How Much is a Travel Nurse Salary?

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
July 19, 2017
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Travel nursing provides many benefits that permanent positions in healthcare facilities most likely cannot, including the flexibility to experience a new environment every few months, access to a recruiter that understands your needs and wants, and, in most cases, lucrative financial incentives.

Travel nurses are typically paid very well compared to their full-time, permanent peers. In many situations, hospitals desperately need travel nurses to fill open positions and care for their patients. If you are going to fill critical gaps in a healthcare facility’s staff and learn the ins and outs of a new work environment, you should be compensated well during your contract with the facility. Never be embarrassed or afraid to ask what a travel nurse makes—arming yourself with this information can help you get the most of your next travel assignment.

What is a travel nurse salary?

As with staff nurse salaries, a travel nurse salary can vary quite a bit depending on where you are in the country and what type of nursing you are going to do (med-surg vs. critical care, for example). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median pay for nurses is $32.91 an hour, or an annual salary of $68,450 per year; according to, the hourly rate for a travel nurse is $44.81 an hour. However, as a travel nurse, the best approach when comparing compensation packages is focus on weekly net pay. This is the estimated net amount that will be deposited into your account for working the contracted weekly hours—essentially, your actual take-home pay.

How is weekly net pay calculated?

To calculate net pay, subtract the estimated weekly taxes from the weekly taxable wage and add the remainder to the total weekly tax-free stipends to calculate the weekly net pay for a contract. For an even more detailed breakdown on calculating take-home pay, reach out to a Health Carousel Travel Nursing recruiter.

Wait, so do travel nurses really make more than staff nurses do?

Simply put, yes. The average travel nurse makes more than the average staff nurse doing exactly the same job. Sometimes a travel nurse can actually earn a lot more than the staff nurse can. Think about it this way: To attract travel nurses, hospitals need to pay an attractive hourly rate. So, the travel nurse salary is already higher, just as an hourly rate

Then add in a housing stipend. The staff nurse has to pay to rent or a mortgage; the hospital usually pays for the travel nurse’s living expenses. Some programs offer pretty decent reimbursements for travel, too. You may need to submit receipts for travel, but if it is a flat rate, any amount you don’t spend on travel goes right in your pocket.

Does your contract offer a sign-on bonus? Does your contract offer a completion bonus? Can you earn overtime? Can you get bonus pay for holiday shifts? When you think about everything that goes into a travel nursing salary, they add up all of these pools of money that aren’t usually offered to staff nurses.

Are you ready to make more as a travel nurse?

If you have questions about travel nurse salaries reach out to an experienced recruiter at Health Carousel Travel Nursing today.

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Health Carousel Travel Nursing

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Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

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