Average Salary of Registered Nurses
Registered nurses (RNs) are an essential part of the healthcare industry, providing patient care, educating patients and their families, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for registered nurses in the United States is $80,010, as of May 2020. This means that half of RNs earn more than this amount, while the other half earns less.
The BLS also reports that the lowest 10% of RNs earn less than $53,410 per year, while the highest 10% earn more than $116,230 per year. However, it’s important to note that salaries can vary widely based on several factors such as education, experience, geographic location, and specialty.
In general, RNs who have higher levels of education and specialized training tend to earn higher salaries. For example, RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree typically earn more than those with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).
Furthermore, RNs who work in certain specialties or healthcare settings may also earn higher salaries. For instance, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives typically earn more than RNs who work in general medical and surgical hospitals.
Overall, while the median salary for registered nurses is $80,010, there is a wide range of salaries depending on various factors. However, RNs can generally expect to earn competitive salaries and have strong job prospects in the growing healthcare industry.
Factors Affecting RN Salaries
There are several factors that can impact the salary of a registered nurse (RN). Understanding these factors can help RNs make informed decisions about their careers and potentially earn higher salaries.
Education and Training: RNs with higher levels of education and specialized training, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), may earn higher salaries than those with only an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).
Work Experience: RNs with more years of experience typically earn higher salaries than those who are just starting their careers.
Specialty: RNs who work in certain specialties, such as critical care or oncology, may earn higher salaries than those who work in other areas of healthcare.
Geographic Location: Salaries for RNs can vary based on the cost of living and demand for healthcare services in a particular area. For example, RNs in urban areas or states with high costs of living may earn higher salaries than those in rural areas.
Employer and Industry: RNs who work for larger healthcare organizations, such as hospitals or healthcare systems, may earn higher salaries than those who work for smaller clinics or physician practices.
Shifts and Hours Worked: RNs who work night or weekend shifts, or who work overtime, may earn higher salaries than those who work standard daytime hours.
Overall, while there are several factors that can impact RN salaries, education and training, work experience, and specialty are among the most important. RNs can potentially earn higher salaries by pursuing advanced degrees, gaining experience in high-demand specialties, and working for larger healthcare organizations.
Highest Paying Specialties for RNs
While registered nurses (RNs) can work in a variety of healthcare settings and specialties, some areas tend to offer higher salaries than others. Here are some of the highest paying specialties for RNs:
Nurse Anesthetist: Nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses who administer anesthesia during medical procedures. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for nurse anesthetists was $192,180 as of May 2020.
Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who can diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications, and provide other medical services. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for nurse practitioners was $111,680 as of May 2020.
Nurse Midwife: Nurse midwives are advanced practice registered nurses who provide prenatal care, assist with childbirth, and provide postpartum care to mothers and newborns. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for nurse midwives was $110,930 as of May 2020.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: Psychiatric nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in mental health care. They can diagnose and treat mental illnesses, prescribe medications, and provide therapy. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for psychiatric nurse practitioners was $111,680 as of May 2020.
Orthopedic Nurse: Orthopedic nurses specialize in caring for patients with musculoskeletal conditions, such as broken bones or joint replacements. According to PayScale, the median annual salary for orthopedic nurses is $73,000.
While these specialties tend to offer higher salaries, they may also require additional education and training. RNs who are interested in pursuing these specialties should research the specific requirements and potential salary ranges to make informed decisions about their careers.
Geographic Location and RN Salaries
Registered nurses (RNs) can expect to earn different salaries depending on their geographic location. Here are some of the factors that can impact RN salaries by location:
Cost of Living: The cost of living can vary widely from one area to another, which can impact salaries. RNs who work in areas with high costs of living, such as New York City or San Francisco, may earn higher salaries to offset the higher expenses.
Demand for Healthcare Services: The demand for healthcare services can also impact RN salaries. Areas with higher demand for healthcare services, such as urban areas or regions with aging populations, may offer higher salaries to attract and retain qualified RNs.
State and Local Laws: State and local laws can impact RN salaries in various ways. For example, some states have higher minimum wage requirements, which can impact salaries for RNs who work in lower-paying healthcare settings.
Collective Bargaining Agreements: Some RNs are represented by labor unions or other organizations that negotiate collective bargaining agreements with healthcare employers. These agreements can impact RN salaries and other aspects of their compensation packages.
Taxes and Benefits: Taxes and benefits can also impact RN salaries. RNs who work in states with higher income tax rates may take home less of their salaries after taxes, while those who work for healthcare organizations with generous benefits packages may receive more overall compensation.
Overall, RNs should research the cost of living, demand for healthcare services, and other factors in their geographic area to determine a competitive salary range. They may also consider opportunities to work in areas with higher salaries or to negotiate for higher salaries based on their skills and experience.
Job Outlook for Registered Nurses
The job outlook for registered nurses (RNs) is generally positive, with strong demand for RNs expected to continue in the coming years. Here are some key trends and factors that are impacting the job outlook for RNs:
Growing Demand for Healthcare Services: As the population continues to age and healthcare services become more complex, there is a growing demand for healthcare professionals, including RNs.
Shortages in Some Areas: While the overall demand for RNs is strong, there are shortages of RNs in some geographic areas and specialties. This can create opportunities for RNs to earn higher salaries or to negotiate for more competitive compensation packages.
Increasing Emphasis on Preventative Care: Healthcare organizations are increasingly focused on preventative care and population health management, which may create new roles and opportunities for RNs.
Technological Advances: Technology is rapidly changing the healthcare industry, with new tools and systems emerging that can help improve patient care and outcomes. RNs who are skilled in using these technologies may be in higher demand.
COVID-19 Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of healthcare professionals, including RNs, in responding to public health emergencies. This may lead to increased funding and support for healthcare organizations and professionals in the coming years.
Overall, RNs can expect strong job prospects and competitive salaries in the coming years, particularly in high-demand specialties and geographic areas. RNs who stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies, and who continuously develop their skills and expertise, may be in the best position to succeed in this growing field.