Registered Nurse Salary vs Nurse Practitioner Salary

If nurse is your dream job, you may be curious about the the salary you can get. From a research in the United State in 2010 of bls.gov, a nurse can get an average income of $64,690 per year or  $31.10 per hour . Although there are different kinds of nursing job on the world, there are the same two main career level of nurse which we can see the much different in salary, they are:  registered nurse salary, and nurse practitioner salary.

I. The Breakdown of a Registered Nurse Salary: What Kind of Pay can You Expect as a Registered Nurse?

The nursing profession is one of the most stable and growing careers in the world today. A few years ago, there was talk of a nursing shortage that was severely impacting the level of care available in the world’s hospitals and doctor’s offices. This is because the role of nurses in any medical institution is so critical and will continue to be critical for as long as people require medical care. The nursing profession continues to experience incredible growth potential. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for registered nurses is expected to increase 26% between 2010 and 2020. To be more specific, the nursing profession is slated to add over 700,000 more job between now and 2020. That means there is a plenty of opportunity for you to enter this profession with a desirable starting salary.

registered nurse

registered nurse

So, what happens when there is a high demand for such an important job within the workforce? Salaries for these positions begin to increase in order to attract people into the profession. If you are unsure about which career path you want to pursue, or if you are strongly considering a career change, becoming a registered nurse one option to consider. You will enjoy job security, growth, and a competitive salary as well. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a figure representing the average salary of registered nurses, which came in at $64,690, or $31.10 per hour. At the higher end of this spectrum, registered nurses were making upwards of $95,000 per year. While the lower end of the spectrum showed salary levels around $44,000.

Registered Nurse Salary and related factors

 

What are the major differences between a registered nurse earning $95,000 a year versus a registered nurse earning $45,000 a year? After all, these nurses probably have similar education levels and skill levels, so what is the primary factor in the wide pay scale? Typically, registered nurses working in more specialized industries within the nursing profession will earn more. Also, registered nurses who work in or close to a major metropolitan area will come in on the higher end of the pay scale. This is true for almost any profession and the registered nursing career path tends to closely follow this trend.

Compared to other industries within the medical profession, registered nurses fall in the middle of the scale in terms of annual salary amount for similar positions. Registered nurses tend to make slightly less than physical therapists or occupational therapists, but bring home much more each year compared to medical assistants and paramedics. Registered nurses are responsible for providing triage care and other types of ongoing care within a hospital or doctor’s office setting. Registered nurses are also relied upon to counsel family members of patients in their care in addition to providing education to patients and the general public about important health issues.

The career of registered nurse is one of the most respected in the entire medical profession. If it were not for the work performed by registered nurses on a daily basis, hospitals and doctor’s offices certainly would not be able to sustain themselves. The value perception associated with registered nurses is reflected in the average annual salary for the profession.

It is no surprise that the top five cities for registered nurses to work in are all located in California. San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Salinas, and Napa all came in at well above the average national salary for nurses. California has a large population, which means the demand for nursing care is much higher. California also contains a high aging population, which is another reason why registered nurses are in high demand in these areas.

When considering this list, you have to keep in mind that the average cost of living in California is also much higher than average. So while you have the potential to make over $100,000 as a registered nurse working in California, you have to factor in the higher housing, transportation, and general living costs that could end up bringing your net income way down. You need to make more as a registered nurse living in California in order to afford the lifestyle, but this higher salary might not always be represented in your actual take home pay.

Considering all of the varying factors that go in to determining a registered nurse salary, you must really think about how the choices you make as a registered nurse will impact your salary. One of the very first decisions you will be faced with is what type of nursing education you want to pursue. Aspiring registered nurses can choose one of three educational paths: a bachelor’s degree from a four year accredited institution, an associate’s degree, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Regardless of which of these paths you opt for, all registered nurses must pass a certification test in order to earn their RN license.

The type of education you choose can definitely impact your starting salary and the type of medical institution you work in, but the most important aspect of the nursing education is obtaining your license. If you fail to do that, you cannot practice nursing at all and all the hard work you put into your nursing education will be wasted and all you will be left with is a large amount of debt.

The nursing career is a noble profession with a rich history, and based on job outlook forecasts it a profession that is going to continue to play an important role in the medical field. Aside from being a highly respected position, registered nurses will enjoy a very competitive salary range that spans anywhere between $45,000 and $95,000, and can potentially exceed that depending on the setting and the location.

While a registered nurse salary is on the higher end of the spectrum, nurses are expected to work very demanding hours often including many overnight shifts. This type of demanding schedule can be difficult for some people to adjust to, but if you want to earn a high registered nurse salary, you have to be willing to put in the effort.

II. Nurse Practitioner Salary

nurse practitioner

nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioner is the advanced level of registered nurse which requires at least 2 years experience and the higher level of education like master of doctor of nursing degrees. Since this is the highest level of nursing career, the nurse practitioner salary is also the highest. Similar to registered nurse salary, the nurse practitioner salary is also  depended on the years experience and location. However, because a registered nurse need at least 2 years experience to become a nurse practitioner, the starter salary of nurse practitioners is much higher.

1. Nurse Practitioner Salary by years experience

 

According to Payscale, the lowest average salary for a nurse practitioner is $57,084, whereas the highest average salary is $115,707, based on the years experience. Although the incrementation of salary based on years experience is not as much as registered nurse salary. But the starting salary for this job is attractive as well as the very high salary $115,707 for 20 years+ experience.

2. Nurse Practitioner Salary by Certification

 

Master’s degree is the minimum requirement to practice in this job . Nurse practitioners with a master’s degree alone earn an average salary between $70,273 and $90,806, but certification in a specialty can be a factor in earnings. For example, nurse practitioners with an Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification earn salaries between $65.889 and $99,912 while those with an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) earn salaries between $67,337 and $103,338 as of 2012, according to PayScale.

3. Nurse Practitioner Salary by Location

 

Base on the location, California is recorded as a state with the highest salary for a nurse practitioner with $112,284 annually, when North California is the lowest salary state with only $97,406.

Here is the top 5 states with the highest payment for nurse practitioner salary: California $112,284, Massachusetts $112,132, New York $109,776, Pennsylvania $101,107 and North Carolina $97,406

 
nurse practitioner salary by states

Nurse Practitioner Salary by Location (Source: Payscale Inc)

According to this report, becoming a nurse practitioner can be a wise investment in term of salary incrementation. Although it will require more hard-work and effort, and tuition fees, but if it can be done, it will be the big step in your nursing career.

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