Quarterly Travel RN Salary Trends - Q1
Money and Taxes

Quarterly Travel RN Salary Trends Recap: Jan-March 2024

Besides the travel aspect, part of the allure of travel nursing is to earn above-average pay that reflects the acute healthcare demands of the region you’re visiting. To help nurses decide where they may want to search for travel jobs, we launched a blog series in January that explores travel RN salary trends for all 50 states. In our January 2024 post, we looked back at 2023 for a year-end recap that explored how travel nursing wages shifted over the course of the year. 

Starting with this post, and every three months going forward, we’re publishing a quarterly travel RN salary recap that looks at how weekly wages shifted during the previous quarter to help keep you informed as you consider your next travel assignment. In addition to reviewing the national averages, we’ll cover which states saw wage increases and decreases and which offer above-average travel pay for additional guidance on where the money was the previous quarter. All salary data is internal and based on wages listed for travel RN jobs posted on Vivian Health over the past quarter. 

Travel RN Wages Decline Slowly in the First Quarter

In the first quarter (Q1) of 2024, covering January through March, average weekly national travel nursing salaries declined a relatively modest 1% from $2,414 in December 2023 to $2,391 on April 1, 2024. This decline pace is very similar to the last two quarters of 2023 when travel nurse wages experienced modest declines after quickly falling throughout 2022 and into early 2023. 

Q1 2023 Q4 2023 Q1 2024 Quarterly Change in Wages Year-over-Year Change in Wages
National Average Weekly Wage $2,587 $2,414 $2,391 -1% -7.7%

Meanwhile, for a yearly comparison, the U.S. average travel nurse pay has declined 7.7% compared to the first quarter of 2023, when the national average travel wage was $2,587 per week. The overall wage drop reflects a few trends, including the end of the pandemic health emergency and the termination of certain temporary federal healthcare spending during that era. Meanwhile, many employers have redoubled their efforts to hire full-time year-round staff rather than travel nurses, taking some of the demand out of the travel market.

Travel Nurse Salaries Changes for All 50 States

Nurses looking for travel jobs in specific areas recognize that individual states may experience fluctuations that differ from the national average. Some states recorded much more significant decreases in travel pay, while a variety of states actually saw rising wages during the first quarter of 2024. 

Meanwhile, whether pay went up or down recently, many states typically offer pay well above or below the national average, warranting a look at current pay levels. There remain bright spots for travel nurses, particularly in states with above-average wages but moderate costs of living. 

For our analysis, we focused on states where travel nurse salaries either increased or decreased by 1% or more, as states with changes of less than 1% reflect only a few dollars difference in wages from one quarter to the next.

States with Rising Travel Nurse Salaries

Although wages have been falling over the past year, including the first quarter of 2024, 12 states bucked the trend and saw wages rise at least 1% or more since the fourth quarter of 2023. Hawaii led the pack, with weekly wages climbing from $2,415 at the end of last year to $2,575, an increase of 6.6%. This increase puts the Aloha State well above the national average travel nurse wage of $2,391. Many nurses consider heading to Hawaii for a warm, sunny climate year-round but should keep in mind that the state has a much higher cost of living than average.

State Avg Pay Dec 2023 Avg Pay Mar 2024 % Increase in Q1
Hawaii $2,415 $2,575 6.6%
Kansas $2,186 $2,305 5.4%
Idaho $2,271 $2,382 4.9%
California $2,929 $3,045 4%
Michigan $2,289 $2,345 2.4%
New Hampshire $2,332 $2,386 2.3%
Florida $2,119 $2,166 2.2%
Illinois $2,383 $2,434 2.1%
Washington $2,505 $2,552 1.9%
Louisiana $2,089 $2,122 1.6%
Oklahoma $2,114 $2,143 1.4%
Missouri $2,232 $2,259 1.2%

States with Falling Travel Nurse Wages

Unfortunately for travel RNs, nearly half of states24 to be exactsaw wages fall by 1% or more over the last quarter. Rhode Island had the most significant drop, with average weekly wages plummeting from $2,490 at the end of last year to $2,337 last quarter. This decline puts the Ocean State below the national average. 

New Jersey also experienced a quarterly decline from $2,726 to $2,595, or 4.8%. However, the Garden State’s wages remain above the national average, which is crucial for nurses traveling there since the cost of living in New Jersey tends to be above average as well.

State Avg Pay Dec 2023 Avg Pay Mar 2024 % Decrease in Q1 
Rhode Island $2,490 $2,337 -6.1%
New Jersey $2,726 $2,595 -4.8%
Delaware $2,549 $2,436 -4.4%
Minnesota $2,522 $2,414 -4.3%
Mississippi $2,009 $1,937 -3.6%
North Dakota $2,459 $2,375 -3.4%
Alabama $2,134 $2,061 -3.4%
Colorado $2,406 $2,328 -3.3%
Ohio $2,372 $2,313 -2.5%
Arizona $2,469 $2,409 -2.4%
Vermont $2,535 $2,478 -2.3%
Maryland $2,307 $2,255 -2.3%
Indiana $2,301 $2,249 -2.3%
Pennsylvania $2,294 $2,244 -2.2%
West Virginia $2,383 $2,340 -1.8%
Oregon $2,559 $2,516 -1.7%
New Mexico $2,290 $2,252 -1.7%
Alaska $2,897 $2,856 -1.4%
Nevada $2,590 $2,555 -1.4%
Maine $2,474 $2,442 -1.3%
Montana $2,358 $2,329 -1.3%
Texas $2,156 $2,127 -1.3%
Massachusetts $2,664 $2,631 -1.2%
North Carolina $2,210 $2,188 -1%
National Average $2,414 $2,391 -1%

Considerations for States with an Above-Average Travel RN Salary

Whether wages went up or down in the first quarter of 2024, travel nurses typically want to know where wages are the highest overall and where you get the most bang for your buck in terms of quality of life or being able to save extra cash. With that in mind, let’s look at the 18 states where weekly wages were above the national average in Q1. 

State Avg Pay Mar 2024 Cost of Living % of National Average
California $3,045 149.9%
Alaska $2,856 116.5%
Massachusetts $2,631 127.5%
New York $2,603 121.5%
New Jersey $2,595 119.8%
Hawaii $2,575 165.7%
Nevada $2,555 109.7%
Washington $2,552 121.9%
Utah $2,537 114.2%
Oregon $2,516 114.3%
Vermont $2,478 100.8%
Wisconsin $2,468 89.9%
Wyoming $2,457 97.5%
Maine $2,442 97%
Delaware $2,436 103.5%
Illinois $2,434 93.7%
Minnesota $2,414 97.2%
Arizona $2,409 106.4%
National Average $2,391 100%

Sources: Average Pay from Vivian Health / Cost of Living from Sperling’s Best Places

Unsurprisingly, California, Alaska, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey have the highest travel nurse pay rates among all 50 states. However, all five states are somewhat notorious for their above-average cost of livingeven mostly rural Alaska, where they must ship most goods from the lower 48 states, which raises the price of everything from groceries to clothes to furniture in the Last Frontier. 

Meanwhile, the other four states are all major hubs for healthcare with internationally renowned hospitals, which helps keep salaries high for healthcare professionals. All five states potentially present significant draws for travel nurses looking to experience thrilling sights and culture during their off time. However, their high living costs mean none actually offer an especially notable pay premium.

To benefit more, consider opportunities in states where travel nurse pay is currently above average, but the cost of living isn’t terribly high or lower than average. During Q1, those places included Illinois (outside Chicago), Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, where living costs are below the national average, or Vermont, where the cost of living is barely above average, according to Sperling’s Best Places. Living in one of these states may represent an opportunity for a travel nurse to save more during a stint away from home if that’s a primary objective. 

Travel nurses might also want to consider that some of these high-paying states offer unique tax advantages. For instance, Alaska and Delaware don’t have a general sales tax, while Alaska, Nevada, Washington and Wyoming don’t collect state income tax.

Whether you’re interested in travel jobs for healthcare professionals or year-round staff positions, Vivian has you covered. Check out the openings currently posted on our jobs marketplace and pursue the career of your dreams.

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Michael Hines

Michael Hines is a freelance researcher and writer based in Brooklyn, New York. For 20 years, he's written on various healthcare topics, including healthcare employment, telemedicine, healthcare legislation, obesity, immunotherapy and genomics. He also writes about technology and AI, public policy, finance and investing, consumer products and corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices.

Comments (2)

Just wanted to say I appreciate this data focused article. Are these numbers adjusted for inflation?


Hello Mike and thanks for reaching out! We’re glad you enjoyed the article. The numbers reflected in this recap are based on actual jobs posted on Vivian Health from January through March 2024, so these are salaries that were current during that period. If we use historical data and adjust for inflation, we add this clarification to make it transparent that’s what we did.


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