How much do travel nurses make? That’s a great question that’s asked time and time again. Great pay is one of the things that draws so many RNs to become travelers. In this post, we take a look at the components that impact a travel nurse’s salary.

Where You Work

As is true with any job, travel nursing pay varies widely from state to state. Some of the highest paying states for travel nurses include California and Texas. Even within a state, pay can vary widely from city to city. In California, for example, pay is typically much higher in the Central Valley or in Sacramento and other Northern California cities compared to San Diego. Why? San Diego is one of the most desirable cities in California, so hospitals don’t have to pay as much to attract nurses to work there.

This isn’t to say that travel nurses can’t live in a desirable city and get paid well. But if you’re looking to make the most money and that’s your only goal as a traveler, being willing to go places most prefer not to will often be your best choice. This is one of the reasons why North Dakota is one of highest paying states for travelers.

Demand for Nurses

The reason travel nursing jobs exist is because of nursing shortages. With hospitals in cities across the nation suffering because of these shortages, they look to travelers for help. The more a hospital needs nurses, the more they’re willing to pay. Of course, demand is always changing. Los Angeles is a great example of an area that is sometimes among the most profitable in the nation for travel nurses, and other times is average for pay. It just depends on the current situation a hospital is experiencing.

In some cases, hospitals will even offer crisis rates, which pay significantly more. Hospitals across the nation pay crisis rates for different reasons. They could be experiencing a severe shortage of nurses based on population growth, a new unit might have opened, or any number of different reasons. An area where we often see crisis rates available are in Southern Texas. Hospitals near the United States-Mexico border require a unique skill set, which usually includes the ability to speak Spanish, and therefore they’re willing to pay higher rates to attract candidates with the skills they need.

Nursing Specialties

Another critical component of a travel nurse’s pay is their nursing specialty. Travel nursing specialties in high demand, such as ICU, OR, and ER, typically include specialty rates, which results in travel nurses with these specialties making up to 10% or more an hour.

Housing Stipend and Per Diem

One of the major benefits of travel nursing is that you receive a housing stipend and per diem that is tax free. Nurses looking to pocket as much as possible can find housing and spend below their per diem on food and other daily expenses and pocket a decent amount of money tax free. Of course, how much you benefit from this as a nurse depends on your spending habits. Either way, you’re getting a significant amount of money tax free every month.

So How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?

As you can probably already tell, it depends. The gap between travel nurses in different states with different specialties can be as high as $20 an hour or more. Without knowing your exact situation, it’s really impossible to tell you how much you can make as a travel nurse.

To get an idea of the pay package you could receive, contact LRS Healthcare today. Our team is incredibly responsive and more than happy to help you start looking at the possibilities of travel nursing immediately.

Send us an email, or call us today at (800) 811-0064!

Learn more about travel nursing with LRS Healthcare today!