here, we give you all the details on the best states for travel nursing, so you can decide where you want to visit for your next travel nurse destination.



Table of Contents


best travel nurse destinations


The Best States for Travel Nursing: 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Next Location

There are plenty of articles about the states that rank highest for nurses each year. 

The truth is that narrowing down the best states for travel nursing can be a little complicated and can depend on several factors.

Here are some things to consider when determining the best places to travel nurse.

#1: Compact License States 

The easiest way to work as a travel nurse is to hold a compact license. This multi-state license will allow you to live in one state and work in any other states that have agreed to recognize that license. 

The following 36 states have implemented the nurse licensure compact as of July 1, 2021:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Colorado
  5. Delaware
  6. Florida
  7. Georgia
  8. Idaho
  9. Indiana
  10. Iowa
  11. Kansas
  12. Kentucky
  13. Louisiana
  14. Maine
  15. Maryland
  16. Mississippi
  17. Missouri
  18. Montana
  19. Nebraska
  20. New Hampshire
  21. New Jersey* (see 1. below)
  22. New Mexico
  23. North Carolina
  24. North Dakota
  25. Ohio
  26. Oklahoma
  27. Oregon
  28. Pennsylvania
  29. South Carolina
  30. South Dakota
  31. Tennessee
  32. Texas
  33. Virginia
  34. West Virginia
  35. Wisconsin; and
  36. Wyoming

These 6 states are currently pending Nurse Licensure Compact legislature: 

  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Michigan
  5. Rhode Island
  6. U.S. Virgin Islands

#2: States Without Income Tax

Income tax is another important factor to consider when you’re looking at the best places to travel as a nurse in the US.

There are 7 states that have no personal income tax, including: 

  1. Wyoming
  2. Washington
  3. Texas
  4. South Dakota
  5. Nevada
  6. Florida
  7. Alaska

And if you’re considering Tennessee or New Hampshire, you’ll be happy to hear that they limit their tax to interest and dividend income rather than income from wages.

#3: Walkthrough States

If you are hoping to start a travel nursing position as soon as possible, you might want to choose an assignment in a walkthrough state. 

A walkthrough state will extend you a temporary nursing license within 24 to 72 hours of application. 

This means that you can begin your next assignment right away, without having to wait weeks for your nursing license to be issued. Your temporary travel nursing license can be used to practice nursing while you are waiting for your permanent license to be processed.

The 5 states below are considered walkthrough states:

  1. Arizona
  2. Idaho
  3. Louisiana
  4. Missouri
  5. South Carolina




#4: States With the Lowest Cost of Living

The last thing you will want to consider when trying to determine the best states for travel nursing is the cost of living. 

According to US News and World Report, these 10 states top the list for the lowest cost of living:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Kansas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Alabama
  5. Arkansas
  6. Georgia
  7. Tennessee
  8. Missouri
  9. Michigan
  10. Indiana


nurse destinations


Where Are Travel Nurses Making the Most Money?

When it comes to cities with the highest salaries, San Jose, California, is currently at the top of travel nurse destinations. Nurses in San Jose may receive: 

  • $57.86/day
  • $2,314/week
  • $10,028/month
  • $120,339/year

The Top 6 Best States for Travel Nursing

One of the great things about being a travel nurse is getting to choose where you go for each assignment. 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we know that picking the best travel nurse destinations can be complicated.

So we took a look at the top 10 cities for travel nursing salaries in the US and narrowed down the six best states for travel nursing. 

Here are the results, including what each state has to offer and the city/cities offering the highest annual salary.

#1: California

With its beautiful weather and breathtaking scenery, it comes as no surprise that California ranks as one of the best states for travel nursing. 

If you decide to take  an assignment in California, you may want to:

  • Visit Universal Studios Hollywood, Magic Mountain, Discovery Kingdom, Boomerang Bay, and of course, Disneyland
  • Explore Yosemite National Park
  • Visit Marin Headlands, where Star Wars was filmed
  • Catch the ferry to Alcatraz Island 
  • Drive the Pacific Coast Highway 
  • Spend the day on a California beach
  • Tour one of California’s 30 lighthouses
  • See the towering redwoods at Redwoods National Park 
  • Hike your way up to the Hollywood sign; or
  • Try to catch sight of a celebrity or two

How Much Do Nurses Make in California?

As of December 2021, the average annual pay for a traveling nurse in California is $80,766 a year, with the following cities offering the highest annual salaries:

  • San Jose: $120,339
  • Oakland: $118,971
  • Hayward: $116,479
  • Vallejo: $115,648

#2: Alaska

With only 1/3 of the state’s land defined by cities and towns, Alaska has earned the title, “The Last Frontier.” 

Alaska’s vast expanse of remote, undisturbed landscape is home to:

  • Towering mountains
  • Breathtaking glaciers
  • Big game wildlife; and
  • Historic mining communities

If you decide to make Alaska one of your travel nurse destinations, you’ll be able to:

  • Experience the awe-inspiring Northern Lights
  • See the Midnight Sun, with nearly endless daylight in the summer and endless darkness during the winter months
  • Explore Denali National Park
  • Cruise the Inside Passage
  • Visit ​​Sitka’s Alaska Raptor Center
  • Drive the ​​Denali Park Road to catch a glimpse of grizzly bears, moose, wolves, caribou, sheep; and
  • Learn Native American history at the amazing Ketchikan totem poles

How Much Do Nurses Make in Alaska?

As of December 2021, the average annual pay for a traveling nurse in Alaska is $81,918 a year, with the following cities offering the highest annual salary:

  • Tanaina: $118,482
  • Wasilla: $118,480

#3: West Virginia 

Almost heaven, West Virginia …” John Denver nailed it. 

With its mountains, forests, valleys, rivers, and farmland, wild and wonderful West Virginia is not only a bit of heaven, but it also offers plenty to explore. 

Travel nurses in West Virginia can: 

  • Hike Monongahela National Forest and Seneca Rocks
  • Go white water rafting down the Gauley River
  • Take in the scenic vistas of the New River Gorge
  • Visit the bathhouse at Berkeley Springs
  • Explore Seneca Caverns
  • Tour famous Civil War battlefields; and
  • Ski the Appalachians

How Much Do Nurses Make in West Virginia?

As of December 2021, the average annual pay for a traveling nurse in West Virginia is $78,337 per year, with the following city offering the highest annual salary:

  • Summersville: $118,276
  • Morgantown: $112,649
  • Huntington: $109,225


travel nurse destinations


#4: Wyoming

From its snow-capped mountain ranges to its endless prairies, Wyoming is a frontier of rugged beauty. It’s also home to some of the most diverse forms of wildlife in the United States. 

On travel nurse assignment in the Equality ​​State, you’ll have the opportunity to experience: 

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Native American powwows
  • Cowboy culture
  • A lively craft beer scene
  • Sightings of bear, elk, bison, and coyotes
  • The luxury of Jackson Hole; and
  • Historic small towns with a western flair

How Much Do Nurses Make in Wyoming?

As of December 2021, the average annual pay for a traveling nurse in Wyoming is $80,897 per year, with the following city offering the highest annual salary:

  • Jackson: $116,354
  • Sheridan: $109,289

#5: Connecticut

Connecticut has a delightful mix of New England charm and Ivy League college town flavor. Located halfway between Boston and New York City, Connecticut is in the perfect location for an endless array of day trips. 

Plus you’ll be able to: 

  • Ride the Ferry to Gillette Castle
  • Experience the Mystic Seaport, an 18th-century maritime living history village
  • Visit the Thimble Islands
  • Dine on fresh lobster
  • Hang out on the Yale campus
  • Explore the Peabody Museum of Natural History
  • Climb aboard the Essex Steam Train for a tour of the Connecticut wilderness 
  • ​​Enjoy an afternoon at the Yale University Art Gallery
  • Take a tour of the Mark Twain home and museum; and
  • Go hiking at Kent Falls State Park

And if taking in the fall colors is your thing, Autumn in Connecticut is hard to beat.

How Much Do Nurses Make in Connecticut?

As of December 2021, the average annual pay for a traveling nurse in Connecticut is $82,154 per year, with the following city offering the highest annual salary:

  • Norwalk: $116,047
  • Danbury: $112,489

#6: Washington 

The Evergreen State is a great place to visit with so much to offer!

While on assignment in Washington State, you can:

  • Visit Olympic National Park
  • Explore the Seattle waterfront
  • Take a day trip to Mt Rainier
  • Go whale watching
  • Visit the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle
  • Bike the Centennial Train in Spokane
  • Check out Seattle’s Sky View Observatory
  • Browse Seattle’s waterfront Pike Place Market; and
  • Surf Half Moon Bay

How Much Do Nurses Make in Washington?

As of December 2021, the average annual pay for a traveling nurse in Washington State is $88,637 per year, with the following city offering the highest annual salary:

  • Seattle: $115,676
  • Boston: $114,750

Trusted Nurse Staffing: Placing Travel Nurses in All 50 States  

No matter which state you choose for your next assignment, you can count on Trusted Nurse Staffing to help you find the right position. 

We offer a broad range of opportunities, including: 

  • Local or travel assignments
  • Permanent placement
  • Temporary placement; and
  • Per diem positions

And we’ll give you exceptional customer service and a personal experience each step of the way. 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, you’re more than a number.

Get in touch with us today to learn how Trusted Nurse Staffing can help you find the travel nursing position you’ve been dreaming of!