Being a traveling nurse is an attractive option for a lot of reasons, starting with the opportunity to combine a passion for traveling with your career as a nurse. One of the other main benefits comes in the form of an increase in earning potential. Travel nurses can often earn more than salaried RNs who work full-time in a hospital.

So why exactly are travel nurses able to earn more than those working permanent nursing positions? Here are some of the biggest factors that lead to higher wages.

Travel Nurses Are in High Demand

Nurses are generally in high demand across the country, but demand will vary between specific cities and hospitals. Traveling nurses are hired by hospitals to fulfill nursing staff shortages, so there’s often a premium wage offered to find a qualified nurse quickly. Demand for nurses can fluctuate on a local level, but it’s consistently high in cities like Los Angeles, Denver, and Seattle.

Working in different cities will also affect the salary you earn as a travel nurse, largely as a result of the demand in that area. While other variables factor into the salary of each assignment, areas with high demand often provide the highest salaries for traveling nurses. The highest paying cities for travel nurses include San Francisco, Boston, and Washington D.C., but rural hospitals often pay high wages as well in order to attract qualified talent.

Travel Nurses Get Free or Partially-Covered Housing

One of the biggest benefits that travel nurses enjoy is free housing provided by a staffing agency. In many cases, nurses are given a choice between free housing or a tax-free housing stipend that can be put toward housing, allowing them to pocket anything left over.

Whichever option a nurse accepts, not having to pay for housing drastically increases the amount of money they take home with every paycheck. For more information about housing options as a traveling nurse, see what an LRS Healthcare housing coordinator has to say.

Some Wages Come in the Form of Tax-Free Stipends

When comparing travel nursing wages to the salary of a full-time RN, you need to look at more than just the base salary offered. In addition to free housing or a housing stipend, travel nurses usually get a daily stipend that covers other expenses like meals, travel, and other costs on top of their salary. All of these other sources of income should be taken into consideration to determine a travel nurse’s blended pay rate. In most cases, this blended rate will be higher than a standard salary for a full-time RN.

Great Opportunity for Bonuses

Travel nurses work on short-term contracts, but they also have the opportunity to earn bonuses in their field of work. Some hospitals offer a contract completion bonus for nurses who fulfill their full 13-week contract while some staffing agencies, like LRS Healthcare, offer referral bonuses for referring other nurses to the agency.

Travel nurses make pretty good money with base salaries, but it’s the benefits that really make a big difference when it comes to potential earnings. When comparing a travel nursing salary with the salary of a full-time RN, the benefits can often push the travel nurse above and beyond. If you’re interested in earning more as a traveling nurse, apply with LRS Healthcare today.