Registered nurses make up the largest group of health-care workers in the medical industry. Due to the fact that there is such a broad nursing job description, nurses are needed in every aspect of hospitals, physician offices, the military, outpatient health centers and minor emergency centers as well. A nursing career is a career in high demand, and those with the skills needed will likely find themselves in a lifelong career. With many areas in which to specialize in, a career as a registered nurse will never fail to keep you on your toes and will provide a respectable salary while doing it.
Registered Nurse Salary
The median annual registered nurse salary, not starting pay, based on a 40 hour work week the median pay is just over $50,000 per year. The upper end of the middle 50% of registered nurses in 2008 was close to $75,000 per year while the low end was closer to $44,000 per year. A small percentage of registered nurses earn more than $92,000 annually.
Economy and location location are too heavy variables that should be considered when averaging out annual registered nurse salaries. The cost of living in each state as well as that state’s economy will either raise the average salary or lower the average salary. Some states that have shown to have a higher registered nurse salary are: Delaware, California, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. Each of these states showed on average that their registered nurse salaries were higher than $50,000 per year. Broken down into hourly pay, $50,000 per year is about $24 per hour.
Some states that showed the lowest average registered nurse salary are: Oklahoma, Wyoming, Mississippi, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa and Indiana. The states listed an average nursing assistant salary of under $45,000 per year. The remaining states listed annual registered nurse salaries between $45,000 and $50,000 per year. These are just median, average nursing salaries and do not take into consideration the upper 10% or the lower 10% who generally are extreme cases.
Place of employment also has a big say in the average registered nurse salary. Most nurses are employed at general medical and surgical hospitals. Nurses reporting an annual salary through hospitals were seen to be on average of $63,000 per year. Next in line on the pay scale for job locations is that of doctors and physician offices. Nurses working in these locations had an average annual salary of $59,000 per year. Nurses working through home health care services showed an annual salary around $58,500 per year, while nursing care facilities showed an annual salary of about $57,000 per year.
Experience level is another factor that plays a large role in the annual RN salary. One can expect a lower starting base salary, but in the nursing field can expect salary increases fairly quickly. Many nurses have seen increases in salary between $8,000 and $10,000 in just three years from the time they start as a RN.
There are many other variables that come into play when considering a nurses salary because of the fact that there are so many directions the nursing career to go in. Things like the size of the hospital which include the amount of beds that a hospital has will effect a nurses salary. Area of expertise or a nurses speciality will also effect how much a nurse can expect to earn annually or hourly. Some areas of specialty include critical care, operating room, medicine and surgery and emergency rooms.
Registered Nurse Training
With a high school diploma you can earn an associate’s degree through community colleges, vocational and technical schools in as little as two years. You can earn a diploma through three-year programs that are offered by independent schools or hospitals, which are getting harder to find, or you can earn a bachelor of science in nursing degrees in 4 to 5 years.
All states require licensing, and if you have completed an approved course through an accredited nursing program, then you are eligible to take a state administered licensing program. To become a qualified registered nurse you would need to complete a bachelor’s of science in nursing degrees. It is possible to begin to practice as a registered nurse with just an Associates degree or a hospital issued diploma, however if you are seeking to perform at the case manager or supervisory level, this is when a bachelor of science in nursing degree is required. If you wish to become an advanced practice nurse to practice things such as nurse and anesthetics, nurse midwives or nurse practitioners it is required that you have a masters degree which can be earned through accelerated nursing programs.
Because nursing covers such a wide area in the medical field there are certain knowledge requirements that you must meet to become a registered nurse. These knowledge requirements are: medicine and dentistry, psychology, customer and personal service, biology, therapy and counseling, mathematics, education and training and sociology and anthropology.