Do Nurses Make Good Money? | Salary and Benefits Overview

In many parts of the United States, registered nurses make good money and have an excellent quality of life.

Still, a nurse’s salary varies significantly depending on education, employer, specialization, experience, and special agreements.

I’ll discuss the average salary for registered nurses and nurse practitioners in the United States.

However, I’ll focus on registered nurses due to their enormous ratio in healthcare compared to other specializations.

Average Registered Nurse Salary in the U.S.

Nursing comprises the largest population of healthcare professionals in the United States.

Based on BLS statistics, registered nurses inhabit around 3 million jobs, with all domains driving about 4 million careers.

In addition, women occupy approximately 80% of the healthcare workforce, according to the CDC.

In terms of salary, the median wage for registered nurses in the United States is $77,600 yearly.

At the lower 10%, registered nurses earn roughly $59,450, while at the upper 10%, they earn about $120,250 annually.

Registered nurses can quickly increase their income by working overtime/double time, enabling them to earn much more.

Some registered nurses earn 100k – 300k working overtime, choosing high-paying specializations,  operating in high-paying states, and taking special assignments.

Occasionally, registered nurses achieve more than 500k with enough effort and under the right circumstances.

Average Nurse Practitioner Salary in the U.S.

According to Salary.com, nurse practitioners earn a median salary of $120,575 annually in the U.S.

The salary range varies considerably from $103,968 for the lower 10% earners to $140,469 for the top 10%.

However, some nurse practitioners can make more than 200k annually through the right employer.

In addition, those who operate offices/clinics independently in full-practice states can earn much more!

A nurse practitioner’s salary is impacted by their location, employer, years of experience, and specialization.

As a result, they must consider these factors to earn the most money.

Registered nurses must take additional education and clinical work to obtain their MSN and become nurse practitioners.

Operating in this profession can take another 2 – 4 years of study and cost much more money in schooling.

Thus, numerous registered nurses choose overtime, travel nursing, and do special assignments to increase their income.

Whether to become a nurse practitioner largely depends on individual goals, work-life balance, and career preferences.

Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in the U.S.

Nurse anesthetists, or CRNAs, earn one of the highest salaries in the United States.

Salary.com estimates these healthcare professionals earn a median salary of $207,625 yearly.

Nevertheless,  a CRNA’s salary varies dramatically from the lower 10% earners to the upper 10%.

The lower 10% of CRNA earners make roughly $179,784, which is excellent compared to the average U.S. salary.

However, the top 10% of CRNA earners make approximately $239,196, higher than most U.S. salaries!

A nurse anesthetist’s compensation is influenced by location, employer, years of experience, and domain.

What About Nurse Entrepreneurs?

Nurse entrepreneurs design, produce, and market/sell different services, products, and educational resources.

As a result, their income is limited only by their ingenuity and ability to create valuable solutions and market them effectively.

Some nurse entrepreneurs earn seven-figure incomes from their businesses!

Nevertheless, it takes a lot of effort, inventiveness, and forming the appropriate knowledge to be successful in this industry.

Developing a side hustle as a nurse is an excellent way to earn extra money and develop entrepreneurial skills.

Over time their side hustle can create a full-time income, allowing them to transition careers.

Best of all, nurse entrepreneurs have unique knowledge and skills from their experience as registered nurses.

It enables them to design excellent products and services for companies and other healthcare professionals.

Why do Nurses Make Such Good Money?

Registered nurses indeed earn more money than most other careers.

However, these healthcare professionals spend years in school developing their skills and knowledge.

In addition, healthcare is experiencing a nursing shortage, increasing compensation and worker wages.

While registered nurses earn more than other domains, they face numerous risks and burnout.

For instance, these healthcare specialists treat patients with diverse illnesses and diseases.

As a result, they face the dangers of virus/disease exposure from covid to the flu and illnesses that are spread by bodily fluids.

They also encounter burnout due to the nursing shortage, violent patients, and sometimes poor work conditions.

Due to high cases of burnout, many nurses have considered leaving the bedside, further bolstering the nursing shortage.

Healthcare facilities with reasonable budgets and a worker shortage may offer financial incentives to retain/hire nurses.

Being a nurse is challenging, so being well paid is one method to keep healthcare workers happy and staffed.

Still, healthcare facilities must offer sufficient work-life balance, support, safety, and resources to sustain skilled nurses.

The Salary of Registered Nurses Will Continually Rise

The average salary for registered nurses will continually increase year after year.

Annual salary gains range from 2% to 5%, depending on the source.

However, some states/government facilities offer higher pay due to the cost of living and to compete with other employers.

Nursing is a relatively recession-proof industry as citizens require regular healthcare regardless of the economy.

In addition, registered nursing offers excellent salaries and benefits for those interested in this specialization.

Many registered nurses work 3 – 12 hour shifts in hospital settings, giving them four days off weekly.

It enables them to have an excellent work-life balance if they avoid overworking themselves.

Nevertheless, working 12-hour shifts isn’t ideal for everyone and can be physically demanding.

Those interested in nursing must determine whether the financial and emotional incentives outweigh the risks and demands.