Travel Nurse Salary is an important topic for travelers, especially when it comes to choosing the right city and pay. While travelers do make more than staff nurses, it’s good to be educated on how to make the most of an assignment financially. This week, our guest blog is from Registered Nursing:
Travel nurses enjoy many benefits in their assignments. They get to travel to new and different places, meet new people, and learn new nursing skills, helping them gain experience in different areas to become well-rounded nurses. They can also choose many aspects of their assignments, from duration to specialty.
Another benefit to travel nursing is the higher salary and competitive pay. Travel nurse salaries differ from staff nurse salaries in that they are usually higher. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses generally earn a median hourly salary of $34.48 per hour, or $71,730 annually. While this is an average, it’s important to recognize that wages differ from state to state. Travel nurse salaries in states with a higher cost of living can run above the national average. However, nurses should know exactly what is included in their pay. Travel nurse salaries may not include benefits such as payment into a health plan, retirement, etc.
To make the most out of a travel nurse salary, it’s important to compare assignments and determine which recruiter, assignment, and state meet the nurse’s needs. Additionally, comparing benefits packages and determining if any bonuses or housing is included is also essential. The following will also help travel nurses maximize their salaries:
- Look for assignments in a high-demand specialty: in some cases, certain specialties offer higher pay. For example, critical care may offer higher compensation than medical-surgical nursing. Some areas may have higher nurse turnover, which may result in a higher salary.
- Broaden your knowledge base: It’s a good idea to gain experience in different specialties to increase the chances of landing a higher-paying travel nurse assignment. The more robust the resume, the better chance of surpassing the competition.
- Consider different shifts: Let’s face it, the night shift is probably the least desirable shift nurses can work. For this reason, travel nurses may be offered higher pay for night shift jobs. Additionally, evenings, weekends, and holidays may result in higher pay as well.
- Be ready to respond to urgent backfill needs: in times of a crisis, natural disaster, or hospital-wide strikes, travel nurses are needed quickly. Organizations rely on the flexibility of travel nurses and will often offer higher-than-average compensation to ensure patient care needs are met.
- Consider becoming licensed in multiple states: Some states pay more than others. Therefore, to make the most of a travel nurse salary, nurses may want to consider taking assignments in other states. It’s a good idea to get the licensing squared away before applying for an assignment in another state, as some employers won’t consider someone who is not already licensed. Chances are, if a healthcare organization is looking for travel nurses, the need is urgent, and they can’t wait for the licensing process.
- Work with more than one travel nursing agency: The need for travel nurses can vary significantly based on the location. Rather than idly waiting for an assignment, travel nurses should consider agencies in multiple areas to increase their chance of landing an assignment.
- Keep living expenses simple: This comes down to budgeting. To help maximize a travel nurse salary, it’s important to budget living and travel expenses. Additionally, some costs of relocating are not covered by the travel nurse agency, so nurses should do their homework to find out what is and isn’t compensated.
Connect with more resources from Registered Nursing here.
To begin a travel nurse journey and to compare agencies, salaries, bonuses, and assignment duration, please click here.
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