There are over 340 Travel Nursing Companies in the United States. Not all pay the same, and not all share the same benefits. Being that you are moving away from your home, there is much to consider when it comes to such a commitment.
Before you weigh in the benefits that you wish to receive, it’s good to know what your starting pay will be. In general, Northern and Western states seem to provide greater pay than Southern states. This can vary, as salary can change based on a healthcare unit’s location, how in need of staff they are, specific staffing needs, and if a nurse were to negotiate.
It would also be wise to consider the location of the hospital or nursing unit, as the cost of living may be tremendous in different cities of a particular state. This can certainly have a large impact on what may sound like a decent salary.
Tax Benefits and Reimbursements
Living away from your home, certain companies may provide Tax Advantage or Per Diem pay. With this tax break, you live in a home near the location of your job site, which is covered through these tax benefits (called a “tax home”), along with other general living expenses. There is a catch. In regards to W-2 employees, when you claim these benefits, you must use itemized deductions rather than a Standard Deduction. Basically your itemized deduction could mean a bigger tax break, but the Standard could be larger. This varies from person to person, and for their each individual taxes. A good idea is to check out a list of itemized tax deductions and to know the basis of your taxes to know for sure.
If a specific company has an accountable plan, than this can be highly beneficial to your taxes. Without this plan, implications could be caused. You must qualify for an accountable plan to gain the proper reimbursements, which are not taxed and should not be added to a W-2 form.
Beware, for certain travel companies will often encourage traveling nurses and the like to take tax benefits which they do not qualify for. This puts the nurse at high risk of an audit by the IRS – with consequence of penalties and possibly more extreme offenses if unapproved taxes are filed.
It is worth it to know everything that you can for your beneficial needs when choosing a Travel Nursing Company to work for. The more resources you have, and the more research done, can only contribute to your search for a decent job provider. Remember that it’s possible to negotiate, and can save you a lot of time searching for just the right company.
For more information on the field of nurse traveling and for additional support, the Professional Association of Nurse Travelers is a great non-profit organization with a mission to cultivate safe, humane, and impartial work environments for, the over 25,000, American, nurse travelers and other travelers in the healthcare industry. They provide protection, education and aspects of business for both new and experienced members.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blogger for First in Education where she’s recently written about pharmacy degree programs along with a guide to epidemiologist jobs. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, traveling, and working with origami.