Flight Nurse Salary: How Much Can You Make Saving Lives in the Skies?

Are you looking for an exciting and rewarding career in nursing? Have you ever considered becoming a flight nurse? You will be interested to know that not only do these specialized nurses provide critical care at 30,000 feet, but they also earn an impressive salary. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready to explore with us valuable insights into flight nursing and the lucrative flight nurse salary. 

What Is a Flight Nurse?

Flight nurses are highly trained healthcare professionals who provide critical care and medical support to patients during transport via aircraft. With their expertise in advanced life support, patient assessment, and clinical decision-making, flight nurses can stabilize and treat patients while in flight, often in challenging and high-pressure situations. They work closely with other flight crew members and ground-based medical teams to ensure the safe and efficient transport of patients to healthcare facilities.

Where Do Flight Nurses Work and What Is Their Schedule?


Flight nurses work in various settings, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and air ambulances. Hospitals, private air ambulance companies, and government agencies, like the military, are the leading employers. 

Their specific work schedule varies depending on the employer and the type of aircraft used for transportation. For example, some flight nurses work a 24-hour shift followed by several days off, while others work a 12-hour shift followed by several days off. Some employers may require flight nurses to work weekends, holidays, and overnight shifts. Many flight nurses find their work rewarding and fulfilling despite the demanding schedule.

Flight Nurse Average Salary

Flight nurses deliver emergency medical care to patients who need immediate assistance. To provide high-quality care, they must be highly skilled and trained in advanced medical procedures, be able to work under pressure, and make quick decisions. Due to its importance in healthcare, this occupation receives excellent financial rewards. 

The average salary for a flight nurse is $91,910. However, it can go up to $103,220 or higher depending on years of experience or education. 

Salary by years of experience

As mentioned, flight nurses with more experience and years of service in the field can expect to earn a higher salary than those just starting. That’s because experience often equates to a higher level of skill, knowledge, and expertise, which can translate into better patient outcomes and more efficient emergency medical care. 

Additionally, experienced flight nurses may have developed valuable relationships with medical professionals, hospitals, and other organizations in the industry, which can lead to more opportunities and higher salaries. Below you can find how your experience can affect your pay:

  • 0 years of relevant job experience: $88,515
  • Two years of relevant job experience: $90,367
  • Five years of relevant job experience: $96,130

Salary by location

Location is a significant factor that can impact the salary of a flight nurse. Flight nurses working in urban areas or regions with higher living costs can earn higher pay due to the greater demand for medical services. Conversely, flight nurses working in rural or remote areas or regions with lower demand for air medical transport may earn less. Below you will find the ten best- and the ten lowest-paying states for flight nurses.


What Is the Flight Nurse Salary Compared to Other Nursing Jobs?

Flight nurses are typically compensated more than their counterparts in traditional nursing roles due to the highly specialized training and expertise required for this challenging profession. That said, here’s how a flight nurse’s salary compares to other nursing jobs:

Staff Nurse – RN – Dialysis – $85,049

Staff Nurse – RN – Geriatric – $85,049

Staff Nurse – RN – Hospice – $85,049

Staff Nurse – RN – Occupational Health – $88,543

Staff Nurse – RN – Pediatrics – $76,745

How To Earn More Money as a Flight Nurse


Flight nursing is a financially rewarding career path. Although salaries may vary, there are many strategies you can employ to increase your earning potential and take your career to the next level. You can open up a world of possibilities by gaining experience, pursuing certifications, and working in high-demand regions or organizations offering competitive compensation and benefits packages.

Get certified

Certification indicates a higher level of expertise, knowledge, and training in the field, which can translate into better performance on the job. Flight nurses who hold certifications demonstrate their commitment to their profession and ability to meet the rigorous standards required for certification. As a result, employers often value certified flight nurses more highly. They are willing to offer them higher salaries and better benefits packages to attract and retain top talent in this specialized field. 

Further your education

According to salary data, there is a range of salaries for flight nurses with different levels of education. Flight nurses with an associate’s degree can expect to earn between $87,280 and $93,092, while those with a bachelor’s degree can earn between $87,743 and $93,598. 

The salary range for flight nurses with a master’s degree or MBA is slightly higher, with an expected range of $88,515 to $94,442. The highest salary range is for flight nurses with a Ph.D. or equivalent, which is $88,823 to $94,780.

These salary ranges suggest that further education can impact flight nursing salaries. However, it is essential to note that salary ranges are just averages and may vary depending on various factors, such as the employer, the location, and the flight nurse’s experience level. 

Do additional shifts at other institutions

Another way to leverage your expertise and earn a higher salary is to consider taking additional shifts at other institutions, particularly as a flight nurse. Doing so can expand your skill set and gain valuable experience while earning a higher salary. You’ll also have the opportunity to work with diverse healthcare professionals and collaborate with other healthcare institutions, ultimately making you a more well-rounded and versatile nurse. 

Move to a better-paying state

If you’re considering a move, it’s crucial to research states that offer higher pay for your profession. Moving to a state with a better salary for flight nurses can increase your earning potential and access better benefits and career growth opportunities. 

Higher pay can also provide a better work-life balance, allowing you to pursue personal goals and interests outside of work. So, if you want to take the next step in your career and improve your financial standing, consider moving to a state that values your contributions as a flight nurse.

Get into teaching

As a nurse with experience in flight nursing, you already have valuable knowledge and skills that can benefit others in the field. By getting into teaching, you can share your expertise and help prepare future generations of flight nurses. Not only will you be making a difference in the lives of your students, but you can also earn a higher salary. By taking on a teaching role, you can contribute to the nursing profession’s growth while advancing your career and financial goals.

What Is the Job Outlook for Flight Nurses?

The job outlook for flight nurses is very positive, with the demand for their specialized skills and expertise projected to increase faster than the average for all occupations. The employment of registered nurses, including flight nurses, will grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031. 

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, flight nursing offers an exciting and rewarding career path that requires extensive training and expertise. As highly specialized healthcare professionals, flight nurses can earn a higher salary by taking additional shifts at other institutions, furthering their education, or moving to better-paying states. With a positive job outlook and a growing demand for their specialized skills, flight nurses can look forward to a promising career in the healthcare industry.

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