Travel Nurse Salary Guide & Career Outlook

A travel nurse is a nurse who goes to different hospitals or physician offices for an extended period of time. These nurses are used when there is a shortage of healthcare workers. A travel nurse salary guide is normally slightly higher than that of traditional nurses. However, an exact amount is impossible to calculate because every contract is different in terms of the pay and expenditures. The median wage for travel nurses in the United States is $66,228 and in Australia the nurse salary is AU$58,124 ($44,023). In South Africa, these professionals can expect to earn R209,773 ($16,086). The pay in the United Kingdom is slightly higher at E23,316 ($24,739).

This travel nurse salary guide will look at the typical pay of these nurses, how their roles differ from those of nurses who work at one location, the impact of experience and industry, a normal working schedule and projected travel nurse career outlook. The salary is not drastically different than a regular nursing salary.

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make per Year by Country?

Travel Nurse Salary USCanadaUKAustraliaNew ZealandIndiaSouth Africa
Hourly Pay$31.74C$32.86* ($24.53)E11.20($11.88)AU$31.23 ($23.65)NZ$26.51 ($18.58)Rs 112.16* ($1.68)R101.73 ($16,086)
Annual Pay$66,228C$59,783 ($44,629)E23,316 ($24,739)AU$58,124 ($44,023)NZ$54,744 ($38,370)Rs 233,294 ($3,494)R209,773 ($16,086)

*These figures are estimated based on the other pay information given. This assumes a 40 hour work week.

make a travel nurse salary

Travel Nurse Salary Influencing Factors

The United States is the only country that specified a salary for travel nurses on Payscale. The salary ranges for all other countries comes from the wages for registered nurses. Part of the reason that a travel nurse salary is not explicitly listed is because the contracts are so varied and flexible depending on where the nurse is working.

1. Location

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make in the US?

Travel nurses in the United States command a salary range from $46,922 to $98,249. If they get paid hourly, their pay is $19.18 to $47.69. If they get tips, the rate is $25.00, and overtime pay is $30.00 to $67.78. Some of these nurses report a bonus of $5,918. Their complete compensation is $44,706 to $104,584 dollars.

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make in Canada?

The travel nurse salary in Canada starts at C$38,638 at the lower end of the range to C$86,291 at the higher end. Those who get paid hourly make C$25.30 to C$42.78. Overtime rates reach up to C$78.88. They can earn a bonus anywhere from C$198.66 to C$5,872. In total, they receive a pay of C$46,034 to C$89,256.

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make in the UK?

The salary for travel nurses in the United Kingdom is E17,736 to E33,446. A substantial bonus of E9,787 is reported by some individuals. The hourly rate is E10.09 to E19.35 with overtime going up to E23.18. Their income after accounting for all of these sources is E18,361 to E35,383.

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make in Australia?

The 10th percentile of earners in Australia make AU$30,340 and AU$25.08 while the 90th percentile bring home AU$80,118 and AU$40.38. This amount can be increased through a bonus of AU$7,742 and commission of AU$8,000 for a comprehensive salary of AU$48,546 to AU$83,368.

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make in New Zealand?

The travel nurse salary in New Zealand goes between NZ$40,896 to NZ$68,173 and a bonus of NZ$2,000. The hourly rate is NZ$22.55 to NZ$32.09. The overtime rate increases from the normal hourly rate to NZ$48.98. Their complete salary is NZ$45,458 to NZ$67,439.

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make in India?

The annual travel nurse salary in India is Rs 124,558 to Rs 467,070. A bonus ranging from Rs 1,932 to Rs 25,168 can add to this base salary. The estimated hourly rate is Rs 59.88 to Rs 224.55. They can expect to earn anywhere from Rs 124,196 to Rs 483,615 a year.

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Make in South Africa?

Their salary in South Africa is R144,388 to R314,157 with a bonus of R6,821 to R41,627 and profit sharing of R9,826. The hourly rate is R61.15 to R152.97 and overtime up to R207.48. The annual salary is R144,983 to R326,078.

2. Experience

Travel nurses in Canada see a consistent growth over the course of their career with a total increase of about C$15,000 from entry-level to experienced nurses. The pay in Australia and South Africa increases for the first 20 years and then tapers off for those with more than 20 years of experience. In the United States, pay does not increase for the first 5 years but then increases sharply for the rest of their career. Conversely, in New Zealand and the United Kingdom pay increases quickly during the first five years, after that it increases marginally.

The most common constituent entering data in all of the countries researched: Canada, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and the United Kingdom is 1 to 4 years of experience.

3. Industry

All nurses work in the healthcare industry. Travel nurses are in a unique position because they do not specialize and do not work in only one area of healthcare. The most common length of contract for a traveling nurse in the United States is anywhere from four to thirteen weeks. Their contracts are quite different than the contracts for regular nurses. Some of these contracts have a lower level of base pay but more support for paying amenities and travel fees. Whereas, other contracts have a higher salary but lower amounts given for staples such as housing and food.

Travel nurses work for a company that helps to place them. The company receives some level of compensation from the partner medical centers. These nurses go to anywhere that there is a critical labor shortage. Some of these companies will provide housing to the nurses, while others give a housing stipend. It is very normal for these nurses to get sign-on and completion bonuses when they successfully complete their contract. With every new contract comes paperwork to sign and possible licenses to secure.

Schedule & Working Hours

Most travel nurses work full-time. However, part-time work is available for those professionals who need a flexible schedule. Their schedule changes every time they get a new contract. The new hospital will provide the schedule. A travel nurse needs to request certain features of their schedule such as not working strictly nights or every weekend. However, it is important to remember that the hospital needs you because of a labor shortage and to be flexible with the hours worked.

When an assignment is given, there is no flexibility in the start date of the contract or how many hours are worked. The hospital can cancel a certain number of shifts, but the contract limits the number of shifts that can be canceled.

Bonuses & Benefits

Some travel nurse agencies provide healthcare and other benefits. However, for the most part, these companies do not provide vacation or paid time off. It is important to consider any insurances that might be required. There are tax benefits that can be utilized for travel nurses who choose to use a housing stipend. However, there are options for living in the hospital provided housing. The hospitals or travel agencies provide retirement contributions.

These professionals are likely to receive the highest compensation for all nurses, but this compensation is partly given due to the constant changing and acclimating to a new work environment. The table below shows the healthcare benefits covered in different countries.

CountryUnited StatesCanadaUnited KingdomAustraliaNew ZealandIndiaSouth Africa

Career Outlook

The career outlook for nurses is expected to grow 16 percent through the year 2024. There are a couple of reasons for this growth. The first reason is an aging population that will require more healthcare. The second reason is that more people in the United States have access to healthcare benefits. Travel nurses who are willing to go anywhere and work flexible contracts will have more opportunities for employment than those with travel restrictions.

Nursing is a female dominated profession. The lowest ratio of female nurses is in India at 63 percent. In the United States, Canada, and Australia the percent of female nurses is 83, 88, and 87, respectively.


Travel nurses complete many of the same functions and day-to-day responsibilities as nurses who work in only one location. However, their contract and pay structures are quite different. They receive a competitive wage. They can expect positive job growth and an appealing travel nurse career outlook.

One Response

  1. Bert April 27, 2017

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