Travel nurses have long been renowned for making a lot of money. Yet, in the past decade, the profession has lost much of its fame. New regulations and stronger work ethics have changed the way travel nurses are paid, with some claiming that it’s not even worth the hassle anymore.
But is this true? According to statistics, travel nurses can still earn well over $100,000 per year. On the high end, you could earn up to $3,000 per week working as a travel nurse.
That’s more than a decent salary for most of us, but how can you reach those eye-catchy amounts?
Apparently, there are strategies. If you dream of being a travel nurse but want to make sure you’ll earn a decent income, check out the top tips and strategies outlined below.
1. Choose Your Agency Wisely
The most important thing to do if you decide to become a travel nurse is to choose a reputable agency known for its transparent fees and payment policies. Keep in mind that trustworthy agencies always display their compensation packages and are straightforward about your take-home pay.
Reputable agencies usually don’t allow to negotiate the rates either; that’s because they already negotiated the best rates for you.
Stay away from agencies that are not clear about their policies, those that use loads of jargon or that call you in to negotiate a contract, as they usually pay very low rates.
2. Have a Flexible Approach
An easy way to earn more than your peers is to have a flexible approach towards the jobs you’re offered. That’s because the highest paying jobs requiring travel nurses are usually those that are less than ideal for the local workforce.
However, if you’re willing to work those night or holiday shifts nobody wants, you could earn additional bonuses alongside a higher-than-average wage.
3. Maintain Multiple State Licenses
Having a license in multiple states is key to profitable travel nursing. The best-paying states for travel nurses are New York, California, Texas, Washington, and Massachusetts. However, being licensed in other states can increase your odds of getting a job and, ultimately, your monthly take-home pay.
4. Work Per Diem and Extra Shifts
Perhaps you heard about per diem nurses already. These are nurses willing to cover shifts in facilities dealing with staff shortages, and – as the name implies – they are called to work on a per-day basis.
Extra shifts are also a great source of income for travel nurses. More often than not, these are shifts than nobody wants to work, but as long as you’re flexible and money is the driving factor to your career path, these side jobs could earn you some cash.
5. Ask for Bonuses
Agencies often offer travel nurses a wealth of bonuses, but not all are straightforward about them. If you don’t want to settle for a petty pay, ask your agency for bonuses.
You can also be straightforward about your compensation expectations or the minimum take-home pay you need weekly or monthly. Most agencies will go over and beyond for meeting your needs as long as you’re professional in your dealings and always commit to your assignments.
6. Refer Your Friends to the Agency
Not many travel nurses know, but a simple way to earn some pocket money is by referring your friends to the agency.
Whether it’s your nurse friends back home or someone you met as you travel, don’t be afraid to refer them to the agency if they told you they’d like to become a travel nurse.
Many agencies experience staff shortages, and they will thank you for referring your friends with referral bonuses.
7. Find Your Own Accommodation
You might know by now that your payment is not the only compensation you receive as a travel nurse. Agencies also give you non-taxable money for accommodation, food, and other indispensables.
Some agencies even come up with lodging solutions; however, you can often save some cash by finding your own accommodation.
For instance, you can opt to share an apartment to pay less rent and keep the extra money or save lunch money by bringing your own lunch to work instead of eating at a cafeteria.
8. Respond to Urgent Assignments
Another way to make more money as a travel nurse is by responding to urgent assignments as often as you can. Even if the assignment is not the best paying, the agency will remember that you helped them in a moment of crisis, and they might send better-paying jobs your way whenever possible.
9. Work on Strikes
Strikes serve to achieve higher compensation for all workers, better working conditions, or reduced working hours, to name just a few. And while it’s important to show your solidarity in these moments, keep in mind that patients still need caregivers even when most healthcare professionals are on strike.
That’s where you can step in, and have healthcare facilities pay you higher rates for willing to work instead of protesting.
Sure, your colleagues may have a thing or two to say about this, but if you need the money, that’s a simple way to earn more than your peers.
10. Work With Multiple Agencies
Last but not least, if you really want to earn a decent living as a travel nurse, consider working with multiple agencies. After all, why would you put all your eggs in one basket?
Not only working with multiple agencies mean more offers coming your way, but you’ll also be able to pick the best-paying jobs from all the offers you receive.
Working as a travel nurse is rewarding and comes with many perks. You’ll have a privileged position, will be able to travel across America while earning a living, will have a chance to experience different cultures and make new friends.
And at the end of the day, you might even earn much more than the staff nurses back home.
We hope these tips can help you make the most money as a travel nurse so that you can follow your career goals without fears.