Being an RN is rewarding in more ways than one. In addition to providing care for those in need, you’ll also enjoy a high salary with many career growth opportunities. How much does an entry-level RN make vs. the highest paid RN? We’re breaking down your RN earning potential, including how to make the most money as an RN.
How much does an entry level RN earn?
Anyone familiar with the healthcare industry knows that being a registered nurse comes with significant earning potential, but how much does an RN make starting out?
An entry level RN can expect to earn an average of $64,108 a year according to ZipRecruiter. This works out to approximately $31/hour.
Entry level RN salaries vary wildly throughout the country. New RNs can expect to earn anywhere from $45,500 - $89,500 depending on their city and state.
Annual raises are part of the job on pace with the cost of living. Some hospitals also give yearly bonuses to the nursing staff.
How much do RNs earn per year?
According to Indeed, RNs earn an average of $92,702 per year in 2022. Your location and years of experience will impact your exact RN earnings, with those living in more populated areas typically earning more.
- Low: $60,361
- Average: $92,702
- High: $142,373
Compare these numbers to other nursing titles:
- Low: $30,358
- Average: $44,067
- High: $63,968
- Low: $42,455
- Average: $59,916
- High: $84,559
Based on these numbers, an RN can earn up to $78,405 more than a CNA and $57,814 more than an LPN.
RN earnings can also vary depending on industry:
- Pharmaceuticals: $105,270 average salary
- Outpatient care: $93,070 average salary
- Hospitals: $85,020 average salary
- Specialty hospitals: $84,800 average salary
- Home health care: $78,1906 average salary
When it comes to nursing, the more education you have under your belt, the more you can earn. Having an RN is an important stepping stone to leveling up your career, as any additional education aspirations will require having a bachelor’s degree first.
What is the highest paying RN?
In 2022, the highest paying RN is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at $202,000 a year. This specialized position requires additional education and certification.
What type of RN gets paid the most?
- MSN: Earning a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) puts you on the road to maximum earning potential. RNs who aim to eventually become nurse practitioners (NPs) will need to earn an MSN to move forward.
- Specialized nurses: RNs who specialize in a particular healthcare niche will find themselves in higher demand. Examples include labor and delivery, oncology, emergency room care, and more. Many of these specialties require additional certifications and training, but the investment results in higher salaries.
RNs can continue their education throughout their career, adding on certifications and trainings as opportunity and interest arises. After gaining field experience, many nurses gravitate toward different healthcare specialties that define their skill sets and demand higher pay.
How to earn money as a nurse
Earning your RN is the first step in boosting your earning potential. Having a higher degree will open previously closed doors that create more opportunities and higher payouts.
Outside of landing a top-earning RN position, there are ways nurses can bring in some additional income.
How can an RN make extra money:
- Get certified: Earning a specialized certification sets you apart and puts you in high demand.
- Move into leadership: Becoming a manager or nursing educator comes with added responsibilities and earning potential.
- Take per diem shifts: Extra day shifts can grant you higher hourly rates for hospitals or clinics who are in dire need.
- Become a health coach: Use your deep understanding of health care to help clients assess concerns and become their best selves.
- Administer flu shots: Working in an immunization clinic on a part-time basis can bring in some additional funds.
- Create nursing content: Every industry has influencers, and aspiring nurses seek inspirational and educational content that only seasoned pros can provide.
Boost your earning potential by earning your RN
The best way to earn money as a nurse is to earn your RN degree. Higher education is a crucial earning factor in the healthcare industry; without it, your salary potential will be limited. CNAs and LPNs looking to earn their RN can start by testing out of nursing prerequisites online. This time-saving approach helps accelerate your progress while maintaining work/life balance, allowing you to pursue your education with less stress.