Those who enroll in an RN program know that becoming a nurse can help them earn a good living. But if you’re already an RN, do you know how you can maximize your earnings? Different regions and different types of employers pay their nurses different wages. Here are the places where registered nurses earn the most, as of May 2017.1
The Best States for RN Pay
The average RN in the United States earns $73,550 a year. But in some states, RNs earn significantly more. The top five states for average annual RN pay are:
- California: $102,700 average annual wage
- Hawaii: $96,990 average annual wage
- District of Columbia: $90,110 average annual wage
- Massachusetts: $89,330 average annual wage
- Oregon: $88,770 average annual wage
The Best Cities for RN Pay
California isn’t just the state that pays RNs the most, it’s also home to the metropolitan areas that pay RNs the most. In fact, the top five metropolitan areas for RN pay are all in California. They are:
- San Francisco—Redwood City—South San Francisco: $139,700 average annual wage
- Salinas: $129,940 average annual wage
- San Jose—Sunnyvale—Santa Clara: $129,140 average annual wage
- Santa Cruz—Watsonville: $124,470 average annual wage
- Vallejo—Fairfield: $119,830 average annual wage
The Best Job Settings for RN Pay
Many of the top-paying job settings for RNs fall outside of the typical RN employers. However, more than half of all RNs work for hospitals, physician offices, or home healthcare services—and among the more common RN employers, general medical and surgical hospitals pay the most ($75,820 average annual wage), and outpatient care centers pay the second most ($75,680 average annual wage).
Another Way You Can Increase Your Pay
If you’re like many working adults, you would prefer not to move to another state or change industries to earn a better salary. The good news is, there is a way to stay where you are and still position yourself for a better salary throughout your nursing career: You can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN degree).
When you move from RN to BSN, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and enhance your skills, which can make you more valuable to your employer. And being more valuable can mean earning more money. According to a report by Nursing Journal, an RN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and one to four years of experience earns $8,337 more per year on average than does a non-BSN RN with the same amount of experience.2
Needless to say, it can be worth it to return to nursing school. And that’s doubly true when you consider that you can earn your nursing degree online. Through an online nursing school, you don’t have to take time away from your career—you can continue working full time while you complete your nursing program. Online education allows you to arrange your coursework around your nursing shifts.
On top of that, many online nursing programs are specifically geared toward helping RNs like you earn their BSN as quickly as possible. Some RN to BSN online programs will give you the opportunity to transfer up to 75% of the credits you need for graduation, giving you a significant head start toward earning your degree. Plus, some online RN to BSN programs also offer a competency-based option that lets you learn—and earn credits—at your own pace.
There are multiple ways you can earn more as a nurse, but perhaps none are as practical as earning an online nursing degree. When you earn your BSN, you can put yourself in position to take your career further.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.