Nursing Salaries: Truth and Considerations

Before choosing any profession, one significant consideration is the salary in that field. When it comes to nursing salaries, there is quite a variation in this area. For nursing pay, education, location, place of employment, and experience all impact the total dollar.

RN Entry Level Nursing Salaries

Annual nursing salaries typically start between $32,000 and $46,000 per year, depending on the location and place of employment. Many RNs on staff at a hospital do not work in specialized areas and still manage to earn a good yearly wage. Professional nurses generally get paid extra for working weekends, nights, and holiday shifts due to the fact that most facilities have trouble staffing those positions. Many nursing salaries are supplemented with excellent benefit packages, which include vacations, health care, tuition reimbursement, and sign-on bonuses.

Licensed Practical Nurse Salaries

For LPNs, the pay is decent, but not as good as that of RNs. Since the practical nursing program is only a year-long training course, LPNs do not obtain as much education. However, they still can find work in specialty areas. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012) reported the median national annual income of licensed practical nurses at $40,300. That varies based on years of experience, location, and place of work.

Advanced Practice Nurse Salaries

For an advanced practice nurse (APN), the pay goes up along with the years of education. The best way for an RN to increase his or her salary is to become a specialist. This includes CNS, CNM, NP, and CRNA – all Master’s prepared nurses. Trained midwives can earn around $72,000 annually, and many nurse practitioners receive similar yearly compensation. Again, pay for an APN really does depend on years of practice, location, and place of employment.

Location, Location, Location

We’ve all heard that saying, right? Well, for RNs, location really impacts salary. The Department of Labor reports the top paying five states to be California, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Hawaii. Average nursing salaries in these locations are anywhere from $60,000 to $72,000 annually. On the flip side, the same report found that Tennessee and Mississippi RNs only make around $42,000 per year.

Factors that Influence Nursing Salaries

  • Years of experience in chosen field
  • The type of work the nurse does
  • Level of nursing degree and education
  • Type of certification and specialty
  • State and city of work
  • Facility of employment

RN Salary by Industry

Acute Care Hospital$20.00 to $38.00 per hour
Long-Term Care and Rehabilitation
$20.00 to $35.00 per hour
Home Healthcare$19.00 to $36.00 per hour
Specialty Hospital Work$22.00 to $40.00 per hour
Medical Services$19.00 to $37.00 per hour

RN Salary by Certification

Critical Care Nursing$19.00 to $36.00 per hour
Advanced Cardiac Life Support$20.00 to $38.00 per hour
Pediatric ICU Nursing$20.00 to $38.00 per hour
Neonatal Nursing$21.00 to $38.00 per hour

RN Salary by Years of Experience

1 to 4 years$19.00 to $32.00 per hour
5 to 9 years$21.00 to $37.00 per hour
10 to 19 years$22.00 to $40.00 per hour
20+ years$23.00 to $43.00 per hour

RN Salary by State

California$23.00 to $51.00 per hour
New York$20.00 to $40.00 per hour
Florida$19.00 to $34.00 per hour
Ohio$19.00 to $32.00 per hour
$19.00 to $35.00 per hour


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