Travel Nursing In Alaska
Travel nursing is a great way to grow professionally, earn a high salary and experience the adventure and excitement of living in a new place. Alaska is a particularly ideal location for travel nursing. The state has an ample number of great nursing jobs and a shortage of experienced nurses to fill the demand. As a result, there are a variety of openings throughout the state.
Alaska’s pay for travel nurses is above average, its scenery is stunning and it’s home to a colorful and unique local culture. While the state is an outdoor lover’s dream, it also offers an intriguing indigenous culture and vibrant cities that make it a good destination even for those that are less drawn to its natural offerings. Here are a few reasons why Alaska is a good place for travel nurses and a few things travel nurses should expect from an Alaskan experience.
Travel Nurses in Alaska Are Among the Highest Paid in the Country
According to a recent Indeed survey, the average weekly pay for travel nurses in Alaska is $1,757. This is 9% higher than the average salary for travel nurses. Another sampling of salaries done by Advantage RN found that travel nurses in Alaska made anywhere from $33 -$55 per hour, with the highest salaries being paid to Labor and Delivery and OR nurses and the lowest to ER positions. Pay is higher in the larger cities – Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks – but even the smaller towns and areas pay above the national average. While the climate might be intimidating to some, the salaries available to travel nurses in Alaska make it worth considering.
Alaska is An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Dream
The largest and most sparsely populated U.S. state, Alaska is home to vast wilderness spaces, stunning mountain ranges, ancient glaciers, dense forests and abundant wildlife. As a result, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to fill your time between shifts. Some uniquely Alaskan experiences include hiking volcanoes, seeing the Northern Lights, watching salmon run and viewing glaciers from a helicopter.
The southwest portion of the state offers ample opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. If you enjoy biking, the coastal trail in Anchorage is one of the most beautiful rides in the country. If you’re looking for downhill skiing, the state has 7 resorts, most of them concentrated in the south near Anchorage or in the central part of the state not far from Fairbanks. For more adventurous skiers, Alaska offers several heli-skiing opportunities, where ski lifts are replaced by helicopter rides. It also offers many world-class cross-country skiing trails, hiking trails and climbing opportunities.
While you’re surrounded with beautiful scenery and access to outdoor activities almost everywhere in Alaska, here are few spots that make Alaska an especially desirable destination:
Denali National Park
Denali National Park, not far from Fairbanks, is a must-see for anyone living in Alaska. Covering over 4 million acres, the park is home to the highest peak in North America – Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), which is a stunning 20,310 feet high. The views are breathtaking, the hiking is unparalleled, and visitors are likely to see grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, sheep and even moose.
A great way to see this area for the first time is the McKinley Explorer Train, which provides you with 360-degree views in glass-domed railcars. The train runs from Anchorage, Talkeetna and Denali Park and provides a great introduction to the area.
The Alaskan Peninsula is the peninsula that extends to the southwest from mainland Alaska and ends in the Aleutian Islands. This peninsula is home to over 23 million acres of national parks and wildlife refuges. The Aleutian Mountain Range, home to active volcanic mountains, runs the length of the peninsula. The area is well-known for its salmon and bear habitats, numerous species of birds and many fishing opportunities. The peninsula is only accessible by small plane or boat, so some planning is required, but the opportunity to see this largely untouched portion of the state is one that you don’t want to pass up.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Just west of Juneau is Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Glacier Bay is home to 3.3 million acres of wilderness comprised of mountains, glaciers, rainforests, coastlines and fjords. Glacier Bay is one of the largest protected Biosphere Reserves in the world and was recognized by the UN as a World Heritage Site. While the Park is only accessible by boat or plane, a ferry runs from Juneau during the summer months making it easily accessible for a day trip.
In the Park you can hike, camp, kayak, backpack or enjoy a boat tour. The Preserve offers fishing, hunting, trapping and rafting. This area is a well-known source of inspiration, solitude and scientific study. This is an ideal day trip for nurses in the Juneau area.
Iditarod Trail and Dog Sledding
One uniquely Alaskan experience is the Iditarod Trail, which goes from Seward in the southeast to Nome in the northwest. The trail covers over 1,000 miles and offers year-round opportunities for exploration.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is run every year in early March from Anchorage to Nome. The ceremonial start of the race is a festive event in Anchorage, with nearly a week’s worth of events and activities. Being in the Anchorage area during March to experience this would be a huge perk of doing travel nursing in Alaska.
Even if you’re not able to enjoy those festivities, you can visit the trail year-round on foot, by car or by train. During the winter months you can explore the trail by snowmobile, ski or dogsled. The Iditarod Trail is the only trail in Alaska that has been commemorated as a National Historic Trail, and it is rich in history and provides a unique opportunity to explore the state.
Alaska Offers Vibrant Cities and Culturally-Rich Small Towns
While Alaska is often associated with vast wildernesses and small towns, it’s now home to a few vibrant, modern and ever-growing cities. While the largest cities are the most popular destinations for travel nurses (and provide higher pay), there are a few towns that have also attracted travel nurses due to their unique cultural opportunities, their secluded and picturesque locations and their demand for nurses. Here are some of the most popular cities for travel nursing in Alaska and some information about what these cities offer.
Anchorage is the state’s largest city, with just under 300,000 people, and the most popular destination for travel nurses. Located in the south-central part of the state on the Cook inlet, Anchorage has been listed among the best cities for travel nurses in the country due to high pay, professional opportunities and access to the outdoors.
While Anchorage is centrally located and provides good accessibility to some of the state’s best outdoor adventures, it’s also a rapidly-growing urban area providing entertainment, nightlife, galleries and good restaurants. The city is nestled between an inlet and mountains and is surrounded by national parks. It boasts of providing the “hospitality of the Last Frontier” while also the comforts of a modern city. Anchorage is home to Providence Alaska Medical Center, the state’s largest hospital, which offers a variety of professional opportunities and jobs in many different specialties.
During summer solstice, Anchorage has 19.5 hours of daylight, giving you ample opportunity to explore the city after your shift. A cruise of the Prince William Sound provides majestic views of glaciers and vistas and a unique way to see the city. You also might want to try arctic biking or visit the Anchorage Zoo, home to the widest variety of animals native to the state.
Anchorage has something for everyone – whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, an art lover or looking for good nightlife. Add to that exciting career opportunities and high salaries, and Anchorage is an ideal spot for traveling nurses.
Here are some monthly furnished rentals in Anchorage from Furnished Finder, the leading site for travel nurse housing. As of the moment we’re writing this article, there are 68 furnished rentals on Furnished Finder, and 27 of them have upcoming availability.
$1200/mo. Here’s a fully furnished semi-basement studio with a FULL kitchen. This private studio is not like many tiny places... it has a full sized kitchen with stainless steel appliances. The fridge is counter depth but just slightly skinnier than the average fridge with ice maker. You’ll also enjoy heated bathroom floors, a queen bed, futon couch, and a huge dresser. Also, two more things travel nurses love about the unit is our blackout curtains and easy access to the laundry room!
$1300/mo. New spacious apartment centrally located in West Anchorage/Turnagain, safe and quiet neighborhood. On the first floor of our home, the apartment has a separate entrance and a dedicated outside parking space. Comfortably furnished and has an amazing new kitchen with new appliances and granite counters. The bedroom has a queen size bed with a comfortable mattress, and the living room has a queen American Comfort Sleeper with a comfortable memory foam mattress. Our living space is on the second floor above the apartment. The only shared space is the garage (which is also the apartment entry and where the washer and dryer are located). Perfectly located near everything.
$1350 2br/1ba. This top-level unit features a private entrance and a balcony for you to enjoy the fresh Alaskan air. After a day of nursing adventures, return home and unwind in the cozy living room with flat-screen TV, pull-couch, and armchair. The open floor plan connects the living room, dining area, and kitchen. Prepare a meal in the fully equipped kitchen, or draw the blackout shades when you’re ready to crash out.
Fairbanks, located in the central portion of the state, is the third largest city in Alaska and a popular location for traveling nurses. Fairbanks has just over 30,000 people but offers the comforts and amenities of a modern city. Home to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, a 152-bed hospital providing care in more than 27 specialties, the city offers a variety of jobs and the potential for professional development.
Fairbanks is known for its views of the Northern Lights. The city talks of two seasons: Aurora Season, from August to April, when the Northern Lights can be seen on clear nights and Midnight Sun Season, from April to August, during which there’s 70 days of continuous sunlight.
Fairbanks also has a vibrant community of artists, provides easy access to Denali and has several local attractions, including the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a reindeer ranch and an historic theme park. While it’s a smaller city and farther north, Fairbanks is a good destination for travel nurses.
Here are some monthly furnished rentals in Fairbanks from Furnished Finder, the leading site for travel nurse housing. As of the moment we’re writing this article, there are 6 furnished rentals on Furnished Finder, and 2 of them have upcoming availability.
$1950 2br/1ba. Beautifully decorated throughout!! Fully furnished kitchen. Towels, elegant bedding. Freshly painted exterior. Two security codes to pass to get in. Exterior and interior common area lights on 24 hours a day year round.
Garage for winter guests.
Quiet, immaculately clean, and convenient to all area medical facilities. Month to Month.
$1500/mo. 1br/1ba private cabin - I’ve met many a travel nurse while in fairbanks and when I show them my little house for rent , they tell me it’s perfect for a 13-week Alaskan assignment! I decided to put it on Furnished Finder in hopes that many will enjoy it while working and enjoying all that Alaska has to offer. Super cozy with lots of windows. It’s quiet and dark with incredible aurora views.
Juneau is just slightly larger than Fairbanks, with almost 32,000 people, and is the capital of Alaska. Juneau residents proudly describe it as “a mountain town, a coastal community and the most scenic capital city in the U.S.” Juneau offers residents and visitors many outdoor opportunities in addition to cultural offerings, including music festivals, art galleries, restaurants and local breweries. Juneau’s medical facilities and systems include the Bartlett Regional Hospital, with 57 inpatient-beds, and the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
Juneau is known for residents with an adventurous spirit and for having a strong Native Alaskan presence. The city offers panoramic views of glaciers, exploration of Mendenhall Glacier, rides on the Mount Roberts Tramway and plentiful whale and dolphin watching. A vibrant capital city – interestingly not accessible to the rest of the state by road – Juneau provides travel nurses with a unique opportunity for adventure and development.
While Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau are the most popular cities in Alaska for travel nurses, there are some smaller towns with travel nursing opportunities that are worth exploring.
Ketchikan is the southernmost city in Alaska and home to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center. The town of about 8,000 is known for totem poles, its rich history, and its beautiful location in the Tongass National Forest and a short distance from Misty Fjords National Monument.
Skagway, located in southeast Alaska, is a small town of around 1,000 people. Dahl Memorial Clinic provides comprehensive care for the community. Skagway provides a unique atmosphere for travel nurses due to its rich history dating back to its boom as the result of the Klondike Gold Rush. Skagway offers a small-town experience rich in Alaskan history and culture.
In the northwest part of the state, Kotzebue and Nome are both small communities with opportunities for travel nurses. Despite their location in the northern part of the state, both have regular needs for nurses and are worth checking out.
Alaska is Known for Being a Welcoming Community with a Vibrant Culture and History
Alaska offers visitors and residents neighborly hospitality, rich history and vibrant culture. Native Alaskans make up approximately 15% of the state’s population and maintain many traditional practices including whaling, subsistence hunting and fishing and traditional arts and crafts.
Alaskans are known for having an adventurous and welcoming spirit, making the state a great place to call home for a few months (or even a few years). Whether you’re seeking adventure, professional development or the opportunity to experience a rich history and culture, Alaska is an ideal place for travel nurses. Don’t let the climate deter you from experiencing all that this beautiful state has to offer.