How much does a Float Nurse make in the United States?

Average Float Nurse Salary

High Confidence

$3,076/week

This is 3% lower than the travel nursing US average of $3,177.

Estimate based on 99272 active jobs in the last 90 days.

What is a Float RN?

Healthcare facilities may require all nurses to float when necessary or establish a float pool, meaning they hire nurses specifically to float between units as needed. Float nurses play an essential role in ensuring safe patient care across units and often solve staffing challenges. Because float RNs have the ability to float from unit to unit and are utilized on an as-needed basis, they often earn higher wages than nurses permanently assigned to a specific unit. However, several factors can influence a float RN’s salary.

Float nurses are registered nurses who specialize in floating from one unit to another based on staffing shortages. They’re used to cover vacations, illnesses, maternity leave, or simply to improve staffing ratios and reduce adverse events for patients and staff. A float nurse’s duties are very dynamic based on their current patient populations and unit assignments, so they must possess swift adaptability and a multitude of nursing skills.

Float nurses must earn an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). All nursing school graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam to become an RN and complete Basic Life Support training and certification.

How a Float RN salary is based

Every healthcare facility has different pay structures for nurses, but float nurses often earn a higher hourly wage due to all the unknown variables and uncertainty of the daily nursing assignment. Some facilities may even have float differentials for nurses who work at different levels of care. The float nurse’s experience, additional skills, and education can all influence their base salary.

Float nurses typically have years of nursing experience with well-rounded nursing expertise, so they can hit the floor running, no matter which unit they’re assigned. Years of experience is often one of the biggest determining factors of how a facility bases a float RN's salary. Floating between multiple units also expands your experience and your earning potential.

Float nurses have many opportunities to learn new skills. Being knowledgeable in a wide array of practice settings increases your proficiency and your value. There can be striking differences between pay for nurses in similar roles but with different skills. Once you’ve established key skills, you can float with confidence while enhancing your job security and your paycheck. It can even help you advance to a management position if that’s your goal.

Education level may play a large role in how a float RN’s salary is based. According to a survey performed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 41.1% of hospitals and other healthcare settings required new hires to have a BSN, while 82.4% of employers expressed a strong preference for BSN-educated graduates. Magnet facilities especially prefer a majority of their nurses to either have a BSN or be actively pursuing their BSN and usually require BSNs for higher-tier nurses.

How to increase your Float RN salary

Float nurses are assigned to units in which they’re trained or where their training and nursing skills easily transfer. It’s vital to receive training in as many different areas as possible to boost your employability, career, and salary. This may require taking additional courses or pursuing unit-specific education opportunities.

Earning your graduate degree is one of the surest ways to boost your salary. Completing your Master of Science in Nursing opens opportunities for advanced practice roles. For float nurses who primarily work in operating rooms, this could mean becoming a perioperative nurse specialist. CCI offers Certified Perioperative CNS (CNS-CP) credentials after completing two years and 2,400 hours in perioperative nursing, among other qualifications.

Earning professional certifications is an excellent way to boost your nursing career and your salary. While BLS certification is required, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certification may be optional but in your best interest to get. If you float in pediatric units, you should also earn Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification. Unfortunately, there aren’t any certifications more specific to float nursing since the General Nursing Practice Certification (RN-BC) has been retired. However, if you float within similar areas, you may find relevant certifications.

If you primarily float between different med-surg units, get board certified. Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (MEDSURG-BC) is available through examination after you’ve practiced for two years as a full-time RN and accumulated 2,000 hours of clinical practice and 30 hours of continued education in medical-surgical nursing.

Float RNs who continually provide direct care to critically or acutely ill patients in any trauma or ICU unit should pursue Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification. Sitting for this exam requires 1,750 hours of direct care of critically/acutely ill adult patients within a two-year period or 2,000 hours within a five-year period.

Where do Float Nurses get paid the most?

StateAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
North Dakota$3,822$6,962
New Jersey$3,785$6,080
Idaho$3,578$6,916
Wisconsin$3,553$6,285
Rhode Island$3,469$4,833
Illinois$3,397$6,976
Oregon$3,384$7,494
Iowa$3,382$6,547
Delaware$3,380$5,186
Indiana$3,312$7,702

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What cities pay the most for Float Nurse?

CityAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Port Jefferson, New York$7,175$7,175
Del Norte, Colorado$6,961$6,961
Sleepy Hollow, New York$6,658$6,658
Orangeburg, New York$6,502$6,502
Friday Harbor, Washington$5,989$5,989
Mount Kisco, New York$5,885$7,180
Norristown, Pennsylvania$5,796$5,796
Perth Amboy, New Jersey$5,472$5,472
Camden, New Jersey$5,451$5,472
Elmer, New Jersey$5,326$5,326

Top Float Nurse Jobs

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - FloatTact Medical Staffing
Travel Nurse RN - Float
Rutland, Vermont
Tact Medical Staffing
12 hours ago
Jan 313 wks3x12 hrs
$3,980/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - FloatAdvantis Medical
Travel Nurse RN - Float
Charlotte, North Carolina
Advantis Medical
a day ago
Dec 613 wks3x12 hrs
$3,802/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - FloatAdvantis Medical
Travel Nurse RN - Float
Anderson, South Carolina
Advantis Medical
a day ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
$3,110/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - FloatAdvantis Medical
Travel Nurse RN - Float
Thousand Oaks, California
Advantis Medical
a day ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
$3,110/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - FloatAdvantis Medical
Travel Nurse RN - Float
Bloomington, Minnesota
Advantis Medical
a day ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
$2,304/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested

What are the highest paying Agencies for Float Nurse jobs?

Average Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
LRS Healthcare - Travel Nursing$6,307$9,317
MSSI$6,019$6,025
ARMStaffing$5,874$5,874
Healthcare Support$5,507$7,085
MedWave Healthcare Staffing$5,305$7,065
Acute Medical Staffing$5,284$5,599
GQR Healthcare$5,155$6,961
American Traveler$4,980$8,167
HumanEdge Skilled Nursing and Allied Health$4,884$4,884
WalkerHealthcare$4,705$6,200