Travel nursing comes with many benefits, such as a high travel nurse salary, incentives such as login bonuses, and the opportunity to work in glamorous places like Hawaii. Unlike regular staff nurses, traveling nurses are paid a “full pay package” that includes an hourly base salary plus additional monetary incentives that include things like login or referral bonuses, travel reimbursements, and stipends for housing, food, mileage, or related expenses with work. Because these additional stipends are classified as refunds rather than income, they are not taxable, so a travel nurse can bring home a higher total salary compared to a staff nurse, who pays taxes on all the income she brings home. For example, you may earn more in a month as a travel nurse compared to a staff nurse, but if you only work on one- or two-month assignments, your annual salary will be lower.
However, if you take several tasks in a 12-month period, you could earn much more in a year than you could earn as a travel nurse. Your total travel nurse pay package will be different from that of a staff nurse because it is comprised of your “base salary,” the hourly rate you earn for your nursing duties, and additional stipends, which are classified as non-taxable reimbursements and are not considered income. Some travel nurse agencies also offer additional benefits to travel nurses, such as retirement options and health, dental, vision and life insurance. Keep in mind that retirement options that include a 401 (k) plan may not be the most effective option if your taxable income is already low.
It may make more sense to invest in a Roth IRA or other retirement account. Why? One of the main benefits of a 401 (k) plan is that it allows you to contribute your income before it is taxed, but a large part of the total payment package of most travel nurses is not taxable. Contributing to a 401 (k) plan can significantly reduce a travel nurse's overall taxable income and can lead to problems in the future if they need to qualify for a loan, for example. You have the opportunity to work in fields you may not have close to home or receive additional training to improve your nursing skills as well.
In addition, because travel nursing is flexible and can accommodate short- and long-term positions, many nurses may attempt temporary nursing assignments, whether they are single, in a couple, married, childless, or have a family. Professionals considering this feature should also explore what net pay looks like for traveling nurses. With this, travel nurses receive a stipend from their employers to obtain accommodation near the health centers where they work. Travel nursing agencies also pay professionals by the hour and offer additional benefits, including room and board stipends.
In addition, you may be able to earn even more money if you seek specialty certification in your area on your own before signing with a nursing travel agency. The most in-demand (and therefore highest-paying) jobs for travel nurses are often directly related to those requiring highly specialized training, knowledge and experience. It continues to deal with the current shortage of nurses (which is expected to continue until 2030), all types of nurses are in high demand. Keep in mind that data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average salaries of resident nurses, so the potential for nurses who travel specifically in those areas is even greater.
Most countries pay significantly less than you'll find for travel nursing jobs in the United States, although you may find higher rates for positions in some small European countries, such as Luxembourg. Choosing to work with multiple nursing travel agencies means you can evaluate and choose agencies that offer the best possible rates in specific areas. If you have a specialization in that area, be sure to mention it in your travel nurse application. While travel nurses in California earn the highest hourly rate, they also face the highest cost of living.
It can help you assess whether a paid nursing travel package is right for you based on your overall financial goals. . .