Nurses are invaluable to the health system of this nation and, as a result, are in high demand. That means as a highly skilled nurse, you will have your choice of many prime assignments. You may decide to work at a hospital, clinic or rehabilitation facility. But you have even more choices than these standard positions.

If you want to combine the fulfillment of nursing with the thrill of travel, you should consider becoming a traveling nurse. You can explore new places while helping patients recover their health. The rewards of being a traveling nurse are great, and you will never fall into a career rut.

A Traveling Nurse

Because nurses are in short supply in various areas, medical facilities sometimes hire nurses for temporary stints, often lasting around three months. You sign a contract that details your compensation and living arrangements and then travel to your destination. Sometimes, the facility will ask you to stay on for another stint if they are still in need of assistance. In general, you spend around 13 weeks in one place before moving on to your next assignment.

Financial Rewards

The financial rewards of traveling nursing are excellent, usually better than you’d earn in a more traditional position. You will receive compensation is several different ways.


Traveling nurses often make more than nurses in permanent positions. Depending on your specialty and shift length, it’s possible to make as much as $40 per hour. In addition, most agencies offer you free, comfortable housing or generous living expenses. If you can stay with a friend or relative, your contract can be especially lucrative.


Traveling nurses are usually offered attractive bonuses for signing on and completing their assignments. In fact, some agencies may give bonuses as high as $1,500 or more. You can also receive bonuses for recruiting other nurses to sign on as well. This “extra” money can certainly add up.

Travel Reimbursement

When you travel for enjoyment, the expenses are yours alone. When you work as a traveling nurse, you get to experience all the sights and attractions of a new area, but you don’t have to pay for the privilege. An agency will pay the travel expenses for you, and these expenses are not taxable. You may travel coast to coast without it costing you a thing.

Career Benefits

Traveling nursing can enhance your resume and help you more quickly move up the career ladder. It also gives you flexibility you might not otherwise have.


Traveling nursing quickly gives you an impressive resume. You will learn new skills by working with different teams in different areas. That breadth of experience and knowledge takes years to manage when working in a permanent position.


Your contract terms will be for a limited period. Also, you may be recruited to take as-needed shifts in a facility. These options give you much more control over your schedule than a regular permanent position would do. If you want to take a month off, you can certainly do so.

Career Concerns

Working as a traveling nurse requires that you be flexible as well. You have to adapt to new situations and new co-workers every few months. For some nurses, that makes the job exciting. For others, it simply causes stress and loneliness. If you crave routine, traveling nursing is not the job for you.

Family issues can also hold you back. While some jobs allow you to bring along a family member, most are aimed at nurses who have few family commitments to tie them down. If you are married with small children, traveling nursing would probably be a hardship.

Also, you have to be licensed in the state where you will be working. If you are not, you will have to acquire that license. Fortunately, most staffing agencies help you get this documentation when you agree to take the job.

If you want a steady routine that keeps you in the same place most days, then traveling nursing is clearly not for you. For others, it offers adventure and career advancement rolled into one.

How to Become a Traveling Nurse

The first step to becoming a traveling nurse is getting your education at an excellent facility. At the Institute of Alternative Medicine, you will get the training you need to be successful in any nursing job, including a traveling position. Applying is easy and can be done online.

At AIAM, you learn about traditional and alternative forms of medicine, which makes you particularly attractive to facilities which integrate both approaches. The class size is small, so you receive one-on-one attention and intense clinical experience. The school also offers excellent job placement assistance, including help in obtaining a traveling nurse position.

The nursing profession is a lifetime career that offers you security, financial reward, and job fulfillment. If you decide to be a traveling nurse, you can help other people while living a life full of adventure and travel.

Ready to Start Your Career as a Traveling Nurse?

School of Nursing