Nursing Salary

Nursing is a profession in high demand. Qualified nurses find opportunities across the country, many paying a lucrative nursing salary. There are many ways to categorize various nursing roles, so if you are thinking of becoming a nurse, consider some of the following:

  • Nursing roles may be chosen by medical specialty. These specialties include OB/GYN, surgery, HIV/AIDS, addictions, and oncology.
  • Nursing jobs may be chosen by the amount of time and education it takes to practice in the field. Registered nurses (RNs), licensed practicing nurses (LPNs), or advanced specialty nursing all require different levels of education, certification, licensure, and time.
  • Some nurses chose their careers based on the segment of population they would like to serve. Women’s health, gerontology, and pediatrics are just a few of these popular segments.
  • Nursing careers may be chosen based on a preferred location. For example, the emergency room (ER), the operating room (OR), hospice, school nurse, or the intensive care unit (ICU) may be the place the nurse would prefer to work.
  • Some nurses choose a specialty based on body parts. The heart, skin, lungs, digestive system, or female reproductive system are specialties requiring specific training.


Taking into consideration some of these options may help a prospective nursing student decide on a career path before investing time and money in obtaining a certificate or degree. The type of education and training determines the kind of job and nursing salary a person receives. For instance, after a one- or two-year-long training at a hospital, community college, or vocational school, a person who passes the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-PN) can practice as an LPN. Starting salaries nationwide in hospitals are $40,000 and in community care elderly facilities are $42,000 a year.

Individuals seeking RN designations need to complete a two-year associate’s or four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing and must pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) to get their registered nursing licenses. Salaries for an RN vary depending on the city and state the person is working in, but for the most part, an RN nursing salary will average $70,000 per year in a doctor’s office.

There are specialties in the field of nursing with the highest pay. These advanced nursing professions require master’s degrees with concentrations in the specific area. Some of the categories include the Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), which pays $156,000 a year; Certified Nurse Midwife, with an annual salary of $91,000; Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), which pays $87000 a year; and a Nurse Practitioner (NP), paying $89,000.

Nurses who work with sick or premature newborn babies are called neonatal nurses. The training for a neonatal nurse is extensive, and average salaries are about $74,000 a year. A gerontological nurse practitioner (GNP) holds an advanced degree in geriatrics and assists elderly patients with debilitating conditions. The average salary for a GNP is $75,000 a year. Orthopedic nursing is a specialty that helps patients suffering from musculoskeletal ailments, such as arthritis, and nurses in this field earn an average salary of $81,000. They are also involved in educating patients on how to use support equipment. A pediatric endocrinology nurse helps young children who suffer from endocrine disease and earn on average $81,000 a year.

Due to the nursing shortage, many employers offer recruitment incentives to attract talent. These incentives include bonuses from between $2,000 and $20,000, relocation and housing assistance, day care, and tuition reimbursement. Usually, these incentives are awarded based upon a set work commitment by the applicant. Whether the job is to serve patients in a hospital, hospice, radiology department, or home health care facility, each setting has its own unique tasks, technologies, and patient types.