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The Best Specialties for Travel Nursing – 2020

The best Specialties for Travel nursing are those with the highest demand and the highest pay. However, those two attributes don’t necessarily go hand in hand. In this article, we’ll use data from our travel nursing job board to give you an idea of how various specialties rank for these two attributes.

Why High Demand is Important

High demand makes a specialty great for travel nursing for many reasons. First, if there are more jobs, then you may have a higher chance of landing one.

Second, if there are more jobs, then it’s much more likely that there is a higher number of locations for those jobs. That means there is a better chance that there will be jobs available in the locations you want to work.

These factors help to keep you working when you want to work. Unwanted unemployment and “frictional unemployment” are real problems in travel nursing, so you want to avoid them at all costs.

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Here are two articles with excellent tips to help you maintain consistent employment as a travel nurse:

  1. What Every Travel Nurse Ought to Know About Frictional Unemployment
  2. How to Avoid Underemployment and Maximize Your Income as a Travel Nurse

About Our Dataset

It’s important to know a little about our dataset before we take a look at the most in demand specialties for travel nurses.

Our software automatically imports jobs from many of the nation’s leading healthcare staffing agencies. Given that different agencies have access to different jobs, our dataset is broader than any individual agency’s dataset.

We calculated the percentage of jobs per specialty by dividing the total count of jobs for each specialty by the total number of jobs in our dataset.

We did not “de-dup” the jobs before we tallied their percentages. For example, if the same hospital has 5 open positions with the same shift and specialty, we count it is as 5 jobs, not 1. This ensures that you have an accurate idea of the job market for your specialty.

How COVID-19 Affects Demand for Travel Nurse Specialties

It’s also important to note that our dataset covers a time period in which COVID-19 is still very much a problem. As a result, specialties that deal directly with COVID-19 patients are overrepresented relative to the norm. These specialties include ICU, StepDown and Med/Surg.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 has a negative affect on other specialties. For example, OR, ER and even Labor and Delivery have all exhibited lower than normal demand.

How to Interpret the Numbers

You’ll see that many of the specialties on our list have very small percentages. Please do not be discouraged by this. Here is an explanation.

First, we wanted to show you every specialty, no matter how small the percentage of jobs that specialty constitutes. We did this so that folks of all specialties could see their numbers in order to make informed decisions about their careers.

Second, the total number of jobs in our dataset was well over 50,000. So, even though the percentages are small, there still might be quite a few jobs.

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Third, there are certain specialties that we are not a good barometer for because we don’t work with agencies that focus on them. For example, School Nursing is a travel nursing specialty that we know exists but we do not have any jobs for.

Fourth, if there are fewer jobs for your specialty, then it just means that you’ll need to be more flexible with various details like location and shift. Remember, fewer jobs mean fewer professionals with those specialties. So, your chances of actually landing a job may be just as good.

Finally, please note that we quote the figures in percentages. To illustrate, approximately 20.62 out of every 100 jobs on our job board are for ICU. Meanwhile, approximately 1.7 out of 10,000 jobs on our job board are for Corrections.

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Specialties with the Highest Demand for Travel Nurses

Here is a list of travel nursing specialties ranked in order highest to lowest demand as measured by the percentage of jobs that each specialty constitutes.

Highest Demand Specialties for Travel Nurses 
Rank Specitalty Percentage of Jobs
1 ICU – Intensive Care Unit 20.62%
2 Med/Surg – Medical Surgical 18.37%
3 TELE – Telemetry 11.26%
4 ER – Emergency Room 7.38%
5 OR – Operating Room 7.24%
6 SDU 4.70%
7 PCU 3.15%
8 Labor and Delivery 3.06%
9 PACU 2.72%
10 CVICU 2.06%
11 MS/TELE 2.05%
12 Psych 1.92%
13 Home Health 1.88%
14 Oncology 1.32%
15 Cath Lab 1.29%
16 Dialysis 1.10%
17 LTC 0.84%
18 Endoscopy 0.83%
19 Rehab 0.76%
20 Long Term Acute Care 0.68%
21 Case Manager 0.58%
22 CVOR 0.58%
23 PICU 0.54%
24 Neuro ICU 0.55%
25 NICU 0.49%
26 PEDS 0.49%
27 SICU 0.42%
28 Hospice 0.36%
29 MICU 0.32%
30 CCU 0.31%
31 Interventional Radiology 0.30%
32 IMCU 0.26%
33 MS/Ortho 0.25%
34 Urgent Care 0.19%
35 OB/GYN 0.16%
36 PEDS ER 0.11%
37 Post Partum 0.10%
38 Infection Control 0.07%
39 Wound Care 0.07%
40 Mother Baby 0.07%
41 RNFA 0.06%
42 Burn ICU 0.06%
43 Ambulatory Care 0.06%
44 SNF – Skilled Nursing Facility 0.05%
45 Cardiac Cath Lab 0.05%
46 EP 0.04%
47 Infusion 0.04%
48 Geriatrics 0.02%
49 Utilization Review 0.02%
50 DOU 0.02%
51 House Supervisor 0.02%
52 PICC 0.02%
53 Corrections 0.02%
54 GI Lab 0.02%
55 Bone Marrow Transplant 0.01%
56 Nursery 0.01%
57 Occupational Health 0.01%
58 Patient Care Coordinator 0.01%
59 Transplant 0.01%
60 Flight Nurse 0.006%
61 Radilogy 0.006%
62 Urology 0.006%
63 Nephrology 0.003%

Specialties with the Highest Pay for Travel Nurses

We also receive compensation information from our agency partners. Below, we categorize specialties based on pay ranges. Here is how specialties rank in 2020 from highest to lowest pay.

Travel nurse specialties ranked by pay
Rank Specialties
1 Cath Lab, ICU, OR, CVOR, CVICU
3 DOU, SDU, PCU, Telemetry, Intermediate Care, Med/Surg-Tele, Case Management, Oncology
4 Medical Surgical, Pediatrics, Home Health, Dialysis
5 Psychiatric, Post-Partum, Mother Baby

This Year is Abnormal Travel Nursing Pay

We should note that this year has been unusual for pay due to COVID-19. Some specialties, like ICU, have a large number of jobs with higher crisis rates.

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In a typical year, ICU and CVICU might be in the second group and L&D might be in the first group.

Why We Don’t Display Average Pay for Specialties

You might be wondering why we don’t display the average pay for each specialty. We believe average pay is woefully overrated and, in the case of travel nurses, highly deceptive.

Pay varies dramatically by location. More importantly, travel nurses face costs that permanent employees do not. A fairly significant portion of a travel nurse’s pay goes toward covering those costs. We recommend reviewing our article on how much money travel nurses make for a more thorough discussion of this topic.

As always, we hope you found this article useful. You can plan more easily when you know how your specialty stacks up. Be sure to join BluePipes to simplify your travel nursing job search and career.

The post The Best Specialties for Travel Nursing – 2020 appeared first on BluePipes Blog.

This post first appeared on Home » BluePipes, please read the originial post: here

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The Best Specialties for Travel Nursing – 2020


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