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Flight Nurses can earn a higher annual salary with increased years of experience.
- Less than 1 year of experience earn an average hourly wage of $27.76
- 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $32.06
- 5-9 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $33.19
- 10-19 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $37.62
- 20 years and higher years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $38.00
Flight nursing is a unique specialty because nurses work directly on either an airplane or helicopter. They do not have a typical home unit like other nursing specialities.
Additionally, when flight nurses are not transporting a patient via aircraft – they will have a location to stay and wait for the next transport call.
Flight nurses can be employed by:
- Trauma centers
- Fire stations
- Search and rescue teams
- Disaster Response and/or Emergency Preparedness
- Emergency response team
- Government agency
- Medical clinic
You can increase your salary as a flight nurse by several different methods:
1. Earning the Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) certification
Certification is optional for some positions but highly encouraged and can help increase your earning potential. Most flight nurses hold this advanced certification and more often than not it is required. The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing offers the Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) to eligible nurses.
2. Working nights or weekends, where you are paid a higher per-hour wage
3. Advance your education by earning a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) or higher
4. Work per diem or become a travel flight nurse
5. Training to be a preceptor for new hires
6. Climbing the clinical ladder within the organization
Overall, COVID-19 affected all nursing salaries. Flight nurses didn’t necessarily see an increase or decrease in salary as a direct result of the pandemic. However, it is impossible to say exactly as there is no current data available on this topic.
There was an increased need because of transporting patients to/from community hospitals to higher-level care facilities. For that reason, a lot of flight nurses earned more than in previous years because of overtime.
Furthermore, many hospitals, especially in southern states, did not have ICU beds available. Flight nurses were needed to transport these patients to hospitals in other states. Unfortunately, many of them were not stable enough to be transported via ambulance so they had to be taken via helicopter or plane.
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Typically, flight nurses are BSN educated. Flight nursing requires critical thinking, strong communication, and quick thinking.
There is no one set cost for nursing school, but you can expect to spend anywhere from thousands for a shorter degree program to as high as over $80,000 and even sometimes $100,000 for private or Ivy league nursing programs.
There is a multitude of factors that affect the cost of a nursing program including:
Regardless of the cost, nursing is a rewarding career and it is worth taking the risk. While the typical college student will leave school with debt, there are ways for it to be paid back by the government, hospital, or military. It’s important to speak to a counselor or hospital HR department regarding options.
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Flight nurses earn an average annual salary of $81,093 per year or $39 per hour. Here’s how that compares to some other nursing specialties:
Salaries via ZipRecruiter