You may have come across with nurses at least once in your life time. Then, you already know the effort a nurse carry on making people’s life better either working in a hospital, residential care, and school or even in a private health care center. Nursing is considered one of the most rewarding careers in the world, as well as it is one of the well paid careers in the medical sector.
Nevertheless, finding salary and wage information on “Nursing career” is not easy as someone would assume, due to expanded career paths available. Simply put, the term “Nurse” has become too generic and in order to find the exact information you need to be more specific and look at various nursing salaries by specialization.
This article is presented with details of major nursing career paths and relevant salaries across the nursing career. Although, please note that salary figures on this article may not be the same for the country you live in. However, all other details are very much similar to every country and if you go through the entire article, can have a comprehensive knowledge on Nursing Salary.
Factors affecting nurse salary
- Specified job role in nursing career
- Level of education
- Years of experience
- Location and country
- Type of the institution
Most common professions in nursing
Nurse Practitioners are highly trained and specialized nurses who fill the gap between Registered Nurses and doctors. They are also referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). NP is a great professional role which any Registered Nurse can advance their career into.
NPs are usually highly qualified Registered Nurses who have reached to a master degree level in a certain specialty. This means they have considerably more job responsibilities than a registered nurse, so it makes sense that their salaries and job requirements would differ. Whichever the field they involved in, that influences overall duties and responsibilities.
Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered Nurses are the most numerous type of professionals on the healthcare sector and seen as the backbone of the care system. In nursing career, Registered Nurse is the widely known role and people often consider Nurse and RN as the same professional role.
The modern RN now has many more responsibilities and yet they still provide a personal link between patient and doctors. They also work as in charge of other nursing staff such as LPN’s, CNA’s and medical assistants.
The primary role of a RN is to provide health care for patients, but their responsibilities have increased over the years and some of them are even involved in many major clinical procedures which were executed by doctors previously. On the other hand, RN carries out less tedious tasks nowadays and other medical assistants such as LPNs have taken those responsibilities.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is the same profession other than the fact that in the states of California and Texas the regulatory bodies call them LVN’s and in every other state they are called LPN’s.LPNs are one of the lower paid medical professionals; although it is a great entry level job role for entering into the healthcare sector, for people with limited educational qualifications. The goal of many LPNs is to gain access to healthcare and get hands on experience and to move further in the medical field to better paid careers with more prospects.
LPNs primary role is to support medical staff in health care and to provide liaison between the patient and their families and other members of healthcare staff. While the general LPN role doesn’t change, there can be variations in duties depending on where you work. For an instance, LPNs in a physician’s office may involve in more administrative tasks, whereas an LPN in a hospital may handle more nursing responsibilities in an emergency room. LPNs always work under supervision of other highly qualified medical staff; however, they play a critical role as liaison between patient and healthcare,
Salary and wages
Nurse Practitioners in USA earns an average of $91,450 annually, which works out as $43.97 per hour, $1,758 per week and $7,620 per month. Of course, the income level of NPs varies widely depending on various performance components, the area of expertise, further education, years of experience and location.Recompense for Nurse Practitioners are mainly affected by the particular firm, but geography and years of experience are influential factors as well.
The table below contains average salary in comparison with few other countries, according to PayScale.
|Country||United States||Australia||Canada||United Kingdom|
|Average rate per hour||US$ 43.97||AU$ 52.52||C$ 47.27||£ 20.50|
In the United States, the average annual salary for a Registered Nurse is currently $67,930 which breaks down as an average of $32.66 per hour, $1,306 per week and a monthly salary of $5,660. However, like in any other profession, not all RNs earn the same wages. It depends on the factors such as experience, level of training, years worked, location etc.
Given below is the comparison of hourly rates according to PayScale, paid by some other major countries.
|Country||United States||Australia||Canada||United Kingdom|
|Average rate per hour||US$ 32.66||AU$ 31.39||C$ 33.01||£ 13.66|
Licensed Practical Nurses
Licensed Practical Nurses earn relatively a low salary than other professionals in the nursing career. Although, there is enough room to go further with education and experience. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average annual salary for a LPN working in the United States is $42,400 which is $20.30 per hour, $815 per week and $3,533 per month.
However, years of experience, further training, industry, and location, influences the actual salaries of LPNs.Look at the table below to see how this compares with the average wage of other countries as per PayScale.
|Country||United States||Australia||Canada||United Kingdom|
|Average rate per hour||US$ 20.30||AU$ 26.38||C$ 25.07||£ 11.29|
The highest earning nursing roles
The most demanding out of above described professional roles are the Registered Nurse. Many RNs continue to study and practice in one specialized area so that they can advance their career as Nurse Practitioners at more prestigious work places or even to open up own medical clinics.
This section will guide you through wide range of available specialties as well as relevant salaries for each role. Once again, monetary values mentioned here may varied based on location and the work place.
|Job role||Average salary for year (US dollar)||Requirements|
|Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)||$138,568|| |
|General Nurse Practitioner||$72,614 -$114,681|| |
|Gerontological Nurse Practitioner||$74,953 – $112,623|| |
|Pain Management Nurse||$21.83 – $39.89 (hourly)|| |
|Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner||$97,800|| |
|Certified Nurse Midwife||$88,990|| |
|Family Nurse Practitioner||$89,043|| |
|Informatics Nurse||$75,518|| |
|Clinical Nurse Specialist||$83,236|| |
|Nursing Administrator||$92,810|| |
|Nurse Educator||$94,616|| |
|Critical Care Nurse||$68,450|| |
|Health Policy Nurse||$75,000 – $85,000|| |
|Medical-Surgical Nurse||$26.89 (hourly)|| |
Education for Nurses
Once you decide the career path you want to pursue in nursing, the next step is to complete relevant educational qualifications. While there are some paths which don’t necessarily require a degree or a diploma, you can’t go further in your career without advancing the present knowledge of nursing. Continuing to study further will surely make a huge change in your financial background as well.
There are many different types of nursing degrees/diplomas.This will guide you through the right nursing degree program for your individual career endeavors.
Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) Degree
A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree (BSN), is designed to provide thorough preparation for Registered Nurses. BSN can take up to four years to complete and often considers as the standard prerequisite to becoming a Nurse Practitioner.
Accelerated BSN programs are available for nurses with previous education and experience. LPN-to-BSN programs permit LPNs to earn bachelor’s of nursing degrees in four academic semesters. RN-to-BSN bridge programs offer flexible scheduling to working nurses who already hold associate’s degrees or diplomas.
Registered Nursing (RN) Degree
Registered Nursing degree provides wide range of opportunities in the nursing field. Whoever qualifies the RN degree, can earn the RN license and start working as a Registered Nurse. Other than that, there are three approaches to become a RN, namely Nursing Diploma, Associates Degree, Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) Degree. However, the most preferred qualification for a RN is above mentioned BSN program.
Nursing Diploma or Associate’s Degree
This is the quickest method to start a career as a RN due its short time period compared to the BSN program. Also, there is always enough opportunities to go back to nursing school and complete the requirements for a bachelor’s in nursing degrees/when required.
Nursing diplomas offered by hospitals and allow students to learn about nursing while getting hand on experience at the hospital. They take two to three years to complete and often corporate with community colleges to conduct certain core classes.
Community colleges offer two years associate degree programs and the programs are faster and more cost-effective route to nursing education with a focus on technical nursing skills. Both a diploma program, an associate’s degree make the preparation for an entry level position in the health sector.
Master’s in Nursing (MSN) Degree
At the beginning itself, RNs usually choose a specific career path of nursing to become a Nurse Practitioner. A Master’s of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) is a post-graduate program designed to provide necessary education which goes beyond the scope of RN practice. This type of nursing degree takes up to two years to complete and focuses on advanced nursing theory and practice.
Like any other masters program, nurses should meet the entry level qualifications to enroll for MSN program. Bachelors in nursing degree (BSN), RN license, minimum GPA and GRE scores, and relevant clinical experience are required in order to be accepted in a master’s in nursing degree program.
Doctoral Nursing Degree
The doctoral nursing degree program is an equivalent to a post graduate program and it takes four to six years to complete such degree. Nurses who enroll for this program are already experts in their job role. Therefore, the goal of all doctoral nursing programs is to prepare and push nurses to be in top tier careers and to be leaders, whether they pursue research, clinical treatments, nursing education, health policy, or organizational transformation.
Perspective of nursing career
Nurse Practitioners have an extremely content career prospects with expected growth of 31% according to the projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2022. Growth occurs primarily because of the effects of healthcare legislation, an increased emphasis on preemptive care, and demand for healthcare services from the large, aging baby-boom population as they live longer and more active lives than previous generations.
At present, there are over 2.6 million registered nurses working only in united States. Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19% which equals an extra 526,800 RN’s by 2022. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventative care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the senior population living under caring of nursing homes.
Employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Also, this career has seen a steady rise in salary rates and this trend is expected to continue along with the strong demand for staff. As a result, anyone who is setting up the career as a LPN has a good potential and with further education and training of the industry salaries and wages can be increased as well.