Home Jobs & Education How Much Do Nurses Make? + Infographic

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The short answer: nurses can make less than $46,360 per year or more than $101,630, depending on their training or specialization. A nurse can specialize in specific health conditions or regions of the body, such as neonatology, rehabilitation, dermatology, emergency care, or oncology.

A nurse’s responsibility is high; They are typically in charge of keeping records of patient’s medical history and symptoms, administering treatment medicines, consulting with doctors and other medical professionals, performing diagnostic tests, and operating medical equipment.

an infographic on how much do nurses make

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How Much Do Nurses Make – The Long Answer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics record for May 2015, the mean annual registered nurse salary is $67,490, which translates to $32.45 per hour. The lowest ten percentile in the field earns an average of $46,360, while the top ten percentile makes $101,630 annually. Registered nurses with the highest salaries are those who have extensive experience in the field, of 20 or more years. Nurses possessing only an associate’s degree can earn more with more over those with a bachelor’s degree if they have extensive experience.

How Much Do Nurses Make in Each Field?

The 1,556,930 registered nurses employed in general medical or surgical hospitals earn an average of $69,810, while those in nursing care facilities make an average of $60,830 each year. Some of the highest paying workplaces for registered nurses are private physicians’ offices, with a mean hourly wage of $35.04 which translates to $72,890 per year.

The top paying nursing jobs are in personal care services, with $65.05 per hour or $135,290 annual mean wage. Other settings that offer good wages for registered nurses are specialty hospitals (excepting psychiatric and substance abuse ones) for $56.58 per hour / $117,690 yearly, which are closely followed by dental offices; A dentist’s nurse makes $54.53 per hour or $113,410 per year on average.

As for settings, the best paying jobs for registered nurses are in local government owned colleges, universities, and professional schools, with an hourly mean wage of $45.50, which translates to $94,630 per year.

Specialized nurses like anesthetists, practitioners, or midwives generally earn more money, with a mean yearly wage of $104,740 in the last year. The lowest 10% earned $71,530 at most, and the top 10% surpassed a $171,560 yearly income. Among specializations, nurse anesthetists earn $157,140 per year, nurse practitioners – $98,190, and nurse midwives brought home $92,510 on average.

midwife nurse examining a newborn

How Much Do Nurses Make by Area?

The best paying nursing jobs can be found in California, where the mean annual salary reaches $120,930. With over 255,000 registered nurses working in this state, it is also the top provider of nursing jobs. The area is closely followed by Alaska, with $117,080 yearly, and Hawaii with $114,220.

Among metropolitan areas, Columbus, IN is the best place to be a nurse in, with a $76.95 and $160,050 yearly mean wage. Nonmetropolitan areas with the best salaries for registered nurses are North and West Central New Mexico with a $151,150 yearly mean wage and the Border Region of Texas with an annual income of $148,950.

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What Being a Nurse Means

Since patients in hospitals and other facilities often require care 24/7, nurses may work in rotating shifts around the clock, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Nurses who work in offices or schools where patients do not stay overnight are more likely to work an eight-hour shift during regular business hours. Around 20 percent of nurses only work part-time schedules.

Work Environment

As the largest occupation within the healthcare industry, registered nurses hold more than 2.7 million jobs in a variety of different settings. 48% are employed in private medical or surgical hospitals, eight percent in physician offices, 6% in local hospitals, 5% in home health care services, and another 5 percent in nursing homes. Registered nurses can also work in government agencies, schools, correctional facilities, educational programs, and the military.

registered nurse in public hospital

General Outlook

Job opportunities for registered nurses are expected to be excellent as a result of medical technology advancements, increased emphasis on preventative medicine, high nurse turnover rates, and the aging baby boomer population. Employment is predicted to grow at a faster than average rate of 16% from by 2024. Another growth factor is the federal health insurance reform, which allowed previously uninsured individuals to access medical services. Their number will continue to rise in the next few years.

Outpatient health centers will also be in need of nurses in the next few years, since advanced medical equipment allows chemotherapy, rehabilitation, or surgical facilities to provide medical services to more patients than before.

Since public hospitals need to lower expenses possible and often discharge patients as soon as possible, many choose to seek support and treatment in long-term care facilities, hence a demand in nursing personnel in such settings. Many elderly patients also choose to be cared for in their own homes, another prospect that provides jobs to nurses.

how much do personal care nurses make

Prospects for Graduates

More and more young Americans graduate a form of nursing school each year, which led to high competition in some states. However, willingness to relocate or commute gives good chances of getting hired for a young and unexperienced graduate. It is estimated that an additional 439,300 nurses will be needed by 2024.

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  1. hi im simona grade 11 and im truly into nursing, I am not scared of blood and like working with people and I care a lot about people … is nursing fun to do ??? am I making the right choice .. please help me out

    • Simona, that’s wonderful. We need lots of dedicated people in the health care industry! The industry is expanding due to the aging baby boomers.
      I would say it really depends on the type of nursing profession. Remember, there are all sorts of nurses in health care (registered nurses, nurse aids, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, etc.) It’s a huge field of work at this point. And different positions require different degrees of education. I recommend checking out an authoritative source on the subject such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

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