The top 7 travel nurse specialties

To be a travel nurse or not? That is a great question. There is an all you can eat buffet of answers we can dive into when helping you answer this question. But I think the very first thing to look at is, "If I become a travel nurse in my specialty, can I find work?" Not all positions are equally available for travel contracts. Some RN specialties are a lot hotter than others and some are extremely competitive with only 30 or 40 contracts available nationwide. Although we see each and every nurse as ridiculously amazing, let's find out if your amazing specialty is in demand in the travel landscape.

Med-Surg Travel Nurse

If you are a Med-Surg RN, the travel nurse world can be your oyster! With any specialty, there are ups and downs in the market, but in the hot season there can be over 700 available travel nurse Med-Surg contracts at any given time! That's a huge market! New York, Virginia, and California are especially needing Med-Surg travel nurses.

See this season's Travel Med-Surg Market Forecast here.

Telemetry Travel Nurse

Telemetry...can I get a what what? Telemetry is hot, hot, hot. On average there are likely over 400 jobs for RNs in telemetry at any given time, sometimes going up into the 800 range in top seasons. That's pretty incredible. If you're a Telemetry RN, almost any season is hot for you, but fall and winter always a win.

See this season's Travel Telemetry Market Forecast here.

Step Down Travel Nurse

Is it hot in here?! Why hello there, step down RNs! There's a lot of step down/telemetry positions out there and many RNs who are prepared for that. But step down on its own holds a lot of the travel market. The availability of step down really spikes on the tail end of the calendar year. Numbers can be (comparatively) pretty low in the spring and summer months but really bounce back strong in the fall and winter seasons. There could be about 100 openings for Step Down travel nurses in March and then over 500 openings in September. Woah!

See this season's Travel Step Down Market Forecast here.

ER Travel Nurse

As much as the average person isn't excited about going to the ER, an RN could really enjoy it there! From our data, ER is a consistent market for travel nurses. And for those ready to travel, it may only take 2 or 3 submissions until you land an assignment. Not bad! Like many other travel nurse specialties, the most jobs are seen in fall and winter.

See this season's Travel ER  Forecast here.

OR Travel Nurse

To our travel OR Nurses: We love you! One of my very best friends is an OR nurse and she always says she would never do anything else! She loves her work because so much of the day was scheduled. And in her experience, she never worked weekends. I was so jealous! If you are like my friend, this may sound like a pretty sweet deal! Of course, as a Travel OR Nurse, the weekends off deal is all up to your contract, but it’s a pretty hot area to get into if you can! In 2019, Nomadicare saw an average of about 360 jobs available at any given time, the hottest season is the fall/winter.

See this season's Travel OR  Forecast here.

ICU Travel Nurse

Shout out to our Intensive Care RNs! You are a rock in the travel nurse world. Holding it down for your patients and also highly sought after by companies and hospitals. Being a travel nurse in the ICU you likely see a lot of consistency in job availability. In its slowest seasons, travel nurse ICU positions are in the 200s or so but can climb over 400 in the hotter seasons like fall and winter. It's a steady one for sure!

See this season's Travel ICU Forecast here.

Labor and Delivery Travel Nurse

Is the Labor and Delivery option as rewarding as it sounds? At least in terms of available travel contracts and cute babies, it sure is! Although it's one of the smaller markets compared to the previous ones we talked about, it's still very good in the travel world. Labor and Deliver travel contracts fluctuate a bit more than the others throughout the year, with a pretty steady ebb and flow as the year goes on. There is usually anywhere from 150 to a little over 300 travel jobs available most months.

See this season's Travel Labor and Delivery Forecast here.

Pro tips to our nurses

If you are one of the specialties we talked about, it seems like a great idea to stick with it! We consistently hear there is a need for these specialties in the travel world. If you're able to switch into one of these fields from where you are now, it's also likely safe to do so if travel is in your future. The hottest times to travel overall for RNs are the fall and the winter. If you're going for that winter travel...a pro tip is to start your contract BEFORE January 1. Try and beat that new year rush after the holidays where things get more competitive as lots of travel nurses flood into the market.

Cheers to all of the incredible travel nurses,

xo Laura

Mentorship, education, and inspiration

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