A flight nurse is a registered nurse trained to administer critical care in emergency situations during in-flight travel to a hospital or during air evacuations. In the US, the average annual salary for a flight nurse is just over $76,000 compared to about AU$113,000 ($89,790 USD) in Australia. Annual earnings average about NZ$95,000 ($68,807 USD) in New Zealand, C$78,000 ($62,517 USD) in Canada, and nearly £43,000 ($51,055 USD) in the UK. On the lower end of the pay scale are India and South Africa at Rs583,420 ($9,122 USD) and R302,105 ($23,593 USD), respectively. Factors that affect a flight nurse salary include geographic region, professional experience, and work setting as further explained in this guide.
How Much Does a Flight Nurse Make Per Year?
The chart below includes average annual salaries with US dollar conversions for flight nurses in select countries worldwide.
|Flight Nurse Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
Factors that Influence the Flight Nurse Salary
Earnings for flight nurses are heavily influenced by geographic region and professional experience, while work setting affects income at a lesser degree. Further details are provided below in the following paragraphs.
1. Geographic Area
Flight Nurse Salary in the US
Flight nurses in the US earn just over $76,000 annually, on average, equating to an hourly wage of about $37. Entry level flight nurses earn nearly $58,000 compared to their senior level colleagues who earn about $98,500 per year. There are opportunities for bonus pay that can exceed an additional $1,200 annually, and overtime pay between $14 and $61 per hour can significantly boost overall earnings.
Flight Nurse Salary in Canada
In Canada, a flight nurse earns an average annual salary of about C$78,000, or C$37 per hour. On average, starting salaries for flight nurses hover around C$59,000 annually, increasing with experience to a six-figure annual income. An additional C$1,300 in bonus income is also possible through some employers.
Flight Nurse Salary in the UK
A flight nurse in the UK earns nearly £43,000 per year, while those paid an hourly wage can expect about £21 per hour. Some employers offer bonus pay of nearly £1,000. The typical entry level salary for a flight nurse in the UK is about £32,500 compared to about £55,500 for senior level positions.
Flight Nurse Salary in Australia
The average entry level annual salary for a flight nurse in Australia is about AU$86,000 while senior level flight nurses earn about AU$147,000 per year. The average annual salary for an experienced flight nurse is about AU$113,000 or AU$54 per hour. Bonus potential can add nearly AU$2,000 in additional income each year.
Flight Nurse Salary in New Zealand
Flight nurses in New Zealand earn, on average, about NZ$95,000 per year, equating to roughly NZ$46 per hour. Another NZ$1,500 in bonus pay can further boost overall earnings. Entry level flight nurses typically begin their careers earning about NZ$72,000 per year, with a steadily increasing salary to more than NZ$123,000 at the senior level.
Flight Nurse Salary in India
In India, flight nurses earn about Rs583,000 per year, or Rs280 per hour. Entry level flight nurses can expect a starting salary of about R450,000 compared to more than Rs767,000 for senior level positions. The average bonus for flight nurses in India is about Rs9,500 in additional income.
Flight Nurse Salary in South Africa
Entry level flight nurses in South Africa earn an average starting salary of about R231,000. Incomes increase with experience to about R395,000 for senior level positions. While the average annual income is about R302,000, a typical hourly wage is about R145 with the average yearly bonus at nearly R5,000.
Experience strongly influences income in all countries reviewed in this guide. The growth from entry level incomes to senior level salaries ranges from 68% to 71% in additional annual income. The country with the smallest increase in annual income is Australia at 68% while 71% growth is seen in the US, UK, New Zealand, India and South Africa. Despite India and South Africa offering the lowest incomes for flight nurses, these countries still experience the same growth rate as countries with higher salaries.
Flight nurses are employed by hospitals and emergency care services. While there is little variance by work environment in salaries, those who are employed by for-profit or private sector employers may earn higher pay and larger bonuses compared to their colleagues employed in the public sector or nonprofit organizations. Due to the nature of a flight nurse’s job requirements, there may be stressful and life threatening situations.
Flight nurses typically work full-time hours, which may be defined as 36 to 40 hours per week. Overtime is often paid for hours worked in excess, and this pay can significantly boost overall earnings as it typically is at least double the typical hourly wage. Flight nurses may be scheduled during any day or time of day due to the emergency care they provide.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Flight nurses typically receive a comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision coverage as well as paid time off for vacation, holiday, and sick time. Overall income can be increased through bonus pay and overtime pay that is commonly offered by most employers. Because ongoing training is required, some employers offer allowances for training and conferences.
Flight nurses are registered nurses, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 16% growth in this career field between 2014 and 2024. This growth rate is much faster than average and is due to an aging population as well as advancement in technology and medicine.
To work as a flight nurse, a nursing degree is required as well as additional training and certification as a registered nurse. Licensure or registration with the appropriate governing body is necessary as well as ongoing training to maintain licensure.
Flight nurses earn solid salaries with strong benefits, and while the job can present stressful situations, most flight nurses express a high level of job satisfaction. Future employment prospects are expected to remain strong, which should continue to support salaries in the coming years and provide sufficient employment opportunities for those entering this career field.