Travel nurses enjoy greater pay in exchange for their willingness to travel. They often work under temporary contracts at various hospitals and facilities in a given geographic location. Some nurses travel all over the country or even to foreign countries. Agencies help travel nurses find work as independent contractors or seasonal employees.
Employers know that asking a nurse to work at a different location every day is asking a lot. For this reason, the pay is generally higher. Travel nurses must be adaptable to new situations and be personable. These premium skills earn better pay.
Contractor or Temporary Employee
Even though many travel nurses work as independent contractors, many others earn excellent benefits, such as 401K match, Health Insurance, continuing education, licensure reimbursement, life and/or disability insurance, loyalty rewards, bonuses, tax shelters, and travel expense reimbursement.
Besides great benefits and pay, traveling nurses enjoy the flexibility of time off whenever they want it. They can take time between jobs, knowing another assignment will be waiting for them when they return. That freedom extends to a nurse’s lifestyle too. Some even choose to live in RVs, reducing the cost of living and maximizing their earnings. These nurses often earn a housing stipend, regardless.
Independent contractors generally pay their own expenses, but they receive a much higher pay rate to cover those costs. Independent contractors enjoy simpler paperwork since they do not need to provide receipts or proof of the expenses. Contractors also enjoy more tax-deductable expenses.
What to Expect
When asked about his career, one traveling nurse said, “I like the freedom, the financial reward, the actual traveling, the challenges, the being able to go places and do things I would never have done or been able to do. Just last December my wife and I went to Brazil to vacation after working in the Virgin Islands, then the Florida Keys and maybe a cruise next or just go home and take a break.”
That kind of freedom is rare in any profession, much less one that pays so well. Traveling nurses can make about $100,000 per year. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average nursing wage is $62,450. The middle 50% made only about $50,000. Therefore, traveling nurses can earn twice as much as those who commit to employment at a single location.
That’s why we make sure our students know about traveling nursing and the excellent opportunities available to them in this profession. While some prefer the predictability of working at one location, many look for the freedom, excitement and opportunity that travel nursing can give.