Best States for Nurses in 2016

The desire to travel probably runs in your blood – after all, that’s one of the reasons you chose to pursue a career as travel nurse. On the other hand, one of the hardest things about being a travel nurse is finding the right destination. Despite the fact that we’d all love to take on an assignment in Hawaii or the Florida Keys (and maybe, you know, never come back…), sometimes these assignments just aren’t the most logical, especially when you’re worried about wages, benefits, living arrangements and everything else.

There are many exciting (and slightly more plausible) places where travel nurse can make a killing this year, while still enjoying their work environment. Whether you’re a veteran travel nurse, or you’ve only recently fallen victim to wanderlust, here are five states you should snatch assignments in throughout 2016:

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1. Washington

Annual Salary for a Registered Nurse: $74,840

Washington State was ranked 13 out of 50 for the best work place environments for nurses, and 5th for the opportunity and competition rank, according to Wallet Hub. In addition to this, Washington is home to one of the top average salaries for RNs. Spend your time exploring big cities like Seattle, or adventuring up the rocky coastline – no matter what your interests are, you’re sure to enjoy your time in Washington.

2. Colorado

Annual Salary for a Registered Nurse: $68,670

Colorado is home to one of the most nurse-friendly hospitals in the country, the University of Colorado Hospital, located in Aurora, proving that this state is a great place to be a nurse. Not to mention, Colorado offers one of the more competitive salaries in that area and has an above average employment rate. Here, you can spend your down time hiking, skiing, snowboarding and more – Colorado is truly for the adventure seeker.

3. Texas

Annual Salary for a Registered Nurse: $67, 580

Not only does Texas offer competitive wages for its registered nurses, it’s also ranked second for employment rates, and is home to four of the 10 best cities to be a nurse, which include Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the number of opportunities for nurses!

4. Nevada

Annual Salary for a Registered Nurse: $77,840

Aside from being home to the best nightlife in the country (Helloooo, Vegas!), and offering its nurses some of the best wages in the country, Nevada also tops the list for the state with the least competition. Whether you like to spend your downtime livin’ it up in Las Vegas or taking in the breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon, you’ll truly love your travel nurse assignment in Nevada.

5. Minnesota

Annual Salary for a Registered Nurse: $74,250

Minnesota offers the most competitive salary in that region of the United States, and is also ranked in the top 20 states as far as employment of registered nurses! If you’re a city dweller, you’re sure to enjoy strolling through the streets of Minneapolis, and exploring everything the City of Lakes has to offer. Now, bundle up, and get ready for a great experience.


Not interested in pursuing a nursing assignment in one of those five states? Check out these other high-ranking states!

States with Highest Salaries

  1. Texas
  2. Michigan
  3. Nevada 

States with the Best Work Environment

  1. Minnesota
  2. Connecticut
  3. Rhode Island 

States with the Most Nursing Opportunities per capita

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New Hampshire
  3. New Mexico

States with the Least Competition

  1. Nevada
  2. Alaska
  3. California

While you’re planning out your many adventures this year, be sure to keep these statistics in the back of your mind. Wishing you happy travels!

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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  1. Aren’t there any opportunities for LPNs in the travel field?

  2. Hi Bobbie,

    Yes there are! Go here to check out your options!

  3. My goal is a start date of Jan 1. When would I need to start the process.

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