How to Negotiate Your Pay as a Healthcare Traveler

January 27, 2022


Megan Bebout

How to Negotiate Your Pay as a Healthcare TravelerHave you ever worked a job for less than you thought you should be paid? Have you ever wished you could ask for higher pay, but don’t know how? Well, now you can learn.

You’re invaluable as a travel nurse or allied healthcare traveler. Because of the nationwide shortage in healthcare workers, your services are more in demand than ever, which gives you the upper leg when negotiating contract pay. Let’s take a closer look at how you can maximize your pay as a professional healthcare traveler.

How to Negotiate Your Pay as a Healthcare Traveler


1. Firmly establish your worth as a professional

Researchers have found that those who negotiate salary, as opposed to accepting the offer on the table, increased their pay by an average of $5,000 per year. Who wouldn’t want an extra $5,000 a year?

When negotiating your pay, it’s important to establish how much you’re worth as a professional travel nurse or allied health traveler. And the way to do so is to be your biggest advocate and cheerleader. Remember to really sell yourself and show them why you’re worth the extra dough. Here are some things you could share:

✨Your impeccable attendance record
✨Your pleasant work attitude
✨How you follow hospital/facility protocols
✨How you do what’s asked of you
✨How you’ve picked up extra shifts, when needed
✨Your promptness with time reporting
✨How you complete every contract you start
✨How you’re something of a “brand ambassador” for your agency
✨Your licenses and certifications

In order to get what you want, you must first establish why you should get it. Know your worth as a healthcare professional and get ready for the next step of negotiation.

2. Understand the components of a travel contract

Travel contracts are complicated. And, of course, they’re all unique from one another so no two look the same. Because of this, it’s important that you understand all the different components that make up a travel contract. That way, you’ll know what terms to negotiate when the time comes. Here are the things you should review.


This is the amount you will be paid over the course of your travel placement.


This is the untaxed portion of your pay package that's meant to cover the cost of food and housing.


Here you have to options: find your own lodging or take advantage of company-provided housing. Pro tip: Fusion Medical Staffing has one of the best housing departments in the industry. They'll get you where you want to be. 


Remind your recruiter how overtime benefits them and the facility.

Travel reimbursement

Do the math to see if the flat-rate reimbursement actually covers the cost it takes to get to your travel assignment.

Related: Agency-Covered vs Traveler Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Travel Costs

Licensing reimbursement

Take note of how much you'll be reimbursed for continued education units (CEUs), licenses, and certifications. 

Once you’ve gone through the important components of travel contract and have a clear understanding of what to expect, it’s time to do some more research.

3. Find a recruiter who you work well with

Your healthcare recruiter can make or break a travel assignment. It’s so important to find a recruiter that you vibe with who will also fight for you and what you want. Build a relationship of trust with your recruiter so you constantly feel confident that they’re looking out for you.

Plus, a good relationship with your recruiter makes it easier and less intimidating to negotiate terms of your travel contract. After all, a good recruiter will make sure you’re taking on assignments that meet your worth as a healthcare traveler.

4. Be as specific as possible

When it comes to negotiation, the most important thing is to be as specific as possible. Don’t be vague when asking for what you want because then you may not get it.

As far as healthcare travel contracts go, there’s a lot to negotiate. You can get creative and ask for compensation for expenses that may not have been originally considered like public transportation passes, uniform expenses, licensing fees, moving services, or Internet and phone costs. If there’s something specific that you want included in your contract, be as direct as possible. The worst thing they could say is no.

5. Review your contract

Once you’ve established the terms of your contract, make sure they’re outlined in the document, especially if the agency agreed to concerns you voiced verbally. When you receive your final travel contract, spend time reviewing your contract to ensure everything is included that should be. These are some items that should always be double-checked before you sign a contract:

  • Contract start and end dates
  • Shift/unit
  • Hourly base rate, holiday pay, and overtime rates
  • Guaranteed hours
  • Stipends
  • Cancellation allowed by hospital
  • Penalties for sickness
  • On-call requirements
  • Travel reimbursements
  • Floating policy
  • Requested days off

Once you sign the contract, there’s no going back so make sure that you’re happy with the final result before adding your signature.



It can feel intimidating to negotiate your pay as a healthcare traveler. But you deserve to have your cup filled by things that matter to you, so follow these easy steps to get what you want. You’re wildly in demand, traveler. Use it to your advantage so you only work travel jobs that fully fill your bucket.