How Much Do Nurses Make?

Nursing is an opportune and sought after career by many today. As a career that is high in demand, it comes with its perks, such as high average salary, employee benefits, and job stability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for a registered nurse in 2017 was $70,000 a year, or an hourly wage of $33.65.

Registered Nurse Duties

There are a number of duties that a registered nurse must handle on a day to day basis. Some common tasks include:

  • Administer medication
  • Assist examinations
  • Provide care instructions to patients upon departure
  • Observe patients
  • Operate medical equipment
  • Perform tests
  • Record patient medical histories
  • Record symptoms
  • Supervise CNAs

Growth of Nurse Salaries, Year Over Year

Registered nurse salaries have had an annual rate of growth of about 1.36% since 2012. Despite this considerable low rate of growth, salaries have jumped about 2.26% from last year, showing signs of higher rates in the future.

Growth of Nurse Jobs, Year Over Year

Registered nurse jobs are estimated to reach 3,393,200 by the year 2026. That is an estimated increase of 15% from the employment level of 2,955,200 in 2016. These numbers are attributed to the potential requirement of RNs in long-term care facilities and outpatient care centers due to financial on hospitals. With that in mind, the job outlook for registered nurses is promising.

Best Paying States for Nurses

According to the BLS, the highest average paying states for registered nurses are Hawaii, California, and Oregon, respectively. Unsurprisingly, these are states that have a high cost of living compared to others. But if we adjust it according to the cost of living index (Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Cost of living for 3Q 2018), the highest paying states are Nevada, Texas, and New Mexico, respectively.

StateAnnual Median RN Salary (Adjusted)Hourly Median RN Salary (Adjusted)
New Mexico$76,032.79$36.55
New Jersey$66,156.99$31.81
North Carolina$64,423.28$30.97
New Hampshire$64,333.96$30.93
West Virginia$64,302.70$30.91
South Carolina$62,924.34$30.25
Rhode Island$62,864.24$30.22
New York$62,447.76$30.02
North Dakota$61,967.87$29.79
South Dakota$56,795.92$27.31
District of Columbia$54,062.11$25.99

Registered Nurse Salary vs Related Jobs

Registered nurses earn a fairly high salary compared to other health care professions. To earn more (about 49% increase in pay), registered nurses can obtain an advanced degree to become a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. Different professions are determined by various schooling, certification, and previous years of experience.

Physician Assistant

Average Salary, $104,860

Physician assistants help doctors perform their daily tasks or practice providing plans of treatment to patients. PAs occasionally need state licensure and national certification to practice medicine.

Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary, $103,880

Nurse practitioners help diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. They perform the same duties as an RN, but are licensed to diagnose conditions and prescribe medications.

Respiratory Therapist

Average Salary, $59,710

A respiratory therapist performs a variety of respiratory tests to evaluate the health of a patient’s cardiopulmonary system. They also perform treatment as needed under supervision of a doctor.

Cardiovascular Technologist

Average Salary, $55,270

Cardiovascular technologists diagnose cardiac (heart) and peripheral vascular (blood vessel) problems, under the supervision of a physician.

Surgical Technologist

Average Salary, $46,310

Surgical technologists or operating room technicians assist in surgical procedures. They work under direct supervision of a surgeon.

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN and LVN)

Average Salary, $45,030

LPNs and LVNs provide basic medical care to those who are unable to care for themselves. They are under the supervision of doctors and/or registered nurses.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Average Salary, $33,380

EMTs provide emergency medical support to anyone critically ill or injured and take them to a hospital.

Medical Assistant

Average Salary, $32,480

Medical assistants provide administrative support in a hospital, doctor’s office, medical clinic, or other facilities. They also help with various physician and patient tasks to provide a smooth running clinical setting.

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