Travel nurse often receive sign-on and completion bonuses. They may also earn additional income through housing and meal stipends. These aren’t taxed as income, which can significantly increase a nurse’s take-home pay.
Many agencies secure housing for their travel nurses, which can drastically reduce the cost of relocating for each assignment. Other bonuses may include licensure reimbursement and free CEUs.
The location where a travel nurse works influences how much they earn. Nurses working in locations with a higher cost of living will earn more than nurses working in lower-cost areas. This is because a travel nurse salary per state will cover more of their living expenses.
In addition to their hourly rate, travel nurses may receive additional compensation from their placement agency. This could include a housing stipend, meal allowance, or non-taxable reimbursements. These additional perks can make an already lucrative job even more rewarding.
Additionally, if a nurse has specialized certifications, their salary can be increased further. Travel nurses with specialized skills, such as CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists), can earn above-average salaries due to their ability to fill acute or emergency nursing shortages. These shortages are often created by the exodus of nurses reaching retirement age and nursing educators leaving their jobs, so these highly-trained nurses are in demand. In addition to their hourly rates, CRNAs can also receive additional overtime pay. This is why they tend to be the highest-paid travel nurse specialities.
The most coveted travel nurse jobs are in speciality fields like cardio catheterization, oncology, neonatal, and pediatric intensive care. Adding certifications and gaining experience within these fields increases your competitiveness as a travel nurse and will lead to higher salary offers.
Location is another factor that can impact your travel nurse’s salary. Travel nurses who are flexible and willing to take on less desirable assignments can find a lucrative posting in a new city that would not have been available to them otherwise. These travel nurse jobs are known as crisis contracts, and they often pay more than standard travel nurse assignments due to the urgent need to fill a medical facility’s staffing shortage.
In addition to base salary, travel nurses typically receive tax-free housing stipends and travel reimbursements, which can significantly boost their paycheck. Ask your recruiter whether you can choose between a stipend and having the employer provide your accommodation, as this will affect your overall paycheck. Moreover, many travel nurses are eligible for overtime and time and a half for working extra hours.
RNs with advanced certifications and extensive experience typically earn higher salaries. Likewise, travel nurses with speciality skills like cardio catheterization, oncology, or neonatal intensive care often receive competitive pay. The popularity of a specific destination also greatly impacts the average travel nurse’s salary, as hospitals in high-demand areas may be willing to offer higher rates.
Depending on the state and assignment, travel nurses can also expect to receive generous bonus packages or living allowances. These include a housing stipend (complimentary accommodations in dorm rooms or a daily amount for rental and meal costs), group health insurance, licensure reimbursement, and free continuing education units.
All of these factors contribute to the overall average travel nurse salary. However, it’s important to remember that many travel nurses make more than the national average. Some travel nursing jobs are so lucrative that they’re essentially six-figure careers! The key is to research the best travel nurse pay available for your specialities and locations of choice.
As a travel nurse, you can increase your salary significantly by earning advanced certifications. These will help you advance within your specialty, demonstrate your commitment to lifelong learning, and provide a competitive edge over other nurses.
Moreover, you can also boost your salary by taking overtime. Overtime is paid 1.5x times your base wage and can add up over time. In addition, many travel nurse agencies will offer free housing or a stipend.
Generally, the highest-paying states for travel nurses. This is because they are expensive to live in and tend to attract nurses seeking unique assignments like working overnight shifts in trauma centers. However, earning high pay as a travel nurse in other locations is possible. Additionally, many staffing agencies offer lucrative bonuses for signing on with them or agreeing to a specific assignment. These may be sign-on, completion, and retention bonuses or referral bonuses. Moreover, some will even reimburse you for your healthcare-related CEUs. These bonuses can make or break your earnings as a travel nurse.
While travel nurses are paid well, it’s important to remember the taxes associated with your salary. According to American Traveler, keeping receipts for travel expenses like housing/lodging, mileage, and meals can help you claim some tax deductions at the state level. However, it’s best to consult a tax professional specializing in travel nursing and understand the complexities of calculating and filing taxes for itinerant workers.
Travel nurses often receive compensation packages, including taxable wages and non-taxable stipend payments. These “per diem” allowances are meant to cover your living costs while on an assignment. Stipend payments are a huge job perk that can significantly increase your take-home pay.
It’s important to know your tax home, which is the area you maintain as your primary residence while on an assignment. This could be a home, apartment, vacation rental, or hotel room. Your agency may ask you to provide proof of your tax home, such as utility bills, a driver’s license, or voter registration. Working with a travel nurse recruiter with experience in this area is also helpful.