How much do you make as a flight nurse? - page 2

by MrsRitchie | 56,966 Views | 24 Comments

It's what I want to do anyway (eventually) but just curious if anyone knows of a good resource where I could find this information.... Read More


  1. 2
    I'm in Northern California and do fairly well as a Flight Nurse. We get paid $500 per 24 hour shift. Some days we're busy, some days we're not. We also provide a $50/shift bonus if you're simultaneously working at an ER, because it shows your interest in keeping some skills frosty. So, potentially, $550/shift.
    The bad part is my program doesn't offer much in the way of health benefits or retirement, so a part of our salary has to be dedicated to providing our own benefits.
    We work hard for our money, but I haven't been below 100k/yr since I started working where I am.
    kalevra and bigsick_littlesick like this.
  2. 2
    Quote from razorman
    I'm in Northern California and do fairly well as a Flight Nurse. We get paid $500 per 24 hour shift. Some days we're busy, some days we're not. We also provide a $50/shift bonus if you're simultaneously working at an ER, because it shows your interest in keeping some skills frosty. So, potentially, $550/shift.
    The bad part is my program doesn't offer much in the way of health benefits or retirement, so a part of our salary has to be dedicated to providing our own benefits.
    We work hard for our money, but I haven't been below 100k/yr since I started working where I am.
    So if my math is correct that works out to $20.83 per hour with no benefits. 100K at the rate means you must work 92 hours per week (roughly 3 24 hour shifts). Glad you're happy with that. In my neck of the woods that's less pay than a new grad makes but if it works for you that's cool. Of course my math may be waaaaay off.
    Sehille4774 and MassED like this.
  3. 4
    Yep, your math is about right. Yep, it works for me just fine.

    Lets put it into perspective a bit. Over the past two years I was able to have enough down time at work to get my Masters in Nursing and then a post-grad FNP (company paid for). I've also been paid to watch the Super Bowl, various UFC fights, and play X-Box. My wife is free to come over to the airport and hang out with me any time she wants, as are the rest of the families. Additionally, the average person can drop about $200 for an hours helicopter flight through a beautiful mountainous area. I get to do that daily...and I get paid for it.

    The hourly wage sucks, the yearly wage rocks. It's not a "hard job". My weekday job at the clinic involves a lot more running around (a lot less critical thinking, though). This is why, despite having my FNP, I STILL LOVE TO FLY.
  4. 1
    I'm glad there's some honesty going on in here. My uncle thinks that he's going to become an RN and go be a flight nurse after he gets his RN and make like 150k a year...I keep telling him someone lied to him. That it's possible, but it's not easy nor average. He lives in the bay area, and I am aware they pay more but c'mon!
    I admire you guys, we recently lost a couple flight nurses in a helicopter that crashed. Sad, you guys are brave!
    trixie333 likes this.
  5. 0
    a guy i take acls courses with over the yrs is a flight nurse for north ms. he flat out told me he makes anywhere between $75-85K/yr. now i dont know how many extra shifts he works or if he does any extra. the typical icu/er rn with the same time exp. that he has will prob earn around $60 something grand/yr in the hospital setting. now this is mississippi historically one of the lower paying states.
  6. 3
    Quote from BigIsleBound
    I'm so glad to see a thread in which someone asks about the rate of pay without being chided, scolded or reamed. The whole "nursing is something you do to be the next Mother Theresa, how can you even THINK about money" line is so tired. Kudos to those of you who jusy answered the question the best you could.

    I agree, to the nurses who say that crap.... i say 'sign over your pay cheque to me" and we will soon see who else is in it for the money. Many Nurses are **** people anyways.
    docomo, kalevra, and Sehille4774 like this.
  7. 2
    well sign your check over to me and we will all litsen to how loud you whine. I smell a troll.
    kalevra and bigsick_littlesick like this.
  8. 1
    I took a big hourly pay cut to become a flight nurse, but I only work 7 24hr shifts a month. My annual salary with the built in overtime is mid 70s. I read some of the posts that people took a pay cut after leaving the hospital. I have worked ICU and ER, and there is no way I can work 7 shifts a month in the hospital and make what I make now. Hope that helps.
    ERRN324 likes this.
  9. 1
    The perks are what makes it fun.

    Able to travel all over the Central, South and North of the Americas, including all over the Caribbean.
    To be on call, and able to study, go to the movies, watch TV etc... while getting paid. Of course you may get a call at 5am or at 1am... :zzzzz
    kalevra likes this.
  10. 4
    I have been a flight nurse now for 15 years .I have worked for big university based programs and small operations privately held. I have flown in just about every aircraft we use fixed wing and rotor. And when it comes to flight nurse pay why don't we get ride of are ego and just come out and say it the pay sucks horrible, you have to do more to maintain your flight status than anything else in nursing, yes it is the best job in nursing, and most of use become very lazy in it because we do chill out allot and watch tv and spend at the most a day doing maybe 3 HRS of real pt care if any at all, this is why it is so hard for flight nurses to come back to the real word and actually work hard for a living back in the hospital. All that said I get off track on the pay question. With flight nursing becoming more and more dominated by privately held companies like the big 3 PHI, Air methods and ,Omni the money we make has all but just about been price fixed and it is horrible there is not a person out there making more money flying than they would in a hospital unless it is a hospital based program and you work for the hospital. That is for = time spent. We normally at the best programs work 2 x24hr shifts per week for six shifts a month this is the best programs then it goes down hill from there the hourly rate broken down comes no where close to what you make in a hospital to make up the difference you work tons of extra without over time you wont make more than 65000.00 a year. I made 25.00 per hour for the big three and I'm in California making 59.00 per HR base pay in an ER working 36hrs per week. You can do the math. Most flight nurses per year make a range of 75000.00 to the top of 110,000.00 per year depending on countless hours you put in at the station. The flight nurses here in Northern California I don't know one that doesn't require a second job to afford to live and Hawaii was worse. I believe we should all be honest about are pay so we can unite and like the stock holders be compensated for the risk of putting are life on the line. Not to mention it requires having the most credentials of any nurse just to work and we should join forces to bring flight nursing pay to the level of the elite status they try to sell us on being because we are flight nurses. But who really has are backs the stock holders the company just have a crash and see. Yes, I know we do it because we love it, I have done it for many years for that very reason but in the end don't you think that is pretty stupid. If you bring it up at your next flight review see how long it takes before they tell you if you don't like it leave go back to the hospital we have new people just dying to fly (literally). It really just comes down to a personal choice with many factors, but we do get screwed in pay flight nursing. Note and the big three make millions.


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