One of the most common reasons nurses start traveling is due to the travel nurse salary. Travel nurses often make more than staff nurses. They also get to experience flexibility and adventure in their everyday life. In this blog, we’ll explain why you should consider becoming a travel nurse to take advantage of the high pay, as well as some tips to help you increase your salary as a travel nurse.
Travel Nurse Salary is Often More Than Staff Nurses
In most cases, travel nurses make significantly more than staff nurses at the same level of experience and education. Many nurses don’t realize this when starting out in their careers. However, it is a great way to increase your pay if you have at least two years of experience and are willing to take temporary assignments at different facilities.
How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make?
So, how much does a travel nurse make? This depends on many different factors. However, most averages right now for travel nurses come close to six figures annually. For some travelers, they can earn double or even triple what a staff nurse can in the same position.
This is because travel nurses travel to the assignment and fill in for temporary gaps in staffing. For instance, during disease surges, nurse strikes, or temporary increases in population for an area. Healthcare facilities hire travelers as a way to maintain nurse-patient ratios and reduce understaffing issues on a temporary basis. Therefore, facilities are often willing to pay a premium for travel nurses. This explains the discrepancy in travel nurse salary versus staff nurse salary.
There are many different elements of travel nurse salary to consider, including:
- Hourly pay
- Benefits like insurance and retirement accounts
- Tax-free stipends for housing and travel
- Optional bonuses
Therefore, it’s important to look at the big picture for travel nurse salary.
High Demand for Travel Nurses
The need for travel nurses has been increasing year over year due to chronic understaffing and nurse shortages throughout the country. This, plus an aging population that has more healthcare needs means many facilities are looking for extra help from experienced nurses.
Therefore, right now is a great time to start your career as a travel nurse. There are a vast number of facilities who need your help, and that demand isn’t likely to slow down for years to come, based on forecasts from labor experts.
Average Travel Nurse Salary Skyrocketed Since the Pandemic
Another great reason to become a travel nurse today is that travel nurse salary is incredibly high. Pay for travel nurses has been steadily increasing over time, what with the demand for nurses.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major increase in salary for travel nurses, as it has highlighted many of the staffing issues that hospitals across the nation. Many nurses during this time have quit their staff positions to become travelers and capitalize on some of the highest travel nurse compensation packages in history.
Your Travel Nursing Agency Negotiates Top Pay for Travelers
One important reason to work with our travel nursing agency is that we negotiate with each facility to help our nurses get competitive pay for each assignment. Therefore, it helps to work with our leading agency to ensure you get high compensation packages for each assignment you take.
In addition, our agency offers many other benefits in addition to the assignment wage. For instance, we provide medical, dental, and vision insurance for just $15 per week, provide professional liability coverage, and also offer a 401K savings program with matching. Our team can handle finding housing for you or provide you with a generous stipend to find your own housing based on your preferences. So, consider working with our agency to earn more and have a great experience.
Tips for Getting a Higher Travel Nurse Salary
Like with any job, there are things you can do that may increase the amount of pay you receive.
One of the best ways to strategize to earn the most compensation possible as a travel nurse is to talk to your recruiter. They are your number one source for information specifically tailored to you. They can help you find assignments and learn what kinds of things you can do to increase your travel nurse salary.
However, we do have some tips that may help you make more money as a travel nurse:
Choose Your Location Carefully
Travel nurse salary varies by location, with facilities in some states and facilities offering more in compensation for travel nurses. Of course, many nurses choose assignment locations based on the places they want to visit. However, it can also affect your travel nurse salary.
To increase your pay, consider taking assignments in areas that typically offer higher compensation for travel nurses. Just make sure you also consider the cost of living, as you will be living in the area. You’ll need to weigh the cost of living against the pay to make sure it’s worth it for you.
Consider Crisis Assignments
Crisis assignments are typically urgent, short-term assignments that travel nurses earn more for. For instance, during COVID-19 surges, many hospitals offered crisis assignments to help treat their patients. Another common reason for crisis assignments is after a natural disaster.
In exchange for higher pay, travel nurses typically need to arrive for these assignments quickly, often in less than two weeks, since they are typically in response to unexpected increases in healthcare needs.
Taking Night Shift May Increase Travel Nurse Salary
Many nurses have their preference on the type of shift they work. However, you may see modest increases in your travel nurse salary if you’re willing to be flexible on the shift you work. For example, night shifts often pay a little more than day shifts, as fewer nurses prefer them. So, consider working nights to earn more in your pay for some assignments.
Other Tips for Increasing Travel Nurse Salary
Of course, there are also other things you can do to increase the amount of money you make as a travel nurse. These are somewhat less commonly used by travel nurses, but can pay off. Here are some other tips:
Know a Nurse? Get a Referral Bonus
Another way you can earn money as a travel nurse is through referral bonuses. So, if you have friends or colleagues who might also be interested in the travel nursing life, consider referring them to us! We regularly offer referral bonuses for referring nurses and LPNs of all specialties.
Therefore, this is one way to increase your own pay and also help a nurse you know. Referring a nurse to us means they can enjoy the freedom, high pay, and adventure of being a travel nurse while also getting an extra bonus when they join our team and complete an assignment!
Consider More Education
Like with any job, getting additional education and experience may help boost your travel nurse salary. This is especially true for in-demand skills. For instance, getting extra certifications in high demand specialties can help you get access to potentially higher paying assignments. Of course, this is also a great way to add to your resume and make it more impressive for both travel assignments and a permanent nursing job if you choose to go that route at a later date. Therefore, you might consider earning extra education throughout your career as a way to boost your earning potential.
You might even consider switching your nursing specialty to a more in-demand one to potentially earn more as a travel nurse. While practically all specialties are in demand all across the country, there are certain specialties in more demand. For instance, labor and delivery, emergency room, operating room, and telemetry are frequently in high demand all over the U.S.
AHS NurseStat – Earn Competitive Compensation in Desirable Destinations Throughout the Country
Our team at AHS NurseStat is here to help travel nurses achieve their dreams. We are a national travel nursing agency with hundreds of open assignments for travel nurses. We work with you to understand your needs and goals and then match you with assignments that may work best for you. Our recruiters are some of the best in the nation and offer 24/7 support for our nurses. Get started with our team today – browse our nurse job board or contact one of our recruiters now.