Best Southern States for Travel Nursing
By Katelynne Shepard, Contributor
One of the biggest benefits of travel nursing is getting to experience different locations all year round. And the southern states offer plenty of fun in the sun and nursing opportunities abound. Check out our top 5 locations that every travel nurse should have on their must-see list.
Nurses in Texas make right around the national average wage, coming in at $72,890 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics state-by-state breakdown. However, paychecks stretch a lot farther than in some other states thanks to the low cost of living in Texas. Almost everything, except transportation costs, is cheaper in the Lone Star State, and that means you'll have more money to enjoy the beautiful weather and outdoor activities it has to offer. Texas gets 30 more sunny days per year than the rest of the country on average and has many state parks where you can hike, bike and enjoy the incredibly scenery. See all our Texas nursing jobs.
It doesn't get much more stereotypically Southern than Georgia with its peach trees, stately houses and Spanish moss hanging from the trees, but this state has a lot to offer nurses as well. Major hospitals like Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and Piedmont Fayette Hospital in Fayetteville have plenty of open nursing positions, and if you're willing to move to some of the more rural areas, the need for nurses is even higher. Average salaries for nurses in the state range around $68,950, but travel nurses often get paid even more and enjoy perks like housing stipends.
With hot summers and temperate winters that rarely dip below the 40s, Florida is an attractive state for anyone who wants to get a break from northern climates. The Everglades National Park and 663 miles of beaches offer plenty of outdoor recreation and the chance to see wildlife including alligators, dolphins, manatees and plenty of waterfowl. There's also Walt Disney World Resort, the Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando for those who like a little more fast-paced action. When it comes to employment, Florida nurses average $66,210 and plenty of job opportunities thanks to the nearly 21% of the population that's 65 or older. See all our Florida nursing jobs.
4. South Carolina
Travel nursing opportunities abound in South Carolina, and many of the state's best hospitals are located in close proximity to the coastline, so you can enjoy a beach stroll to relax before or after a long shift. Nurses in South Carolina command an average of $64,940 per year, and with the state currently predicted to be in a major nursing shortage for the next 10 years, job opportunities abound. In their off time, nurses can enjoy visiting historic sites like the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, shopping at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach and viewing the scenery at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet — just to name a few.
Louisiana offers travel nurses an average salary of $63,970 and a plethora of cultural opportunities to take advantage of when not taking care of patients. Visit the historic French Quarter in New Orleans and sample some of the amazing seafood that was freshly caught from the nearby waters. If you're feeling adventurous, you can go out on a fishing expedition of your own, take a swamp boat tour or explore the local salt domes.
While the sunny weather, outdoor activities and beautiful scenery are reason enough to try out these Southern states, taking a travel nursing position also lets you get experience with different facilities, units, patients and other nurses and staff. That can help make you a better, more well-rounded nurse and give you the skills and experience you need to keep moving up in your chosen career.
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