Nursing has undergone significant changes over the past ten years. Clinical concepts and practices have changed. Technology has changed. Expectations of clinical skills have changed. And, salaries have changed with advanced nurses' skills.
After the 2010 recommendation of the Institute of Medicine to require Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees for entry level nursing positions, salaries began to increase along with the educational expectations. Registered Nurses and nurses holding an ADN degree average a yearly salary of $40,042 according to PayScale (an employee survey company). However, with a MSN, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that salaries can climb to $96,000-$107,000 a year.
What Other Factors Influence Salary?
As mentioned above, there is a critical nursing shortage in the United States and hospitals and healthcare systems are struggling to meet that shortfall. According to an article in Newsweek (October, 2017) healthcare employers are "sweetening the pot" to attract MSN prepared nurses. It's not unusual to see MSN nurses being offered higher salaries and sign on bonuses. Some employers have even extended offers of student loan repayment, upward career mobility and free housing to attract qualified nurses.
To illustrate, consider the hospital in West Virginia which, in 2016, spent $3.6 million a year in nursing recruitment and retention. That figure rose to $10.4 million in 2017. Going further, another West Virginia facility is offering a $10,000 sign on bonus and is even considering paying college tuition for family members to entice nurses to stay in West Virginia (Newsweek, October, 2017).
Increasing Role of the MSN
Along with the nursing shortage, America is also experiencing a physician shortage. While not quite as acute as the dearth of qualified nurses, physicians find themselves with an increase in patients, as health insurance is available to previously uninsured individuals and the aging of the Baby Boomers requiring more healthcare. To aid physicians, more and more states are providing Nurse Practitioners with increasing abilities to care for patients. As a result, Family Nurse Practitioners may earn up to $89,000 or more a year (per PayScale). Salary estimates for certified midwives average $91,000 annually. Nurse Educators may see annual salaries in the $73,000 range.
Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down salary expectations by state. The higher salaries are found in Northeastern states such as New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts; as well in the Western states of California, Texas, Oregon, Wyoming and Alaska. Lower salary estimates may be in the Southern states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, etc.
Benefits increase your overall compensation package. Employers may offer paid time off, sick leave, retirement benefits such as a 401k and even tuition assistance. These packages are added above your salary.
While there are many factors to be considered in advancing your education from a RN to MSN. Best Medical Degrees has ranked 30 Most Affordable Online MSN Degree Programs as a starting point for you as you make your decision. These programs are specifically for those nurses holding a diploma degree and an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). Many programs allow credit for nursing experience.
The ranking provides information on eligibility, cost, length of program and all programs cited hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).