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20 Travel Nurse Statistics and Facts

20 Travel Nurse Statistics and Facts

Travel nurses are registered nurses who work on short-term contracts through independent staffing agencies. These medical professionals can fill up positions around the country on short notice.

With the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the importance of travel nurses, it is a great time to look at the numbers behind this profession.

The data will help shed light on some of the essential factors influencing these types of registered nurses.

Travel Nurse Stats Highlights

Travel nurses are an essential part of the medical profession. These registered nurses work all around the country in various roles at various locations.

This profession comes with expected ebbs and flows, mainly when crises occur. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting stats and facts about travel nurses:

  • The job dates back to New Orleans in the 1970s. During the 1980s and 1990s, 13-week contracts for nurses were used as standard practice in many hospitals.
  • In 2021, travel nurses earned an average of $124.96 an hour.
  • This pay rate was 3 times more than that of staff nurses, which led to 47% of staff nurses leaving their roles to travel instead.
  • In 2019, only 43,000 of the 2,982,280 registered nurses in the United States were also in travel nursing roles.
  • After the boost in demand during the pandemic, it dropped 42% by the summer of 2022.

Travel Nurse Gender and Civil Status Stats

Gender plays an exciting role in nursing in general and with travel nurses in particular. Here’s an overview of the trends in travel nurse demographics.

There Are More Male Travel Nurses Than Staff Nurses

(Source: National Nursing Workforce Survey)

Across the United States, 13% of registered nurses working as staff nurses self-identify as male. In comparison, 18% of travel nurses self-identify as male. This figure shows that men are more likely to sign up for travel opportunities.

More Men Are Going Into Nursing

(Source: Statista)

There is a growing trend of men being travel nurses, which reflects that the number of men in nursing is steadily increasing. In 2008, only 7% of registered nurses were male. By the end of 2021, 13.3% of registered nurses were male.

While there is still a significant gender gap in the industry, the current upward trend of men becoming nurses directly impacts travel nursing.

Women Continue To Lead

(Source: National Nursing Workforce Survey)

The overwhelming majority of registered nurses are female. By the end of 2022, 91% of registered nurses self-identified as female. This majority is very similar in travel nursing, with 82% of registered nurses working in travel roles identifying as female.

In 2019, 88.5% of registered nurses across the United States were female. This shows that the female majority remains stable, with a strong showing for staff nurses and travel nurses.

Most Travel Nurses Are Single

(Source: National Nursing Workforce Survey)

Staff registered nurses with permanent contracts have a more significant percentage of married individuals: 71% are married, while 29% remain single.

In comparison, travel nurses are usually single, with almost the same rate in reverse: 70% remain single, while 30% are married. This shows that the travel nursing lifestyle better suits those with lesser ties.

The Largest Percentage of Female Travel Nurses Was in 2010

(Source: Zippia)

In 2010, data shows that female travel nurses had the most significant majority. They made up over 86% of travel nurses. The percentage has stayed below 80% since then, which shows the consistency of women working as travel nurses.

Travel Nurse Age Stats

Registered nurses of every age have been in travel nurse roles. Despite this, analyzing the age data can illuminate how much it can impact this profession. Let’s delve into the fascinating age-related details about travel nurses.

The Average Age of Travel Nurses Is 35

(Source: National Nursing Workforce Survey)

Data shows that the average age of travel nurses is 35. This sets it apart from nurses on permanent contracts across the United States, whose average age is 52. Almost 50% of nurses on permanent contracts are over 50 years old. In contrast, only 11% of travel nurses are over 50.

Most Travel Nurses Are Between 30-40 Years Old

(Source: National Nursing Workforce Survey)

Most travel nurses opt for this type of profession over their 30s and 40s. Most travel nurses are just under 30 and up to 46 years old, with numbers starting to dwindle after 50. Despite this, there are nurses as young as 19 and as old as 85.

Travel nurses also experience diversity in age ranges, and the job imposes no age limit. This data, combined with the average age, shows that this lifestyle is better suited to younger registered nurses.

Travel Nurse Diversity Stats

Travel nurses are a diverse group that reflects general society. The data presented here show that the field is slowly getting more varied as more and more registered nurses sign up for this option. Here are the most intriguing diversity stats regarding travel nurses.

Most Travel Nurses Are White

(Source: National Nursing Workforce Survey)

Currently, the majority of travel nurses are white. 73% of them reported that they were white or Caucasian. 11.8% reported being Black/African American, while 7.9% reported being Hispanic, with the same percentage of Asian travel nurses.

The rest of the share is completed by indigenous and Native American people. While this shows a white majority, it also reflects that people from every background can be travel nurses.

The White Majority Has Slightly Decreased

(Source: Zippia)

While travel nurses continue to be primarily white, the percentages have shifted slightly since 2010. Back then, white travel nurses were 72.8%, with other backgrounds following behind.

Since then, the other races have shown an increase, especially when it comes to those of Hispanic descent. In 2010, there were around 6.1% Hispanic travel nurses. Now, there are over 7.93%.

Asian Travel Nurses Have the Highest Salary Average

(Source: Zippia)

Asian travel nurses tend to be paid the most. Their salaries average at around $98,000 a year. Meanwhile, Black/African American travel nurses get paid the least, with an average of approximately $83,597.

White travel nurses average around $84,918, while Hispanic travel nurses have around $88,376. This shows that there is a wage gap in the world of travel nursing that can be influenced by many factors, including years of experience and the location of hiring agencies.

The Average Age of Most Ethnicities Is 40

(Source: Zippia)

Across the ethnicities involved in travel nursing, most of them tend to work during their 40s. The average age of Black/African American women is 46 years old, while the average for men is 45.

Asian men average 42 years old, while Asian women average 45. Hispanic women have an average of 38, and men at 40.

White women have an average age of 45, with men following at 43. The unknown/undisclosed segment in the study accounts for an average of 37 years old in men and 39 in women. While there is quite a range, most travel nurses prefer working in their 30s and through their 40s.

Travel Nurses Have a Significant LGBTQIA Demographic

(Source: Zippia)

In the medical profession, travel nursing attracts many LGBTQIA people. While retinal surgeons see the most significant percentage of LGBTQIA people, with 20.24%, travel nursing has 8.34%.

Spanish Is the Second Most Spoken Language by Travel Nurses

(Source: Zippia)

With the diversity of travel nurses established, it is no surprise that there is a range of foreign languages spoken by them. Spanish comes first, with 65.9% of travel nurses speaking it. This is followed by French, at 4.9%, Swedish at 3.3%, and Chinese, at 3.3%.

Travel Nurse Degree and Employment Stats

Travel nurses have various backgrounds, including education levels. There are also a variety of employment factors that affect this profession. Here are the most intriguing data on these factors.

The Majority of Travel Nurses Have a Bachelor’s Degree

(Source: Zippia)

47% of travel nurses have a bachelor’s degree, with 38% having an associate’s degree. 7% have a master’s degree, while 5% have a diploma.

This shows that travel nurses can start taking on these roles on short-term contracts without requiring long years of study. Their experience in their respective fields makes them stand out.

Traveling Nurses With Master’s Degrees Earn More

(Source: Zippia)

The traveling nurses who’ve earned a master’s degree get paid more on average. They usually earn around $99,122 per year. In comparison, travel nurses with a bachelor’s degree earn approximately $86,312 per year.

Those with doctorates earn roughly $92,800 a year. While a higher education degree can increase pay, the data shows a small wage gap between degrees.

Travel Nurses Tend to Work for Private Companies

(Source: National Nursing Workforce Survey)

According to data, most travel nurses are hired by private companies and agencies. 56% of travel nurses work for companies with 1,000 to 10,000 employees.

16% work for companies with over 10,000 employees, while 15% work for companies with 500 to 1,000 employees. 76% of travel nurses work for private companies, while 11% work for public companies, and 10% work in the education system.

The Healthcare Industry Employs the Most Travel Nurses

(Source: Zippia)

76% of travel nurses work for the healthcare sector, which may seem to go without saying. Travel nurses are also present in the professional industry, with 8% of them working within it. 3% of travel nurses work for the education sector, while 2% work for nonprofits or Fortune 500 companies.

Travel Nurses Stay In Their Roles for Less Than a Year

(Source: Zippia)

Only 3% of travel nurses remain in their roles continuously over 11 years. Most of them, 54%, remain in one position for less than a year, and 25% stay in it between 1 and 2 years. This shows the effect of working with short-term contracts consistently.

Most travel nurses only work with 13-week contracts, and they tend to jump from one role to another with breaks between contracts. The data reflects the constant movement associated with this profession.

Travel Nurses Earn the Most in Hawaii

(Source: Zippia)

The average salary in Hawaii for a travel nurse is $124,372 a year. This is currently the state where travel nurses earn the most. Iowa tends to pay the least, with around $64,000 on average per year for a travel nurse.

The States With Most Travel Nurses Are Texas and Florida

(Source: Zippia)

The states with the most travel nurse positions are Texas and Florida. In Texas, there are around 12,993 positions for travel nurses. The average salary there for a travel nurse is $80,436. In Florida, there are around 15,978 jobs for travel nurses, and they pay approximately $74,486 on average.


How Much Experience Do You Need To Be a Travel Nurse?

On average, a registered nurse can opt to be a travel nurse with between 12 and 18 months of hospital-based experience in their role. This can vary depending on the criteria imposed by the hiring agency or company.

Will the Demand for Travel Nurses Continue?

After the massive demand for travel nurses during the height of the pandemic, this has started to decrease.

Despite this, the projections estimate that travel nurse opportunities will continue growing through 2026 at a 15% rate. Demand for nurses, in general, remains strong, and travel nurses, in particular, are sought-after for being able to take on positions with short notice.

How Many Travel Nurses Are There in THE US?

There are currently over $1,733,502 travel nurses working across the United States. This shows that the demand for the role is still going strong, despite short staffing and the decrease in urgency following the peak of the pandemic.

Final Thoughts

Travel nurses are employed all over the United States. They have all types of backgrounds, ethnicities, and education levels.

The pandemic created a boost for this type of role, but despite a slight decrease, there continues to be a need for travel nurses. The growth for the role is expected to continue at a stable space throughout the decade.

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