Where are the most jobs?


Hi, I was just wondering what specialties offer the most travel opportunities/ most contract possibilities. I know I should probably just do what I like but I'm still a student and haven't really been in that many units yet. I guess I'm just trying to get an idea if there are specialties that offer more travel opportunities than others. If so I would like to try to get in those units to see if I like any of them. So I guess my question for you travelers is, what specialties do you notice the most demand for travelers?



1 Article; 5,751 Posts

If you think about this a little, you could probably figure it out yourself. It works the same in every profession.

For nursing, entry level is typically med-surg (or LTC) so those are where most jobs are. As well as the greatest numbers of similarly trained competing for those positions. So also the lowest paid. Moving up the food chain requires higher levels of training and experience and there is lower competition for those (fewer) positions. So a rough order might be telemetry, step down, ICU, CVICU, cath lab, with specialties such as OR, dialysis, and such on the top end as well. Then comes advanced practice RNs like CRNAs, RNFAs, NPs, midwives.

I'm going to guess that by demand you are referring to pay and ease of getting assignments. The more training and experience you have means the more marketable and the higher pay you can command. Like every profession.


141 Posts

Thanks, I’m really not referring to pay at all. I’m fairly young and debt free. More interested in doing something I enjoy and experiencing different cities. I guess I’m thinking # of assignments and how competitive they are to get. I have to sign up for my internship for this summer in Jan. I haven’t had any opportunity to set foot in some of the units that are available. So I guess I’m just looking for suggestions on where people see the most demand for travelers (ease of getting positions). Where I can pick a city and go without too much trouble finding a job if I decide there’s somewhere I would like to try. I understand that there are a lot of MS positions but that doesn’t mean that there is a high demand for MS travelers as there are a ton of qualified people to fill the positions.

Just wondering if there’s some area of nursing that pops up as, wow I always see them trying to fill those positions. Maybe it’s MS, I don’t know that’s why I asked. But I do have the opportunity to get my foot in the door in some less traditional new grad units(no guarantee that I could actually get hired there) so I’m asking this question here. I just want to be in the best position to travel as possible after a couple years experience. Is that a MS position or are there way too many people fighting for those positions???

So I guess in short what I’m asking is what is the best position for a new grad that plans to travel in the future?

V-Neck T-Shirt

67 Posts

Specializes in Tele/PCU/MedSurg/Travel. Has 4 years experience.

I think if I had known how in demand labor & delivery RNs are in the travel world, I would have tried to get an L&D job immediately after nursing school. Of course, I'm also interested in this speciality.


1 Article; 5,751 Posts

All of the higher trained positions are in big demand, CVICU, cath lab, OR, L&D, ED (a bit more bread and butter, but lots of jobs). Which one has the "hottest" demand does change from month to month and year to year, but these remain more valuable than entry level always. I'm OR and had no problem getting assignments as the travel nurse industry melted away by 50% in 2009. The amount of training the OR requires means job security and no easy replacement with new grads.

You can look at larger demographics for the next 30 years you will be working. How many women of childbearing age will there be? How many kids (if you are interested in a pediatric related job)? How many nurses entering and leaving the workplace? Surgical trends. Trends in heart care (surgical versus cath lab versus medical, and even dietary trend). Trends to take care of patients in home versus hospital. Reimbursement trends. Government versus private insurance. Age of the population, how will that trend over 30 years?

Big questions, and if you are really smart and study statistics, you may be able to make some good educated guesses.

Many areas of nursing are high burnout, somewhat dependent on the individual. I would think, as you mentioned originally, where your interests lie, and you will get some clues as you do clinical rotations and get to do some shadowing. Pursue that and get as much education and experience as you can to future proof your specialty. It would be a shame to pick a specialty based on strictly compensation or current demand, and discover you really hate it two years in. Some people discover that they really like say kidney transplant patients, or old people. Most of us are not that lucky to know what we might like, and I think most end up where the winds of fate take us. I certainly hadn't planned on OR, I started in ICU. I do see it as lucky rather than brilliant planning on my part - but there is no way I could blindly recommend everyone follow my steps in the OR.

Reading about the actual day to day struggles of each specialty area and seeing if you can shadow nurses in interesting specialties is probably the best way to go. Higher training and experience will make you more marketable and higher pay in any specialty. Don't worry too much about burn out, your initial stress starting a specialty will resolve to comfort and competence over time. If you do burn out after some time, nursing is great because of the many excellent options. Burnouts may become case managers, transplant coordinators, or even find that medsurg is now best for them!

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Find an area you like. It isn't a good idea for new grads to travel....you need experience. Critical care areas/CCU, ICU,CVU,Trauma,Burn, Cath Lab, ED.....specialty areas have the highest demand....but gain require experience.

Specializes in Occupational health, Corrections, PACU. Has 25 years experience.

I have watched travel nurse opportunities for almost 20 years. The areas that are in the biggest demand for travelers over the many years are ICU, L &D, ER, and OR. Each setting has it's own demands, and you should figure out what you are interested in. OR is highly technical and requires at least one years experience to travel (as well as circulating and scrubbing in different disciplines), so it is not for everyone. However, they are SCREAMING for OR nurses out there, everywhere and the pay is good. ICU -always a good choice, but you must make a career path to get MED/SURG experience and get into ICU as soon as you can get the additional training. Much of what you are able to do will have to do with the opportunities available to you when you graduate. If you work where there are a lot of hospital jobs, then work overtime, offer to float once you have some experience to a step down unit, network, talk to the ICU nurse manager or whatever department you want to be in, and let them know of your interest. If you work a lot of overtime after you orient and get your feet on the ground, you can learn much in a shorter period of time. Good luck!


2,438 Posts

Travel jobs wax and wane. The speciality areas (i.e. OR, ICU, L&D) tend to be the most in demand/numerous but if you're not concerned about location or top pay you can pretty much travel in most specialties without difficulty.