Chicago traveler pay?

Specialties Travel


My recruiter quoted me $20/hr at a large teaching hospital in downtown Chicago! I'm being lowballed right? Wondering what others' experiences have been in the area and if this is a fair hourly rate. Housing stipend 2250 monthly, meals/incidentals 390/week... but I'm doubtful one can live on that in Chicago. Bueller?


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What are other agency quotes coming in at? If you don't have them, get them! No way for a reality check in that location and for your experience and specialty without them.

Pay per hour is only one small measure of what you really make. Housing, per diem, travel, health insurance, completion bonuses should add up to well over $40 an hour total pay. Take home pay is another important measure. A large part of your pay, assuming you have a tax home, is not taxed and means your take home is much higher than a similarly compensated staff nurse. Lower hourly and more in stipends instead can significantly increase your take home pay.

PanTravelers has a calculator to help analyze these weird travel company assignments and is particularly useful in comparing offers.

Specializes in Critical Care, Cardiac.

- Other agencies are unable to give me a quote at this time; they don't have openings in Chicago at the moment.

- My company does not offer completion bonuses - nor am I interested in them d/t the higher tax rate.

- More stipends are only advantageous if you can find cheap housing... which may be difficult in a big city. Also if your base hourly rate is so low as to make working overtime unfruitful, then I guess it's not all about your stipend after all.



1 Article; 5,770 Posts

Overtime is a completely different issue and should be negotiated separately. Clearly it should be over $50 an hour if your base pay is over $40. Some agencies compensate with a shift bonus to bring OT pay up to a fair level. But there is no point in negotiating OT pay if there is no OT available.

Of course, the costs associated with an assignment are part of the calculus and doing so is one step past take home pay for pay you can put in the bank. If you are comparing different areas and not taking agency provided housing, you should indeed get an idea of local housing costs to find out where your best bet is from a strictly financial perspective (of course, Chicago may be more appealing in other regards than Scranton).

Chicago is a strange market for travelers and most national agencies don't have much there. This is because Chicago has a really strong local agency scene with many nurses doing per diem full-time (with many of those doing book scheduling and a contract). If Chicago is on your bucket list, I'd recommend contacting local Chicago agencies and seeing what is on offer. They will be able to offer you 13 week contracts, but not all will offer traditional traveler style compensation with a tax-free component.

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