Travel nurses receive both taxable hourly rates and untaxed stipends. Unencumbered stipends are used for expenses such as accommodation, meals and other unforeseen expenses. In addition to untaxed stipends, travel nurses also receive hourly pay. Travel nurse salaries are set by contract, but there are several ways to earn more than just your hourly rate.
Certain travel jobs offer login bonuses, completion bonuses, and additional money if you work a shift or certain days (for example, all holidays during your assignment). Overtime pay is also a possibility. Because travel nurses work in their core specialty, tasks will vary greatly between specialties. While the factors listed above influence the payment of travel nurses, the following types of tasks almost always pay exceptionally well.
However, knowing the average salary of a traveling nurse will help you make informed decisions about your next assignment. Amber Hazard, who lives in Texas, started as an ICU mobile nurse before the pandemic and said striking sums like that come with a hidden fee, paid with sanity. Having a nurse who is “ready to go to a specialized area can be more lucrative for a staffing agency than a nurse who is simply willing to receive training, but who is not yet certified. Agencies staffing nurses across the country began paying up to double regular nurse salaries to those willing to travel to areas in need of staff.
Tripeny, the traveling nurse who left Colorado, now works in Kentucky with heart surgery patients. You should consult your own certified financial planner if you have concerns before you start traveling with the infirmary. 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. Travel nursing agencies work specifically with hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities that have a high demand for nurses, which means they are willing to pay more to achieve adequate staffing levels or to cover known absences.
In fact, be sure to review all the details about pay and benefits with your recruiter before accepting any travel nursing jobs. Again, there is a lot of variation when it comes to nursing salaries while traveling, and factors such as location, housing, and career opportunity can trump the money in my book. Hospitals have long relied on traveling nurses to fill staff gaps without committing to long-term hiring. Many factors influence how much you pay for a nursing allowance to travel and whether you may consider it worth it.
However, if you take several tasks in a 12-month period, you could earn much more in a year than as a travel nurse.