As a travel nurse, finding the perfect location to work can be challenging. The West Coast offers some of the best travel nursing locations in the country, with stunning natural beauty, diverse culture, and top-rated medical facilities. In this post, we’ll highlight the top states on the West Coast for travel nurses to work and explore. We’ll cover each state’s unique features, including their Nurse Licensure Compact status and fun facts, to help you make an informed decision about your next travel nursing assignment.
#1. California – The Golden State
California is home to world-class medical facilities, including the renowned UCLA Medical Center and the prestigious Stanford Health Care, which offer exceptional learning opportunities for travel nurses. While obtaining a California nursing license may require additional steps, the state’s exceptional healthcare facilities and thriving culture make it a top choice for travel nurses seeking an exciting assignment on the West Coast. Despite not being a Nurse Licensure Compact state as of 2023, California remains an irresistible destination for travel nurses seeking a memorable experience. The state’s pristine beaches, dynamic urban centers, and delightful weather create an unrivaled ambiance that attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Fun fact: California is the birthplace of the American film industry, Hollywood.
#2. Washington – The Evergreen State
Washington is a nature lover’s paradise, boasting awe-inspiring mountains, lush forests, and picturesque beaches that create an unforgettable ambiance. The state’s serene and calming environment is an ideal escape for travel nurses seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Beginning in 2023, Washington will become a Nurse Licensure Compact state, streamlining the process of obtaining a nursing license for travel nurses with a license from another Compact state. The state is also home to some of the country’s top-ranked medical facilities, including the world-renowned Seattle Children’s Hospital and the acclaimed Swedish Medical Center, providing unparalleled opportunities for travel nurses to gain valuable experience.
Fun fact: Seattle is home to the first-ever Starbucks store.
#3. Oregon – The Beaver State
Oregon presents an exciting prospect for travel nurses to work in world-class medical facilities like the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital while exploring the state’s awe-inspiring natural beauty, including the magnificent Crater Lake National Park and the picturesque Columbia River Gorge. Despite the licensing process potentially requiring additional effort for some travel nurses, the fantastic rewards of working in Oregon make it an enticing destination to consider. It’s worth noting that Oregon is currently not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).
Fun fact: Oregon is the only state with an official state nut – the hazelnut.
#4. Nevada – The Silver State
Nevada is a state renowned for its vibrant cities, world-class entertainment, and exceptional medical facilities, such as the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas. While Nevada is compact nursing state nurses who hold a nursing license from another U.S. state can apply for a license by reciprocity. However, candidates who have never held a nursing license in any state must apply by examination. Despite the licensing process, travel nurses seeking a bustling and vibrant destination with excellent medical facilities and endless entertainment options will find Nevada to be an ideal destination.
Fun fact: Nevada is home to the famous Las Vegas Strip, which has more hotel rooms than any other place in the world.
#5. Arizona – The Grand Canyon State
Arizona presents an exceptional opportunity for travel nurses who wish to work in world-class medical facilities like the Banner University Medical Center while exploring breathtaking natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon and the Sedona Red Rocks. With Arizona being a part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, travel nurses holding a license from another Compact state can experience a smooth and simplified process of obtaining a nursing license.
Fun fact: The saguaro cactus, which is native to Arizona, can live for up to 200 years.
#6. Colorado – The Centennial State
Colorado presents travel nurses with a unique opportunity to work in exceptional medical facilities like the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, while also allowing them to explore the stunning Rocky Mountains and the famous Garden of the Gods. As a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, Colorado provides a hassle-free process for travel nurses with nursing licenses from other Compact states, allowing them to easily transition to work in Colorado.
Fun fact: Colorado has over 300 days of sunshine per year, making it one of the sunniest states in the U.S.
#7. New Mexico – The Land of Enchantment
New Mexico presents an excellent opportunity for travel nurses to work in highly rated medical facilities like the University of New Mexico Hospital and explore historical sites such as Santa Fe Plaza and Taos Pueblo. As a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), obtaining a nursing license in New Mexico is a seamless process for travel nurses with a nursing license from another Compact state.
Fun fact: New Mexico is home to the largest hot air balloon festival in the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
If you’re a travel nurse looking for your next adventure, the West Coast has plenty to offer. With gorgeous beaches and breathtaking mountains, it’s no wonder why many nurses flock to this region. If you’re interested in working in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, or New Mexico, be sure to check with your nursing agency or the state’s board of nursing for licensing requirements. At TheraEx Staffing Services we have opportunities available in these locations and more. Contact us today to start your next travel nursing journey!