Carefully review your complete compensation package

How to Evaluate Travel Nurse Compensation Packages

It’s always exciting to get the job offer that you’ve been working on into your hands. When you receive an offer from TaleMed, you’re not just getting a job, you’re joining our family!

But we understand that before you commit, you need to process the package or you might be comparing it to offers from other companies. As you review offers, it’s important to make sure you’re comparing “apples to apples” for compensation packages.

  1. Look at the comprehensive compensation package

Oftentimes, the hourly rate is what catches your eye – which absolutely makes sense. However, that doesn’t provide you with the complete picture. You want to compare hourly equivalents – regular rates vs. regular rates, overtime rates vs. overtime rates, etc.

As a travel nurse, you also want to maximize your tax-free benefits. Tax advantages come in the form of:

  • Meals & Incidentals (M&I), which some companies may call a per diem – Lodging and meals as well as incidentals, which include transportation costs, parking and tips. (Per diem should not be confused with per diem nurse jobs, which are ones where nurses work day-to-day.)
  • Housing Allowance – Lodging or housing rates calculated monthly and then calculated for each week of the assignment
  • Travel Reimbursements – Including travel expenses to and from your assignment

At TaleMed, our recruiters work diligently to provide our travel nurses with the maximum allowable tax-free pay, putting your compensation appropriately into these categories when possible. See how a tax advantage plan comes together in your offer letter.

$250 per week for meals X 13 weeks $3,250
$615 per week lodging X 13 weeks $8,000
$500 travel reimbursement (first and last check) $500
Total: $11,750
Divided by total hours worked /468 hours
Base pay $20/hour
Total weekly net after taxes $1,421


  1. Benefits are important, too

Remember it’s also about the benefits! A competing agency may have a weekly gross pay that is a few dollars higher. But what else besides taxes will be deducted? For example, make sure to note if your insurance fees are deducted from that pay package. Then see how much those benefits cost you.

Also, will you receive guaranteed hours? At TaleMed, we offer guaranteed hours for weeks 2 through 12. If the hospital calls you off, you still receive pay. A competing agency may offer you a very attractive pay package. But if your contract states that the agency has the right to cancel one shift every other week without pay, the lost money starts to really add up.

  1. Are the “free” perks worth it?

Job offer packages may list a number of perks, but are they really advantages? For example, an agency may offer you a rental car for “free,” but you’ll likely receive a lower hourly rate or a smaller travel allowance or lower M&I to cover the cost. If you receive a tax-free stipend or reimbursement – instead of a perk – then you can choose how you want to use it. You may save money and receive the tax-free advantages.

Pick the assignment that you want based on the pay package, company and location. It’s wise not to base it on the “free perks.”

When in doubt, ask a recruiter!

If you have any questions, reach out to your TaleMed recruiter, who’s always available to help.

For more information on travel nursing opportunities or how to become the next member of the TaleMed family, contact us today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram