Learn how to choose the best agency for your career as a Travel Nurse
Travel Nurses are a vital component of many healthcare systems. Nothing underscored this need more than the COVID-19 pandemic. In many areas throughout the country, overwhelmed hospitals, doctors, and other medical staff benefited from Travel Nurses. These individuals are the nurses who fill temporary assignments based on immediate needs. In fact, from 2021 to 2022, the demand for Travel Nurses grew by 68 percent.
The pandemic isn’t the only time these nurses are in demand. At hospitals nationwide and across the healthcare industry, the growing need for specialized nurses is partly met by Travel Nurses. So, which agency should a Travel Nurse choose?
Although there are many options, the best ones offer the highest pay, moving resources, stellar reviews, and more. We looked at data and testimonials from a wide range of websites to compile the best list for you. When possible, we also included testimonials from real travel nurses who have worked for these companies.
What is a Travel Nurse?
This field first developed as a response to workforce shortages in the United States during the 1970s. Travel Nurses are Registered Nurses (RNs) who fill a temporary role in each location for a limited time, typically from eight to 13 weeks. They may work for a staffing agency instead of the hospital or medical facility where they are assigned. Their job description can vary from one job placement to the next.
Because Travel Nurses are RNs, they must have graduated from an approved nursing program and hold an active license. For more information about starting your nursing career, click here to learn how to become a Registered Nurse.
What Are Travel Nursing Agencies?
Travel Nursing agencies specialize in placing temporary contractors throughout the United States. They ensure that an RN is placed in a short-term role for a healthcare system. Essentially, these agencies coordinate with medical facilities and Travel Nurses to fill much-needed positions.
Thanks to nursing agencies, both jobs and nurses are properly vetted so patients can receive quality care. In addition, they offer a certain degree of protection, support, and perks for all parties involved in the process.
In this blog post, you’ll learn about the 12 best travel nursing agencies in 2023. We have included our highlights for each organization and links for more information.
Photo taken from the FlexCare website.
1. FlexCare Medical Staffing
Our top agency is none other than FlexCare Medical Staffing. Not only have they won various industry awards, but they were also highlighted as one of 2022’s Best Travel Nursing Companies. It’s no exaggeration to say that FlexCare has an excellent track record of exceeding expectations and delivering on their promises to Travel Nurses.
Founded in 2006, this agency offers benefits like one point of contact, exclusive job-matching technology, career growth advocates, and more. To keep their employees informed, they provide a list of active alerts. They are also well known for their transparent salary policies and competitive pay rates. This agency is one of the most decorated and celebrated Travel Nursing agencies.
Other notable benefits include:
- Nationwide contracts
- Hourly wage paid weekly with overtime and bonuses
- Tax-free stipend or company-secured housing
- Health coverage, such as dental and vision coverage, 401(k), etc.
- Stipends or reimbursement for transportation, meals and incidentals, travel, continuing education, and license
To see stories from real-life Travel Nurses who use FlexCare, be sure to visit their website here.
Photo taken from the RNnetwork website.
2. RN Network
RN Network was established more than 20 years ago. They offer benefits from day one and provide their employees with a comprehensive package. Some of their benefits include 24/7 clinical support, license reimbursement, 401(k) contributions, virtual therapy, and medical care. This agency was even founded on the principle of personalized service. In fact, it’s owned by CHG Healthcare, which is one of the largest healthcare staffing companies in the U.S.
While they do not offer paid time off, RN Network is transparent about their pay rates and offer nationwide contracts. They also provide their nurses with company-secured housing or a tax-free stipend. Other benefits include health, dental, and vision coverage and various memberships and continuing education opportunities. Travel reimbursement is another advantage of this renowned company.
To learn more about this agency, check out their testimonials from Travel Nurses here.
Photo taken from the Aya Healthcare website.
3. Aya Healthcare
Third on our list is Aya Healthcare. Founded in 2001, this agency staffs several kinds of healthcare professionals. Like other agencies on our list, they contract per diem work. Per diem is an allowance for lodging, meals, and other expenses. Some of the Travel Nurses from Aya Healthcare even appeared on MTV’s “Scrubbing In” show!
One of Aya’s standout benefits is sick pay during an assignment. This is a relatively rare accommodation, and this agency offers it should you become sick. They also provide their Travel Nurses with nationwide contracts, medical coverage, housing options, overtime pay, and bonuses. As if these advantages weren’t enough, Aya Healthcare maintains a program for Travel Nurses from Canada. It’s no surprise that this company is one of the most well-known Travel Nursing agencies.
To see what actual nurses have to say, head over to Aya Healthcare’s website and read their reviews.
Photo taken from the Aureus Medical Group website.
4. Aureus Medical Group
This agency is one of the largest in the nation. Established more than 35 years ago, the Aureus Medical Group provides new Registered Nurses with a student outreach program. In addition, they offer some tuition reimbursement and paid time off. Their personalized approach ensures that each nurse has a committed recruiter.
Since they have been around for several decades, this group has well-established relationships with various medical facilities. Additionally, they offer substantial benefits and specific departments for housing as well as travel. In the past, their ratings on Indeed and Glassdoor ranked a very respectable 3.8 and 4.2.
To learn more about Aureus Medical Group, visit their website and view one of several videos here.
Photo taken from the Trustaff website.
For over two decades, Trustaff has matched Travel Nurses with hospitals and other healthcare facilities. They stand out for their excellent communication methods, helpful staff, and active support line. In addition, they offer everything you’d expect from a Travel Nursing agency. This includes but is not limited to health coverage, 401(k) contributions, licensure reimbursement, and start and completion bonuses.
Previously, Trustaff has scored high ratings on Indeed (3.8) and Glassdoor (4.0). They have served as a pioneering force in the Travel Nursing agency for years. However, their assignment length can be inconsistent. If you’re looking for a more consistent schedule, they may not be the ideal fit for you. It could be beneficial to contact the agency and inquire about this.
To learn more about Trustaff, visit their website and read their reviews here.
Photo taken from the Fusion Medical Staff website.
6. Fusion Medical Staff
Next on our list is Fusion Medical Staff, the agency that wants you to choose your own adventure! Established in 2009, Fusion typically has thousands of healthcare positions available on its website. They have even received several awards stating that they are one of the top places to work. In fact, websites like Indeed have given them an overall ranking of 4.7 out of 5.
They are transparent with their pay and benefits, and Fusion Medical Staff offers a wide range of assignments and nursing specialties. Generally, an assignment with this agency will last anywhere from 13 to 26 weeks. Responsive recruiters and 24/7 support are some of their standout assets. They even offer a new graduate job program for aspiring Travel Nurses who have just completed their training. This is unique because many agencies require a minimum of one to two years of experience. However, it’s important to mention that there have been previous complaints from some LGBTQIA employees. You can learn more about the company’s response here.
To better understand their history, see Fusion Medical Staff’s about us page.
Photo taken from the Krucial Rapid Response website.
7. Krucial Rapid Response
If you’re interested in more high-risk, emergency areas, then Krucial Rapid Response might be the right Travel Nursing agency for you. They specialize in staffing medical facilities that are in urgent need of nurses. Unfortunately, this also means that you will often be required to start work within 48 hours. Although these assignments can be challenging, you will be duly compensated for the extra work.
Other advantages of Krucial include benefits from day one. In addition, you’ll have access to stellar housing and extra benefits from Krucial’s partnerships. On websites like Indeed and Glassdoor, their average rating (out of 5) has spanned from 4.3 to 4.5. If you’d like access to various assignments that are usually shorter in length, Krucial Rapid Response could be the ideal agency for you.
Photo taken from the Ventura Medstaff website.
8. Ventura Medstaff
Ventura Medstaff emphasizes a work-life-adventure balance. So if you’re ready to roam, then this could be your ideal agency! Not only are they known for being highly supportive, but Ventura Medstaff often receives glowing reviews and high scores from employees. This agency even has four dedicated departments for different healthcare professionals. Not only does their structure help ensure that the right nurses go to the right jobs, but it provides patients and medical facilities with the best care possible.
Ventura Medstaff believes that genuine, honest relationships are the core of their work. They seek medical professionals as well as travelers for their assignments. At Ventura, you can seek jobs in nursing, allied health, cath lab, therapy, and radiology.
Photo taken from the AB Staffing website.
9. AB Staffing
Since 2002, AB Staffing has provided communities with healthcare solutions. They are a nationwide leader in Travel Nurse and medical staffing. Additionally, this agency has received outstanding reviews and employee ratings from platforms like Glassdoor, Google, and Meta. AB Staffing has also expanded into the private sector.
The dynamic agency offers various perks to its employees. These include but are not limited to 24/7 clinical specialists, housing assistance, health coverage, 401(k) contributions, paid vacation time if eligible, travel reimbursement, referral bonuses, and weekly direct deposits.
As you can see in the above image, AB Staffing has ranked as the Top Healthcare Staffing company on the Forbes list of “America’s Best Professional Recruiting Firms.”
To learn more, visit AB Staffing’s website here.
Photo taken from the Advantis Medical website.
10. Advantis Medical
Newer to the scene, Advantis Medical has already garnered various glowing reviews. This agency was founded as a subsidiary of Advantis Global in 2018. Across the nation, Advantis Medical places nurses in hospitals, outpatient clinics, ambulatory surgical centers, skilled nursing facilities, and more. Some of their many benefits include competitive compensation packages, direct deposit from day one, housing assistance options, and health insurance.
If you’re unsure where to start, Advantis Medical has a one-minute application form to help you. You can learn more about their hourly wages, which are paid weekly, as well as their overtime and bonus options. This agency has a great reputation in the industry and offers several communication methods and fast response times from their care team. In the past, one of their only cons was no company match for 401(k) contributions.
To learn more about their purpose, visit the Advantis Medical website here.
Photo taken from the Gifted Healthcare website.
11. Gifted Healthcare
Owned and operated by nurses, Gifted Healthcare is a unique Travel Nursing agency. As you might have guessed, the treatment of their employees is seen as outstanding and overwhelmingly positive. Established in 2006, this agency works hard to provide both nurses and healthcare facilities with excellent service. Here’s a snapshot of their benefits for Travel Nurses: premium pay, dedicated recruiters, premier facilities, affordable coverage, 24/7 on-call Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), career coaching, top referral bonuses, and pet insurance.
Gifted Healthcare even offers discounts on uniforms and travel items. Looking for fun in your off time? They can also provide you with discounted prices on things like movie tickets, concerts, theme parks, and more. Whether you’d like to stay close to home or go to a new destination, the recruiters at Gifted Healthcare can help you achieve your goals.
Photo taken from the Host Healthcare website.
12. Host Healthcare
In the business since 2012, Host Healthcare has worked with some of the top facilities in the nation. This Travel Nursing agency has received several awards over the years. Not only do they employ star recruiters, but they offer exceptional customer service. Nurses have raved about this agency in their reviews. In addition to the usual fare, Host Healthcare is known for it’s comprehensive benefits package.
This agency also strives to match nurses with pet-friendly housing and other amenities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they offered quarantine pay, ensuring that their nurses could rest easy when it came to finances. If you’re looking for a straightforward job hunt with 24/7 support, Host Healthcare could be the perfect fit for you.
Interested in this agency? Read some of their many reviews here.
Tips for Working with a Travel Nursing Agency
There are many advantages to working with a Travel Nursing agency. One of them is that you get to travel and explore new places while helping other people on the job. Some other benefits often include competitive pay, housing, specialty assignments, flexibility, and perks and discounts.
Needless to say, you want to ensure that you have a good working relationship with your agency. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Pick a recruiter who cares. Although this is technically a business, you still shouldn’t tolerate high-pressure sales tactics. It’s important that you pick an agency and a recruiter who cares about your goals as well as your overall satisfaction. Good recruiters will want to build a relationship with you. If they treat you like an equal and a partner, then you’ve most likely found a great one.
- Communicate your needs. Think about it like this: The more a recruiter knows about you, the better they can meet your needs. Remember to tell them about both your short and long-term goals. You should also include where you’d like to travel, work, etc. In addition to your preferences, draw a hard line when it comes to your priorities. Maybe there’s a salary number you can’t compromise on, or you need pet-friendly accommodation. Every detail counts.
- Keep in mind that recruiters are only human. While you shouldn’t put up with a recruiter who doesn’t care, it’s also important to remember that they can’t always make the perfect job appear. However, they should do their best to assist you and work together. While you may not receive everything you want, they will often strive to check off most of the boxes on your list. In addition, try to keep an open mind and consider some suggestions from your recruiter.
- Submit your documents ASAP. This goes without saying for most jobs, but it’s vital that you submit your documents in a timely manner. You will likely need to procure or fill out a number of documents or paperwork for your Travel Nursing agency. Once you are actively looking at jobs, you will need to produce more paperwork, such as nursing licenses, certifications, and immunizations. If something is missing, it will make the whole process take longer. This could potentially even lead to a lost job.
- Stay in touch with your agency. Normally, recruiters are involved in each stage of the travel nurse assignment. However, you may be working with other specialists, such as payroll staff, clinical liaisons, etc. Your nurse recruiter should still be your main contact—reach out to them if you have a question or need help. Plus, you want your recruiter to keep you in mind for upcoming assignments with your coveted locations or facilities. So, keep in touch!
How to Choose the Best Travel Nursing Agency
There are several general things to consider when you choose a Travel Nursing agency. They often include average pay rates, benefits packages, housing options, and reputations. Not only should you relay these questions to potential agencies, but you should try to look at employee reviews on websites like Indeed or Glassdoor. In addition, it could be beneficial to contact your alma mater and see if they have any recommendations.
We would recommend making a pro-con list for your final choices. Look at what travel assignment destinations each agency offers. Also, consider how pay packages are broken down, reimbursements for job-related expenses, types of job boards, insurance-related matters, and more. Of course, you should look at the housing options they offer as well. Ask these questions and more when you contact your shortlist of agencies.
Consider a Career as a Travel Nurse
Keep in mind that there isn’t one best travel nursing agency for everyone. Our advice is to consider your individual needs and weigh them against potential agencies. In other words, what works for you may not work for someone else. For example, if you’d like to earn a degree, look at agencies that offer tuition reimbursement. Maybe you would prefer a housing stipend or similar options from your ideal agency. All your needs are valid and should be factored into your final choice.
Now that you know more about our top Travel Nursing agencies, we hope we have helped you make progress in your decision-making process. We recommend these organizations because agencies help vet jobs and nurses across the spectrum. They offer a certain degree of protection, support, and perks for Travel Nurses.
To get started on the path to becoming a Travel Nurse, take a look at the Practical Nursing program and Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Unitek College. Or, if you’re already a Vocational Nurse with a diploma, consider our Associate Degree in Vocational Nursing program.