Many things affect travel nurse salary, so it’s pretty hard to give a true salary range for travel nurses. Although many people ask, how much do travel nurses make, it’s hard to pinpoint. Here are some of the main factors that will affect your salary range as a travel nurse.
Six Things That Affect Travel Nurse Salary
Different specialties have different travel nurse salary standards, depending on the level of education and training required. Holly Fenn, the candidate relations team leader for Nebraska-based Fusion Medical Staffing, LLC, says that it’s a myth that all travel nurses get paid the same regardless of the work they do. For example, a med-surg nurse is not going to make the same amount of money as a neuro nurse. When it comes to travel nursing, your modality impacts your pay more than your years of experience.
Depending where your assignment is, this can impact your travel nurse salary. Some states have higher cost of living, and therefore your salary may not stretch as far. A high cost of living situation is most likely to happen in popular destinations such as Denver or New York City, Fenn said. Another location factor to consider is demand. Some locations, like Florida and Arizona, need more nurses over the winter when the snow birds arrive. Therefore, those states may pay a little extra to fill gaps in care.
Your travel nurse salary will be affected by the number of hours you’re working as well as what shift. For example, no matter what specialty you’re working in, night shift nurses tend to get paid more than day shift.
Benefits are another factor that come into play when weighing out the value of a salary offer. Some agencies offer better benefits than others. When considering a salary offer, also keep in mind all that’s included in the offer such as health insurance, housing, etc.
Aside from benefits, it’s also important to consider what your tax options are. For example, if you take a higher hourly taxed salary and sacrifice some of your non-taxed money, your pay package will essentially be lower even though your salary will be higher. Tax-free money is a way to keep more in your pocket. On the flip side to that, if you accept a really low hourly taxed salary and get more tax-free money, you’re going to make more money. However, be careful doing this as the IRS can see it as wage-characterization. Travel nursing taxes and travel can be the hardest part. We’ll cover that in more detail in another chapter!
Are you traveling with kids? Are you married or single? Your personal situation can also make a big difference on how you measure a salary offer. For example, if you have an agency that’s willing to cover the cost of housing for your entire family, that’s huge! At the same time, if you do have a family to support your salary might not stretch as far as a single traveler.
Although all of these factors impact salary, websites such as Payscale.com have tried to answer the question, ‘how much do travel nurses make?’ So, let’s look at the numbers. Payscale says that the average hourly wage of a travel nurse is about $31.69. Based on its calculations, the total pay for a travel nurse ranges from $45,016 to $106,077 when considering overtime, bonuses and of course, all of the factors mentioned above.
Regardless of how much money you actually make travel nursing, chances are you will earn slightly more money doing this than you would have as a full-time nurse in one location. To make the most out of your traveling experience, review your contract and salary offer carefully, do the math, and finally, seek assistance from an accountant to make sure all your decimals are in the right place. Doing this will help to ensure you are getting the most money of out of each travel nursing assignment.
Looking for your next travel nursing assignment? Check out all of the great travel nursing opportunities on our site!