During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 29-year-old South Carolina native Aspen Tucker saw an opportunity to make a life-changing career move, and he didn’t hesitate to take it.
At the time, Tucker was earning roughly $1,000 per week working in a hospital as a staff nurse, but he saw an advertisement for a travel-nursing job in Amarillo, Texas, that paid roughly $6,700 per week.
“I got my stuff, went to Texas, and told my manager when I got there, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve got to go. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’” Tucker recently told CNBC.
Just two years later, Tucker earned $187,000 in 2022. Tucker’s contracts typically range from four to 13 weeks at a time, and he normally works between 48 and 60 hours per week to maximize overtime pay. As a result, he can earn his big paycheck while only working nine months out of the year.
Drawbacks Of Life On The Road: Travel nursing is one of the highest-paying jobs that only requires an associate’s degree, but it also comes with plenty of drawbacks. Tucker said life on the road means he spends much of his life away from friends, family and pets. In addition, travel nurses jump from hospital to hospital with little time to learn each job’s workflow, and nurses usually don’t have health insurance coverage when they are not under contract.
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Tucker said life as a traveling nurse can also be expensive given that he’s responsible for paying for his transportation and lodging on the road. To help cover those expenses, he has purchased a duplex rental property in his hometown.
“I want to create more real estate opportunities for myself [so] that I can work less and less,” Tucker said.
This story is part of a new series of features on the subject of success, Benzinga Inspire.