Best Travel Nursing Agencies

Triage Staffing is our pick for best travel nursing agency

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Traveling nurses often find working in different parts of the country, or even the world, exhilarating and fulfilling. Today, there are many agencies that specifically focus on providing registered nurses (RNs) with short-term working opportunities in a variety of healthcare specialties and settings across the U.S. and internationally. Nurses are not the only healthcare professionals filling these roles; physical therapists, occupational therapists, licensed practical nurses, and surgical technologists are also traveling to fill open short-term positions.

According to a 2021 survey, 96% of healthcare facilities in the U.S. reported using a travel healthcare professional in the 12 months before the survey. "Being able to explore other healthcare systems and connect with other providers can help give a travel nurse new experiences and perspectives they may not have seen if they stayed in one staff job," says Rachel Norton, BSN, RN, clinician support manager at Vivian Health, a national hiring marketplace used by over 150 travel agencies to source top healthcare talent.

With so many travel nursing agencies to choose from, we tasked our research team with finding the best agencies available that have comprehensive pay and benefits packages, excellent reputations, and that offer a variety of nationwide travel assignments. This article highlights the best travel nurse agencies based on various needs.

Best Travel Nursing Agencies of 2023

Best Overall : Triage Staffing


Triage Staffing

Triage Staffing

Key Specs
  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem
  • Housing: Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing for 13 weeks
  • Benefits: Health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability, 401(k) with company match, vacation, and education reimbursement
  • Contracts Nationwide: Yes
Why We Chose It

Triage Staffing tops our list because it provides a higher hourly wage and more frequent bonuses compared to its competitors. Additionally, the agency offers extensive perks, like tuition reimbursement and 401(k) on the first day.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Contracts available in all 50 states

  • Insurance available on first day

  • Paid by direct deposit each week

  • Dedicated support team available 24/7

Cons
  • Wages and stipends are reduced for sick time

  • Reports of poor weekend support for billing issues

  • Must have 2 years experience for most positions

Overview

Triage Staffing, founded in 2006, is considered by industry professionals as one of the most well-rounded travel nurse agencies among the companies listed here and in general. The company was recognized in 2019 by Inc. Magazine and Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA).

The company is moderate in size when compared to other nursing travel agencies (it is listed by Inc. Magazine as having 51-200 employees). It is based in Omaha, Nebraska, and has an impressive rating on Glassdoor.

Triage Staffing specializes in helping nurses and healthcare professionals find 13-week assignments across the U.S. The company strives for transparency and "to build relationships that are deeper than simple business transactions." Those who are hired are paid weekly (based on an hourly wage) via direct deposit.

The benefits package includes a wage, overtime, bonuses, per diems, and a housing stipend. Triage will also help its travel nurses find housing, if that's their preference. Health insurance is provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield, and those hired get dental insurance, vacation time, and a 401(k) plan.

Best for Sick Pay : Aya Healthcare


Aya Healthcare

Aya Healthcare

Key Specs
  • Pay: Hourly wage, overtime, bonuses, per diem, stipends when called off
  • Housing: Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing
  • Benefits: Health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k) with company match, sick pay, free wellness and fitness programs, employee assistance programs, a clinical ladder program with tuition reimbursement, and loan forgiveness options
  • Contracts Nationwide: Yes
Why We Chose It

Of the many benefits Aya Healthcare offers, one makes it stand out from other agencies: providing sick pay should you become ill during an assignment. You can rest assured knowing if you get sick, Aya will support you through recovery.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Benefits include sick pay (after 90 days)

  • Offers local and nationwide travel assignments

  • Requires only 1 year of experience

  • Contracts available in all 50 states

  • Insurance coverage for you and your dependents from day 1

Cons
  • Complaints about communication during recruitment

  • Large agency size might be challenging

  • 401k eligibility begins after 4 consecutive months of work or 1 year after hiring

Overview

Aya Healthcare is one of the most talked-about travel nursing agencies around, literally. A 2017 independent study analyzed the frequency of top travel nursing companies mentioned by users on social media sites. The study concluded Aya Healthcare is the most frequently referenced in user comments.

Aya Healthcare is also one of the only travel nursing agencies that have sick pay, which begins accruing on the first day of an assignment. Nurses can earn one hour for every 30 hours worked, but it can't be used until after at least 90 days after their start date.

In addition to its rare sick pay policy, the company boasts comprehensive benefits. Travel nurses working for Aya Healthcare can start contributing to a company-matched 401k plan after four consecutive months of work for the agency, or one year after their hiring date. It also promises to cover or reimburse nurses for the cost of licensure and help them navigate and expedite the process in the states where they are assigned. Aya Healthcare offers discounts, wellness, and nutrition plans in addition to its medical, vision, and dental benefits, which are available to nurses (and their spouses and children) from their first day with the company.

Aya Healthcare has a strong online presence, including a blog and active social media accounts on nearly every contemporary platform. Its website proudly displays several company awards and accolades, including the Joint Commission's Golden Seal of Approval. The agency has placed thousands of travel nurses and allied workers nationwide and offers a program for travel nursing from Canada.

Best for Education : Travel Nurse Across America


Travel Nurse Across America

Travel Nurse Across America

Key Specs
  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem (guaranteed)
  • 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
  • Contracts Nationwide: Yes
Why We Chose It

Travel Nurse Across America (TNAA) offers comprehensive benefits; however, its continuing education programs are what really sets the agency apart from others. Thanks to its partnership with Aspen University, the agency helps you earn your BSN with tuition reimbursement upon completion.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • RN to BSN tuition reimbursement

  • RN specialty exam/recertification reimbursements

  • Insurance coverage available on first day

  • Offers free mental health resources

  • Per diem guarantee

Cons
  • Unable to see pay rates on the site

  • Large agency size might feel less supportive

Overview

Travel Nurse Across America (TNAA) had the highest average score when analyzing the top 10 travel nurse agency lists across several well-known sites.

Founded in 1999 in North Little Rock, Arkansas, this company was present on three "Top 10" lists in 2019, a notable feat that speaks to its history of satisfaction. According to Bluepipes, TNAA was among the top 10 travel nursing agencies, one of the biggest (in terms of company size) on its 2019 list. 

TNAA explains its use of a full-team approach to assist travelers with specialty staff equipped to handle a variety of needs, including housing experts and clinical leadership, This agency also highlights its wide array of benefits offered, such as low census pay, tuition reimbursement, and paid licensure fees prior to travel. Overtime will be included in the payment for any extra hours worked and in every state, paid sick leave starts to accrue from day one.

TNAA also partnered with Aspen University, so individuals can get their Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 12 months. Upon completion, TNAA will even reimburse tuition expenses. It also offers reimbursements for recertification fees to "eligible" nurses.

Best Customer Service : Axis Medical Staffing


Axis Medical Staffing

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
  • Contracts Nationwide: Yes
Why We Chose It

With around-the-clock support 365 days a year, Axis Medical Staffing has one of the best customer service reputations in the industry. It offers a wide array of benefits, including healthcare coverage and company-matched 401(k) plans.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Dedicated support team available 24/7/365

  • Wide variety of specialty contracts

  • Offers company matching 401(k) with immediate vesting

  • Can submit questions to real travel nurses

  • Provides quick email responses

  • Pays for housing and assists in securing it

Cons
  • Not transparent about pay rates

  • Doesn't include paid sick leave in benefits

Overview

Axis' user reviews remain the highest on this list. Formed in Seattle, Washington, in 2003, Axis touts several coveted benefits, including payment of paid personalized housing options (with pet deposit costs covered by the agency), as well as immediate vesting in its company-matched 401(k) plan.

This agency regularly features a new Traveler of the Month nurse on its blog. Additionally, Axis’ website has a page dedicated to Ask an Axis Travel Nurse, which features an easy submission form where a nurse can answer all your questions.

This encouraging way of connecting can provide novice or even seasoned travelers with a trusted source in the form of a nursing peer who has traveled with this specific agency several times, instead of hosting an impersonal message board. Axis also offers a live chat feature that's easily accessible on the homepage. These features earned Axis the top spot on Bluepipes Best Travel Nursing /Companies list in 2022.

Axis promises similar reimbursements and benefits to other companies, but it is not immediately clear from the company's website whether it offers paid sick leave.

Best Track Record : FlexCare Medical Staffing


FlexCare Medical Staffing

FlexCare 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, meals and incidentals stipend, rental car, travel reimbursement, continuing education, and license reimbursement
  • Contracts Nationwide: Yes
Why We Chose It

Boasting more than 50 industry awards, including BluePipes’s 2020 Best Travel Nursing Company award, FlexCare Medical Staffing has a track record of exceeding expectations and fulfilling its promises to traveling nurses.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Award-winning, highly reputable agency

  • Single point of contact for all your needs

  • Outstanding benefits

  • Features a referral program

Cons
  • Insurance coverage starts after 1 month

  • Have to make an account to view wages

Overview

Bluepipes.com refers to FlexCare Medical Staffing as the "most decorated travel nursing agency of all time," with more than 1,727 reviews reported. This agency obtained a gold finish on Travel Nursing Central’s 2019 list of top travel nursing companies and has consistently placed since 2014. FlexCare has also been on the Highway Hypodermics list since 2011.

FlexCare’s website touts its Premier Traveler Access program, offering prospective travel nurses the opportunity to unlock and view pay ranges for a wide variety of open jobs, in addition to personalized alerts via text and email. This agency explains its mission to support travelers by providing a single recruiter who is able to meet every need (termed “S1NGLEPOINT” on the website) and help simplify the entire process.

This one point of contact can advocate for the traveler, assist in searching for jobs and housing, provide a transparent and competitive salary rate, as well as ensure timely payment.

Best Newcomer : Advantis Medical


Advantis Medical

Advantis Medical

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) without company match, transportation stipends, and partial license reimbursement
  • Contracts Nationwide: Yes
Why We Chose It

Advantis Medical has a nurse care team available to help you every step of the way—from setting up your profile and walking you through the onboarding process to helping you find your next assignment—making it an excellent choice for those just starting out.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent reviews from its travel clinicians

  • Quick response times from trained care team

  • Has a great reputation in the industry

  • Site offers several communication methods

  • Paid by direct deposit each week

Cons
  • Site lacks information on benefits package

  • No company match for 401(k)

Overview

Founded in 2018 as a subsidiary of Advantis Global, Advantis Medical's user reviews are limited in number but are glowing regarding people's experiences with the company.

Advantis Medical recruits travel nurses and places them in top institutions across the United States. The agency offers client connections with hospitals, outpatient clinics, same-day ambulatory surgical centers, as well as skilled nursing facilities.

Advantis Medical’s specialization opportunities include placements in divisions like Medical-Surgical (M/S), Emergency Department (ED), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Labor & Delivery (L&D), and more. Its benefits include highly competitive compensation packages, direct deposit available from day one, assistance with housing options, health insurance (medical, dental, vision), and a 401(k) option.

The agency also has payment incentives for referrals. To make the process as seamless as possible, Advantis Medical has a one-minute application form which could not be any easier, especially for a traveling nurse who is always on the go.

Best for Benefits : RN Network


RN Network

RN Network

Key Specs
  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem
  • Housing: Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing
  • Benefits: Health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, employee assistance program, Sanvello membership, Talkspace membership, Teledoc access, credentialing assistance, continuing education, traditional and Roth 401(k), travel reimbursement, and loyalty program
  • Contracts Nationwide: Yes
Why We Chose It

RN Network provides a comprehensive benefits package that includes day-one health insurance and 401(k) options, plus additional perks like access to virtual therapy and medical care.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 24/7 clinical support

  • Transparent about pay rate

  • Provides access to virtual therapy and medical care

  • Weekly pay via direct deposit

  • Completion, extension, and referral bonuses

Cons
  • No paid time off

  • Complaints of lower-paying contracts

Overview

Founded in 1998, RN Network has over two decades of experience in the travel nursing industry. Its experience shows in the company's user reviews, many of which highlight its great communication, support, and benefits.

The agency provides an impressive benefits package that includes day-one health insurance with a zero-premium option, as well as a 401(k) with company match, both traditional and Roth options. RN Network also offers access to Talkspace, Teledoc, and Sanvello's mental health app—ensuring its healthcare professionals have the mental health resources they need while on assignment.

Available contracts and pay rates are transparent on their user-friendly website, which can be a rarity in the industry. The company hires RNs, LPNs/LVNs, PCTs, and surgical techs for a variety of specialties throughout the country. Only one year of clinical experience is required, and the company offers a comprehensive onboarding program to help simplify the transition.

Best Recruiters : Host Healthcare


Host Healthcare

Host Healthcare

Key Specs
  • Pay: Hourly wage paid weekly, plus overtime, bonuses, per diem, COVID quarantine pay
  • Housing: Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing
  • Benefits: Health insurance, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k) with company match, and travel reimbursement
  • Contracts Nationwide: Yes
Why We Chose It

Host Healthcare recruiters are some of the best in the business, according to clinician reviews. With exceptional customer service, the company strives to make the job hunt and placement process as smooth as possible for its candidates.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent customer service

  • Straightforward job hunt and placement process

  • Offers a variety of housing options, including pet-friendly

  • 24/7 support via multiple channels

  • COVID-19 quarantine pay available

Cons
  • Can’t view facility or pay without an account

  • Site lacks information on reimbursement offers

Overview

Founded in 2012, Host Healthcare is a travel healthcare staffing agency that works with some of the nation's top facilities. The company has earned multiple awards over the years, including being named one of the Top Travel Nursing Companies by Bluepipes.

What sets Host Healthcare apart from other agencies is its recruiters who are consistently praised by clinicians for their exceptional customer service. In reviews, nurses rave about their recruiters being responsive, receptive, and thorough in their onboarding and placement processes. The company also offers a variety of housing options, including pet-friendly ones, to ensure you have a comfortable place to call home while on assignment.

In addition to its comprehensive benefits package, which includes health insurance, dental, and vision coverage, Host Healthcare also offers a 401(k) with company match and COVID-19 quarantine pay. If your facility quarantines you due to possible COVID-19 exposure, the company will compensate you $1,400 per week for the duration of your time off work.

One drawback is that the company requires users to sign up for an account before viewing facilities and estimated weekly pay. However, it hires across multiple specialties and licensure types, including nursing professionals, therapy professionals, and other allied health professionals.

Final Verdict

Even though some agencies on our list require account registration to access pay rates, each one offers competitive benefits and wages. Triage Staffing is our best overall travel nursing agency choice because of its positive reviews, superior customer service, and competitive wages. Day one 401(k) and tuition reimbursement are just a few ways it provides long-term support for travelers. 

If you’re a first-time travel nurse, Advantis Medical is an excellent agency to join. The company’s Nurse Care Team is available to answer any questions you might have before, during, and after your job assignments. For those interested in continuing their education, we recommend Travel Nurse Across America. The agency has a partnership with Aspen University, enabling you to complete your BSN in one year with tuition reimbursement.

Compare the Best Travel Nursing Agencies

Travel Nursing Agency  Pay  Housing  Benefits Contracts Nationwide?
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, and education reimbursement  Yes
Aya Healthcare Best for Sick Pay Hourly wage, overtime, bonuses, per diem, stipends when called off Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k) with company match, sick pay, free wellness and fitness programs, employee assistance programs, clinical ladder program with tuition reimbursement, and loan forgiveness options  Yes
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, and chaplain assistance program  Yes
Axis Medical Staffing Best Customer Service 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, and continuing education  Yes
FlexCare Medical Staffing Best Track Record 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, meals and incidentals stipend, continuing education, and license reimbursement  Yes
Advantis Medical Best Newcomer Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Health coverage, dental, vision, 401(k) without company match, transportation stipends, and partial license reimbursement  Yes
RN Network Best for Benefits Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, employee assistance program, Sanvello membership, Talkspace membership, Teledoc access, credentialing assistance, continuing education, traditional and Roth 401(k), travel reimbursement, and loyalty program Yes
Host Healthcare Best Recruiters Hourly wage paid weekly, overtime, bonuses, per diem, COVID quarantine pay Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing Health insurance, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k) with company match, and travel reimbursement Yes

Guide for Choosing the Best Travel Nursing Agencies

Is a Travel Nursing Agency Right for You?

There are many advantages to working with a travel nursing agency in addition to the obvious benefit of being able to travel and explore new places. Some of the other advantages of working with a travel nursing agency include:

  • Competitive pay: Travel nursing agencies offer competitive pay rates that are often higher than what you would make as a staff nurse and recruiters can help you find lucrative positions.
  • Benefits: Health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits are typically included in a travel nursing agency's compensation package.
  • Housing: Travel nursing agencies often provide housing or help nurses find housing in their assignment location.
  • Specialty assignments based on nursing field: Agencies can help place you in an assignment that matches your specialty, interests, and skills. Some facilities will accept travelers into new specialties or a float pool that covers multiple units, as long as they have prior travel nursing experience. This is an added bonus for those who wish to explore new areas of nursing.
  • Flexibility: Agencies offer a variety of assignment lengths and locations, so you can choose an assignment that fits your lifestyle.
  • Perks and discounts: Free or reduced-cost continuing education courses, travel expenses, gym memberships, completion bonuses, and other perks are often available through travel nursing agencies.

How to Choose a Travel Nurse Agency

Consider the following when choosing a travel nursing agency:

  • Average pay rates: Pay rate varies by agency, location, and assignment. Travel nurses often work with multiple agencies at the same time to find the best assignments and pay rates.
  • Benefits package: Make sure the agency's benefits are comprehensive and meet your needs. Benefits may include health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability, 401K, vacation time, and education reimbursement.
  • Housing options: Determine if the agency provides housing or assists with finding housing. Some nurses prefer to find their own housing, while others prefer the convenience of having the agency secure housing for them.
  • Reputation: Check out online reviews and ratings to get an idea of the agency's reputation. Talking to other travel nurses who have worked with the agency is also a good way to get first-hand information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Travel Nursing Agencies?

Travel nursing agencies are staffing agencies that place registered nurses and healthcare professionals in hospitals and clinics with short-term staffing needs. They often send individuals to national or international locations where there are nursing shortages.

What Kinds of Benefits Can Travel Nurses Receive Through Travel Nursing Agencies?

Nursing salaries and benefits depend on which agency you're using. Travel nurses often receive direct deposit, health insurance (medical, dental, vision), referral bonuses, a housing stipend, bonuses, and overtime pay. There is also usually a 401(k) option for travel nurses.

Do Travel Nursing Agencies Pay for Housing?

Your agency will either have housing available for you or will reimburse you for your housing expenses. If you choose to secure your own housing, most agencies will give you a stipend to help offset the cost of rent and utilities. Talk with your agency recruiter about your housing options and what will work best for you. If you're traveling alone, you may want the convenience of having your agency find housing for you. If you're traveling with family or friends, you may prefer to find your own housing that meets the needs of your entire group.

How Long Are Travel Nursing Assignments?

Some travel nursing opportunities can be as short as eight weeks, while others can last for 26 weeks at a time. There are often options and offers to extend assignments, too.

What Experience Do You Need to be Recruited by a Travel Nursing Agency?

Most agencies require new travelers to have recent experience as a nurse—meaning you can't become a travel nurse right out of nursing school. “Most travel nursing jobs will require at least one year of experience in the specialty that the nurse wishes to travel in, and some require two years,” says Norton. “Getting that experience and being a resource on your unit are great ways to prepare for travel.”
Since each assignment is different, some facilities may require additional experience or credentials based on the type of position. For example, a nurse who wants to work in the intensive care unit (ICU) may need two years of experience to work with the agency, but three years of experience may be required to work in the ICU at a specific facility. Your agency recruiter will match your experience with the needs of their clients.

Can Travel Nurses Choose Where They Work?

Yes, and that's generally a benefit of the job. Some agencies work to assign candidates throughout the United States, while others place travel nurses internationally. Before deciding to work with an agency, it makes sense to find out where they place travel nurses if you have a specific placement location in mind.

Methodology

We reviewed more than 20 agencies and studied hundreds of reviews from travel nurses around the country to identify the best travel nursing agencies. We then analyzed company quality and customer service scores across multiple sources to determine which companies are most reputable. Wages, housing options, and benefits were also a top priority as all nurses deserve competitive pay and a benefits package that supports their overall well-being. And since nurses appreciate having numerous contract options, we also took into account the variety of assignments, as well as the quantity and quality of each agency's listings. Finally, we chose companies that offer contracts in all 50 states to ensure placement options no matter where nurses choose to work.

The 6 Best Travel Nursing Agencies of 2022

Verywell / Designed by Amelia Manley

Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Healthcare Research & Analytics. Social listening: Evaluation of travel nurse companies: Analysis of travel nurse sentiment towards travel nurse companies.

  2. Bluepipes. Best Travel Nursing Companies 2022

Edited by Ally Hirschlag
Allison "Ally" Hirschlag

Ally is a senior editor for Verywell, who covers topics in the health, wellness, and lifestyle spaces. She has written for The Washington Post, The Guardian, BBC Future, and more.

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