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All About Travel Assignments

What Are Travel Assignments?

When schools don’t have enough local talent to fill positions, they often turn to staffing agencies to hire educational professionals from various locations across the nation. These opportunities are called travel assignments.

How Can I Qualify as a Traveler?

The IRS has specific rules to determine whether you qualify as a traveler. This is based on how far you would have to travel between your tax home and the work assignment location. Your tax home may be your permanent residence where you plan to return after the assignment. We advise all educational professionals to speak with a tax advisor or CPA to determine whether you have a tax home and where it is located. Cross Country Education will also provide you with a questionnaire and FAQs concerning IRS away-from-home travel standards.

What Are the Benefits of Travel Assignments?

Travel assignments allow you to:

As a Traveler, Will Cross Country Education Assist Me With My Living Expenses While I’m on Assignment?

Yes! Qualifying travelers will be eligible to receive non-taxable payments to cover daily meals and lodging expenses incurred while on assignment.

How Are Meal and Lodging Per Diems Determined?

Staffing agencies must follow the federal government’s guidelines (called the General Services Administration or GSA guidelines) regarding applicable meal and lodging per diem rates. We use these government guidelines to determine the appropriate meal and lodging per diem rates that apply to each traveler’s particular assignment.

How Long Do Travel Assignments Last?

Travel assignments vary in length and can last from 10-40 weeks.

Are Most Contracts Considered Full-Time, and How Many Hours Do Travelers Typically Work per Week?

Yes, most of our travel assignments are full time. Travelers are typically placed in standard school assignments which are often 35-40 hours a week.

Are All Positions In-person, or Are There Remote/Online Assignments Available?

Most schools will return to in-person learning in the near future. Virtual assignments do not qualify for traveler benefits, but hybrid assignments may.

Am I Able to Preselect Locations I Am Interested in?

At Cross Country Education, we staff in all states, so when you speak with your recruiter, you can certainly let them know your locations of interest. Even if we don’t have availability in that particular location, we will have a variety of exciting locations with openings.

When Would I Need to Apply for the Upcoming School Year?

This depends on the location, but many travelers start planning in the spring for the fall. Typically, we book May-July for the upcoming school year. If you are planning to work in a state you are not currently licensed/credentialed in, you will want to start that process first. It can take weeks to months to transfer your license/credential, depending on the state.

How Long Can I Be a Traveler and Still Receive Tax-Free Meal and Lodging Benefits?

You can only receive tax-free meal and lodging benefits if your travel is considered temporary. Under IRS rules, an assignment that will last more than one year OR is expected to last more than one year is not considered temporary. Since school assignments typically last 10-40 weeks, they are ideal assignments for travelers in terms of non-taxable meal and lodging benefits.

Will My Wages Be Subject to State Income Tax for Working a Temporary Assignment?

Depending on which state an assignment is located in, your wages may be subject to state income tax. We advise all travelers to consult with a tax advisor or CPA regarding this.

What Happens When My Contract Ends?

If you and the school agree, you can sign a new contract for a new term with us. If a second assignment would have you working in the same away-from-home location for over one year, then you will not be eligible for nontaxable meal and lodging per diems. If you are ready for a new position, your Cross Country Education recruiter can help you find a new assignment.

Why Should I Choose Cross Country Education?

Cross Country has been in business for 36 years, and we have more than 75 years of combined industry experience. Our dedicated recruiters are focused on finding the right match for you and setting you up for success. We offer custom packages including benefits, and we feature monthly resources and ongoing training opportunities to help you grow and thrive in your career.