“How much do nurses make?” is one of the most popular nursing questions every nurse gets asked and asks himself or herself. Have you ever wondered if embarking on a career in nursing will be worth it? How about whether what you are currently making is at industry standard? We’ll aim to answer all of that and more so stay tuned!
First off in tackling how much do nurses make is to understand that pay ranges can vary drastically depending on location, your state, and current demand for your specific nursing specialty. We’ve written another article on the ’20 Different Types of Nurses’ complete with the average annual salary for each type. Taking a look at that can be a good place to start if you’re simply looking for a general idea on how much do nurses make on average.
For this article, we’ll be focusing on how much RNs and LPNs are making along with some interesting facts to help you make an informed decision regarding your nursing career.
How Much Do Nurses Make? – The RN
Registered nurses make money from their base salary as well as from shift differentials, callback hours, and performing extra duties depending on the level of the clinical ladder the RN is currently at.
If we’ll take a look at the statistics at the bls.gov website which provides data from 2014, the median average wage for an RN is at around 33.55 per hour or a median average annual salary of $69,790. That’s not a bad figure, but then, the lowest paid 10% of the RNs are making about 30% less at only $22,06 per hour or $45,880 a year. Compare these data to the average annual salary of the top 10% highest earning RNs and you’ll see what we meant by saying that how much nurses make can vary greatly. The top earners make about $47.54 an hour or $98,880 a year. So what types of RNs make the most? Where do they work? And what specialties are they holding?
- An RN working at an outpatient care center makes $34.80 an hour or $72,390 a year.
- RNs in state, private, and local hospitals make $34.44 per hour or roughly $71,640 a year.
- RNs in Home Health Service earns $32.64 an hour or $67, 880 a year.
- Residential care and nursing facilities RNs make $28.28 an hour or $62,440 a year.
- RNs in offices of physicians makes one of the lowest, at only $30,02 per hour or $58,420 a year.
- California RNs registered an annual average salary of $98,440 or $47.31 an hour, plus California also has the highest number of employed RNs at 253,310 strong.
***the data on RN nursing salaries excludes nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners. New nurse salary data is available and updated at payscale.com.
How Much Do Nurses Make? – The LPN
LPNs understandable make less than RNs, but just like RNs, how much an LPN makes can vary depending on their state, the area of work, demand for skills, and possibly their experience level.
According to the bls.gov website, the average annual salary for an LPN is at $42,400, which can be broken down to $3,533 per month, $815 a week, and at about $20.30 per hour. These numbers are actually very comparable to the national average wage, with some LPNs making a lot more in states like Nevada, Connecticut, and Alaska. So where are the LPNs who are making the most working? What industries are they at? What states are they practicing in?
- LPNs usually start at about $18 an hour, with wages hiking up typically not by experience level but rather the industry the LPN is employed at.
- LPNs working in the Metropolitan areas of California make the most a year, ranging from $57,000 to $68,000.
- The highest paid LPNs in non-metropolitan areas of Alaska, California, Connecticut, and Maryland make around $51,000 to $55,000 a year. That’s more than the lowest paid RNs!
- LPNs working with insurance carriers are the best paid in their field, making an average of $23.29 an hour or an average annual salary of $48,450.
- LPNs working at Alabama, South Dakota, and West Virginia make the least, at only about $35,000 a year.
- Texas employs the largest number of LPNs, followed by California, New York, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
***the data on nursing salaries includes both Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs). New LVN and LPN salary data is available and updated at payscale.com.
Care to find out how you can win the best nursing jobs? Know how to answer nurse interview questions with ease including how to bring up asking “how much do nurses make?” tactfully. Check out the other Nurse Fuel career articles!
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