You’ve probably heard about travel nurse pay. It’s true, Travel nurses do make more money than staff nurses. Travel nurse pay is higher because of economics and tax-free stipends. It’s one of the biggest reasons why staff nurses become travel nurses every single day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the BLS, Registered Nurses made an average of $70,000 per year. It’s well documented that Travel Nurses often make over $90,000 per year and sometimes $100,000 per year.
|Average Nurse Salaries: Salary.com||Travel Nurse Salaries: Wanderly.us|
|OR||$74,238 Annually||$156,260 Annually|
Why is travel nurse pay so much higher?
The first reason travel nurse pay is higher is due to the economics of nursing. Travel Nursing began as a method to combat nursing shortages. When there is a low supply of nurses, like in North Dakota, hospitals increase the offered wages because they need to compete for nurses. The North Dakota travel nurse salary will reflect that nursing shortage because nurses are less replaceable and more valuable. On the other hand, when tons of nurses want to work in New York City, the hospitals don’t have to pay as much because there are more nurses to choose from, they are more replaceable and less valuable. The travel nursing New York City salary may not be as high as you’d imagine for the Big Apple.
However, knowing how many nurses there are doesn’t tell the whole story. One nurse would be plenty if there were only one patient. But, one nurse wouldn’t be close to enough if there were 100 patients. The number of patients in these examples demonstrates the demand of nurses. An increasing population rate is going to continue to drive the demand for nursing in the foreseeable future.
Crisis nursing is popular because of the high rates hospitals pay during crises. Crisis nursing comes with wages that are abnormally high due to a low supply of nurses relative to the demand. Hospitals may offer crisis rates when they are opening a new unit or if the census spikes. While these higher rates are great, they are not available in most circumstances.
When hospitals do offer crisis rates, the start and end dates tend to be more rigid. They also close quickly due to increased competition from recruiters and nurses who want the higher rates. In order to land crisis rate jobs, nurses must have all of their necessary documents ready to apply at any time. Crisis rates are a lot more accessible with Wanderly because nurses can apply to jobs in seconds once they have filled out their one-time profile. If a nurse puts off their application for even a couple of minutes, the job could be filled.
Strike Nurse Pay
Strike nurse pay rates often reflect a hospital in crisis. Hourly rates for temporary strike nurse pay sometimes balloon to $80 per hour or $2,880 per week. That is almost a rate of $150,000 per year! These rates are high because as workers grow scarcer they become more valuable. Strike nurses have to be experienced, licensed and credentialed so travel nurses often fill these valuable voids. Wanderly nurses have a leg up on the competition because they can store all of their credentials in Wanderly and apply to strike jobs in seconds. Since there are never enough experienced workers who apply on time, Wanderly nurses usually take advantage of strike nurse pay.
Laws such as California’s Nurse to Patient Ratio Law can increase the demand for nurse labor. California passed the law in 1999 because hospitals were overworking nurses. Too many patients led to increased rates of both nurse burnout and patient fatality. California’s law mandates that hospitals maintain a certain number of nurses per patient with the exact amount depending on specialty. This piece of legislation requires hospitals to hire more nurses which leads to an increased demand for nurses which has brought higher wages to California. Other states, such as Massachusetts and Michigan, are implementing Nurse to Patient Ratio Laws in upcoming years so more demand is sure to follow.
Another reason travel nurse pay is higher is because of the tax-free stipends/reimbursements. Travel nursing agencies will grant tax-free stipends to a nurse if they are working in a state that isn’t their tax home. The nurse must currently be paying taxes in their home state. This is to ensure travel nurses don’t pay taxes twice. The IRS lets them write off their housing expenses because they are paying housing taxes in their home state. But please, keep in mind that the IRS may require travel nurses to submit paperwork to prove they are paying taxes in their home state. These audits are rare, but always possible.
The government will tax any Travel Nurse’s hourly or overtime as usual. But some travel nursing agencies will move money from the hourly rate into a tax-free stipend their pay package more competitive.
Pay by location
The geographic location of the hospital plays a massive role in determining travel nurse pay. Location affects both the supply and demand of nursing so geography is one of the biggest factors in determining travel nurse pay. Geography can influence travel nurse pay because some states have different hospital budgets and some states are more attractive to travel nurses than others.
Travel Nurse Salary Texas
Texas is a good example to start with because it has a combination of urban, suburban and rural hospitals. To get a good estimate of Travel Nurse Salary in Texas, we can average the pay package data in Wanderly to paint a good picture of Travel Nurse Salary Texas Edition. The average travel nurse salary in Texas is $1,844 per week or $95,924 per year.
Let’s play a game. Which do you think will be higher? A North Dakota Travel Nurse Salary or a Travel Nursing New York City Salary?
North Dakota Travel Nurse Salary Breakdown
When trying to think about the North Dakota Travel Nurse Salary, there are two variables one would have to consider. How many openings a North Dakota Hospital has VS. how many nurses want to fill those openings. One might first guess that a North Dakota Travel Nurse Salary would be pretty low due to North Dakota having a population of roughly 750,000.
But, that estimate is only taking into account one side of the equation. When you consider how few nurses actually want to go to North Dakota, you’ll realize that those nurses are incredibly valuable. The market agrees, the average North Dakota Travel Nurse Salary in Wanderly is $1,996 per week, or $103,823 per year.
Travel Nursing New York City Salary Breakdown
New York City is the city of all cities. With its bustling finance district, gargantuan population and tons of patients in need, the Travel Nursing New York City Salary should be through the roof… right? You probably guessed it, that’s wrong.
Everyone and their mother wants to go to NYC. The travel nursing New York City salary suffers due to how many nurses flood NYC every year. According to Payscale.com, the average Travel Nursing New York City salary is $1,434 per week or $74,600 per year.
Pay by Specialty
While overall the average nurse salary is around $70,000 per year, nurse pay data depends on the specialty. Travel nurse pay data is no different. While the averages are very similar, a travel ICU nurse salary won’t always match up with an ER travel nurse salary. It always depends on the hospital’s needs and budget. While one hospital may be able to afford a travel ICU nurse salary of $75,000 per year, that same hospital might have plenty of ER nurses and can only afford an ER travel nurse salary of $65,000 per year.
ER Travel Nurse Salary
To get a good estimate of the average ER travel nurse salary, we can average all ER travel nurse salary data with a start date of April, 30th in Wanderly’s database. Across all states, Wanderly has 21 ER travel nurse jobs with a start date of April, 30th 2018. Averaging this data tells us that the average ER travel nurse salary is $1,806 per week or $93,912 per year.
Travel ICU Nurse Salary
To get a good estimate of a travel ICU nurse salary we can average all travel ICU nurse salary data with a start date of April, 30th. Across all states, Wanderly has 27 travel ICU nurse jobs with a start date of April, 30th 2018. Averaging this data tells us that the average travel ICU nurse salary is $1,852 per week or $96,323 per year.
Pediatric Travel Nurse Salary
Hmmm… How can we get a good estimate of a Pediatric Travel Nurse Salary? You guessed it! We’ll average all of the Pediatric Travel Nurse Salary data found in Wanderly! Across all states, Wanderly has 20 Pediatric Travel Nurse Jobs as of April, 30th 2018. Averaging this data tells us that the average Pediatric Travel Nurse Salary is $1,686 per week, or $87,708 per year.
The highest paying travel nurse specialty is… Drumroll please!
Nurse Anesthetist is the highest paying travel nurse specialty. This is the highest paying travel nurse specialty because these nurses administer anesthesia to patients pre or post operation. According to the BLS, Nurse Anesthetists made an average of $3,175 per week or $165,120 per year in 2017. Travel Nurses make even more! Like Nurse Anesthetists the other highest paying travel nurse specialties are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses or APRNs. APRN specialties require an MSN.
Nurse Anesthetist is the top highest paying travel nurse specialty and it’s over 50% higher than the next two. The top 3 travel nurse specialties and their 2017 average salaries are:
- Nurse Anesthetists – $165,120
- Nurse Practitioners – $107,480
- Midwife Nurses – $103,640