Nursing Salaries

Nursing salaries in the United States depend largely on the states where hospitals and clinics have flourished. The Advance Salary Survey 2008 found that nursing salaries in Delaware ($61,679) and California ($71,474) earned the most among RNs and LPNs. By contrast, this survey of nurses nationwide found that RNs and LPNs in Tennessee ($43,820) and Maine ($46,127) earned the lowest salaries. The national average for nursing salaries in the United States in 2007-2008 was $56,785 according to the Advance Salary Survey 2008.

This national average does not indicate the varied salaries given to professionals at various levels of certification.Clinical nurse specialists were paid $74,857 in 2007-2008 because of their advanced degrees as well as heightened responsibilities given by their employers. A board-certified nurse practitioner earned an average of $62,939 with higher salaries available for multiple state board certifications. The typical registered nurse (RN) in 2007-2008 earned $62,381 because of the dearth of talented RNs compared to vacancies at hospitals nationwide.

The high demand for nurses throughout the United States has contributed to higher salaries coast to coast. PharmacyChoice found that 75% of nurses responding to their July 2008 survey had received raises within the past year. These raises were limited to 1% to 3% increases over 2007 pay among these respondents, demonstrating the financial strains placed on healthcare providers. The variations in nursing salary increases from 2007 to 2008 can be attributed to general economic problems, changes in hospital budgets toward high-tech procedures, and the lack of nurses with advanced credentials.

Even as hospitals try to moderate nursing salaries, administrators are trying to recruit nurses worldwide to fill plentiful vacancies. Allied Physicians found that there were nearly 2. 2 million RN jobs in the United States, with thousands of jobs open from Maine to California. This astounding figure compares to 238,000 pharmacists and 688,000 physicians in the United States, showing the need for RNs in hospitals of all sizes. As nurses enter the workforce, they should look at advanced education as well as hospital size to boost their job prospects.

Nursing salaries vary greatly between Bachelors, Masters, and PhD holders working in the United States. According to Allied Physicians, the salary range based on degree ranges from $45,500 for Bachelors degree holders to $72,000 for doctorate holders. The upper range of nursing hourly wages in the United States in 2008 was $35.10 with thousands of nurses falling below this rate in areas with lower population. Allied Physicians also found that experience counts in terms of nursing salaries with entry-level nurses earning $57,000 in their first year, while nurses with three years of experience or more can earn upwards of $62,000.

A final metric for determining nursing salaries is looking at the number of beds within employing hospitals. The hourly rate for a registered nurse working in a hospital with less than 100 beds was $17.65 in 2008. This rate increased to $21.00 per hour for RNs working in major metro hospitals with more than 500 beds. If you are interested in a career in nursing, you should keep these factors in mind before committing time and money to this high-demand profession.

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