What Is the Job Outlook for Travel Nurses? 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

The landscape of the healthcare industry is expanding with the growth of technology, the population, the economy, and occupational outlooks.

This growth creates peaks, valleys, and plenty of gaps in staffing. 

In the past five years, travel nurses have readily aided facilities experiencing staffing shortages to help bridge these gaps, especially during the pandemic. 

But now that the pandemic has subsided, is the travel nurse job outlook still as impressive?

In this article, we will traverse the details of the nursing shortage while examining the future job outlook for travel nursing.


Table of Contents



Is the Healthcare Industry Still Experiencing a Nursing Shortage?

The conversation surrounding the nursing shortage caused by the 2020 pandemic has been nearly talked about to death. It also overlooks the bigger picture — the pandemic is over, and the labor gap in many healthcare facilities continues to grow exponentially. 

According to an American Hospital Association review, over 100,000 nurses left the workforce from 2021 to 2023. A study released by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing estimated that another 610,388 expressed intent to exit the industry by 2027.

Yes, the healthcare industry is still experiencing a nursing shortage. Compounding factors have led to a situation where our nursing supply is draining faster than it can be replenished. These factors may include:

  • Lack of educator capacity in nursing schools
  • Unresolved issues that have caused high turnover
  • Baby boomers reaching retirement age
  • Rapidly growing elderly populations


What Is the Job Outlook for a Travel Nurse? 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that more than 275,000 additional nurses will be needed from now until 2030. 

Even if a facility has an adequate nursing population, travel nurses will continue to supplement facilities with gaps in staffing due to resignation, retirement, termination, and long-term absences. 

Facility administrators also understand that it may be easier to work with staffing vendors and managed service providers to shuttle in qualified, experienced nurses rather than work with the costs and time it takes to recruit, onboard, and train new nurses. 

While the expected job growth for RNs is 6% faster than average, the general occupational outlook for travel nursing jobs cannot be boiled down to one specific number. It may depend on various factors, such as:

  • Individual facility needs
  • Geographic location
  • Position


Outlook on Travel Nurse Job Openings

Approximately 1.7 million travel nurses are employed in the U.S. As these travel nurses end assignments and move on to others, the number of job openings continues to shift.

There are thousands and thousands of travel nurse assignments, which may continue to increase as demands shift, demographics change, and the healthcare landscape evolves. With so many travel nurse opportunities on the market, you may feel like you’re fishing in an incredibly large pond. 

How do you know what to look for? What type of openings fit your qualifications and requirements? Where on the map are most of these jobs concentrated?

You could spend hours with multiple browser pages up, jumping back and forth, while looking for the right position, or you can hop on Pronto and filter hundreds of listings. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing has created a solution to help travel nurses find the perfect assignment quickly and efficiently. Instead of wading through the pond of listings with a big net, you can use Pronto to spear the assignments based on precisely what you’re looking for. 


travel nurse job outlook


Outlook on Travel Nurse Salary

Although there is no definitive projection for the growth in salary for travel nurses, we may expect that salaries will continue to rise with demand. 

Let’s consider how pay for travel nurses has increased in the past decade, even after the pandemic subsided. 

The average travel nursing salary has increased by $11,753 over the last ten years. At a 10% pay change, the average travel nurse received a salary of $72,208 annually compared to now, which is $83,961.

Even if salaries are subsiding due to decreasing demands, it’s not by much. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the average weekly travel nurse pay only dropped from $2,643 in January 2023 to $2,370 in December 2023. 

This drop does not reflect travel nurse salary changes in the U.S. as a whole. Salaries rise and fall with supply and demand. Certain cities and states may experience salary increases and decreases as the nursing population changes. 


Outlook on Travel Nurse Specialties in Demand

The following five travel nurse specialties are reported to be in the highest demand:

  • Med-surg
  • Radiology tech
  • Emergency room
  • Telemetry
  • Step-down

The demand for advanced practice travel nurses is also expected to grow rapidly. 

Let’s take a look at some travel nurse job outlooks, expectations, and salaries. 


Med-Surg Travel Nurse Job Outlook

Med-surg travel nurses help care for patients before and after surgical procedures. A few tasks they may perform include:

  • Regulating medications
  • Administering IVs
  • Dressing and redressing wounds
  • Preparing patients for procedures
  • Meeting patient needs

Generally, these nurses work in med-surg units at hospitals. 

However, this does not mean that med-surg travel nurses are limited to only hospitals. Some may work in outpatient care centers or inpatient specialty clinics. 

Surgeries are performed at any point throughout the day, so med-surg travel nurses may expect to work varying shifts. 

Certifications you may need to obtain to pursue med-surg travel nursing may include:

  • Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (MEDSURG-BC)
  • Orthopedic Nursing Certification (ONC)
  • Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification (WOCN)
  • Certified Post-Anesthesia Nurse (CPAN)
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)

The average med-surg travel nurse salary is $2,282 per week.


Radiology Travel Nurse Job Outlook

Interventional radiology travel nurses assist physicians and technicians with procedures involving medical imaging, such as: 

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 
  • Interventional radiology (IR)
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Nuclear medicine (NM)

Some of the responsibilities of radiology nurses include:

  • Initial patient assessment
  • Devising a care plan
  • Administering medication
  • Handling lab results
  • Reviewing patient medical history. 

Experienced radiology travel nurses have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments, such as:

  • Imaging centers
  • Urgent care
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Magnet hospitals
  • Research centers

Depending on where you work, as a radiology travel nurse you may work during the daytime at an imaging center or during the night at a hospital. Some certification requirements needed to be a radiology travel nurse may be:

  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Certified Radiology Nurse (CRN)

The average radiology nurse’s salary is $2,186 per week. 


Emergency Room (ER) Travel Nurse Job Outlook

Emergency room travel nurses are primarily responsible for assisting physicians and other medical staff as they work together to stabilize and treat ER patients. These tasks may include:

  • Performing minor medical operations
  • Administering medications
  • Communicating with the patient’s loved ones
  • Cleaning wounds, drawing blood, performing IVs, etc. 

Emergency room travel nurses are strictly limited to working in hospital emergency room departments. 

However, this isn’t a limitation that will leave nurses bored. The ER may be one of the most fast-paced and exciting departments in a hospital. Each day can look completely different than others as you work to save and improve the lives of many patients. 

Since the ER never sleeps, your ER travel nurse shifts could be at any time of the day. 

Certifications you can consider obtaining to be an ER travel nurse may include:

  • Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
  • Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC)
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

The average emergency room travel nurse’s salary is $1,668 per week.


what is the job outlook for travel nurses


Telemetry Travel Nurse Job Outlook

Telemetry nurses work with patients who require care due to any of the following conditions:

  • Respiratory
  • Cardiac
  • Renal; or 
  • Gastrointestinal

Along with performing typical nurse duties, they may be involved in administering tests such as:

  • Cardiac stress tests
  • Echocardiograms
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans
  • Dipyridamole stress tests
  • CT coronary angiograms

Telemetry nurses generally work in hospitals, particularly in units such as: 

  • Cardiac Care Unit (CCU)
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) 
  • Step-down units; and 
  • Other specialized units where patients need extensive monitoring

Since many patients who are treated by telemetry nurses require constant and intensive monitoring, these types of nurses may work various shifts throughout the day.

If you are interested in becoming a telemetry travel nurse, you may want to consider getting the following certifications:

  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
  • Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN)
  • Cardiac Medicine Certification (CMC)
  • Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN)

The average telemetry travel nurse’s salary is $2,320 per week. 


Step-Down Travel Nurse Job Outlook

As a step-down travel nurse, you will have the opportunity to help care for patients who were recently released from the ICU. Since it is intermediate intensive care, you may be required to carry out duties such as:

  • Monitoring patient condition and progress
  • Assisting in the formulation of care plans
  • Responding to code “blue” and other urgent events
  • Performing basic care tasks such as attending to wounds 
  • Handling medical equipment such as IVs, catheters, cardiac monitors, etc.

Certifications you may need to be a step-down travel nurse include:

  • Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN)
  • National Telemetry Association (NTA) certification

The average step-down travel nurse salary is $1,954 per week. 


Travel Nurse Practitioner Job Outlook

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice RNs who can act independently (sometimes without the supervision of a physician) when caring for patients. 

NPs specialize in: 

  • Assessing patient needs 
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests 
  • Diagnosing disease and ailments 
  • Formulating and prescribing medications 
  • Devising treatment plans

To become a nurse practitioner, you must:

  1. Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  2. Pass the NCLEX and receive your nursing license
  3. Complete a graduate program in nursing
  4. Pass the National NP Certification and Board Exam
  5. Obtain your NP licensure

Nurse practitioners may work in a variety of healthcare environments based on which of the eight specializations they work in, which include:

  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner
  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric acute care nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric primary care nurse practitioner
  • Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner
  • Women’s health nurse practitioner

The average travel nurse practitioner’s salary is $2,506 per week. Nurse practitioners are more in demand than registered nurses. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for nurse practitioners is estimated to grow 40% by 2031. Therefore, 118,600 jobs will need to be filled by then.


job outlook for travel nurses


Outlook on Travel Nurse Benefits

As the travel nurse industry continues to grow, the competition between travel nurse agencies is getting fierce. 

Leading agencies, like Trusted Nurse Staffing, continue to roll out robust benefits packages to reel in top talent.

Along with some of the highest salaries on the market, Trusted Nurse Staffing offers excellent benefits, such as: 

  • 401(k) with a 4% match after 1,000 hours and one year of employment
  • $1500 Referral Bonus Program
  • Loyalty Program
  • Discount Program
  • Guardian Dental and Vision Insurance
  • Wellness Benefits
  • Portable Permanent Whole Life Insurance
  • License, certifications & CEU reimbursements
  • Disability Insurance
  • Student loan assistance program
  • And more

We value and understand our travel nurses, and our comprehensive benefits package is just one of our tenets of dedication. We strive to allow nurses to have peak freedom, flexibility, and support by also offering our nurses the following:

  • Flexible contract options
  • Full/part-time work, per diem
  • Housing, meal, and travel stipends
  • Rental car options

Check out Pronto to get started with Trusted Nurse Staffing today. 


Outlook on Travel Nurse Job Locations and Work Environments

While travel nurses are in demand in various work environments, roughly 60% of registered nurses work in hospitals, so this may be where nurses are in the most demand. 

Fewer nurses are working in rural areas now than in the past decade, so less populated areas may need travelers to supplement nursing shortages and labor gaps. However, this may change as the population increases or migrates to more urban areas. 

According to a Becker’s Hospital Review article, these are the states with the most demand for travel nurses include:

  • California
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Washington
  • Virginia
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania


In Summary: The Job Outlook for Travel Nursing Is Bright

The travel nurse job outlook is more than just bright — it’s blinding.

From the amazing benefits to growing your professional network and padding your resume, the opportunities for travel nurses are endless. 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we believe one of the greatest benefits is getting to travel the country while impacting lives and getting paid to do it. And we’d like to help you expand your skill set, talents, and career by offering tuition, license, certification, and CEU programs. 

We want our nurses to succeed and fall in love with travel nursing, and we want to make it easy to find the right assignments. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing developed Pronto to do just that. 

Pronto makes it easy to quickly research and find assignments. By filtering pay, shifts, position, and location, it’s easy to find listings that fit the bill. And why search for jobs aimlessly from a list? Our interactive map will show you just where you’re going to be so you can know exactly how far you are from points of interest (like the beach).

Check out Pronto to start looking for your dream assignment today. 


Explore Your Travel Nursing Job Options With Trusted Nurse Staffing

Jump into our large pool of talent to find some of the best travel nurse job options in the industry. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing is an up-and-coming name in the travel nurse industry, which means our talented nurses draw the eye of plenty of facilities with promising job opportunities. 

If you’re looking to be rewarded for your hard work and advance your career with the above-mentioned prospective travel nursing job outlooks, become a part of our talented collective at Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

Check out Pronto to look into our 6, 8, and 13-week contract options. Can’t find one right away? Just turn on your notifications and Pronto will alert you when a job that fits your specifications becomes available. 

Learn more about Trusted Nurse Staffing and Pronto today.


travel nurse job outlook