If you're interested in becoming a traveling nurse, you've probably heard a lot of different things about what you can expect from your travel nurse salary. That's simply because there are thousands of hospitals that employ these health care providers, and hundreds of agencies that recruit and place them in positions. While there are some general trends that span the whole field, the only way to be sure about what you can expect is to ask a travel nurse agency about their payment options. Short of that, the best we can do is generalize.
Generally, traveling nurses make more than their non-traveling counterparts. While the nationwide average hourly wage for a registered nurse is around $25, traveling RNs usually make anywhere between $30 and $40 per hour. But it's important to keep in mind that most agencies don't have one-size-fits-all rates but rather make offers based on each individual's training and experience. As with any other nursing position, the more experience you have, the more you can expect to make.
And there are other factors that go into the equation. For example, there are some areas of the country where nurses can expect to make more due to higher costs of living and higher salaries in general. Plus, as all RN's know, different types of nursing come with different salary expectations. This is as true in travel nursing as it is anywhere else.
There are other benefits of this career field that are difficult to quantify in dollar terms. For example, many employers in the medical industry look upon travel nursing as an impressive item on their resume, so the experience that you get from your travel assignment stint could translate into higher wages and desirable positions in the future. Plus, it's likely that you'll get plenty of value out of your experience on a personal level.
Many travel nursing agencies give extra monetary benefits beyond the salary and hourly wage. You can expect to have your housing paid for. Given the long hours you'll be working, this almost guarantees that you'll have a good amount of money saved by the end of your contract. Finally, if you work with a great agency, you may also get bonuses at the end of each job, and these may add as much as 25% or more or your base travel nurse salary.
We know how time consuming and frustrating it can be to find a good travel nurse agency given the extremely large number of hits received on an internet search. We encourage you to find other friends or co-workers that are or have been in this field and get their opinion. Other sources are nursing organizations that you belong to or a good forum where other nurses voice their experiences.