Nursing is a calling. You went into the profession to help people. But, the reality is, you have to make a living doing what you love.
The nursing profession has changed drastically since Florence Nightingale first organized her corps of nurses during the Crimean War. Today's nurse is a highly respected professional (a 2017 Gallup poll listed nursing as the #1 most trusted profession in the U.S.), with responsibilities and skills Florence Nightingale could never have imagined. Once, nurses were educated by hospital nursing schools and received a diploma after two years of study and clinical experience; but, that model was slowly phased out when community colleges and universities began graduating nurses holding two year Associate Degrees in Nursing or Bachelor of Nursing in four year colleges and universities.
By 2020, it's projected that most hospitals and healthcare systems will require nursing staffs to be composed of bachelor prepared nurses. With those advanced degrees comes an increase in salaries. Best Medical Degrees has researched 30 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Degree Programs which will help you to consider educational costs in your decision to obtain an advanced degree.
Registered Nurses Salaries
PayScale, an online salary survey company, estimates the average salary of a nurse, holding a Registered Nurse license, earns $40,042-$87,192 annually. Factors to be considered in this salary range will include experience, location and type of healthcare facility in which you're employed.
Bachelor of Nursing Salaries
Advanced education in nursing can lead to a substantial increase in salary expectations. PayScale estimates the median salary for entry level BSN nurses, based on employer surveys, to at $62,214 annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites a higher median wage at $68,054 per year.
Where You Work Can Matter
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides more specific salary estimates based on the type of facility in which you're working. BSN prepared nurses working the government sector, such as the Veterans Administration, earn an average of $73,980; hospitals/healthcare facilities at $70,590; home health agencies $64,140; physician offices $61,730; nursing and long term care facilities $60,950.
Where You Live Can Matter
Your geographic location can impact your salary as well. BSN nurses living in California could see an annual mean salary of $101,750 while nurses residing in Southeast Mississippi may see a salary of $51,220. Influences on salaries include experience, size of the facility in which you work and community standards. California, Florida, New York, Ohio and North Carolina have been reported to have a critical need for qualified, licensed nurses.
Forbes Magazine developed a list of 15 of the best cities for nurses. This ranking looks at best salaries and standard of living costs. According to Forbes, the three cities with the best salaries are Fresno, California, with an expected salary of $83,344, Bakersfield, California at $80,731 and the California city of Modesto at $80,368. Atlanta, Georgia at $63,862, San Diego, California $65,092, and Los Angeles at $65,092 round out the lower end of Forbes cities, based on salaries.
Other salary influences you should keep in mind are employee benefits which will also influence your annual compensation. Retirement benefits such as 401k, paid leave and health insurance can impact your annual pay package and make it more attractive.