Nursing is a career path for some, but for others, it is a calling. The desire to help other people and have a positive impact on their lives is the number one reason most nurses pursue the profession. Nursing is among the most rewarding careers, both personally and professionally. Not only does nursing allow for personal fulfillment, but it also provides an excellent opportunity for advancement in the field. But how much does a registered nurse make? Is the job outlook favorable for this profession in the future?
What’s an RN Salary?
According to the BLS, as of May 2019, the average median pay for an RN is $73,300. RNs working for government-run healthcare facilities earned the highest wages at $79,790 per year. Nurses working with educational services and those in state, local, and private hospitals earned the lowest annual wages at $63,690.
Demand is a driving factor in how much RNs make. The current shortage of nurses in the field, including RNs, is a contributing factor allowing RNs to earn bigger salaries.
A typical RN salary will vary by state. California currently is the best-paying state for RNs, with nurses earning $106,950 per year on average. Hawaii follows at a close second with $98,080. States paying the lowest RN wages include Kentucky ($63,100), Alabama ($59,470), and South Dakota ($58,340).
RNs are in demand for the foreseeable future
Registered nurses are one of the most in-demand occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The need for RNs is expected to increase by 7 percent between now and 2029. That is faster than the average projected growth for any other occupation.
There are several reasons why RNs are sought after. An aging population that is living longer thanks to advancements in healthcare tops the list; a continuum of care from medical professionals like nurses and doctors is necessary for maintaining this new standard of healthcare; and a current nursing shortage are the primary reasons the profession is booming. The average age of an RN in the workforce today is 50. As these nurses head into retirement, new RNs will need to take their place.
Highest paying RN jobs
Some RN jobs pay more than others. How much an RN makes depends on their specialty and location. Among the highest-paying RN positions:
· Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $174,790 – these highly-skilled nurses prepare and administer anesthesia to patients.
· Oncology Registered Nurse – $85,560 – specializing in the treatment and care of patients with cancer, Oncology RNs work in cancer centers and major hospitals.
· Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse – $85,000 – these RNs care for premature babies, the smallest and most fragile of patients.
How much does an RN make in each state? Use this salary comparison tool to find out.