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Did you know that nursing has been voted as the most trusted profession in the United States for almost two decades? It’s not surprising when you think about it. Nurses are responsible for day-to-day direct patient care in a time when healthcare has become the largest industry in the US.
The nursing industry has long been an attractive career choice for new and existing professionals. A well-established field that will always be in-demand, nursing staff enjoy competitive salaries and excellent opportunities for advancement.
Whether you are considering becoming a nurse or are already one of our treasured nursing veterans, the nursing profession is rich with opportunity. With so many pathways, it can be daunting to choose the one that is right for you. Once you have identified the area that interests you, the next step is take a look at the educational requirements, employment opportunities, and salary potential.
Starting salaries for nurses are much higher than in other industries due to the current shortage of qualified staff, particularly registered nurses (RNs). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national median registered nurse starting salary is projected at $73,300, with overall employment in the field expected to rise 12% within the next decade. Nurse Practitioners have the highest of all employees in the field ($115,800). The current RN starting salary is $25,000 more than that of an LPN.
The growth rate for nurses will be notably higher in certain sectors of the healthcare industry, with those employed in positions pertaining to chemotherapy, surgery, and rehabilitation expected to see the largest increase in pay.
Salary for nursing roles vary greatly depending on your nursing role, geography, clinical setting, education level, and experience. According to the BLS, your salary can also range based on the industry you work in and your work setting:
Hospitals (state, local, and private)
Ambulatory healthcare services
Nursing and residential care facilities
Educational services (state, local, and private)
As you continue your nursing educational journey, the following nursing jobs have average salaries of:
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical Nurse Leader
Source: O*Net and Payscale.com
Hourly Median Salary
Data from Payscale
The level of education a nurse attains directly corresponds to a higher salary and greater responsibility. Nurses seeking salary increases, more recognition, and more specialized work, often turn to online RN to BSN programs to achieve advanced career goals. By giving nurses a diverse education on various topics relevant to nursing, the RN to BSN program opens the possibility for advancement or specialization, which ultimately leads to increases in RN salaries. The main advantage is that the online nursing program allows for remote studying so nurses do not have to give up their current occupations.
RNs with a BSN earn salary increases and work in a wide variety of positions including:
Obtaining an RN to BSN degree is one of the most practical steps toward upward mobility and increases in salary within the nursing field. For most employers, seeing that a nurse can complete a rigorous program such as an RN to BSN not only proves that they are capable of learning valuable industry information and keeping up with new practices, but also indicates that the candidate is able to sustain a substantial workload simultaneously. This reassures many health care providers that a nurse is capable of higher level managerial positions, or other more specialized aspects of the nursing field.
When evaluating factors that have the greatest impact on nurse salaries, we found the following were most influential:
It’s apparent that employers reward nurses with salary increases when they obtain additional training/education because demand for highly-trained and specialized nurses is higher.
New York, NY
Data from Payscale
It’s no surprise that California tops the list of highest-paying states for registered nurses. However, some of the other states that cracked the top five were somewhat surprising, offering high annual mean wages for RNs:
Massachusetts is the only East Coast state among the highest paying states for RNs, whereas the other four states that round out the top 5 are located on the West Coast or outside of the continental U.S.
California leads the way in terms of states that pay the highest annual mean wage for its nurses, its largest metropolitan area, Los Angeles, continues that trend of large metropolitan areas that pay their RNs the highest salaries.
Boston, Massachusetts is also at the top of the list, paying RNs an annual salary of $96,510, the highest on the East Coast.
In terms of breakout, the highest-paying areas for RNs are scattered throughout the country, offering well-paying nursing jobs on both the East and West coasts, as well as throughout the South and Midwest:
As many current RNs are nearing retirement, their younger counterparts have ample access to career advancement opportunities. Due to their schedule flexibility and regular, consistent working hours, doctor’s office and outpatient care center positions feature the highest level of competition, while hospital nursing jobs are typically abundant in most cities.
There is increasing industry pressure for RNs to earn a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Once acquired, this degree can be leveraged to gain employment in multiple subfields of the healthcare industry at large.
Many RNs start out as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who have completed a mandatory one-year technical/vocational school training program. They will often receive tuition assistance from employers to earn their BSN. The LPN to RN starting salary increase is substantial, and why every LPN is strongly encouraged to continue their education.
Drexel is nationally renowned for its top-notch online nursing education programs. Advance your career and take advantage of a higher BSN salary, today.
The Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions is recognized for its roots that date back over 150 years from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and the Hahnemann Hospital Training School for Nurses from which it was initially formed. This longstanding relationship with the health care industry distinguishes Drexel as a leader in the field of nursing education.
According to U.S. News & World Report, Drexel University is among the 10 largest online graduate nursing programs offered in the nation and is currently ranked in the top 50 for best online graduate nursing education, with more than 1,500 students enrolled per year.
The online nursing degree program offered at the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions was developed with the working professional in mind. By making accommodations for the busy schedule of an RN to BSN student by allowing them to study remotely at their own pace and maintain their current positions in the health care industry.
High demand for qualified nurses and the job diversity in the industry makes nursing a lucrative choice for students and individuals considering a career change. Take charge of your education and command the RN starting salary you deserve, today. View our nursing degrees page for more information.