Ready to quit your job as a staff nurse, or are you thinking about nursing options after graduation? Looking for ways to branch out, but want to keep working with amazing people? It might be worth considering a career as a travel nurse. You choose where you want to go to fill a hospital’s short-term need for a nurse and you get to experience a new culture, meet new friends, and basically live a dream of diversity. Plus, the salary and benefits are great. Here are a few facts and perks to working on a travel nurse’s salary.
The median pay for registered nurses was just under $65,000 per year in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re comparing salaries for a travel nurse against traditional full-time wages, you can expect to find something similar, though pay does vary depending on your location and individual contract. When you consider the added benefits, travel nurses often earn more.
It is important to remember qualifications, job duties and the type of medical facility all play a role in determining salary rates. July 2013 job listings on Monster.com showed how widely rates vary:
- Jersey City, N.J.: Temp Labor and Delivery — $50/hr
- New York: OR: ICU, PICU, Surgical — $45/hr plus per diem
- Los Angeles: Inpatient, Case Management RN — $40-$42/hr
Travel and Rent
Most of the time, employers include the cost of travel and accommodations in their compensation packages. This way, you won’t have to worry about spending thousands in up-front costs at the start of a job for things such as plane tickets and security deposits. Knowing you don’t have to factor in the cost of rent and travel expenses makes budgeting easier. All you have to do is make the trip and get to work.
Health insurance is just one of the great benefits of being a travel nurse. Traveling nurses usually receive health insurance including dental, vision and wellness plans, so it’s as easy to take care of yourself as it is your patients.
Though employers and contracts vary, some employers provide impressive retirement plans, matching the deposits you make into a retirement fund dollar-for-dollar up to a defined percentage. Other companies offer generous bonuses at the end of your contract term. Some may even ask you to go full time, which opens doors for an even more solid retirement plan. Do the math well in advance to make sure you know what your retirement plan options are, whether you’re a staff nurse or a freelancer.
When looking at your career options to make the best decision for you and your family, salary and benefit considerations shouldn’t stop you. Chances are good you could make just about the same amount you were making before, and the benefits make travel nursing an unbeatable package. Just make sure you understand the details of your contract and exactly what is included before you sign on the dotted line.
Have you considered a career in travel nursing? Share your thoughts in the comments.