State Spotlight: Are North and South Dakota Your Next Travel Nursing Stomping Grounds?

By Moira K. McGhee, Contributor



Travel nurses can pick assignments in any of the 50 states, but some states offer more perks than others. From professional opportunities and cost of living advantages to sightseeing interests and adventures you won't soon forget, you'll discover numerous reasons to explore travel nursing. In nurse licensure compact states like North Dakota and South Dakota, you don't even need to apply for further licensure before you can begin working. This is just one of the many perks of working in the Dakotas, but there are other reasons why you might want to make them your new stomping grounds.

North and South Dakota

Demand for North and South Dakota nurses

According to Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, nursing professionals will make up 27 percent of the healthcare workforce in 2020 in the United States. However, how much each state will rely on nurses will widely vary. Mississippi, South Dakota and Alabama are projected to have the highest share of nursing professionals in their healthcare work forces by 2020. North Dakota is expected to have the highest concentration of nursing professionals, followed by Washington D.C. and Rhode Island. Projected job openings for registered nurses through 2020 in North Dakota is expected to be 4,430 and South Dakota is expected to be 5,870.

Find travel nursing jobs with Onward Healthcare to boost your resume and explore fascinating locales like North and South Dakota. 


Small-town life in South Dakota

South Dakota is one of the least populated states in the country, and its small-town feel is alluring to some travel nurses. Besides lower amounts of traffic and congestion, the state is also noted for low crime and low cost of living with competitive wages. Nurses have plenty of employment opportunities, and the state was voted No. 4 for the best job market in the country.

Travel nurses who are also outdoor enthusiasts enjoy South Dakota's unspoiled natural beauty and iconic attractions, including the Badlands and the Black Hills. The 243,000-acre Badlands National Park features the third-largest cave in the world, plus stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife. The Black Hills National Forest includes 2,000 square miles of protected forest located on the Black Hills mountains and is flanked by the Cheyenne and Belle Fourche rivers.

However, the state is probably best known for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the awe-inspiring stone monument honoring some of the most historically significant American presidents. Combine its vibrant environment with unique dining, shopping, entertainment and sporting events, and South Dakota offers one of the most active, yet laid-back environments for your next travel nursing assignment.


North Dakota nurses feel at home

North Dakota is also one of the least populated states and offers beautiful scenery, friendly people and great job opportunities for nurses. It boasts some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and offers a strong sense of community, so you'll feel right at home.

Enjoy nature in a state that features all four seasons in a prairie paradise. Visit stunning national parks, including the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which boasts the Maah Daah Hey Trail. This adventurous 144-mile winding trail bridges areas of sweeping grasslands and jagged badlands, and you might even see a few bison along the way. You'll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the great outdoors on your days off, but you'll also enjoy its history, culture and dedication to the arts when you take a travel nursing assignment in North Dakota.


Life is less taxing

The income tax in South Dakota is nada, nothing, zilch. It's one of only nine states where there isn't any personal income tax, and the combined state and local sales taxes are below the national average. Voted No. 3 on Kiplinger's Top 10 Most Tax-Friendly States, South Dakota helps you keep more money in your pocket.

North Dakota also lands on Kiplinger's Top 10 list at No. 6. While this state is tax-friendly, it's not tax-free when it comes to income tax, but income taxes have been dropping and are expected to continue this trend. Local and state sales tax are modest, but groceries aren't taxed, and gas taxes are well below the national average.

Deciding on your next travel nursing location can be tough with so many fabulous choices. To really enjoy your next assignment, focus on areas of the country that interest you with activities you enjoy doing during your off-time.

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