Flight Nurse Salary Guide and Career Outlook

Flight nurses share much of the training, education and skills of registered and other nurses who work in hospitals and clinics. However, the flight nurse position involves treating patients being airlifted or evacuated from places where they have experienced injuries.

In the United States, flight nurses earn a mean pay of $66,000. The mean stands at C$78,468 ($61,679 USD) in Canada, 43,468 ($58,128 USD) in the United Kingdom, and AU$113,907 ($87,910 USD) in Australia.

In New Zealand, salaries reach on a mean basis NZD$95,360 ($67,099 USD) for flight nurses. The mean pay registers at INR5,95,746 (INR595,746 in Western form) ($9,305 USD) in India and R306,105 ($24,405 USD) in South Africa.

flight nurse salary

How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make per Year by State?

Flight Nurse Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $31.73 C$38 £21 AU$55 NZD$46 INR286 R147.17
Annual Pay $66,000 C$78,468 £43,468 AU$113,907 NZD$95,360 INR5,95,746 R306,105

Flight Nurse Salary Influencing Factors

Experience and where a flight nurse works sways pay significantly. In general, more experience equates to higher pay. Those in the private sector and, in certain countries, the military have the best pay prospects. Salaries can also differ based on working in particular cities.

1. Location

In some cities, flight nurses can earn above their countries’ national mean. Vancouver, British Columbia’s flight nurses see on average C$85,045, above the Canadian average of C$78,468. According to SalaryExpert, flight nurses make£54,741 in London, more than£11,000 above the United Kingdom mean.

In Sydney, Australia, these professionals garner AU$121,269, which rises nearly AU$8,000 north of the national average. The mean for flight nurses based in Wellington, New Zealand creeps around NZD$500 above the mean, at NZD$95,832.  Flight nurses in New Delhi, India earn INR6,19,651. Above-mean salaries in South Africa present themselves in Cape Town, at R331,652, and in Johannesburg, at R408,091.

How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make in the US?

Flight Nurse Salary US Per Year Per Hour
Minimum $48,535 $23.33
Maximum $98,326 $47.27
Bonus $2,000 $0.96
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay $48,535 to $98,326

How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make in Canada?

Flight Nurse Salary Canada Per Year Per Hour
Minimum C$55,799 C$26.83
Maximum C$97,070 C$46.67
Bonus C$1,271 C$0.61
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay C$55,799 to C$98,341

How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make in the UK?

Flight Nurse Salary UK Per Year Per Hour
Minimum £30,638 £14.73
Maximum £53,300 £25.63
Bonus £698 £0.34
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay £30,638 to £53,998

How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make in Australia?

Flight Nurse Salary Australia Per Year Per Hour
Minimum AU$81,132 AU$39.01
Maximum AU$141,139 AU$67.86
Bonus AU$1,845 AU$0.89
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay AU$82,984

How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make in New Zealand?

Flight Nurse Salary New Zealand Per Year Per Hour
Minimum NZD$68,059 NZD$32.72
Maximum NZD$118,398 NZD$56.92
Bonus NZD$1,549 NZD$0.74
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay NZD$68,059 to NZD$129,947

How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make in India?

Flight Nurse Salary India Per Year Per Hour
Minimum INR3,40,146 INR163.53
Maximum INR 7,48,294 INR359.76
Bonus INR9,650 INR4.64
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay INR 3,40,146 to INR 7,44,944

How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make in South Africa?

Flight Nurse Salary South Africa Per Year Per Hour
Minimum R219,547 R105.55
Maximum R381,931 R183.62
Bonus R4,959 R2.38
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay R219,547 to R386,990

2. Experience

The mean for starting flight nurses in the United States stands at $61,000. Average pay increases to $65,000 at the five to ten-year level and sharply to $81,000 for those with ten to 20 years experience. After 20 years in the job, flight nurses see pay on a mean basis at $83,000.

According to SalaryExpert, Canadian flight nurses earn C$55,799 on average with up to three years of experience. With eight years and beyond, the mean reaches C$91,070. In the United Kingdom, the entry-level mean is 30,638 and senior-level pay goes to 53,998.

For flight nurses in Australia, the mean registers at AU$81,132 at entry-level according to SalaryExpert. Advancement to senior level roles and experience results in a mean pay of AU$141,139. Health Times reports a range of AU$75,000 to AU$80,000 for new flight nurses in Australia.

SalaryExpert places the mean for those with up to three years at NZD$68,059 for flight nurses in Australia. Those who achieve at least eight years in the profession fetch NZD$118,398 on a mean basis.

The respective numbers for flight nurses in India are INR3,40,146 to INR7,48,294. Flight nurses in South Africa have entry-level salaries of R219,547 and senior-level pay of R381,931.

3. Industry

Flight nurses work primarily for hospitals, ambulance companies, community medical organizations and the military. According to Nurses.org, the United States has approximately 800 medical transport helicopters in the service of various medical providers, such as academic hospitals and companies affording flight services.

In South Africa, the NAC and Awesome Aviation Group joint venture of “Fly Awesome” offers air ambulance and evacuation services. These and other providers worldwide contribute to an air ambulance industry valued in 2016 at $3.7 billion dollars, says Grand View Research. By 2026, that number could eclipse $8 billion. While North America predominates the market, countries such as India have emerged in investment of medical aviation.

The New Indian Express, compensation states that prospects appear best for flight nurses in the Indian military. Flight nurses also fare well pay-wise in the Indian central government.

Schedule and Working Hours

Though a full-time job, flight nursing comes with irregular hours. Shifts can last into late nights, early mornings, weekends and holidays. Flight nurses experience long shifts on trips due to the need to respond to emergencies and remain on call for them. Those engaged in evacuations may spend multiple days in particular areas or otherwise on duty.

Bonuses and Benefits

Nearly 86 percent of flight nurses in the United States reported having medical coverage from their employers. Three quarters receive dental care, while vision benefits are afforded to seven to ten flight nurses.

Flight nurses who enter military service can enjoy significant incentives for enlistment. In the United States Air Force Reserve, signing bonuses can reach $45,000. Reservists can receive as much as $50,000 for loan repayment assistance.

Career Outlook

While employment bureaus do not generally list statistics separately for flight nurses, shortages of and demand for registered nurses in many countries and regions suggest strong opportunities for qualified flight nurses.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses overall should rise by 15 percent, or by 437,000, through 2026.

Job Bank Canada reports that the “Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses” occupation have 139,700 openings available for 114,000 seekers by 2024. In 2014, Canada had 296,900 of these jobs. Australia had 257,400 registered nurses in 2015, with a projected field size of 308,800 by 2020.

Ratios published in the New Indian Express show, depending on the area, one nurse for every 40, 60 or even up to 80 Indian residents.

Nurse.org says that the United States leads the world in the use of flight nurses. With global demand for healthcare, shortages in nursing and growth of the air ambulance sector, qualified candidates for flight nurses should also find solid chances for employment.

Conclusion

Flight nurses can improve their pay positions by locating in certain cities or employment with private sector hospitals or the military. Air ambulance companies afford a growing field in which to find work. As they are registered nurses, these professionals take the same paths of nursing programs and becoming registered and properly licensed in their respective jurisdictions.

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