Travel Nurse Salary
The typical travel nurse salary is usually an hourly amount plus
a housing allowance. This can vary however as each travel nurse agency has
flexibility in how they package the wages and other perks for your travel
experience. For example one agency I know of will allow you to reduce the
hourly wage slightly and add the reduced amount to the housing allowance.
Instead of $32 per hour and $1200 for a housing allowance the nurse can elect to
receive $28 per hour and $1840 a month for a housing allowance. These
numbers are average hourly wages and are not reflective of an actual contract
offer. The wages here reflect those that a registered nurse can expect to earn.
Wages for an LPN or LVN will be different and probably several dollars per hour
The typical travel nurse salary will consist of the hourly wage,
housing allowance, and other pay incentives which will vary somewhat between
different agenices. Currently the average U.S. national wages for a
registered nurse are $30.99 per hour. Average salary for a licensed
practical nurse is $19.66.
The travel nurse agency essentially bids on a total dollar
amount that they will receive from the client in exchange for your contract.
A typical contract will run approx 13 weeks. The agency takes a percentage
of the total contract off the top as their fee for procuring the contract and
assisting you with the travel experience. Most agencies include some form
of benefits. An amount of each contract will be used to pay for the
benefits they offer. After they take what they feel is fair and earns them
a profit the agency is then left to pay you the remainder in a package that
includes the travel nurse salary, a housing allowance and a bonus.
Each agency will include a clause in the contract that allows
for overtime. In some cases the client will want you to work at least 48
hours a week or 4 twelve hour shifts. The last 8 hours of that will be paid as
overtime. This is a factor to consider when you have a choice between a
higher hourly wage (earns more overtime pay) or a higher housing allowance.
Something to keep in mind is that the housing allowance is usually tax free
while wages and bonuses are not.
There are a number of factors that will affect your travel nurse
salary. Some clients will include a shift differential for working night
shift. Others include week-end pay. Holiday pay will usually be paid
at time and half. Be sure your contract specifies if you earn time and a
half for holiday work. If it isn't in the contract it probably won't be paid.
The bare minimum you can and should expect is an hourly wage comparable to the
wages in the area and a housing allowance.
This list is not intended to be comprehensive but is intended to
give an idea of the different types of pay incentive prospective agencies can
and do provide that combine to create a travel nurse salary:
specialty pay i.e. ICU or OB/GYN expertise
bonuses for contract completion or accepting unusual assignments
continuing education re-imbursement
license renewal re-imbursement
401K matching funds
Remember, the pay and other incentives is a contract between you
and the travel nurse agency not the hospital or other client where you are
working. So, be sure you know in writing exactly what you can expect to
see in your paycheck.