Navigating pay packages and benefits on top of everything else that must be considered in finding a nursing assignment can be overwhelming, so how do you know what to expect when it comes to your housing stipend?
A Little Bit About Stipends
As a travel nurse, you can receive three types of tax-free stipends in your job contract: a meals and incidentals stipend meant to cover meals and other miscellaneous costs you may encounter, a housing stipend to pay for housing options, and, in some cases, arrival reimbursements to help cover the cost of travel expenses from your house to one of the facilities. A great way to minimize your arrival costs is to apply for a travel nursing extension at your current facility.
The average housing stipend for travel nurses is an amount of money that’s intended to reimburse the cost of rent while on a nursing assignment. The GSA, or Government Services Administration, oversees these pay rates for all counties in the United States. These reimbursements are determined as a per day, or “per diem” rate and can fluctuate strongly between counties and seasons.
Why Do Some Areas Pay So Much More?
Throughout the history of traveling nursing, the cost of living has continued to increase. Certain areas of the country pay more in stipends because of the elevated cost of living in short-term rentals. For example, the cost to live in bigger cities like San Francisco or Seattle is likely more than the living expenses in a smaller town in the Midwest, so the GSA stipend limit is typically higher in those areas. The time of year is also a factor in the way that the GSA calculates the limits on stipends. A perfect example is the state of Florida during winter when the population increases because many snowbirds migrate to the area. The GSA limits spike for a few months out of the year to accommodate the increase in the cost of living and scarcity in available housing options.
Travel nursing opportunities and nontaxable stipends are typically a win-win situation regardless of where you choose an assignment. Travel nurses typical salary range is 25%-50% more than staff nurses’ take-home income!
Have you ever considered travel nursing as a couple? Traveling with your partner is an additional way to enhance your experience, and cut costs. By living in pairs, you can split the rent of your short-term lease and have a larger variety of housing options to choose from.
Want more information on stipends and pay packages for your travel assignment? Please reach out to an expert Senior Recruiter at Host Healthcare with any questions about nursing jobs. We will make sure you completely understand the travel nursing career benefits, pay packages, and how tax-free stipends are calculated!