Is it expensive to start traveling as a nurse? See what it costs to Start traveling as a nurse in this blog.
Get started traveling as a nurse with Marvel Medical Staffing.
We can help break down the costs of getting started as a new traveling nurse, and what upfront costs you can expect to see before you are on your way to your next assignment!
When all nursing labor costs are considered, traveling nurses seem to cost less than permanent nurses on an hourly basis, according to the KPMG U.S. Hospital Nursing Labor Costs Study. Check out this resource if you would like to read more.
Out of State Licensing and Certifications
If you are an RN or LPN/LVN that resides in a NLC Compact state, getting started as a traveling nurse has never been easier! Having a compact license means you are free to work in any of the 34 states that have implemented the NLC without any need for transferring your license. This would be a great first step to start traveling as a nurse.
If your home address lies outside of an NLC state, or if you are a CNA, you will need to apply for each state individually, and the costs and processes are different for each state. The main three ways you will apply for your out of state licenses are:
- Online Portal (fastest and easiest, a good starting point!)
Costs for your license can vary, ranging from totally free to several hundred dollars. For example, your Illinois license is around $75, while an Alaska license can run you up to $500+! For most states, you can expect to pay upfront for a criminal background check and fingerprinting as well. The good news is, most agencies will completely reimburse your incurred costs if you sign on for an assignment!
Some states are free and fast, some are expensive and mail only. The easiest way to get started is to apply for free/online portal states and branch out from there.
If you are looking for guidance on transferring your license or certifications, check out our following resources:
As a traveler, for most contracts you will be paying for your own housing. The good news is, the government offers tax free stipends for travelers, meaning the majority of your income will be untaxed and will help pay for your housing. Sometimes you can find assignments that provide full housing. You may lose your tax free housing stipend, but many travelers appreciate the convenience of fully paid housing.
Airbnb, Furnished Finder, and Corporate Housing are popular websites and apps many travelers use to find housing. You can find a list of popular temp housing sites and their descriptions here: https://marvelmedstaff.com/resources/housing
Transportation + Travel Costs
You may be wondering how you’re going to afford traveling all over the country, fuel can be expensive! You’re in luck! Most agencies will reimburse your travel costs on your first paycheck. Many agencies pay on a per mile basis with a cap. For instance, here at Marvel we pay .50 cents a mile!
If you are planning on flying to your assignment, be sure to check the area beforehand for transportation. Some rural areas do not have public transport infrastructure in place, and Ubers aren’t always readily available. If you aren’t sure about the area, talk to your recruiter! They can help you find housing and transportation and give you the lay of the land.
Meals and Per Diems
You know all about Tax Free Stipends now, but what about your food? A nurse has to eat! Guess what? The Government also offers assistance in the form of Tax Free Meals and Per Diem stipends. These vary based on location, and are generally used for meals and comfort items.
Remember, these Tax Free Stipends combined with your Taxed Hourly Rate make up your Blended Rate. This is where Travel Nurses really start to notice the extra income they are making.
Getting started traveling as a nurse may seem daunting at first, but most costs will be reimbursed by your agency, and your recruiter is there as your advocate to guide you through the process. Start traveling as a nurse!
We would recommend having a little bit of money put away for security before beginning your traveling career, however it won’t cost you a fortune to get started on your new adventure!