Salary

How Much do Nurses Make in 2023?

How much money do nurses make? The median annual salary for nurses in the United States is $81,220 per year or $39.05 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, that figure ranges across nurses with different degrees, experience, specialties, locations, and several other factors.

To better understand how these factors may impact your individual nursing salary, we asked the Nurse.org community to weigh in. 3,000 U.S. nurses answered our salary survey, sharing where they are in their nursing careers, how much they make, and a number of factors that contribute to what they earn.

The city and state where you work are some of the biggest factors that impact your nursing income. The cost of living in certain areas often affects nursing salaries, and some states pay considerably less than others. For example, the average nurse salary in California may be much higher than in Nebraska across all specialty areas.

Use this table to compare nursing salaries in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico:

State CNA Salary RN Salary NP Salary CNM Salary CRNA Salary
Alabama $28,080     $63,090     $101,150     N/A     $177,400
Alaska     $42,310     $102,260     $128,870     $116,950     N/A
Arizona     $37,240     $82,330     $120,480     $109,380     $197,360
Arkansas     $29,190     $64,130     $102,880     N/A     N/A
California     $40,040     $132,660     $157,160     $177,800     $235,120
Colorado     $37,470     $82,430     $118,590     $107,380     $184,460
Connecticut     $36,680     $95,210     $130,090     $118,730     $217,760
Delaware     $37,140     $82,230     $122,530     $111,860     $224,430
District of Columbia     $40,730     $98,970     $125,370     $84,480     N/A
Florida     $32,250     $77,710     $107,600     $105,930     $165,770
Georgia     $29,850     $79,440     $112,090     $121,370     $178,950
Hawaii     $37,250     $120,100     $135,760     $165,480     N/A
Idaho    $35,500     $77,940     $116,710     $52,160     $178,040
Illinois     $36,640     $78,980     $124,840     $125,670     $230,410
Indiana     $34,200     $73,290     $119,160     $111,540     $202,550
Iowa     $34,690     $65,000     $123,460     $112,420     $208,140
Kansas     $31,880     $66,460     $108,350     N/A     $166,590
Kentucky     $32,280     $75,800     $104,630     N/A N/A
Louisiana     $27,860     $73,180     $115,620     $121,530     $183,780
Maine     $36,670     $77,340     $112,210     $120,200     $207,620
Maryland     $36,290     $83,850     $117,540     $123,060     $202,310
Massachusetts     $39,170     $98,520     $133,030     $136,180     $214,240
Michigan     $36,130     $79,180     $109,250     $121,100     $195,840
Minnesota     $38,690     $84,060     $128,020     $115,210     $222,400
Mississippi     $27,430     $63,330     $108,920     N/A     $180,450
Missouri     $31,480     $71,460     $106,640     $112,180     $181,140
Montana     $35,540     $76,550     $127,350     N/A     $216,910
Nebraska     $35,470     $74,990     $115,920     N/A     $216,150
Nevada     $38,540     $94,930     $130,050 N/A N/A
New Hampshire     $38,770     $80,550     $125,450     $110,450     $212,710
New Jersey     $37,980     $98,090     $136,480     $126,740     $208,330
New Mexico     $31,510     $81,990     $125,190     $116,250     $207,310
New York     $44,080     $100,370     N/A     $127,360     $226,340
North Carolina     $31,850     $76,430     $111,140     $119,020     $206,750
North Dakota     $37,490     $69,640     $107,680     N/A     $227,010
Ohio     $34,990     $76,810     $113,040     $130,270     $178,500
Oklahoma     $29,840     $74,520     $121,010     N/A     $179,900
Oregon     $41,360     $106,680     $132,230     $133,470     $218,370
Pennsylvania     $36,340     $78,740     $116,980     $118,640     $190,510
Puerto Rico     $18,760     $35,280     N/A     N/A     $62,530
Rhode Island     $36,830     $85,960     $121,310     $127,390     N/A
South Carolina     $31,040     $75,610     $103,950     $96,730     $192,080
South Dakota     $30,890     $62,920     $108,250     N/A     $197,970
Tennessee     $30,540     $65,800     $103,080     $93,600     $177,340
Texas     $30,860     $79,830     $121,270     $105,360     $222,580
Utah     $33,200     $77,240     $112,490    N/A N/A
Vermont     $37,110     $77,230     $115,940     N/A     $205,150
Virginia     $32,620     $79,700     $110,860     $97,390     $181,690
Washington     $40,760     $101,230     $134,200     $134,770     $214,800
West Virginia     $31,320     $74,160     $104,290     $179,860     $214,360
Wisconsin     $36,780     $79,750     $120,700     $117,310     $226,580
Wyoming     $34,630     $77,730     $112,770     N/A     $230,420
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Source: May 2022 BLS National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Median Nurse Salary by State

>> Click to See the Highest Paying Jobs for Nurses in 2023
 

The biggest factor that impacts how much you’ll make as a nurse is your career type. Entry-level roles like certified nursing assistants (CNAs) will earn a lot less than advanced practice roles like nurse practitioners (NPs) and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs).

Use this table to compare median salaries from the most common nursing careers:

Nursing Career

Median Annual Salary

Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) $35,760
Licensed Practical Nurse/ Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN) $54,620 
Registered Nurse (RN) $81,220 
Nurse Practitioner (NP) $121,610
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) $121,610
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) $203,090
Nursing Instructors $78,580

Source: May 2022 BLS National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

Certified registered Nurse Anesthetists earn the most out of all nursing specialties. However, there are several other nursing careers you can pursue to rake in some more money. Some of the highest-paying nursing jobs include the following:

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $203,090
  2. Certified Nurse Midwife – $121,610
  3. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – $142,249
  4. General Nurse Practitioner – $121,610
  5. Clinical Nurse Specialist – $87,359

Average registered nurse salary by percentile

Earning higher degrees and certifications may help increase your nursing salary. In this section, we’ll discuss how different education levels impact nurses’ incomes.

ADN vs BSN Salary

While the BLS doesn’t differentiate between nurses who’ve earned an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) versus those who’ve earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), what degree you have DOES impact how much you can make.

ADN vs BSN Nurse Salary

Amongst the ADN- and BSN-prepared nurses we polled, we found that BSN nurses were earning, on average, $3.89 more per hour than ADNs!³

Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) Salary

Nurses with a master’s degree have an opportunity to earn significantly more money in their careers. Across the MSN nurses we polled, the average hourly pay was $52.61, and the average annual salary was $131,309.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for masters-educated nurses is $125,900 per year or $60.53 per hour.  

MSN Nurse Salary

DNP and Ph.D. in Nursing Salaries

Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNPs) and Doctors of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in nursing have the highest level of nursing education. Therefore, they also have some of the highest salaries among nursing professionals. DNP nurses earn an average annual base salary of $112,000, according to Payscale.

Nurses across the board start their careers with a lower-paying salary than experienced RNs. Our poll found that the average hourly starting wage for nurses was $29.04.

As novice nurses gain on-the-job experience, they will earn higher salaries. Hourly pay increased by years of experience in all the nurses we surveyed, with the average salary for a nurse with 20+ years on the job coming in at $41.14 — $12.10 more per hour than a nurse at the start of their career!4

>> Related: Nurse Starting Salary Guide

Nurse Salary by Years of Experience

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 12.1% of registered nurses are men, a considerable increase from 2.7% in the 1970s.

Even though nursing is still a female-dominated profession, there is evidence that male nurses are earning more than female nurses for the same work – even when controlling for differences in career trajectory and on-the-job experience. 

One study from the University of California San Francisco found that male nurses were earning about $5,000 a year more than their female counterparts in the same job. 

Our own study confirmed this finding, with male nurses who responded to our survey reporting earning an average of $2.73 per hour more than their female counterparts.5

Male nurse vs female nurse salary

As a nurse, your hours aren’t always cut and dry. In addition to full-time and part-time options, nurses can also work per diem or on contracts. 

  • Per Diem Nursing: Per diem literally means “by the day,” and it describes a style of on-call nursing. Per diem nurses get to pick their schedules and don’t have to meet minimum shift requirements.
  • Contract Nursing: Contract nurses work a set amount of hours for the duration of their contract with a hospital or facility. This guarantees the stability of full-time hours and benefits, but you may have to work weekends or holidays.
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4.5% of nurses in our poll worked per diem hours, while 3.6% worked on contracts.6

Chart of how nurses work

RN salaries also vary based on your specialty. According to the nurses we polled, the highest-paying specialty was the OR, where nurses earned, on average, $51.47 per hour. The next two highest-paying were Endoscopy at $43.68 hourly and ICU at $43.15 hourly.7

Nurse salary by specialty

Nurses get paid either an hourly rate or an annual salary. Our survey found that most nurses are being paid hourly.¹

Chart of how nurses are paid

What Kinds of Nurses Get Paid Hourly?

In general, nurses who work in direct patient care areas are paid an hourly wage. This includes ADN, BSN, MSN, NP, and DNP nurses.

For example, if a patient care RN earns an hourly wage of $50 an hour and works 12-hour shifts, they will make $50 x 12 = $600 per shift.  

What Kinds of Nurses Get Paid a Salary?

Nurses in administrative roles tend to receive a salary. Salary means their employer pays them a pre-arranged, fixed amount of money.

For example, if an RN makes a salary of $80,000 per year to work as a Unit Director for an Intensive Care Unit, they can divide their total yearly salary by 12 months to figure out how much money they can expect to receive each month (which comes out to $6,666 per month).

In these circumstances, the total number of hours worked is not the most important factor. However, the expectation is still that they are putting in full-time hours in the workplace.

In addition to a salary, some RN hospital administrators are often also incentivized with end-of-year bonuses in addition to their salaries.    

Show Me Nursing Programs

For nurses, the base salary is just the beginning. 96% of nurses responded that they earned some form of additional compensation.² This can be achieved in a number of ways, including overtime, shift differentials, stipends for associated nursing expenses, or bonuses.

Chart of nurse salary additional compensation

Overtime

The most common form of additional compensation is overtime, with 34% of the nurses we polled reporting that they receive it. 

What is Overtime Pay?

Overtime pay refers to hours that are worked by a nurse that exceed their normal weekly scheduled working hours. Full-time for nurses is usually 36-40 hours per week. Anything over that is “overtime.”

How Much is Overtime Pay for Nurses?

Most institutions will offer time-and-a-half or double-time pay for overtime or holiday hours. So a nurse making $50 would make $75 or $100 an hour for each overtime hour worked.  

That is also one of the reasons that some nurses want to work on holidays such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. They have an opportunity to increase their paychecks by working the same amount of hours as they usually would.  

Shift Differentials

Getting paid more for shift differentials is also common. 24% of the nurses we talked to said they got additional money for this.

What is a Shift Differential?

A shift differential is additional per-hour compensation for nurses who work shifts considered to be less desirable, such as mid-shifts, graveyard shifts, or weekend shifts. 

A shift differential can also help encourage nurses to work these shifts and ensure adequate staffing. In many cases, nurses will work a certain number of weekend or night shifts anyway. Still, the shift differential helps nurses feel more appreciated for working hours that they wouldn’t have chosen to work themselves. It can also help with nurse retention in some cases.

How Much is a Shift Differential?

A shift differential may be anywhere from $2 to $8 per hour, which can add to a significant increase in pay at the end of a shift. 

Some nurses who have worked the night shift for many years are hesitant to move into day shifts because they do not want the pay cut that they would take by switching to non-differential day shift hours.

Bonuses

Bonuses were less common, with 11% of nurses reporting that they receive bonuses.

What are Bonuses?

Bonuses can be earned at the end of the year or for other reasons such as accreditation, retention, picked-up shifts, specialties, performance, and even COVID-19. 

In some cases, administrative RNs are incentivized through end-of-year bonuses to find ways to save the hospital money by switching to less expensive products, lowering hospital infection rates, increasing patient satisfaction scores, or improving patient outcomes in some way. 

Each institution sets its bonuses differently depending on what financial and patient care goals they are striving to reach.

See also  X-Ray and Radiation Safety for Nurses

Show Me Nursing Programs

Many nurses wonder about whether or not they should be negotiating their salary, and it’s especially hard for new nurses to know how to navigate this. That’s why we asked our community of nurses to weigh in. Here’s what you had to say:

1. ALWAYS Negotiate

@wholelifenurse

“1. Understand the answer is always no if you don’t ask. 

2. Recruiters will always tell you they go by a grid or pay scale, and they can’t negotiate (lies – everything is negotiable). If you can present value that you bring to the table that benefits them, ESPECIALLY value and evidence that you can save them money, you have leverage for what you want. 

3. Know the market 

4. Having other offers on the table from local hospitals can get you the number you need. 

5. Have a folder of “evidence” -remember, in a negotiation, you’re a lawyer trying to win your case – prove you’re worth the number you’re asking for.

 6. You can negotiate more than just pay….so yes, you can negotiate at a union (also, all unions are treated differently). 

7. Realize that you are working alongside people with the same experience who are making more money than you hourly simply because they asked… ALWAYS negotiate! ❤️ “

2. Be Prepared to Walk Away

@jhessc

“Be mentally prepared to quit if need be… I negotiated for a raise after I won a state safety award (from a nomination from our medical director), did charge, tech, precept, pick up shifts, etc. I hadn’t gotten a decent raise for 5 years. They said no. So I quit and got a job that paid me my worth. 🤷🏾‍♀️”

3. Know Your Worth

@nurse_haskins

“1. ALWAYS be ready to NEGOTIATE your WORTH’ meaning “WHY YOU ARE WORTH MORE,” whether it’s your credentials, years of experience, contributions to the organization ( past/resume), skillset, certifications, etc……

2. ALWAYS be READY to SHOWCASE who you are❤️ YES, you can brag on YOURSELF 💛 you’ve worked hard, and you should be proud, explaining professionally; Why THEY need YOU and what you have to bring to the table!!”

4. They Expect You to Negotiate 

@danawarner00

“First, management / HR is trained and taught to do interview questions, and one of the questions that they are always told to be prepared to answer is negotiating pay raise. They should always be aware that anyone doing an interview can ask for it, and when someone asks, they just need to hear a good reason as to why they need it. That’s it. They should say yes if they hear a good reason or that you bring something to the table (experience, degree, certification, etc). You can always tell them your worth, and that if you were to work there, you would not be happy with the pay, you could leave … so you need the initiative to stay for a while and your worth is high due to experience, degree, etc.” 

5. Don’t Give Up!

@Nurseboss721

“mention your worth, work ethics, and previous offers from other employers. Continue to negotiate until you get what you are worth. It works for me, and I’m always ready to negotiate with anyone👊🏾”

Nurse salaries vary based on a lot of different factors, but there are a ton of ways to make more money as a nurse. As long as you are willing to work hard and learn, you’ll be able to find ways to keep increasing your salary year after year.

Are you curious about what other healthcare professions pay? Check out these salary guides:

1 How are Nurses Paid? 533 answered, “I’m paid an annual salary.” 2278 answered, “I’m paid hourly.”

2 407 of 422 nurses responded yes to the question, “Do you earn any additional compensation? Overtime, bonuses, etc.? 143 said they receive overtime pay, 103 said they receive shift differential pay, 48 said they receive bonuses, 16 said they receive compensation for nursing expenses, and 15 said they receive no additional compensation. Across 436 ADNs polled, their average hourly pay was $37.09. Across 572 BSNs polled, their average hourly pay was $39.33.

3 Across 121 MSNs polled, their average hourly pay was $52.61, and their average annual salary was $131,309. Across 64 diploma RNs, the average pay was $37.53 per hour. 

4 Salaries were based on 1653 respondents who gave their years of experience.

5 Salaries were based on 1306 female respondents and 162 male respondents.

6 2,812 nurses responded to the question, “Do you work full-time, part-time, per diem, or contract?” 

7 Salaries were based on 1,020 nurses who gave their specialty and salary earned.



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