August 2021 Travel Nursing Wage Trends by State

As the Delta variant continues to run its course throughout the United States, travel nurses and other healthcare professionals remain busy on the frontlines. This is especially true in ICUs, which are once again reaching capacity in many hard-hit states. Numerous hospitals continue to be short-staffed and are scrambling to hire more workers, which often translates to higher healthcare wages. Only one state recorded a drop in ICU healthcare pay in August 2021, but a few states’ healthcare pay rates saw less movement than most with recorded increases of less than 5%. Keep abreast of market trends by comparing healthcare wages among ICU professionals in all 50 states during August.

States With Wage Increases

Forty-four states saw increases in healthcare wages of nearly 10% or higher, some were much higher than others. Alaska had the highest healthcare pay increase at 51.6% followed by Georgia at 47.7% and New Mexico at 40%. The largest jump in healthcare pay rates last month was 34.2%. Wage increases often mirror rising COVID-19 cases within a state. 

  • On August 1, Alaska had zero new COVID-19 cases and a seven-day average of 237 cases. By August 31, the state had a seven-day average of 524 cases, including 639 new cases that day. However, the highest daily count for the entire year occurred on August 26th when the state recorded 701 new cases. The surge in hospitalizations combined with staff shortages was overwhelming its healthcare system and the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said they were expediting the process for healthcare providers to come work in the state.
  • Georgia had zero new COVID-19 cases on August 1 and a seven-day average of 2,995. New cases jumped to 10,738 by August 31 and the seven-day average was 9,244. Georgia already had one of the nation’s lowest ratios of nurses to population but during the week ending August 20, about 11,000 nursing positions sat vacant state-wide, including more than 1,700 in ICUs.
  • On August 1, New Mexico also had zero new cases and had a seven-day average of 276. The state reported 829 new cases by August 31 and a seven-day average of 821. Due to the continued climb of COVID-19 infections, top health officials in the state announced on August 25 that it was about a week away from rationing healthcare.

ICU Travel Nurses in Alaska saw over a 50% increase in pay in August 2021

 

State Weekly Salary August 1 Weekly Salary August 31 Percent Increase
Alaska $2,154 $3,265 51.6%
Georgia $2,456 $3,627 47.7%
New Mexico $2,430 $3,401 40%
Alabama $2,074 $2,821 36%
Florida $2,402 $3,173 32.1%
Oregon $2,456 $3,211 30.7%
Wisconsin $2,440 $3,159 29.5%
Arizona $2,375 $3,069 29.2%
Idaho $2,474 $3,173 28.3%
Washington $2,307 $2,957 28.2%
California $2,587 $3,313 28.1%
Montana $2,091 $2,665 27.5%
North Dakota $2,680 $3,396 26.7%
Louisiana $2,331 $2,925 25.5%
Utah $2,175 $2,727 25.4%
Nevada $2,326 $2,863 23.1%
Colorado $2,157 $2,652 23%
Pennsylvania $2,441 $2,996 22.7%
Kentucky $2,325 $2,843 22.3%
North Carolina $2,289 $2,773 21.1%
Indiana $2,421 $2,908 20.1%
Mississippi $2,348 $2,814 19.9%
Tennessee $2,172 $2,588 19.2%
Arkansas $2,455 $2,911 18.6%
Ohio $2,180 $2,581 18.4%
Oklahoma $2,559 $3,025 18.2%
New Jersey $2,309 $2,726 18.1%
South Dakota $2,392 $2,817 17.8%
Michigan $2,296 $2,701 17.6%
Illinois $2,461 $2,879 17%
West Virginia $2,195 $2,569 17%
Missouri $2,600 $3,022 16.2%
South Carolina $2,377 $2,749 15.7%
New York $2,417         $2,788         15.4%
Minnesota $2,584 $2,970 14.9%
Virginia $2,246 $2,546 13.4%
Maryland $2,284 $2,574 12.7%
Texas $2,270 $2,558 12.7%
Kansas $2,453 $2,756 12.4%
New Hampshire $2,333 $2,600 11.4%
Iowa $2,422 $2,677 10.5%
Nebraska $2,448 $2,680 9.5%

 

States With Wage Decreases

In July 2021, Wyoming had the second-highest decrease in healthcare wages among travel ICU healthcare professionals. It was the only state in August that recorded a drop, nearly 5%. This decrease occurred even though self-reported data from hospitals throughout the state indicate increasing patient loads throughout the month. On August 1, the total number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was 66. By August 31, this number had risen to 194.

 

State Weekly Salary August 1 Weekly Salary August 31 Percent Increase
Wyoming $2,538 $2,417 -4.8%

States That Stayed Relatively Same

There were five states with healthcare pay rate increases that weren’t nearly as high as other states. Because these increases were less than 5%, wages were considered relatively the same on August 31 compared to August 1.

 

State Weekly Salary August 1 Weekly Salary August 31 Percent Increase
Vermont $2,363 $2,457 4%
Massachusetts $2,419 $2,492 3%
Connecticut $2,472 $2,542 2.8%
Maine $2,311 $2,355 1.9%
Hawaii $2,327 $2,367 1.7%


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Rachel Norton BSN, RN

Rachel Norton BSN, RN

I have been a critical care nurse since 2007. I grew up in the northeast but enjoy every corner of the country. My passions are people and travel. Travel nursing allows me to meet amazing people and satisfy my wanderlust. I love inspiring other nurses to travel and expand their practice.

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