Working with individuals who are dealing with mental illnesses isn't for everyone. Nurses who want to work with these individuals are setting themselves up for a meaningful and long career in travel nursing. With one in six adults living with mental illness in the United States, the demand for travel psychiatric nurses is large. Health Carousel Nursing & Allied Health strives to be the supportive alley that travel nurses need to pursue a long career in travel nursing through various programs and benefits. We'll dive into what it takes to become a travel behavioral health nurse, what the earning potential is, and more so you can determine if travel psychiatric nurse jobs are right for you.
Who Behavioral Health Travel Nurses Are
Behavioral health travel nurses are registered nurses who dedicate their lives to helping those with mental illnesses at various medical facilities. These nurses have several different names, such as psych travel nurses, psychiatric travel nurses, psychiatric RNs, etc. Whichever title you go by, the role of the nurse stays the same.
Psychiatric RNs have an array of duties they're responsible for throughout the day. Depending on the medical facilities you're working at, your responsibilities might vary. Responsibilities that a psychiatric travel nurse might have on a day-to-day basis include:
- Assist in behavioral health therapy programs
- Administer and manage medication
- Collaborate with other health professionals to provide comprehensive and high-quality patient care.
- Document patient progress
- Update and maintain patient records
- Crisis intervention
- Assist in mental health assessments
When you're looking for nurse travel jobs, Health Carousel Nursing & Allied Health will provide you with detailed job postings so you never have to guess what your responsibilities will be while working as a psych travel nurse.
Behavioral Health Travel Nurse Job Outlook & Salary
Understanding the job outlook for behavioral health travel nurses is vital to determining if this is the right career path for you. In general, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate for RNs will be 6% from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than other professions.
The job outlook for behavioral health travel nurses is very promising, with high demand and lucrative salaries. The healthcare industry as a whole is experiencing a shortage of nurses, especially in mental health and psychiatric nursing. This has led to increased opportunities and demand for travel nurses who specialize in behavioral health.
Travel nursing allows nurses the flexibility to take temporary assignments around the country while earning higher salaries and still building a career they can be proud of. For behavioral health nurses, it provides the opportunity to gain experience in different care settings and with diverse patient populations they might not otherwise get to work with. Some of the top reasons to pursue travel nursing in behavioral health include:
- High Demand: Travel nurses are needed to fill gaps in care, especially in rural and underserved areas, or anywhere there are staffing shortages.
- Lucrative Pay: Behavioral health travel nurses earn significantly higher salaries than staff psychiatric nurses.
- Flexible Assignments: Choose locations and settings based on personal preference so you can create a career that fits your aspirations.
- Professional Growth: Gain knowledge and experience working with different patient cases.
Overall, current projections point to excellent prospects for travel psychiatric nurse jobs, with their specialized skills and flexibility to meet growing demands across diverse care settings. Health Carousel Nursing & Allied Health is passionate about supporting travel nurses in their career pursuits and professional growth with programs like Work Study and Clinical Ladder.
The Average Salary of a Behavioral Health Travel Nurse
On average, travel psychiatric nurses earn more than a staff behavioral health nurse. According to ZipRecruiter, the average behavioral health nurse earns around $47 per hour, making the average annual salary around $97,760. The lowest rate is closer to $15 an hour, and the highest is over $81. Knowing the average for staff nurses, we know that travel psychiatric nurses earn more than that on average, depending on how many travel assignments they take per year and other factors like:
- Education level
- Experience level
- Geographic location
Additionally, benefits like 401k, health insurance, and licensing assistance enhance the total compensation for nurses pursuing a career in travel nursing.
The Career Path for a Behavioral Health Travel Nurse
The career path for a behavioral health travel nurse allows for tremendous growth and specialization. It's an excellent option for nurses seeking to expand their skills and move into advanced roles. Typical progression includes:
- Staff Nurse: Gain clinical experience in behavioral health nursing.
- Travel Nurse: Take travel assignments in different care settings and locations to grow your career.
- Specialize: Earn certifications in psychiatric-mental health nursing.
- Leadership Roles: Move into management, education, or advanced practice.
- Advanced Degrees: Earn an MSN to take on higher travel behavioral health nurse roles potentially.
The skills and experience gained through travel nursing open doors to diverse career options. Many nurses start as staff nurses before transitioning into travel nursing. From there, they use it as a launch pad to specialize and move into advanced roles.
Factors Impacting the Earning Potential of a Behavioral Health Travel Nurse
How much travel psychiatric nurses earn varies on several factors. Travel psychiatric nurses can earn differently depending on several things:
- Higher Education: Registered nurses with an advanced degree tend to earn higher than nurses without one.
- Experience: Nurses with more experience working in behavioral health or in general often earn more than new nurses or those just starting in the psychiatric field.
- Professional Certification: A travel psychiatric nurse will earn more money when they have certifications that pertain to the specialty, like the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing (PMH-BC) certification.
- Facility Type: Certain facilities pay more than others.
- Geographical Location: Areas where there's a higher cost of living generally pay travel nurses more than areas with a lower cost of living. In many cases, employers in metropolitan areas pay more than those in rural areas.
Additionally, the ability and willingness to work overtime, take on extra shifts, travel to high-demand locations, and take on leadership duties can all boost earning potential. Overall, more education, skills, and flexibility allow travel psychiatric nurses to earn a higher wage.
The Requirements and Opportunities for Travel Behavioral Health Nurse Jobs
The education requirements to become a travel behavioral health nurse aren't too different from other travel nursing careers. To pursue a career in this field of nursing, you'll first need to obtain your nursing degree. Most behavioral health nurses pursue their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The program takes four years and provides you with ample clinical knowledge and rotations that you'll take into the real world post-graduation.
After graduating, you'll need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Other education requirements that can benefit you in your pursuit to become a travel psychiatric nurse are doing clinicals or taking jobs on behavioral health units or other facilities that focus on mental health. While not always required, many behavioral health travel nurse jobs favor those with two or more years of psychiatric nursing.
Required and Recommended Certification Requirements
As a registered nurse, you'll need to have certain certifications under your belt to work at almost any medical facility in the country. Certifications like Basic Life Support (BLS) are required for almost all nursing positions, but each employer might have additional requirements.
Travel psychiatric nurses can also benefit from specific certifications that pertain to mental health and psychiatry. The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification (PMH-BC) is a great certification that not only showcases your knowledge of the specialty but also your commitment to treating patients and dedicating your life to a career in behavioral health nursing. You can also obtain your Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification if you're going to be working with children.
Where Travel Behavioral Health Nurses Can Work
Travel psychiatric nurses have a diverse range of potential work settings that they can work at. Depending on your career goals or interests, our caring recruiters can help you find a travel psychiatric nurse position at medical facilities like:
- Psychiatric hospitals
- Behavioral health units
- Rehabilitation and residential treatment facilities
- Mental health clinics
- Correctional facilities
- Long-term acute care hospitals
- Group homes
Achieve Your Dream Career as a Behavioral Health Travel Nurse With Health Carousel Nursing & Allied Health
Travel behavioral health nurses are a vital part of our healthcare system. Dedicating your life to traveling the country while helping others with mental health conditions is an honorable and rewarding career path. As a nurse-nominated top 10 travel agency, Health Caroseul Nursing & Allied Health is passionate about helping nurses start and succeed in their travel nurse careers.
Partnering with us will provide you with an abundance of benefits that are designed to help you grow your travel nursing career. Our caring recruiters know the importance of what you do and want to help you find travel positions that reflect your career goals. Some benefits we offer travel nurses are:
Check out On Demand, our powerful web app, where you can search and apply for behavioral health travel nurse jobs nationwide.
What is the outlook of being a travel nurse?
The outlook for being a travel nurse is generally positive, presenting vast opportunities for professional growth, financial gain, and personal exploration. Due to ongoing shortages in healthcare staffing across various regions and specialties, demand for travel nurses has seen a significant increase, leading to competitive salaries, flexible work schedules, and the chance to work in diverse healthcare settings. This career path is particularly appealing for those seeking to explore different parts of the country or world while gaining invaluable experiences and skill sets in their nursing practice.
What type of travel nurse makes the most money?
The pay for being a travel nurse varies from region to region and by specialty. Typically, travel nurses who specialize in a certain field will earn more than non-specialized nurses. Education, experience, certifications, and location also affect the earning potential of travel nurses.