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Average & Starting Nurse Salary for Registered Nurses (RN's)

Nursing Industry Trends and their Impact on the Starting and Average Nursing Salary 

Registered Nurses (RNs) have a promising outlook for growth and advancement in the nursing industry. Despite nursing being the single largest profession in the health care industry today with 2.6 million RNs alone, demand for nurses continues to grow as new specialties and roles evolve in the application of modern medicine through an increasingly complex health care system. 

With these new roles, many nurses are pushed to differentiate themselves from their colleagues with additional advanced degrees and certifications.  

The most pressing case for attaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN), and even Master’s and other advanced nursing degrees, is the recent well-publicized “Future of Nursing” report by the Institute of Medicine. This significant study outlined the benefits of increasing the education requirements for practicing nurses, most notably that nurses holding baccalaureate degrees outperform their RN counterparts, prompting legislative bills in New Jersey and New York state that require all RNs to acquire a BSN within 10 years of receiving RN certification. The call for BSN in 10 is growing across the health care industry. 

While this mandate may seem both daunting and alarming to RNs across the country, nurses should embrace these industry changes, as higher education directly correlates to increased earnings (see below), leadership roles and job security. The demand for nurses with advanced certificates and degrees is growing, but the diversity of nursing employers outside of hospitals will keep this strong demand healthy. 

Impact of Advanced Degrees on Nurses' Salary

2013 Median Nurse Salary by Years Experience - Degree: Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BSN) (United States)
Median Salary by Years Experience - Degree: Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BSN) (United States) 

 

As the chart above indicates, the level of education a nurse attains directly corresponds to a higher salary and greater responsibility. Nurses seeking salary increases, more recognition, and more specialized work, often turn to online RN to BSN programs to achieve advanced career goals. By giving nurses a diverse education on various topics relevant to nursing, the RN to BSN program opens the possibility for advancement or specialization, which ultimately leads to increases in RN salaries.  The main advantage is that the online nursing program allows for remote studying so nurses do not have to give up their current occupations. 

RN’s with a BSN earn salary increases and work in a wide variety of positions including: 

  • Head nurses 
  • Department chiefs 
  • Administrative manager 
  • Nurse anesthetist 
  • Clinical nurse manager 
  • Nurse practitioner 

Registered Nurse Salary Increases through RN to BSN Degrees

Obtaining an RN to BSN degree is one of the most practical steps toward upward mobility and increases in salary within the nursing field. For most employers, proving that a nurse can complete a rigorous program such as an RN to BSN not only proves that he or she is capable of learning valuable industry information and keeping up with new practices, but also indicates that the candidate is able to sustain a substantial workload simultaneously. This is reassurance for many health care providers that a nurse is capable of higher level managerial positions, or other more specialized aspects of the nursing field.  

When evaluating the factors that have the greatest impact on nurse salaries, we found the following were most influential: 

  • Geography  
  • Experience  
  • Education  
  • Title  

It’s apparent that employers reward nurses with salary increases when they obtain additional training/education because demand for highly-trained and specialized nurses is higher. 


2013 Median Nurse Salary by City - Degree: Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BSN) (United States) 

Median Nurse Salary By City 
© 2013 Payscale, Inc. @ www.payscale.com 

Online Nursing Degrees at Drexel University Online

The Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions is recognized for its roots that date back over 130 years from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and the Hahnemann Hospital Training School for Nurses from which it was initially formed. This longstanding relationship with the health care industry distinguishes Drexel as a leader in the field of nursing education. 

While Drexel University has long offered Bachelor's degrees and Master's degrees in nursing and our online program was amongst the first of its kind. In 1997, the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions assumed a position at the forefront of the nursing education industry, offering a variety of degrees in nursing at both the Bachelor’s and Master’s-level degrees through their e-Learning program.  According to U.S.News & World Report, Drexel University is among the 10 largest online graduate nursing programs offered in the nation, with more than 1,500 students enrolled per year. 

The online nursing degree program offered at the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions was developed with the working professional in mind. By making accommodations for the busy schedule of an RN to BSN student by allowing them to study remotely at their own pace and maintain their current positions in the health care industry. This all helps to further enrich the learning experience gained through Drexel, while permitting the students to retain existing professional relationships. 

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