For registered nurses (RNs) who like to see new places and work in different healthcare settings, becoming a travel nurse can be a fun and fulfilling job.
Travel nurses do short-term jobs in long-term care centers, hospitals, and clinics all over the country and even abroad. Over the years, there has been a greater need for travel nurses. This can be a great chance for RNs to move up in their jobs and gain useful experience.
But to become a journey nurse, you need to carefully plan and get ready. To become a travel nurse, this article will talk about the steps you need to take, the qualifications you need, the pros and cons of the job, and some tips for doing well in this exciting area.
Before they can be considered, travel nurses must meet a few requirements. For example, they must be a qualified nurse with a license that is still valid and have at least two years of nursing experience. They don’t need any other credentials or certifications besides the ones they need for their field.
How to Become a Travel Nurse 2024
How Much Money Do Travel Nurses Make?
It’s possible for many flight nurses to make more than $3,000 per week in normal situations. Travel nurses can make more than $50 an hour, and the company will pay for their living. This makes it possible for traveling nurses to make over $100,000 a year.
Travel Nurse Salary by State
|State||Mean Annual||Avg Hourly||Cost of Living|
How Does Travel Nurse Pay Differ From Staff Nurse Pay?
- Staff nurses As a general rule, hospital staff nurses get paid a set amount based on their schooling and experience. Most of the time, they get small pay raises at different times.
- Travel nurse It can be hard to say how much a travel nurse gets paid because it varies so much. Typical pay packages include hourly pay, housing stipends that aren’t taxed, per diems that aren’t taxed, trip reimbursements, and more.
What Factors Impact Your Pay as a Travel Nurse?
There are a few other things, besides crises like the one we’re in right now, that can change how much you can expect to make as a road nurse. Some of these are:
- Location: The place where the flight nurse is working has the biggest effect on their pay. To put it simply, pay rates often show how much it costs to live in the area and also follow trends in the area.
- Which states pay the most for travel nurses? In the past, California, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington, and New York were the places that paid travel nurses the most.
- Southern states tend to have lower living costs and, in turn, lower travel nurse pay.
- Areas that are considered “destination locations” (like Florida and Hawaii) may pay less. This isn’t always the case with rapid-response work, though.
- The COVID pandemic has increased travel nurse pay Some places with a lot of demand pay over $10,000 per week.
- Specialty: The type of work the flight nurse does also affects their pay. Most of the time, non-specialty nurses are paid less than specialty nurses. Examples of this are nurses who work in medical, surgical, and mental settings. Also, specialized nurses with credentials and skills that are in high demand can make more money and have what seem like endless job possibilities.
- Shift – You may have noticed that night shift jobs are more common in the world of travel nursing. The good news is that a lot of hospitals pay more for people who work the night shift. Freedom is important if you want to make a lot of money. Do not work the night shift if you don’t like it. No amount of money will protect your safety, happiness, or license. If you can take better care of patients during the day shift, do that. People who see you will be grateful.
How To Make The Most Money As A Travel Nurse
In addition to the above factors that affect travel nurse pay, the following kinds of jobs almost always pay very well: Sometimes, location, specialty, or shift don’t matter when it comes to these kinds of tasks.
If you want to make the most money as a road nurse, don’t look for any other jobs. Instead, look for these:
Rapid Response and “Crisis” Assignments
Because of how quickly they need nurses, these jobs pay some of the best rates in the travel nursing business. Like the name suggests, these jobs need nurses to get to work quickly, usually within two weeks. Nurses who are given these tasks might not have many places to choose from. Most of the time, they last less than 13 weeks, so if you’re ready to go, you can start right away in the places that need you the most.
Most of the time, the hospital is not facing a problem like a natural or man-made disaster. However, sometimes they are. Just as an example, one organization was able to send nurses within 48 hours to help hospitals treat patients after Hurricane Harvey.
Most of the time, though, facilities that need quick response solutions are those that have to deal with sudden increases in the number of patients, new units opening, emergencies, EMR upgrades, and other things. But some facilities may use flexible-length assignment choices to keep patients cared for when they don’t have enough staff for a short time.
Hospitals may be interested in this type of work because they don’t need the 13-week commitment that many other tourism companies do. This means that companies that offer these kinds of jobs can give tourists a wider range of shorter, higher-paying jobs to choose from. A great choice, especially if you’re looking for a job that fits your lifestyle better.
What’s the catch then? As was already said, rapid response tasks need to be done quickly. Because of this, nurses must make sure all of their information is in order if they want to get paid the most. People should send their credentials, tests, licenses, and other papers to the office as soon as possible.
We asked travel nursing companies for more details about the quick-response jobs they offer. They said that most agencies will sometimes help nurses get licenses and certifications. For example, if a nurse does work for a company and needs a new license, the company will pay for it.
A nurse can also stay at one of the agencies’ recommended hotels, and the agencies will pay for her room. Instead, many travel nursing agencies offer a housing stipend that is meant to cover the cost of the nurse finding their own housing while on duty. Lastly, they pay for the nurses’ travel to and from work.
Hours vary from 36 to 48 per week, but the nurse who works 48 hours is definitely making more money, especially since extra pay is higher.
There will probably be tasks that say they have “bonuses.” To get the most out of these bonuses, you should know the difference between them.
- Hospital vs Agency Bonuses
- Hospital bonuses are paid on top of the bill rate and are usually given as rewards for finishing a job. In other words, they won’t get paid until you turn in your work. Usually, these bonuses are between $250 and $5,000.
- Bonuses from the agency may be taken out of your bill rate and change how much you get paid altogether. There are times when this is a good thing, like when you like getting a lot of money all at once.
What’s the difference between hospital and contract pay? You can start by asking your agent where the bonus comes from: the hospital or the agency.
- Retention Bonus
Some agencies will pay nurses bonuses once they end up working with that agency for multiple assignments. This is commonly referred to as a retention bonus and each agency will have its own requirements. These bonuses usually range from $100 to $2,000 or more.
- Referral Bonus
The company pays journey nurses a fee called a referral bonus when those nurses bring in other nurses to work for the company. These funds usually come from a different budget set aside for referral fees. They shouldn’t have any effect on the travel nurse’s pay plan.
Most of the time, bonuses for referring nurses run from $500 to $4,000. When one of their referrals finishes a task, some of the best agencies in the business pay nurses big bonuses.
When the term of a labor contract or bargaining deal between a hospital and a union runs out, there are strikes. If the people involved can’t find a good middle ground, the union may go on strike.
Patients still need care in this situation. Because of this, hospitals usually hire tour nurses to fill in the gaps. Because of the need for speed, travel nurses who work strikes make a lot more money than travel nurses who work regular jobs.
How to Find the Highest-Paying Travel Nurse Assignments
The first thing you can do is ask agents directly what jobs provide the best pay. Tell them that money is important to you and that you’re not interested in jobs that pay less than a certain amount. It’s important to be honest with travel nurse recruiters about pay. They should also give you their best pay deals right away.
It is best to work with companies that are known to pay well and focus on rapid response and strike nursing. Hospitals pay these companies more to get highly specialized staff quickly and for a short time. Their tour nurses are charged those high rates.
Tips For Travel Nurses (From a Travel Nurse Recruiter!)
Crisis Contacts and Pandemic Nursing
Because of the outbreak, there is a greater need than ever for travel nurses. If you want to get paid what you’re worth, a crisis contract in an area where COVID levels are rising will definitely pay, a lot. But you should think about the pros and cons. If you do get COVID, make sure your employer pays for your sick days.
Find Your Own Housing
We recommend that you get a living stipend and find your own housing. You will be able to pick your own price point. Because they want to keep their good name, agencies will often put nurses up in more expensive places to stay. Also, agencies sign “corporate leases,” which are leases with a “corporate” price tag. Some groups can give you a place to stay for free if you stay at one of the hotels they recommend. You’ll have to pay for this yourself at most other companies, but they will help you set it up.
If you want to make money, you need to be flexible. It’s possible for the jobs that pay the most to not be the best ones. They might be in a bad spot or work irregular hours that are hard to fill, like nights or changes. There may be times when nights, weekends, and changeable shifts pay more than other times of the week.
Work With the Agencies Who are Known for Their High Pay and Transparency
Because every company is different, their pay deals will also be different. Being open is important. The most reliable companies will make their pay packages public and show how much money employees actually get paid. Because of this focus on openness, nurses can quickly decide if the job is right for them without having to negotiate or look into the details.
Also, terms like “blended rates” and other business jargon can be hard to understand. Negotiations between nurses and managers can make things more confusing and make people not trust each other. This is the reason why companies that don’t let you negotiate might be the best ones to work for. Their best rate is probably what they tell the nurse from the start, so there is no room for discussion. Why didn’t the recruiter give you their best rate from the start if they can be negotiated with? Something to think about.
Make Sure Your Profile is Up-to-Date
The best-paying travel nursing jobs are in high demand and there is a lot of competition for them. The truth is that companies can’t just send you in for a job because you want to be considered. For real, they have to “sell” your skills to the hospital.
How do they do that? Your “profile” is made up of your resume, references, skill tests, license, and other paperwork. You will have a better chance of getting high-paying jobs if you keep your paperwork in order and can send it to a new agency quickly and easily. You should give your recruiter your information as soon as possible so that they can put you forward for a high-paying job.
As an aside, a lot of nurse managers hire travel nurses based on “first come, first served.” Why? The hospital doesn’t have to do any more study to decide if you’re qualified because your agency has already checked you out. For short-term work needs, the hospital needs your skills. If you apply for every high-paying job right away, you’ll have a better chance of getting it. We suggest that you keep your files up to date and store it in the cloud with a service like Dropbox or Google Drive. From now on, it will be simple to send your employer your paperwork folder.
You can also download a scanning app if you don’t have a scanner. It works great and you don’t have to carry around a big machine. Many agencies are getting smarter about technology and making mobile apps that let nurses upload documents directly to their business profiles. These documents can then be stored and updated when the app alerts nurses that they are about to expire, etc.
Work With Multiple Agencies
The truth is that there won’t be jobs open at every agency in the US. More truth: some hospitals pay different amounts to different agencies, and agencies in the same area may have better relationships with hospitals there. To sum up, working with more than one agency is a good idea because it will improve your chances.
A word of advice: don’t be shady if you work with more than one agent. Tell them the truth about each other. Do not “pit” them against each other. Don’t forget to stay in touch with them, even if you don’t pick their task this time. It’s likely that they’ll want to work with you again. You might even meet someone new!
Maintain Multiple State Licenses
How many of you know that hospitals won’t even look at your profile if you aren’t qualified in their state? It’s real. Holding licenses in more than one state will improve your chances of getting high-paying jobs all the time.
For instance, rates tend to go up in northern states during the winter, which is why you need a license in Massachusetts! You need a license to work in some states. No questions were asked.
Get your license in that state right away if you don’t already have one and want to go there soon. In some places, getting a license only takes 48 hours. In some places, like California, getting a license can take up to six months. Some organizations do help pay license fees or refund them.
People Also Ask
What is a travel nurse?
A travel nurse is a professional registered nurse (RN) who works on-call at different hospitals and clinics, sometimes in different states, cities, or countries. They take care of patients in hospitals, clinics, and long-term care centers, among other places. Travel nurses get jobs through staffing agencies, which then send them to hospitals and other healthcare centers that need temporary extra help.
What qualifications are required to become a travel nurse?
You need to be licensed to work as a nurse in the state or country where you want to work before you can become a foreign nurse. You should also have worked as a registered nurse in your field for at least one year. Travel nursing companies may sometimes need nurses to have extra training or certifications.