If you’re thinking about becoming a travel nurse, you should understand the different aspects of your pay package. In addition to a base hourly rate, travel nurses may also receive tax-free stipends for lodging, meals and incidentals.
Hospitals often need travel nurses to fill staffing shortages. These shortages can occur due to a variety of reasons, including short-term demand or budgetary constraints.
The location of a travel nursing assignment can have a significant impact on the amount of money you make. For example, some assignments in the United States offer higher pay than others. These positions often offer better housing and stipends to cover other expenses, such as meals and taxes. In addition, many agencies provide free housing for their nurses.
International travel nursing opportunities also offer higher wages, but these jobs require more time away from home. This is especially true of rapid-response positions, which are usually in countries affected by natural disasters or other unforeseen circumstances.
Some facilities may pay nurses more for the job because they need to fill a quota or due to staffing issues. However, these extra stipends are usually non-taxable, meaning that travel nurses who receive them can take home a larger total paycheck than their permanent counterparts. Sign-on, completion, and retention bonuses are commonly offered for international travel nurse positions as well.
A travel nurse’s salary package is usually a “blended rate” that bundles together their hourly base pay with additional compensation like housing and travel stipends. In addition to this, many travel nurses also receive tax-free stipends for meals and utilities while on assignment. These allowances help to significantly increase take-home pay.
The type of specialty you choose can also impact how much you make as a travel nurse. For example, if you specialize in ICU nursing, you can earn a higher salary than someone who works in an operating room (OR).
Another way to increase your travel nurse salary is by taking on high demand assignments. These typically offer higher hourly rates and can often lead to guaranteed overtime hours.
When it comes to travel nurse compensation, the agency you work for makes a big difference. A good agency will be able to negotiate higher salaries for their nurses, and will also offer generous living expense stipends, which include housing and food allowances. This is especially true for assignments in high-cost areas like New York.
Some agencies, such as TNAA, also provide educational assistance to their travelers, and even pay for nursing certification fees before travel. These benefits make TNAA a great option for RNs who want to get ahead in their careers.
Another way to increase your earnings as a travel nurse is by choosing rapid-response assignments. These positions often require a fast turnaround, and can pay above the usual travel nurse salary rate. These assignments are usually in response to a hospital staffing shortage or a natural disaster. Moreover, these positions are a great opportunity to earn overtime.
The duration of a travel nurse’s contract is another important factor in determining their salary. Many travel nurses choose to take short-term assignments (usually 13 weeks), while others seek longer-term placements at healthcare facilities. Some travelers may even opt to extend their contracts, often multiple times if the hospital is in need of their skills and availability.
The amount of time a travel nurse works impacts their taxable wages, because the agency bills hospitals for the number of hours the nurse works each week. Therefore, more hours equals more money.
Adding specialized certifications or extra experience in nursing can also increase a travel nurse’s pay package. Specialty nurses in high-demand fields like cardio catheterization, oncology and neonatal and pediatric intensive care will also see higher wages due to the added difficulty in filling these positions. In addition, nurses who are willing to work in hard-to-fill locations or during disaster situations receive a premium pay rate because they’re able to meet short-term staffing needs.