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    Tricks to Find the High Paying Travel Nurse Jobs in 2024

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    As a travel nurse with over a decade of experience working contracts across the country, I’ve mastered the art of sniffing out the highest paying travel nurse jobs in top tier US cities. Whether you’re wanting to earn big as a new travel nurse or veteran wanting your largest paycheck yet, use these insider tricks I’ve learned to lock in supremely lucrative contracts.

    Research the Highest Paying Specialties

    Not all nursing specialties pay the same on travel contracts. Here are some of the highest paying specialties to consider if you want to earn top dollar:

    • ICU/Critical Care – ICU nurses are in extremely high demand nationwide and can command premium pay, especially for COVID-19 ICU needs. Average pay range: $2,300 – $3,400+ per week.
    • Emergency Room – Fast-paced ER skills also attract premium pay amid staff shortages. Range: $2,200 – $3,200+ per week.
    • Labor and Delivery – Baby delivery nurses earn well for their specialized skills. Range: $1,800 – $2,600 per week.
    • Operating Room – OR nurses with recent OR experience are highly sought after. Range: $2,000 – $3,000+ per week.
    • PACU – Post-anesthesia care unit nurses can expect strong pay in the ICU/critical care range.

    Focus your job search on opportunities in these 5-figure per week specialities. Having multiple specialty certifications also helps maximize your pay potential.

    Travel Nurse Jobs

    Target Cities with the Highest Pay Rates for Travel Nurse Jobs

    Some cities and states pay travel nurses significantly higher rates than others. I’ve found these 10 US cities routinely offer the highest paid travel nursing contracts:

    • San Francisco, CA
    • New York, NY
    • Los Angeles, CA
    • Boston, MA
    • Chicago, IL
    • Honolulu, HI
    • Seattle, WA
    • San Diego, CA
    • Baltimore, MD
    • Portland, OR

    Coastal cities like LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and Honolulu in particular pay handsomely thanks to their extremely high cost of living. Competitive pay gets nurses to sign despite steep housing costs. Prioritize job searches in these cities for your loftiest possible weekly pay.

    Know When to Find the Best Pay Packages for Travel Nurse

    Timing your job search strategically increases your chances of landing premium pay:

    • Winter Months – November through March when hospitals are slammed with flu season, viruses, and holiday injuries.
    • Summer Months – July/August also see upticks in demand around travel season upswing.
    • Covid Surges – Monitor the news and target regions seeing viral increases.

    The weeks right before major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are also prime times to get placed quickly at inflated rates when local nurses take vacation.

    Travel Nurse Jobs 2024

    Negotiate Your Worth Confidently

    Don’t hesitate to negotiate firmly for the highest pay package possible. Travel nurses are in the driver’s seat – use that leverage! Especially once you have a few contracts under your belt, don’t be shy advocating for yourself.

    Some key strategies:

    • Get multiple offers and use the highest bid to negotiate up with others. Agencies want to lock in talent.
    • Ask for higher housing stipends in expensive cities like New York and San Francisco.
    • Request higher hourly rates if you have niche skills or decades of experience.
    • Push for 8-12 week contract extensions at enhanced pay rates.
    • Ask for bonuses, referral bonuses, and extra shifts to maximize earnings.

    The more confidently and professionally you can negotiate, the more your pay will climb over time. Don’t undervalue your worth!

    Work with the Top Paying Travel Nurse Agencies

    While pay packages vary nurse-by-nurse, some national agencies are known for superior compensation overall. I recommend registering with these agencies known for high pay:

    While you should always compare multiple offers, working with agencies that prioritize nurse compensation can give you an edge. They know how to angle for max pay in negotiations.

    Maintain a Flexible Schedule

    Having wide open availability makes you a highly desirable candidate able to snap up limited peak pay contracts. Avoid restricting yourself to only M-F day shifts or you may lose out. Be open to:

    • Holidays, weekends, and overnight shifts
    • 10-12 hour shifts
    • OT, extra shifts, on-call
    • Shifts at multiple facilities
    • Quick start dates

    Nurses with completely flexible schedules get cherry-picked for premium contracts that need guaranteed coverage.

    Get Licensed in Multiple States for Grabbing the High Paying Travel Nurse Jobs

    Having an active nursing license in multiple states gives you access to more job opportunities. Start by getting licensed in states with major metro cities known for high pay like California, New York, Illinois, and Texas. Obtaining licenses is a time investment but expands your earning potential greatly.

    Be Confident Interviewing

    Interview confidently and highlight your skills, specialties, flexibility, and eagerness to fill urgent needs. Prove you are an extremely qualified nurse ready to handle high-pressure hospital environments. That makes agencies fight over you with top dollar offers!

    High Paying Travel Nurse Jobs

    Maximize Tax-Free Stipends

    One of the best financial perks of travel nursing is collecting tax-free stipends for housing, meals, and incidentals. When negotiating, prioritize the highest per diems possible to maximize your tax-free income. Pocketing an extra $1,000+ per week tax-free makes a monumental impact!

    Take Advantage of Overtime

    When facilities get overwhelmed with admissions and staffing emergencies, volunteer for overtime shifts to rapidly boost your earnings at time-and-a-half rates. OT is where you rake in the most per hour. Jumping in during crises also builds positive relationships with nurses managers.

    Travel with Friends for Shared Housing

    Splitting housing with a travel nurse friend reduces your costs significantly, allowing you to pocket more of your stipends. Coordinate contracts at the same hospital for built-in work friends and share a nice 2-bedroom apartment. Having a travel buddy also makes long contracts far less lonely.

    Wrap Up

    With the tricks above, you can seize control of maximizing your travel nurse income. Follow the highest paying specialties, target cities with the best pay packages, and negotiate unapologetically. Maintain flexibility, get licensed widely, interview confidently, and work with top-tier agencies known for premium compensation. Prioritizing your earning potential sets you up for financial success on the road and allows you to pay off debt, save up, or splurge on well-deserved vacations. Here’s to landing the highest paying contract of your career!

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