TTATN 003: The Best Way to Evaluate and Compare Travel Nursing Pay Packages
Play • 25 min

In this episode of the Truth About Travel Nursing Podcast, we discuss the best way to evaluate and compare travel nursing pay packages. In fact, we argue that this is the only way to properly compare and evaluate travel nursing pay.Here are the show notes along with links to the resources cited in the podcast and some other helpful links on the subject.

First, let’s discuss why travel nursing pay packages are so complex.

  • They are different than permanent packages.
  • Marketing gimmicks: To understand the gimmicks, we have to understand the basics of how the agency calculates pay packages. First Gimmick: NOTHING is FREE! Free means without cost or payment. How can it be free if they offer a Stipend or “free” housing? Some recruiters really think they give free things, but they have an understanding of “Free” that doesn’t quite cut it for travelers. Second Gimmick: Net pay vs. gross pay.
  • Travel nursing pay packages get quoted in different ways. Hourly, weekly, monthly, total contract.

How to evaluate a Travel Nursing Pay Package

  • Must look at the pay package like a Pie Chart.
  • But they quote in different denominations.
  • Common denominator is time.
  • So we want to break everything down to hourly figures.
  • You can ask your recruiters to always do this for you in writing.
  • However, you should always be able to do this yourself.
  • Start with the time variables for the contract.
  • Break everything down to the hour.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to add everything up to get the blended rate

  • What is a blended rate?
  • Many travelers don’t like them.
  • But they are the only way to compare. Even uses them.
  • One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to focus on one figure. Once a recruiter has that figured out, then they have a leg up in negotiations.

Standard Contract Example, 3 12 hour shifts, 36 hours per week, 13 weeks, 468


  1. Taxable Base Rate: $20/hour
  2.  Lodging Stipend (instead of company provided lodging): $2800/month
  3. Meals and Incidental Expense Stipend: $350/week
  4. Travel Stipend: $700
  5. License Reimbursement of $250 for new state license: $250

Break it down to the hour

Hourly rate: $20

M&IE Stipend: ($350)/36 = $9.72

Travel Stipend: ($700)/468 = $1.50

License Reimbursement :  ($250)/468 = $.53

Lodging Stipend: ($2800)(3 months)/468 hours = $17.95

Blended Rate: $23.33 + $17.95 + $9.72 + $1.50 + $.53 = $53.03

Be sure to figure in your expenses when comparing

  • Different places have different costs of living
  • Different assignments have different costs associated with them

Always try to compare different agencies when possible

Helpful Links: This is a advocacy group for travel healthcare professionals. They have a compensation calculator that breaks everything down to the hour. They do this because it is the best way to evaluate pay.

BluePipes Blog Pay Category: This is where you will find all of our blog posts on travel healthcare pay packages. Read them all and you will know more than your recruiter!

Travel Nursing Pay Video: For those of you like me, that learn better by watching, here is a video that illustrates how to break down a pay package.

Travel Nursing Pay Comparison Series: This is a link to the first of a 3 part series on how to break down travel nursing pay packages.

The post TTATN 003: The Best Way to Evaluate and Compare Travel Nursing Pay Packages appeared first on BluePipes Blog.

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