In the United States, travel nursing has a distinct advantage when it comes to compensation. Firstly, they enjoy an average yearly earning that’s $43,020 more than staff RNs. To illustrate, the average travel RN income is $124,382 as of August 2023, compared to $85,380 for staff RNs.
This lucrative pay results from several factors unique to the role of a travel nurse. For instance, the location of their assignments greatly influences the pay, with some regions or states offering higher compensation than others. Furthermore, specialty areas of nursing have their own premium rates. Living arrangements, often included in the travel RN’s package, also affect the overall compensation value. Moreover, the skill a nurse uses to negotiate their contract matters. Thus, navigating a career as a travel RN with knowledge and strategy proves rewarding, both professionally and financially.
In this blog, we delve into the financial benefits of travel nursing and how you are able to maximize earnings in this profession.
Maximizing Financial Rewards: The Advantages of Travel Nursing
Elevated Travel Nurse Pay: The Tangible Rewards
Travel nursing, by design, offers a competitive advantage in terms of compensation. Unlike traditional staff RN roles, travel nurse pay often includes premium wages, sometimes exceeding the earnings of their permanent counterparts by 15% or more. This hike is due to the demand for specialized skills and the ability to join a healthcare facility on short notice.
Bonuses & Incentives: The Cherry On Top
The benefits of travel nursing go beyond the competitive base pay. Many travel nurse staffing companies also provide sign-on, completion, and referral bonuses as further incentives. A travel nurse’s salary is also boosted by the possibility of overtime and holiday compensation from healthcare organizations. Tapping into these incentives not only makes the profession financially enticing but also rewards nurses for their flexibility and dedication. Voca offers completion, retention, and referral bonuses. Voca also offers 40 hours of PTO after a year on contract with us.
Housing & Travel Allowance: Living Without The Extra Costs
One of the most enticing aspects of travel nurse jobs lies in the housing and travel allowances. Many staffing firms provide a generous housing stipend. Voca offers stipends based on GSA rates provided. As a result, this dramatically reduces the living expenses of a travel nurse. Similarly, travel allowances ensure that getting to and from assignments doesn’t eat into one’s earnings. By eliminating or reducing these two significant costs, travel nurses find themselves pocketing much more of their pay. If you need help finding housing, Voca is here to help!
Tax Advantages: Making The Most Of The Per Diem Benefits
Per diem allowances, which cover meals and incidental expenses, present another lucrative advantage of travel nursing. Because these allowances typically aren’t subject to federal, state, or FICA taxes, travel nurses take home a larger portion of their earnings. It’s crucial, however, to consult with a tax professional familiar with travel nursing to ensure compliance with all regulations and maximize these benefits.
Diversify & Enhance Skill Set: A Long-term Financial Strategy
While the immediate financial benefits of travel nurse pay and perks grab the spotlight, it’s the long-term advantages that truly set travel nursing apart. With every new assignment, a travel nurse gains exposure to various facilities, technologies, and practices. Therefore, this diversified experience makes them more marketable, allowing them to command even higher wages in the future, whether in travel nursing or permanent positions.
Tips to Boost Your Travel Nurse Pay
Partner with a Good Recruiter
Build a Relationship: A recruiter who knows your preferences, strengths, and career goals is going to match you with the best opportunities more effectively.
Feedback Loop: Regularly communicate with your recruiter about your experiences and evolving priorities. This helps them fine-tune future job recommendations.
Specialize and Certify
Deep Dive: Specialized nurses in fields like ICU, OR, and ER often command higher rates. But beyond these common specialties, consider niches like neonatal care, cardiac catheterization, or oncology.
Certifications Matter: Obtaining certifications like CCRN (for critical care) or CNOR (for operating room) not only enhances your clinical skills but also positions you as a top-tier candidate for higher-paying assignments.
Choose High-Demand Locations
Seasonal Demand: Tourist destinations, for instance, might have a spike in demand during peak seasons. Aligning your assignments with these spikes yields better rates.
Rural vs. Urban: While urban centers sometimes offer higher base pay, rural locations are able to provide more in terms of net benefits, such as housing or sign-on bonuses, due to the dire need for nurses.
Stay Updated with Continuous Education
Online Learning: With a plethora of online courses available, it’s easier than ever to enhance your skills on the go.
Attend Workshops: Workshops or seminars, often organized by nursing associations, are a goldmine for learning and networking.
Consider Crisis Assignments
Be Prepared: Keep an updated resume and necessary documents at hand. Crisis assignments often require swift mobilization.
Mental and Physical Readiness: Such roles are often intense. Ensure you’re mentally and physically equipped to handle the demands of rapid-response situations.
In an age of skyrocketing demand for medical professionals, the world has seen the rise of travel nursing as a lucrative career option. Travel nursing undoubtedly presents a golden opportunity for RNs to enhance their earnings. From the elevated travel nurse pay to the myriad bonuses and allowances, the financial prospects shine brightly. By embracing travel nurse jobs and leveraging the unique benefits they offer, nurses not only enrich their bank accounts but also their professional experiences and growth.
If you’re an RN looking to step into this exciting arena, the journey toward financial prosperity through travel nursing awaits you. With the right strategy and choices, you stand to maximize every cent of your hard-earned money.
Looking for your next or even your first travel nursing assignment? Get in touch with us! We’ll be more than happy to help.
About Voca: The Spirit of Work
Voca is a relationship organization focused on uniting talented healthcare professionals across
nursing and allied, as well as travel and local with exceptional companies. Headquartered in
Rochester, MN, Voca works coast-to-coast supporting national, regional, and local healthcare
companies. Voca is proud to be certified by The Joint Commission, which evaluates and accredits
healthcare staffing agency organizations and programs in the United States. We are committed
to creating and maintaining a workplace in which all employees have an opportunity to
participate and contribute to our mutual success and are valued for their skills, experience, and
unique perspective. For more information, visit https://myvoca.com/.