Congratulations on choosing a nursing career. You have picked an occupation that not only is in high demand but one that also makes an excellent salary. Nursing is, in fact, one of the few occupations in which a mere one- to two- years of education will yield a fairly high standard of living. Read on for some interesting facts about nursing salaries—and what YOU can do to earn the higher salaries.
Determining Nursing Salaries
Although all nurses, as a group, make excellent salaries, their individual salaries vary depending upon four factors:
- Level of nursing degree or education
- Years of nursing experience
- Geographical area
- Type of Specialty
Level of Nursing Degree or Education
The type of nursing education that you receive will figure prominently in your nursing salary. The typical educational paths for registered nurses, for instance, include either an associate degree in nursing (which takes two-years to complete) or a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (which takes four-years to complete). In general, the higher your degree level—in this case, a bachelor’s degree—the higher will be your salary.
The educational path needed to become a licensed practical nurse, conversely, is the completion of a one-year practical nursing program. Consequently, the salary of a licensed practical nurse is lower than that of a registered nurse.
Years of Nursing Experience
As with any job, the more experience you have in nursing, the higher the rate of pay you will command. According to the US Department of Labor, the breakdown of percentile wages for LPN/LVNs are:
Bottom 10%: $29,680/annually
Median Salary: $40,380
Top 10%: $56,010
The geographical area of your workplace is another significant indicator of pay rate. In general, the higher the cost of living for an area, the higher your pay rate will be—and this pay rate can vary greatly.
For instance, the median hourly pay rate for LPN/LVN nurses in California is $24.27 while the pay rate of LPN/LVN nurses in Louisiana is $18.19. As you can see, location can make a big difference in your pocketbook.
All Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.
Type of Specialty
Nurses that specialize in particular areas can expect to earn more than their non-specializing counterparts—a LOT more. Some of the nursing specialties that you can pursue in this occupation include forensic nursing, pediatric nursing, and surgical nursing, but the list of nursing specialties is almost endless.
There are some nursing specialties, however, that pay more than do others. Some of the most popular nursing specialties:
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Researcher
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
- Certified Nurse Midwife
- Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse
- Orthopedic Nurse
- Nurse Practitioner
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Gerontological Nurse Practitioners
- Neonatal Nurse
But regardless of specialty, nurses earn excellent salaries and they earn it while helping other people. What could be better?
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