Trying to find details about the average Nurse salary isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. With so many different types of nursing careers available today, you need to be more specific and look at various nursing salaries by specialization. Searching simply for how much a nurse makes isn’t quite enough these days.
This website is here to help. We have presented detailed data for salaries across the major nurse / nursing careers making it easy to find all the relevant information in one place. Below you’ll find figures for the most popular nurse specialties and if you read down the page you can find out more details about each type of nurse.
You can also go straight to the different types of nurse salary across the top menu of this page. Here we have much more detail about average wages by hour, week and annual salaries – for all states in the U.S.A.
We have also compiled detailed Guides:
All have a complete overview of the careers and explain more about job descriptions, salaries, training and employment prospects.
There is a lot of information in this website but hopefully it is laid out well and will be easy to find what you are looking for.
- 1 Popular Average Nurse Salaries
- 2 Nurse Salary – Specialized
- 3 Registered Nurse (RN)
- 4 Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
- 5 Nurse Practitioner
- 6 Employment Outlook for All Nursing Jobs
Popular Average Nurse Salaries
The nursing careers in the table above are the most common ones but the list goes on. There is a wide range of specialties – below are a few more to give you some ideas.
Nurse Salary – Specialized
Want to know a little more about the different types of nurse listed in the charts above? Here are a few more details:
Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered Nurses are the most numerous of the healthcare professionals and seen as the mainstay of the care system. When people used to talk about a nurse – the RN is the modern equivalent although over the years they have become more highly trained and perform a wider range of duties.
The modern RN now has many more responsibilities and yet they still provide a personal link between patient and doctors. They are now themselves in charge of other nursing staff such as LPN’s, CNA’s and medical assistants (to name a few!).
With the increased responsibility and an emphasis on more clinical work has come a higher requirement in terms of education and training – although their salaries have also improved.
RN Job Description
Providing primary care for patients is still a major role for the modern nurse but as I have said their responsibilities go a lot further now. Staff management features highly, as well as record keeping and patient management.
With further specialization within the career, they also are involved with many minor clinical procedures – in fact in some areas specialist nurses carry out many tasks previously performed by doctors. At the other end of the scale nurses now carry out less menial tasks – these are carried out by medical assistants and LPN’s etc. It is a fast changing career with great potential for further education and in turn better earning potential.
Registered Nurse Training and Education
There are several types of training programs which provide a route to becoming a RN – all require a minimum of a High School Diploma for entry. All RN’s are basically educated to degree level although the training along the way can vary.
Three main types of program are available:
- Nursing Diploma Programs – lower entry level and usually last 3 years.
- Associate Degree in Nursing – ADN, standard degree course lasting 2-3 years depending on your qualifications.
- Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing – BSN programs can last up to 4 years and are seen as the gold standard.
After completion of any course, Registered Nurses are then licensed and managed at state and national level. Before beginning work, RN’s must pass a test called the NCLEX-RN -set by the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Registration as a Nurse is periodically reviewed throughout their career – not surprising given the serious nature of the position.
The BSN programs have almost created a two tier system within the specialty. They are seen as a more professional grade of training and candidates holding BSN qualification tend to be employed more readily and command higher salaries. In fact it is becoming popular for RN’s to enroll in RN to BSN courses – helping to advance their careers.
After becoming qualified as a RN there are also many areas of specialization – again to improve prospects and salary. Some popular progressions include further training to become:
- Critical Care Nurses
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN)
- Clinical Nurse Specialists
- Nurse Anesthetists
- Certified Nurse Midwives
- Nurse Practitioners
There are many more and the range seems to grow every year. This further specialization is very common across most nursing careers today.
Read our full Registered Nurse Training Guide for more information.
Employment Outlook for Registered Nurses
Again the projected employment figures are very favorable – forecasts predict a rise of 19% which equals an extra 526,800 RN’s by 2022. At present there are over 2.6 million registered nurses working across all states. Keep in mind that many of the specialist nurse careers are included as separate figures – the 2.6 million is just for RN’s.
A great career with a very promising outlook. The modern nurse also has many ways to further both their training and their earning potential if they so wish.
For more details check our Main Registered Nurse Guide.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
The first question to clear up is the difference between a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). It’s easy really – they are the exact same profession but in the states of California and Texas the regulatory bodies call them LVN’s – in every other state they are called LPN’s.
LPN’s are one of the lower paid medical professionals mainly because of the low educational barrier to entry – no Degree level is required. They can be a great entry level to professional healthcare careers for people with limited education qualifications. Many people start out as an LPN and progress to other types of nurse through further training and education – often whilst working and earning as a LPN.
LPN Job Description
LPN’s or LVN’S are registered healthcare professionals in their own right and are licensed locally and nationally. Their primary job description is to support other levels in healthcare – RN’s and Doctors, and to provide contact and liaison between the patient and their families and other members of the healthcare staff. They are always under the supervision of more highly qualified medical staff such as Registered nurse or doctors. Although quite low down the chain they play an extremely important role – often as the main contact between patient and care.
LPN Training and Education
No degree level education is required to become a Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse. Applicants must be 18 years old or over and have a high school diploma. Some programs require a clean record and a drugs test.
Licensed Practical Nurse training programs usually take a year to complete – some with on the job training – and at the end you will be awarded with an Associates Degree. There are many different training programs available to become a LPN / LVN both online and through community colleges, technical and vocational schools.
Fees can vary widely – online courses can cost between $1,000 – $2,000 offering great value and flexibility to candidates. Full time college course can cost substantially more depending on state and the chosen college course.
Look for accredited training programs through the National League for Nursing (NLN). At the end of the training program you will be required to pass a state licensing exam to work as a LPN. Each state has similar requirements and you can find out more from the State Board of Nursing.
Employment Outlook for LPN
As for all healthcare careers, growth for jobs is very strong, predicted to be 25% between 2012 and 2022. It is estimated that by 2022 there will be an additional 182,900 LPN / LVN’s in employment across the U.S. This career has also seen a steady rise in salary rates and this trend is expected to continue along with the strong demand for staff.
A career as a LPN certainly has good potential. The key to maximizing your earnings is to continue with further training and education. Many people use the post to gain experience and so enter further training programs to go on in the medical field to better paid careers with more prospects.
Check out our main LPN/LVN Guide here.
Nurse practitioners have become an increasingly important part of the Healthcare system. They are highly trained and usually specialized nurses – filling the gap between a regular Registered nurse and a doctor. They are also referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). It can be a great way for any RN to advance their career and so their salary.
Nurse Practitioner Job Description
The actual job description and duties of a Nurse Practitioner depends on the specialization they have trained for. NP’s are usually qualified and experienced Registered Nurses who have trained to Master degree level in a certain specialty. Common types are: Neonatal, Perinatal, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, Oncology and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners. Obviously the field they are trained in will influence their duties and responsibilities.
They are almost like junior doctors and can work independently, sometimes without supervision. They can in some cases be responsible for patient diagnosis, treatment and even prescribe certain medications – all without approval from a physician.
Nurse Practitioners can work in a range of industries within the healthcare system – General and Specialist Hospitals, Physicians Offices, Public Health and Community Health Centers. The emphasis is on a highly trained professional working in a specific field of care.
NP Training and Education
The normal route to becoming a Nurse Practitioner is by first qualifying as a Registered Nurse, then taking a Masters Degree Program in Nursing – usually a specialty. Depending on the program and type of training the Masters can take from 2-4 years full time.
We have put together a main guide for Nurse Practitioner Training here.
Depending on the State and specialty, a Nurse Practitioner may also need to be certified before practicing. The certification exams and requirements differ from state to state but you can search for relevant details at the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) website or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Outlook for Nurse Practitioners
Again, estimated job growth figures look very good – a 31% increase is expected between 2012 and 2022, resulting in an increase of 47,600 Nurse Practitioners (APRN). With further specialization and new “careers for NP’s the prospects are very good. Salary potential is greatly improved as a result of further training and education.
RN’s looking to further their careers and improve earning potential are increasingly choosing to enroll in Nurse Practitioner programs – and this trend looks set to continue.
Have a look through our main Nurse Practitioner Guide – for lots more information!
Employment Outlook for All Nursing Jobs
With a growing and ageing population all careers in the Healthcare sector look set to grow at much faster rates than the national average. The prospects are better than average across all nursing careers with projected growth figures between 19% and 25%. The national projected job growth for the period 2012 – 2022 is just 11%.
Nurse wages also look set to keep increasing faster than the national average as demand rises for many different nurse specialties. The key to a successful and progressive career in a nurse related job is to specialize your training and allow advancement in higher paid areas of employment within the industry.
All data has been collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.