How Does Travel Nursing Work?

Asian nurse with a plane in the background

Reviewed by Bill Murray, Shannon Broderick, & Jody Bonacorsi

If you’re looking to become a traveling healthcare employee and are wondering “how does traveling nursing work, you have come to the right place! We are proud to work with healthcare professionals and facilities across the nation and can provide you with many resources in our travel nurse blog. We commend you for taking an interest in such an important, respected, rewarding, and exciting career. Allow us to further explain why travel nursing embodies these qualities and how we can offer a helping hand with the process of you becoming a traveling nurse.

Let’s first start by answering the questions of, ‘What is travel nursing and how does it work?’

What is Travel Nursing? 

A travel nursing job is for those wanting an exciting career full of new experiences and opportunities. With a job field consisting of up to 10 types of travel nurses, your opportunities are endless. If you hate being stuck in the same old job, this profession allows for a change of scenery every 13-26 weeks. Note that the more you travel, the more people with whom you work. As your career as a travel nurse advances, your network will become more widespread, which will help when getting referrals, recommendations, and interviews for your nursing career.

How Much Money Do Travel Nurses Make?

Travel nurses are compensated well for these roles, and living experiences can be negotiated along with salaries. It’s a great way to explore jobs and communities without committing to any one place for too long. 

Travelers typically make more than nurses who work in one medical facility or location. On top of earning a nicesized salary, you can enjoy considerable travel nurse tax deductions. You also get fully reimbursed for everything related to work, like:

  • Airfare
  • Train tickets
  • Ferry costs
  • Tolls
  • Taxis
  • Shuttles
  • Gas
  • Parking
  • Luggage costs
  • Food

In contrast, when you’re working as a regular qualified nurse, you’ll have to pay for these yourself. This actually reduces the average salary of a qualified nurse, even if they’re partially tax-deductible.

A travel reimbursement increases the average travel nurse salary, over a full-time nurse, by quite a bit.

10 Highest Paying Travel Nursing Jobs of 2021

Stats by

Medically reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN, on September 13, 2021

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $183,580
  2. General Nurse Practitioner – $111,680
  3. Clinical Nurse Specialist – $109,437
  4. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – $111,496
  5. Certified Nurse Midwife – $111,130
  6. Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse – $101,727
  7. Pain Management Nurse – $100,647
  8. Nursing Administrator – $104,280
  9. Family Nurse Practitioner – $96,973
  10. Registered Nurse First Assist – $99,733

How a Travel Nursing Job Works

Top travel nursing staffing agencies will provide you with any information you may need concerning licensing in any state before you begin your assignment in a medical facility.

Requirements among travel nursing agencies may vary. For our travel nurse company, the following requirements must be met.

Prior to job submission:

  • Current resume
  • Completed skills checklist
  • Graduate of an accredited program
  • Active state licensure
  • One year of experience in desired setting or specialty
  • Eligible to work in the US


  • MMR vaccination
  • Tetanus vaccination
  • Chest x-ray or 2-step PPD test (depending on client requirements)
  • Negative 5 or 10 panel drug screen (depending on client requirements)
  • Physical exam
  • Nationwide criminal background check

Take control of your career. Learn more!

What First Time Travelers Can Expect with Our Compliance Team

The mission of a compliance team is to identify and avoid possible red flags in your business. Failure to comply seriously could result in costly fines or penalties in the future. 

Compliance follows general prerequisites for each assignment with various add-ons from the state, facility, and specialty requirements. The timeline for compliance depends on how quickly items are in and cleared with the facility the traveler plans to work with.

Professionals will be assigned a compliance representative directly who will help guide them throughout the whole process. Representatives will help a traveler through every step of the way – from setting them up for medical appointments to guiding them through how to complete any training in their travel assignment.

Tip: We recommend tackling the compliance items right away, then travelers will have some downtime before they start their travel nurse assignment and will not need to worry about cutting it close.

Communication is key, each compliance representative will be available to answer questions and receive updates from each traveler on the status of their compliance to provide to the facility. This is done to ensure a smooth transition for the staff nurse into their assignment and keeps everyone on the same page. Once compliance is complete, the travel RN will be provided with reporting information for their first day.


The MAS Housing Department provides housing options to our travelers that meet their criteria. We utilize our own housing contacts database along with housing websites, and we hold many relationships with housing options. We additionally offer Extended Stay corporate rates to our travelers. We arrange the initial contacts with housing providers and negotiate with them to provide the best rates.

Quick Housing Tips for Travelers:

  1. Make sure that you have enough money saved to get into housing, for if an Extended Stay is available in the area, you can pay weekly. You will need at least 2 weeks upfront. If you opt for a room rental in the area, you would need a month and a security deposit upfront – that also goes for a private rental. Note that you will not receive your first paycheck until your second full week of work.
  2. You will need to have enough money for food, gas, and incidentals for your trip to the assignment and until you receive your first check.
  3. Research the area where you will be working; some travelers have preferences of city life vs country life. Also, check out the cost of living in that area.
  4. When bringing a pet on your assignment it will cost you more money to get into a place. Many apartments have non-refundable pet deposits, and hotels and extended stays have daily charges or a one-time non-refundable fee, or both. We do, however, find places to rent with pets. If your pet is on the list of aggressive breeds, it will be extremely difficult to find a place.

Ready to Take the Plunge?

If you’re ready to take the plunge into pursuing your dream profession, and explore the world while doing so, feel free to speak with one of our experienced Travel Nurse Recruiters today. They would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Start by clicking here.

About the reviewers

Bill Murray, Company Leader: Bill has been with the company for over ten years and in the staffing industry for over fifteen. He lives in the state of New Hampshire with his loving wife and their four incredible kids. Outside of work, his family enjoys spending their time outdoors hiking, fishing, hunting, biking, golfing, and going to the beach.

Shannon Broderick, Team Lead/Senior Travel Compliance Specialist: Shannon has been with the company for a little over 4 ½ years in the travel credentialing department. She enjoys researching/learning new things about the industry every day. Shannon resides in southern NH with her husband and dog, Dutch. She loves using her free time trying new recipes, traveling to new places, and spending time with her family and friends.

Jody Bonacorsi, Housing Specialist: Jody has worked at MAS in the Housing Department for over seven years and in the staffing industry for 27 years (IT, Engineering, and Travel Nursing). She’s seen the industry evolve tremendously from when she had started and is amazed by all the new advancements. Her greatest joy is spending time with her five grandchildren, attending all of their sporting events, and relishing time with family.


  1. “15 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs in 2021”. Sept 13, 2021.
  2. Alicia Ghannad. “5 Reasons to Try Travel Nursing As A New Grad”. MAS Medical Staffing. Jun 24, 2020.



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