Certain travel nurse specialties pay higher than others. The need and availability of travel RN assignments is based on market demand. It’s difficult to list an average travel nurse salary range, since there are so many factors that determine an individual’s pay.
Several variables determine a travel nurse’s salary, such as:
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, hospitals saw significant census spikes. These country-wide spikes created what you might know as “crisis assignments,” which paid up to $10k/week in some specialties. However, since COVID has declined across the country, crisis pay assignments are not as common.
Because the range of variables is so vast, travel RNs can expect to make anywhere from $2,000-$4,500 per week.
According to Indeed.com, based on more than 60,000 salaries reported by travel nurses all over the U.S., the average base salary per week is $2,284. (April 2022)
To calculate a blended hourly rate for travel nurses based on the above Indeed data, we take the $2,284 weekly salary and divide it by the hours worked (for ease, let’s just use 40 hours). This equates to about $57/hour.
Travel nurses often receive additional perks beyond hourly pay and their stipend, such as: sign-on bonuses, opportunities for overtime, licensure reimbursement, medical insurance, scheduled paid time off, completion bonuses, and referral bonuses.
Nursing specialty is one of the key factors that determine how much money a travel nurse will make.
Generally, Registered Nurses working in a Cath Lab are among the highest paid, followed by those who specialize in OR (Operating Room), especially CVOR (Cardiovascular Operating Room), and Critical Care (various forms of an Intensive Care Unit, or ICU).
We’ll break down the top paying travel nursing assignments by specialty, starting with the highest:.
Critical Care travel nurses work with patients who are experiencing life-threatening injuries or conditions. They can work in a variety of units within a hospital, including pediatric ICUs, cardiovascular ICUs, neonatal ICUs, medical ICUs, and recovery rooms.
How Much Does a Travel CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse) Make?
Because there are so many individual units within critical care, pay can vary greatly in range. Currently, ICU RNs can expect to make anywhere from $2,600 - $3,600/week.
Emergency Room RNs see patients who need immediate care, due to injury or illness. They are responsible for triaging and stabilizing incoming patients, administering medications, starting IV lines, cleaning wounds, drawing blood, performing intubations, and giving stiches or sutures.
How Much Does a Travel ER RN Make?
As of May 2022, Emergency Room travel nurses, on average, are earning between $2,500-$3500/week.
We’ve learned from travelers that many RNs start out in Med Surg, so it’s normal to see this specialty have lower pay compared to some of the others.
MS RNs play a key role in direct patient care. The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) notes that medical surgical nurses are the frontline providers who have more facetime with patients than any other professional in the hospital while also planning care, listening to patients’ concerns, and answering loved ones’ questions.
How Much Does a Travel Med Surg Nurse Make?
According to Vivian, the average salary for a travel Med Surg RN is $2,881/week.
A Telemetry travel nurse monitors patients using remote electronic signals and respond to noticeable variations in cardiac rhythm. Telemetry RNs (often written as “Tele RNs”) care for patients with cardiovascular complications and a variety of conditions, such as heart failure, heart disease, or heart arrhythmia (improper beating of the heart where it beats irregularly, too quickly, or too slowly).
Some Tele RNs also work in Med Surg, or MS. In this case, their specialty would be written as MS/Tele.
How Much Does a Travel Tele RN Make?
According to ZipRecruiter, as of May 2022, the average annual pay for a Telemetry RN Travel Nurse in the U.S. is approximately $49/hour, which equates to $1,968/week.
States offering the highest pay for travel nursing by specialty are California, Texas, Washington D.C., and New York. Keep in mind, these areas may also have higher cost of living, so a travel nurse’s net take home amount will be lower.
Most assignments will guarantee you 36 hours per week (breaking down to three 12-hour shifts). With that, depending on the staffing needs of the unit or building, you may be able to pick up overtime. Most travel assignments offer overtime rates of 1.3-1.5x your hourly rate.
Usually, overtime begins after 40 hours has been worked in a single pay period. Although, in California, they have a statewide rule where anyone who works more than eight hours in a day gets paid overtime.
To learn more about the benefits of travel nursing, check out our Travel Nursing FAQ page.
Interested in learning about new travel nursing opportunities? Join the LeaderStat Network so we can inform you about travel assignments that fit your needs.
Fill out the form to be notified with our latest job openings - delivered to your email inbox.