Health care recruiter goes viral on TikTok for $300K salary. Is that paycheck possible?

A former recruiter says no, but video commenters back up woman’s claim

Health care recruiter is one of the five most common career changes nurses are expected to make this year, according to nurse.org. Why? Because the ongoing nursing shortage means more than just hospitals are looking for qualified staff.

And if a viral TikTok post is to be believed, it could be the salary.

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When @americanincome — an account that stops random people on the street and asks about their job and salary — interviewed a woman in Miami, she said she makes $300,000 a year as a health care recruiter.

She must have been doing this for years to build such a client base that she can rake in six figures, right? Wrong. According to the video, she has only three years experience. Not only that, but her background is in public relations and not health care.

The video has more than 111,000 “likes” and has been shared more than 9,000 times. But is that salary normal, or even possible?

ZipRecruiter lists the highest salary for health care recruiters at $82,000 a year, with the average salary at $53,000 annually.

Nurse.org talked with Angelina Walker, who was a travel nurse recruiter for seven years at four agencies, and Walker said $300,000 is definitely not typical.

“I worked as a travel nurse recruiter (and recruitment manager) for 7 years at four different agencies and I never made over $70K,” Walker told the website. “To make $300K I would have needed hundreds of nurses working with me during that time. That is nearly impossible unless you are literally working non-stop, all the time — nights, weekends, holidays.”

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That’s because many recruiters earn a base salary — Walker said hers was $38,000-$45,000 — plus commission.

“Travel nursing agencies typically take 15%-23% of the bill rate as their cut, the rest is paid to the nurse. However, the agency doesn’t keep all of their cut as profit — they have employee salaries to pay, overhead costs, operating costs, and other expenses. Oftentimes, there is one agency that owns the contract with the hospital and all other agencies must contract through the main agency,” Walker told nurse.org. “Therefore, an agency might also have to pay a portion of the bill rate to the agency that owns the hospital contract. My commission was based on the amount of the bill rate that the agency received after they paid their necessary expenses. My commissions were never significant — maybe $2,500 per month, on a good month. Sometimes less than $800, on a bad month.”

Despite Walker’s doubts, numerous people commented on the video that they know people making that much money and more.

“My sister in law is a healthcare recruiter — she absolutely makes 300k+ every year,” @kar_leigh1 wrote.

“I started out in Healthcare Recruiting & made more my first year than my finance director husband at the time. Right out of college! She’s not lying,” @madddsmurph_ commented.

“I work in Healthcare recruiting. Some of my coworkers are definitely making that and some are making even more than that,” @cchrissyg said.

If you’re wondering what the future holds for recruiters, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 13% increase in demand through 2031. The need for more staff means there will be a need for more recruiters, if you’re thinking about a job change.

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