Generally, the more experience you have and the more specialized you've become, the higher the salary you can command when accepting an RN medical travel assignment.
While the minimum requirement for a travel nurse is one year of clinical experience in your specialty and license in the state of your employment, you would need to have two or more years of experience to demand any real consideration for top dollar pay while on the road . Travel nurses are expected to immediately function on the job and often receive little or no orientation, therefore travel positions, especially high pay ones, are not for the novice.
Inside the nursing travel industry salons can range from $ 28.00- $ 32.00 an hour and can reach as much as $ 38.00 an hour with special circumstances warranting as much as $ 45.00 an hour. The lower end of the pay scale is indicative of your basic nursing candidate with one to two years experience while the higher range is paid for nurses specializing in ICU, ER, CCU, Psychiatry, etc.
In addition, you may receive higher pay for your willingness to work certain shifts or hours that are less desirable as well as work under more extreme circumstances (like during a hospital strike situation), or for being willing to float to different areas of the hospital . In addition, if you are willing to work at hospitals where for one reason or another it is more difficult to place travel nurses, you have even more opportunity to receive a higher salary as well as bonuses and other considerations. The more flexible you are, the more money you can make.
Even though there are "standard" salary ranges within the travel industry, most nurses do not realize they can NEGOTIATE for more money than they are usually offered. Even very experienced travel nurses are receiving far less compensation, both in their salies and benefit packages, than they should on a routine basis. They simply do not know everything that is available plus they do not know some simple ways to negotiate for higher pay and more lucrative benefit packages.
Sadly, I meet travel nurses all the time that continue to make do with less when so much more is available.