Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry; the ones who the patients see the most and connect with the best.
But with the cost of schooling and the time it takes to finish your education, you may wonder how much nurses can hope to make.
In general, nurses receive a higher hourly rate than the average; around $11 more. The average beginning salary is about $53,000, almost double the average entry-level salary. And it doesn’t stop there; there are numerous factors that will affect your salary and help to boost it.
Certifications and Education:
Additional certifications come with pay raises, as the nurse has now become a specialist in a particular field. For example, if you were to receive a certification in advanced diabetes management, you would be able to work closer and more in-depth with these patients. And some nurse specialties pay even higher, like family nurse practitioners or nurse anesthetists.
Education also plays a big role; the higher the degree, the higher the salary. Someone with an associates degree will earn less someone with a bachelor’s and likewise for someone with a master’s. And there is always time for education. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement.
Hours and Shifts:
There is almost always the opportunity for overtime and the rate of pay for overtime hours is higher than regular shift hours. And your rate of pay will also be different depending on shifts; second and third shifts pay more.
Department and Hospital:
The department and position is also a factor. ER nurses make more than floor nurses and charge nurses make more than the other nurses.
The same goes for where you work; private practices will not pay as much as government institutions like VA hospitals or universities. The size of the place also affects your pay. A large hospital network will pay much higher salaries than smaller clinics.
Your salary isn’t the only benefits you reap from being a nurse. With both time and continued education, you can move up and through the ranks. There is also job security; nurses are always needed and it’s not a job that will ever be phased out. Nurses also get excellent retirement and 401k plans, health insurance, and paid leave.
You are also never obligated to stay in one place; depending on what you state you are going to and from and what kind of licensure you receive, it can be relatively easy to switch from one job to another or state to state. And remember pay is different in different states; nurses in California categorically make the most with Hawaii and Alaska coming up behind. It can also vary by city; metro areas will pay higher.
Nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations. Because more people have health insurance now, the amount of people needing attention has grown. There is no end in sight to this vocation and as the need for nurses grows, so will their salaries.