Best Travel Nursing Agencies


For registered nurses (RNs) who want to explore the country while practicing their skills at numerous healthcare facilities, travel nursing might be the perfect fit. Travel nursing typically includes short-term assignments that range from about eight to 36 weeks. Health practitioners receive assignments through agencies that place them based on their specialty. The pay is often significantly higher than staff nurses and comes with bonuses for overtime as well as weekend, night, and holiday shifts.

Adventure and higher pay are what attracted Nicole Watkins, RN, to travel nursing. After working for four years at a Chicago-based hospital in the operating room, emergency room, and neonatal ICU, she began to feel burnout from the intensity of COVID. Due to many nurses quitting, her hospital ended up hiring travel nurses to fill shortages.

“I was working next to travel nurses who were making more than double what I was making and we were doing the same work. And I thought, ‘Wow, they got to travel to Chicago to do this,'” Watkins said.

After some research, she decided to join AMN Healthcare, which placed her on her first assignment in February 2022. She worked at an Arizona hospital in the neonatal ICU for 13 weeks and then extended her contract for an additional eight weeks. She said the recruiter at her agency makes the process easy.

“Your recruiter can make or break your experience with traveling based on how enthusiastic and responsive they are. My recruiter has been great. There have been no hiccups regarding getting licenses in each state setup, knowing my start date, where to go, and what to do during my first week. It’s been really smooth sailing,” she said.

Most travel nursing agencies match nurses with recruiters who help them find jobs and walk them through getting hired and ready to start working. Many agencies give nurses the option to accept and decline opportunities. Additionally, most agencies offer the option to search for jobs on their website. Here are our picks for top travel nursing agencies hiring nurses today.




Triage


Key Specs

  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem
  • Housing: Option for company secured housing or Tax-free stipend
  • Benefits: Health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability, 401(k) with company match, vacation, education reimbursement

Why We Chose It

Triage Staffing wins best overall for its solid pay, bonuses, and benefits, including tuition reimbursement, 401(k) with company match, vacation, and education reimbursement, as well as the guidance it provides to its nurses.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers insurance as soon as you start work
  • Paid weekly via direct deposit
  • Easy to onboard
  • Great communication from a recruiter who helps with each step along the way

Cons

  • Weekend support regarding payment may be lacking
  • Sometimes Triage is not the direct holder of an assignment contract

Overview

Triage staffing is dedicated to ensuring nurses receive help with onboarding, onsite assistance, finding their next assignment, and everything in between.

The company has been honored with many accolades, including being named Best Overall Staffing Agency 2021 by The Gypsy Nurse, Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for 2020, Bluepipes’ Top 5 Best Travel Nursing Companies, and Staffing Industry Analysts’ Largest Healthcare Staffing Firms in America 2018-2021.

“I have worked for four other agencies in the past, and Triage and my recruiter has been the best all around,” says Natasha Wynn, BSN, RN, who has been a traveling nurse for eight years. “The insurance, pay, and locations of assignments are competitive with even the bigger companies. But, at the end of the day, personally, the communication from Triage is what makes it stand out.”

While the company specializes in placing nurses in 13-week assignments across the U.S, it also finds jobs of varying lengths. On its website, Triage Staffing states, “We shoot you straight, speaking with honesty and candor” and that it listens to its nurses “so we are ready to meet your needs.”

Those who decide to onboard with them are paid a competitive hourly wage weekly via direct deposit. Overtime pay, bonuses, per diems, and a housing stipend are also part of the package, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance, dental insurance, vacation time, and a 401(k) plan. Plus, the company offers a mentoring program that is run and managed by actual clinicians.



Axis Medical Staffing


Key Specs

  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem
  • Housing: Tax-free stipend or company secured housing
  • Benefits: Health coverage, dental, vision, 401(k) with company match, state license reimbursement, transportation stipends, and continuing education

Why We Chose It

Axis makes a point of recognizing its nurses and showing appreciation for the work they do. On its website, the company names a Traveler of the Month and features photos of the nurse with a Q&A.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 24/7/365 support team
  • Page dedicated to asking real travel nurses questions
  • Provides bonus and company matching 401(k) with immediate vesting
  • Paid housing and help finding it

Cons

  • Pay is unclear
  • Have to apply for a job before creating an account
  • Doesn’t offer paid sick time off

Overview

From the moment you click on Axis’ website, nurse pride and empowerment are clear. The home page states that the company only works with “frickin’ rock stars.” It also flaunts a talented Traveler of the Month nurse on its blog featuring a Q&A about their work experience.

To keep the supportive vibe going, Axis features a page where you can Ask an Axis Travel Nurse questions on a form, and they’ll actually respond, which beats asking a customer service rep who may not have real-world nursing experience. You also have the option to ask questions through a live chat on the company’s home page.

Established in 2003 out of Seattle, Washington, Axis has been honored with several awards including #1 Travel Nursing Agency 2022 by Bluepipes, Best Travel Nursing Company 2022 by Betternurse.org, and Top Travel Nursing Company 2022 by Travel Nursing Central.

While a pay range is hard to find on its website and it can feel a bit rah-rah or like someone is yelling at you to make you believe how great you (and the company) are, Axis does publish its benefits. Benefits include covered housing, a 401(k) plan with immediate vesting, health insurance through a PPO, and state license reimbursement.



Advantis Medical Staffing


Key Specs

  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem
  • Housing: Tax-free stipend or company secured housing
  • Benefits: Medical, dental, vision, 401(k) without company match, referral program

Why We Chose It

Advantis Medical was started by a man who values healthcare providers like no other. When his young son needed medical attention for a rare disease, the compassion and care he received from those in the medical field inspired his dad to found Advantis Medical. In turn, dedication to those working in the medical field is the company’s priority.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Values the nursing field
  • Well-respected in the industry
  • User-friendly website, which offers multiple ways to communicate
  • Access to AI to help with logistics

Cons

  • No company match for 401(k)
  • Lacks specifics about pay and benefits on website

Overview

Avantis Medical was founded by a co-founder of Advantis Global, a tech staffing agency, after he witnessed extraordinary care given to his son who has Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD). The company became his way of giving back to the medical field for all the support his family received. The website states, “Now we’re trying to return the love the best way we know how–by connecting Travel Nurses and Allied Health professionals to their dream assignments at top medical facilities across the U.S.”

To do that, Advantis Medical has representatives who guide nurses through setting up their profile and onboarding to landing desired assignments. It also offers AdvantisConnect, which it calls “cutting-edge AI” to help with all the logistics. This portal lets you job search, but it’s not clear what else the app offers.

Additionally, the company embraces an inclusive culture stating, “Your gender, your beliefs, your preferences, your skin color, or your bigshot friend make no difference to us. Advantis Medical is a progressive and open-minded collective. If you’re smart, optimistic, and care about being awesome at what you do, come as you are!”

While the company is ranked highly by third-party reviews and has an appealing, inclusive message, information about pay and benefits isn’t easily found on its website, which might be a deterrent for people looking to quickly compare agencies.



Travel Nurse Across America


Key Specs

  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem
  • Housing: Tax-free stipend or company secured housing
  • Benefits: Health coverage, dental, vision, liability insurance, 401(k) with company match, sick pay, travel reimbursement, free continuing education, mental health resources, employee assistance program, and chaplain assistance program

Why We Chose It

Continuing education is a top priority for Travel Nurse Across America (TNAA), and its dedication to learning no matter where you are in your career makes it unique among its competitors. The agency has a partnership with Aspen University to help nurses obtain their BSN with tuition reimbursement.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Tuition reimbursement for obtaining BSN
  • Reimbursement for RN specialty exam/recertification
  • Mental well-being resources through Cigna

Cons

  • Pay range isn’t listed on website
  • Lengthy application required to create account

Overview

Travel Nurse Across America (TNAA) is a great agency for nurses who value furthering their education. TNAA has a partnership with Aspen University that offers a 12-month program to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and TNAA reimburses tuition costs when the program is completed.

The agency also reimburses students up to $400 for RN specialty exams or recertification fees. Other benefits like low census pay, paid licensure fees before travel, overtime, and paid sick leave that starts accruing from day one, make the agency even more attractive.

TNAA uses a full-team approach to help travelers, by employing specialty staff like housing experts and clinical leadership. Rodney Sasse, RN, for example, traveled as a nurse with the agency for four years, and now acts as one of the agency’s ambassadors in addition to his full-time job as a manager of the neurocritical care department at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The fact that TNAA was founded in 1999 in North Little Rock, Arkansas, initially attracted Sasse to the company.

“A mutual non-nursing friend who worked for the agency recommended them, but I really liked that they were local to where I was based at that time, so it was nice for me to be able to drive by the headquarters of TNAA and drop off documents during that initial process of onboarding, which can be very extensive,” he says.

However, the agency’s priority of ensuring its nurses are supported is what kept him working with them. The pay is average, but Sasse says its emphasis on taking care of its travelers, being transparent with contracts, making sure that nurses have all the resources they need, and its willingness to pay for necessary certifications made his time with them pleasant.

“The service that they provide to their travelers was most important to me. I felt very well taken care of and that the agency had my back,” he said. “There were times where I’d take lower-paying contracts because my recruiter would inform me that it was near a location that I wanted to be and at a traveler-friendly facility,” he notes.



AMN Healthcare


Key Specs

  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem
  • Housing: Tax-free stipend or company secured housing
  • Benefits: Health insurance, 401K matching, retirement planning, legal support

Why We Chose It

AMN Healthcare touts its specialized help team on its thorough website. The agency helps make the process a smooth one, from its recruitment team and 24/7 clinical team ready to answer questions anytime to its housing executives and extensive customer support.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Paid weekly
  • Health benefits and 401K matching
  • Suicide Prevention hotline, mental health crisis and counseling, doctor-on-demand

Cons

  • Large agency
  • Pay is not clear on website

Overview

AMN Healthcare’s support team is dedicated to making travel nursing a journey that goes smoothly. Its website calls out a recruitment team, a 24/7 clinical team ready to answer questions, a team of housing executives, and an extensive customer support team that focuses on helping nurses manage their time.

Nicole Watkins, RN, who onboarded with AMN in February 2022, says customer service, particularly from her recruiter, is what made her go with AMN.

“I started the process with another agency, but I got the feeling that the recruiter didn’t have time for me and was just going through the motions. Then, some nurses I worked with in the NICU at the Chicago hospital I was employed at suggested AMN, so I started the process and really liked how responsive, enthusiastic, and helpful they’ve been from the start,” says Watkins.

The agency offers health insurance, 401K matching, housing or a housing stipend, a debit and credit card, retirement planning, and legal support. Some special features not often seen with these agencies include a Suicide Prevention Hotline, mental health crisis and counseling, and doctor-on-demand.

Watkins said they also made sure she was licensed in the states where she was placed. As a resident of Illinois, which does not have a Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC)—an agreement between states that allows nurses to have one compact state nursing license so they can practice in other states that are part of the agreement—Watkins had to seek a license to work in states outside of Illinois.

“It’s kind of confusing because Illinois is an outlier in most states in the country,” she said, but she felt that AMN made the process easy.



Fusion


Key Specs

  • Pay: Hourly wage, per diem
  • Housing: Doesn’t specify
  • Benefits: 401K, liability insurance, certification reimbursement, dental and vision insurance, short-term disability insurance, health insurance, workers comp insurance

Why We Chose It

For those who want to travel and work as a nurse all while being part of a company that is socially responsible, Fusion Medical Staffing might be the right fit. The company has a Be The Change program, which consists of three components; Employee Volunteer Opportunities (Compassion Groups); Fusion Passions, and Employee Paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO).

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High volume of jobs in different locations.
  • 401K, dental and vision insurance, liability insurance, certification reimbursement, short-term disability insurance, health insurance, workers comp insurance
  • Volunteer opportunities

Cons

  • Doesn’t give many details on website
  • No mention of help with housing

Overview

If the culture of a company is a top priority for you, Fusion Medical Staffing has an entire program focused on making a difference in its employees’ communities. On its website, it says that community is “everything” and that it embraces social responsibility practices by giving its employees opportunities to engage in volunteer work. This is done through its Be The Change program. On the website, it’s easy to find real organizations the company has impacted.

For example, it makes a contribution to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for every completed travel assignment, which helps NAMI serve four individuals impacted by a mental health condition. It also celebrates LGBTQ+ pride events and participates in fundraisers for disability awareness, multiple sclerosis, cancer, homeless shelters, and more.

The company, which staffs medical professionals of all types nationwide, also ranked #11 on BluePipes Best Travel Nursing Companies 2022 list.


While each agency listed above has its pros and cons, they all offer competitive benefits and wages. Triage Staffing stands out because it offers solid pay, bonuses, and benefits, including tuition reimbursement, 401(k) with company match, vacation, and education reimbursement. It also provides exceptional guidance to its nurses, making the process easy to onboard and desirable to stay on.

If continuing education is your priority, Travel Nurse Across America can help by providing tuition reimbursement when you obtain your BSN from Aspen University through its one-year program. And, for those who want to work for a company that embraces social responsibility, we recommend Fusion Medical Staffing due to its employee volunteer opportunities, as well as the company’s commitment to contributing to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).


Company Pay Housing Benefits
Triage Staffing 

Best Overall
Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability, 401(k) with company match, vacation, education reimbursement
Axis Medical Staffing 

Best for Nurse Pride
Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Health coverage, dental, vision, 401(k) with company match, state license reimbursement, transportation stipends, continuing education
Avantis Medical

Best Backstory
Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Medical, dental, vision, 401(k) without company match, referral program
Travel Nurse Across America

Best for Education
Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Health coverage, dental, vision, liability insurance, 401(k) with company match, sick pay, travel reimbursement, free continuing education, mental health resources, employee assistance program, chaplain assistance program
AMN Healthcare

Best Customer Service
Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Health insurance, 401K matching, retirement planning, legal support
Fusion Medical Staffing 

Best for Social Responsibility
Hourly wage, per diem Doesn’t list 401K, liability insurance, certification reimbursement, dental and vision insurance, short-term disability insurance, health insurance, workers comp insurance


What Are Travel Nursing Agencies?

Travel nursing agencies place registered nurses in jobs around the country or world with short-term assignments that range from about eight to 36 weeks. The agencies bring on RNs, as well as other types of medical practitioners, and find work for them based on their specialty and the locations they want to work in.

How to Compare Travel Nursing Agencies to Pick the Right One for You

When looking to onboard with a travel nursing agency, consider its pay, benefits, whether it offers housing or helps find housing, sick pay, time off, help with obtaining licenses to work in the states you choose, supportive customer service, and attentive recruiters.

Rodney Sasse, RN, who was a traveling nurse with Travel Nurse Across America for four years and now helps manage travel nurses at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, says if the highest pay is your priority, that’s okay. But keep in mind that the facilities that are paying the most may do so because the facilities they place you in are struggling significantly.

“So you’re going to be voluntarily walking into situations where, because you’re getting paid as much as you are, the expectation is that you’re going to be the nurse that goes up on ratio, or you’re going to be the nurse that gets floated before the core staff does,” he says.

If you’re getting into travel nursing for the variety it can provide, he suggests considering agencies that have a large number of accounts and wide coverage across the country.

“Some agencies aren’t able to list as many positions as others are,” he explains.

He also suggests looking for agencies that focus on being transparent with their contracts and making sure travel nurses have all the resources they need to settle into the state they’re working in.


What Does a Travel Nurse Do?

Travel nurses take on short-term assignments at hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the country based on their specialty. They fill in for shortages and work side by side with staff nurses performing needed roles to ensure patients are well cared for.

What Are Some Typical Benefits Travel Nurses Can Expect?

Benefits nurses can expect to receive when working with a travel nursing agency include higher pay than staff positions, bonuses, overtime, health insurance, and help with housing, among others.

What Cities Pay the Most for Travel Nursing?

According to Trusted Health, the highest paying cities for travel nursing in 2020-2021, follows:

California

Sacramento – $5,148/week

Imperial – $3,714/week

Moreno Valley – $3,504/week

Georgia

Sacramento – $5,148/week

Imperial – $3,714/week

Moreno Valley – $3,504/week

New York

Port Jefferson – $4,614/week

Valley Stream – $4,610/week

Astoria – $4,564/week

Can You Pick Where You Go as a Travel Nurse?

Yes. Most agencies have recruiters who will ask you if you’d like an assignment and you can take it or leave it. You can also search agency job listings by desired locations.

How Long Is a Typical Travel Nurse Rotation?

The typical range of assignments is between eight and 26 weeks. However, if the facility you are placed with needs you for longer, there are options to extend the assignment or even remain there permanently.


We created this list by reviewing and evaluating over 13 travel nursing agencies. Factors that were considered during the analysis include benefits offered, pay, reputation, reviews, awards, ease of onboarding, and access to customer service. We referred to reputable review sites and sources, which helped us narrow down our list. We also considered input from current and past nurses who worked for some of the agencies.


1. National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations. Top 5 benefits of being a traveling healthcare professional. Accessed August 18, 2022. https://www.natho.org/resources/Documents/Top_Five_Benefits.pdf

2. Inc Magazine. Triage Staffing is a 2022 Inc. 5000 honoree. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://www.inc.com/profile/triage-medical-staffing

3. Nurse.org. Compact Nursing States List 2022. Accessed August 15, 2022. https://nurse.org/articles/enhanced-compact-multi-state-license-eNLC/

4. Trusted Health. Highest Paying Cities for Travel Nurses 2020-2021. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://www.trustedhealth.com/blog/highest-paying-cities-for-travel-nurses-2020-2021

5. Nurse.org. Travel nurses & RTs are earning over $10K per week to work in NYC – Here’s how to help. April 1, 2020. https://nurse.org/articles/new-york-travel-nurse-jobs-covid19-incentives/





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