Honestly, I get why you’d be interested in the prospects of a career as a travel nurse.
First, the big question: Do travel nurses make more money than regular RNs?
Well, yes. Travel nurses generally take home higher pay packages and often earn more than registered nurses with the same education and professional qualifications.
In addition, travel nurses enjoy moving around exciting places and getting exposed to different perspectives of the nursing world.
Read on for everything about travel nurse average salaries and other things to know as a future travel nurse.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average travel nurse salary in 2021 sits at about $51 per hour. That’s significantly higher than the average hourly rate of registered nurses, which is about $38 per hour.
For most travel nurses, this rate translates to a weekly wage of about $1,800. Although most travel nurses make about $88,320 in average annual salary, some can earn upwards of $100,000.
Your exact take-home annual pay will depend on factors like the hours put in, bonuses, travel reimbursements, housing allowances, and more.
A travel nurse’s pay package comprises tons of extra benefits that may range from insurance covers, bonuses, travel reimbursements, housing allowances, free CEUs, and more.
Here’s a quick look into the most common travel nurse benefits:
Owing to the ‘nomadic’ nature of their job, employers offer travel nurses a tax-free travel reimbursement to cover their travel costs to different towns, states, and in some cases, other countries to undertake their assignments.
The most common bonuses in travel nursing are sign-on, completion, retention, and sometimes referral bonuses.
As a result of the high demand for nurses, most travel nursing agencies pay travel nurses:
It’s no news that housing can get pricey in most US cities and towns. With this, travel nurses receive a stipend from their employers to get accommodation near the healthcare facilities they work.
Free housing can either come as a physical residence or a remittance to get your accommodation.
A travel nurse’s job suggests more professional risk and living expenses. To lessen this weight, travel nurses receive relatively broader insurance coverages, e.g., health, life insurance, vision, and dental covers.
Plus, many travel nurses get a retirement plan option, usually the 401(k) cover.
Yes. Your travel nurse wage is highly dependent on the state and city you work.
For example, California is a haven for travel nurses for its massive population, many healthcare facilities, high demand for nurses, and in turn, higher average travel nurse salaries.
Other states with low nurse demand, like South Dakota, may not work out great for travel nurses.
Depending on the time of the year, too, some states can be viable options for travel nurses. For instance, states that experience harsh winters can be a boon for nurses that may not mind relocating there during winter.
The highest paying states may include states where there are nursing shortages.
|City||Wage Per Hour||Annual Salary|
|San Jose, California||$64.48||$134,110|
|San Francisco, California||$62.39||$129,780|
|Wasilla, Alaska||$56.96||$118, 480|
|State||Wage Per Hour||Annual Salary|
|District of Columbia||$44.99||$93,580|
Of course, not all travel nurses make the same amount of money. And nursing specialty is one of the key factors that determine how much money a travel nurse makes.
Generally, more in-demand specialties tend to attract higher pay. If you have a specialization in such an area, make sure to mention it in your travel nurse application.
|Nursing Specialty||Average Annual Salary|
|Operating Room Travel Nurse||$139,220|
|ICU Travel Nurse||$138,900|
|Medical - Surgery and Telemetry Nurses||$124,190|
|Labor and Delivery||$114,680|
Depending on the employer, most high-earning travel nurses use a combination of hacks and tips to make more money. Don’t worry; I’m here to guide you through them.
Opting to work with multiple travel nursing agencies means you get to gauge and choose agencies that offer the best rates possible in specific areas.
However, remember to stay cordial with every travel nursing agency you’re enrolled in, even if you turn down their offers.
Most travel nurses get hourly pay. However, some employers offer a per diem option, which generally tends to be a higher pay compared to hourly rates. While at it, you might also want to pick up extra shifts when you have some downtime.
Well, a high-demand travel nursing assignment may need more effort. As a result, employers and local hospitals offer higher compensation for travel nurses willing to take on such tasks.
Specialized travel nurses have better bargaining power and can demand better rates. To earn more and additional benefits, carve a travel nurse niche for yourself and explore broader possibilities in the labor market.
Think of it like spreading your odds: the more state licenses you have, the more areas you can work. Most healthcare staffing agencies allow nurses to continue their education online for free to acquire multiple licenses.
A travel nursing career is undeniably an excellent avenue to earn more money as a nurse while still getting to visit new, cool places. The average annual salary of a travel nurse is usually higher than the average salaries of other RNs.
Registered nurses, nurse practitioners, or LPNs can use travel nursing as an easy way to build up their resume, with tons of experience and skills gained from working in other healthcare facilities in different parts of the country.
Better still, the short-term nature of travel nurse assignments also helps kill the monotony that may come with working at a single health station for years.
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