California Ranked Worst State for Travel Nursing

Despite offering the highest salaries, California ranked dead last in a review published by Vivian Health, an online healthcare job marketplace. Articles News

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In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, travel nurses have emerged as a crucial part of the system. With the freedom and flexibility to work anywhere across America, they often face the daunting task of choosing where to work next.

To aid in this decision-making process, Vivian Health has released its 2023 Travel Nurse Location Index, providing a comprehensive ranking of all 50 states based on key factors such as average weekly salary, job availability, number of hospitals per 100,000 people, and cost of living estimates.

Best and Worst States

The Dakotas have emerged as the top states for travel nurses, scoring high marks across all categories. South Dakota took the top spot with a perfect score of 100, closely followed by North Dakota with a score of 96.62. 

The top 5 states, according to the methodology used, are:

  1. South Dakota
  2. North Dakota
  3. Kansas
  4. Iowa
  5. Nebraska

These states share a common theme of being high-paying while also having a low cost of living and plenty of jobs available.

Despite offering the highest salaries, California ranked last due to low job availability and high cost of living. Here are the bottom five states:

  1. Florida
  2. New Jersey
  3. Utah
  4. Hawaii
  5. California

The index also revealed interesting insights about the financial aspects of travel nursing. While California offers the highest average weekly salary of $3,070, it also has a high cost of living, which may offset the financial benefits. On the other hand, states like Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia offer a lower cost of living, making them attractive options for travel nurses looking to stretch their paychecks further.

In terms of job availability, New Hampshire leads with 81.56 travel nurse jobs per 100,000 people, followed by Alaska and Vermont. South Dakota tops the list in terms of the number of hospitals per capita, providing more potential workplaces for travel nurses.

For the full list of rankings, check out Vivian Health.

Highest Paying States for Travel Nursing

Based on the average weekly salary reported by Vivian's proprietary data, here are the highest paying states for travel nurses in 2023:

  1. California, $3,070
  2. New Jersey, $3,011
  3. North Dakota, $3,002
  4. Nevada, $2,958
  5. Washington, $2,946
  6. New York, $2,938
  7. Oregon, $2,909
  8. Minnesota, $2,890
  9. Alaska, $2,863
  10. Wyoming, $2,862


While the 2023 Travel Nurse Location Index serves as a valuable tool for travel nurses to make informed decisions about their next assignment, there's by no means a one-size-fits-all approach. For instance, the ranking didn't take into account social life, weather, or other factors that may be important to you.

Image credit: 

Creator: Michael from San Jose, California

Copyright: (CC) Creative Commons license

Editorial Team / Admin

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