How Much Can You Make As A Travel Nurse? A Complete Guide To Earning The Top Traveling Nurse Pay Rate

Posted

Whether you’re trying to research the current travel pay rates to negotiate a higher salary or are still considering becoming a travel nurse, you’ve got one big question in mind:

“How much do travel nurses get paid?”

You’ve done some quick searches but the numbers are all over the place.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know:

  • What factors affect the RN travel nurse salary
  • What types of travel nurses make the most money
  • Why travel nurses make more than staff nurses
  • What advantages there are to travel nursing

Table of Contents

RN Travel Nurse Salary: Do Travel Nurses Make More Than Staff Nurses?

When it comes to how much money you can make as a travel nurse, the number can vary greatly.

Travel nurses may make more money than staff nurses for a number of reasons.

An RN travel nurse salary may vary depending on:

  • Specialties
  • Stipends 
  • Location
  • Shift 
  • Crisis Assignments
  • And more

So what does the pay range actually look like?

You could be looking at making between $35-$50+ an hour. 

In 2020, according to Glassdoor, the annual travel nurse salary sits at $71,380.

ZipRecruiter, meanwhile, reported in October 2020 that the average annual pay for a Travel Nurse in the United States is $99,202 a year, with a monthly wage of $8,267, and an hourly wage of $47.69.

The full compensation for a travel nurse compared to a staff nurse is broken down differently, too.

Hospital staff nurses are usually paid a set salary based on their education and experience. They typically receive incremental pay increases depending on a number of factors. 

Travel nurse pay, meanwhile, is completely different. 

Typical pay packages are composed of various components including…

  • Hourly pay
  • Non-taxed housing stipends
  • Non-taxed per diems; and 
  • Travel reimbursements 

…to name a few.

As a travel nurse working for Trusted Nurse Staffing, for example, you’ll unlock benefits that make living and working on the road well worth your time.

You could be taking advantage of:

  • The highest pay rates in the industry
  • 401(k)
  • Flexible contracts: 8, 13, 26 & 52 week assignments
  • Full/part-time work
  • 24/7 access to your recruiter
  • Overtime/double time is available
  • Weekly paychecks, daily pay, advances
  • Direct deposit
  • Housing, meal & travel allowances
  • Customized benefits package
  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield insurance

On top of other forms of compensation such as:

  • License, certifications & CEU reimbursements
  • Loyalty program
  • Referral bonus plan
  • Priority job order bonus
  • Sign-on & completion bonus 

But, as we mentioned earlier, not all travel nurses have the same salary. 

Non-specialty nurses, like medical/surgical and psychiatric specialties, are typically paid a lower rate than specialized nurses. 

Specialized nurses, on the other hand, especially those with highly sought after skills and credentials have the ability to earn more lucrative pay and are often in the highest demand. 

So, what specialty makes the most?

Read on to learn which type of travel nurse’s salary is the highest.

What Type Of Travel Nurses Make The Most Money?

The most in-demand (and therefore highest-paying) jobs for travel nurses typically directly relate to those that require highly-specialized training, knowledge, and experience. 

Travel nurses with the highest earning potential work in the following areas: 

3 Additional Factors That Affect The RN Travel Nurse Salary

Looking to make even more? 

There are a number of different ways to up your take-home pay as a travel nurse.

From…

  • Different locations
  • Working over the holidays
  • Working overtime
  • Housing stipends
  • Rapid response assignments and strikes
  • Different shifts
  • Work per diem; to
  • EMR conversions

…the opportunities to make more are abundant. 

Read on for the top three factors that you can change to increase your RN travel nurse salary.

#1 Location

Your location is the number one factor of how much you’ll make as a travel nurse. 

A few of the highest paying states include:

  • California
  • Alaska
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
  • Connecticut
  • Washington
  • Texas
  • Massachusetts
  • New York

You should be aware that the highest paying assignments pay higher because they are not the most ideal. 

These assignments may be in a less than desirable location or on a hard to fill time shift, like a night or variable shift.

As a travel nurse, you’ll generally work three days a week, which leads to a lot of time off to explore each new location. 

So, be sure pay isn’t the only reason you’re choosing a location. 

13 weeks can feel daunting and exhausting if it’s not the right fit for you outside of work. 

Luckily, if the idea of calling one of these states a temporary home isn’t ideal, you don’t have to worry. 

There are still a handful of other ways you can increase your pay.

#2 Shift

We’ll cut to the chase—working the night shift pays more.

While some nurses rock this, not every nurse dreams about working until the sun comes up.

If you are in the latter camp, just remember that no amount of money is worth risking your happiness or your patient’s safety.

Though it’s not always the case…

  • Nights
  • Variables; and
  • Weekends 

…may come with higher pay or shift differentials. 

Being flexible with your shift schedule is key if you’re looking to make the most money as a travel nurse.

#3 Crisis Assignments

Heading into a “war zone” will pay more—sometimes considerably more. 

For example, nurses headed to NYC during the COVID-19 crisis were offered up to $100/k for a 13-week assignment. 

Of course, with a crisis assignment also comes some stipulations.

You have to be ready to jump into the unknown, often without time for orientation, a day to settle in, unpack or explore your new home.

Crisis assignments require nurses to arrive at work fast, usually within two weeks. 

Travel nurses may have limited options in terms of location and these assignments are typically shorter than the general 13-week assignment.

Most often, the hospital is not actually experiencing a “crisis” situation such as a natural or man-made disaster. 

But, in some cases they are. 

For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit, some travel nurses were sent to provide support to hospitals treating patients within 48 hours.

5 Perks You Can Look Forward To As A Travel Nurse

With TNS, travel nurses do receive benefits. 

While other nurse staffing companies offer stipends and allowances as incentives for their travel nurses, TNS goes above and beyond to take care of our nurses by offering:

  • A healthcare benefits package
  • License, certifications & CEU reimbursements
  • Loyalty program
  • Referral bonus plan
  • Priority job order bonus
  • Sign-on & completion bonus

Check out the details below to learn more about how you can take advantage of these benefits.

#1 Healthcare Benefits

Your healthcare benefits package through TNS would include Blue Cross & Blue Shield insurance.

Other typical healthcare benefits for a travel nurse include medical and dental insurance.

#2 Continuing Education

When it comes to certifications, nurses have a variety of options available to: 

  • Enhance their healthcare careers.
  • Increase their salaries.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning.

Earning advanced certifications improves your credibility and attests to your competency, which gives you an edge when competing for nursing positions.

It’s also another way you can increase your RN travel nurse salary.

Trusted Nurse Staffing offers license, certifications & CEU reimbursements.

It’s important to note that some staffing companies offer continuing education benefits, but you shouldn’t expect all companies to offer this advancement in their benefits package.

#3 Tax-Free Stipends

The tax-free stipends are a nice benefit and incentive for many travel nurses. 

But, before you sign on the dotted line, know that there are stipulations. 

Make sure you check what qualifies as “tax-free” and be aware that stipends need to be for a duplicated expense. 

For example, paying for housing in two places. You may receive a housing stipend for rent in the city of your current assignment and to pay your mortgage back home.

#4 Loyalty Rewards

Another benefit of working with TNS is the loyalty rewards program.

Throughout your employment, you will accumulate points when you successfully complete each of your consecutive assignments.

Your bonus points can be redeemed for a special gift, or you can save them to redeem later. 

Of course, the more points you earn, the greater the value of the gift.

You can earn…

  • A Ninja coffee maker
  • A JBL Charge 3 
  • A Fitbit Inspire HR

… to name a few.

#5 Retirement Savings

There is a 401(k) available with Trusted Nurse Staffing.  

However, you shouldn’t expect to be offered a retirement savings plan with every travel nurse company or from every recruiter offering.

Are There Any Other Advantages To Travel Nursing?

The advantages to travel nursing are abundant.

You could:

  • Visit family in another state
  • Get a change of scenery
  • Experience a vacation spot as your home 

And there are professional advantages as well.

With TNS, you have the option of working in:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Clinics
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Schools
  • Insurance companies
  • Homecare

Becoming a travel nurse is an excellent opportunity for networking and professional development.

You’ll be exposed to different healthcare environments and meet coworkers and patients you never would have otherwise. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing also offers flexibility in your schedule with assignments ranging from per diem for up to 52-weeks.

Plus, if it’s a good fit for both you and our client, you have the option to extend an assignment.

What Is The Best Travel Nurse Company To Work For?

Travel nurse companies and recruiters work with nurses to find the best placement for them with the highest possible salary.

Some companies have specific contracts and are able to offer a higher pay than others. 

Bottom line? 

Choose a company that you feel confident will advocate on your behalf to negotiate higher wages for you.

Create Your Free Online Profile And Make Even More With Trusted Nurse Staffing

At TNS, travel nurses are not just a number. 

You are an asset and deserve your compensation to reflect that.

We acknowledge the challenges of working on the road, which is why you’ll enjoy the highest pay rates and the best benefits packages in the industry when you become a traveling nurse with Trusted Nurse Staffing.

Simply fill out your free online profile and within 24 hours, you’ll be contacted by an account manager to review your goals and availability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *