Nursing is undeniably a tremendously fulfilling career. You play a direct role in helping people and saving lives – it doesn’t get more meaningful than that. It is also a field that’s brimming with options and possibilities – from informatics to working with children, you can choose the career track that best suits your interests and passions.
A great way to ensure you take advantage of all the benefits of a nursing career is to advance your studies and get a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. That will give you access to a wider pool of career opportunities. Just as importantly, earning your BSN is also the path to earning a higher pay. Of course, salary is largely dependent on your level of education, years of experience, the area where you live, and other factors. But if thoughts like “How much do BSN Nurses make?” and “Will getting a Bachelor’s degree really impact my earnings?” have crossed your mind, it’s worth exploring the financial gains that come hand in hand with that RN BSN title.
Read on to discover how much money you can expect to make as a BSN nurse. We have compiled data to answer any questions you might have – from starting salaries for BSN nurses to the average salaries in every state. But why stop there? Find out what are the highest paying nursing jobs for RNs who hold a Bachelor’s Degree and what other benefits you can enjoy as a BSN nurse.
What Is the Starting Salary of a BSN Nurse?
When deciding whether or not to pursue a BSN education, the decisive factor may be your earning potential – and we’re not talking about how much you can earn after ten or twenty years of experience (although that’s just as important). From a pragmatic perspective, you undoubtedly want to know what paycheck you can expect to cash in even in the first years of your career as a BSN-trained Registered Nurse.
According to data from ZipRecruiter, one of the most popular online job boards currently on the market, as of October 2021, the starting salary for Entry Level BSN nurses is $47,127. That comes to approximately $22.66 an hour. At the same time, the majority of entry-level RNs earn between $33,500 and $51,000. California is the state in which BSN Nurses can expect the highest entry-level of pay, with employers in the city of Santa Clara making around $57,017 yearly.
To put this in perspective, the average base salary for all entry level positions in the United States is $40,153. Therefore, starting a job as a BSN RN would generally put your paycheck almost $7,000 above the national average. Keep in mind that entry level salaries vary greatly based on several factors, such as location, employer, as well as previous experience. If you already have previous experience working as a Registered Nurse, it’s likely you’ll be compensated better than a Registered Nurse fresh out of school.
Are you already a Registered Nurse? Give your paycheck a boost by enrolling in Nightingale College’s RN-to-BSN program!
What is the average salary for BSN Nurses?
Looking at entry level salaries is important because it offers a baseline for your future earning potential. It’s easier to determine what you can expect to earn in the longer run when you have a general idea of how much you will make when you first enter the BSN role. But you don’t have to resort to assumptions about BSN salaries, in general. In this section you will find all the information you need about the average salary for BSN nurses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a Registered Nurse is $80,010. However, it’s no secret that nurses who have pursued a more advanced degree, such as a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, have a higher earning potential. Since the BLS does not provide official data regarding the differences between RN and BSN salaries, we used ZipRecruiter data to compile a list of the median salaries for BSN nurses in every single state. Thus, the average salary for BSN Nurses across the US is $79,623, very close to the national average reported by the BLS.
Below, you will find a list of all 50 states and their respective annual and hourly salaries for BSN RNs so that you get a clearer picture of how much you can potentially earn based on your location.
|Average BSN Salary|
Average Hourly BSN Salary
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What Are the States Where BSN Nurses Have the Highest Wages?
Naturally, location plays an essential role in the value of monetary rewards you can expect for your services. If you go ahead and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, you will have the chance of earning the highest wages in Washington, New York, New Hampshire, California, and Vermont. In the Evergreen state, the salary of a BSN RN rounds up to $93,770. New York is also high on the list of highest paying states for BSN-trained nurses. Here, you can expect to take home up to $87,500. New Hampshire offers wages of around $84,750, making it another great state for RNs with a BSN under their belt. However, you must keep in mind that while these states do offer the highest mean salaries, they also come with a high cost of living.
North Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois position themselves on the other side of the spectrum. With average salaries of $58,250, $63,562, and $63,634 respectively, these three states offer the lowest wages for BSN graduates.
Find out more about how much nurses earn in each state.
What are Some of the Best Paid BSN Jobs?
A 2020 study by Medscape highlights the difference in pay between nurses who hold a Bachelor’s degree and those who do not. Therefore, the study shows that the median income of a BSN nurse is around $80,000 a year, while RNs with an Associate’s Degree earn on average $76,000 annually. Let’s dive into some of the best nursing jobs available for BSN holders and see how well-compensated they are.
1. Informatics Nurse – $102,230
If technology interests you but you don’t want to sacrifice your love for nursing, you should pick a career that combines both your passions. As a nurse informaticist, you are the bridge between the hospital staff and the IT staff, as your responsibilities include analyzing data to improve patient care, evaluating and supporting healthcare technology, both software and hardware. All in all, the use of technology is critical for any health institution, so informatics nurses are generously remunerated – they make over $102,000 annually.
Find out everything you need to know about a career in Nursing Informatics – from how you can become an NI to how much you can expect to earn.
2. ICU Nurse – $91,986
ICU nurses, or intensive care unit nurses, care for patients who are usually in critical conditions and demand incredibly structured and regulated settings. Their patients might be intubated, ventilated, or could require potentially saving medication drips that need to be administered with clockwork regularity. ICU nurses also work more structured shifts and enjoy a more disciplined work life. Their salary on average can be around $92,000.
Discover the earning potential ICU RNs have in every state.
3. Travel Nurse – $99,202
Travel nursing is nursing with a twist: you can provide medical assistance all over the country (or even abroad). As a travel RN, you can generally choose the location and the specialty you would like to pursue during your assignment. Partly because of the added unpredictability of the job, travel nurses typically earn more than regular RNs, over $99,000 per year.
Wondering how much money Travel Nurses earn all across the country? Find out in our guide to Travel RNs salaries.
4. Operating Room Nurse (Perioperative Nurse) – $91,629
OR nurses work with patients right before they undergo surgery. They can also manage communication with the patients’ families. As a part of the surgery team, perioperative nurses assist the surgeon and make sure the procedure is happening in a secure, sterile, ready-to-go environment. Nurses who enjoy direct patient care can pursue this specialization and earn more than $91,000 per year.
5. Oncology Nurse – $87,340
Caring for people diagnosed with cancer is definitely a sensitive area of practice. Oncology nurses help patients deal with the cruelness of the disease, their main goal being to help cancer patients become cancer survivors. The annual salary of a BSN-trained oncology nurse is over $87,000.
6. Emergency Room Nurse – $78,868
ER nurses are in charge of treating patients who come to the emergency departments of a hospital. One of the main characteristics of this job is its unpredictability: rushing through the doors of the ER will be people with various symptoms, from having had a heart attack, to being shot or having been in a terrible accident. Emergency room nurses have mean wages that can be in the ballpark of $85,000.
Find out what your earning potential is working as an ER Nurse in all 50 states.
7. Legal Nurse Consultant – $85,351
The main responsibility of a legal nurse consultant is to provide invaluable consultation and expertise to attorneys regarding medical matters, such as the delivery of nursing and other healthcare services or the nature and cause of certain injuries. Legal nurse consultants need a strong educational and experiential foundation, but the fact that their mean wage is around $85,000 makes the effort worthwhile.
8. Pharmaceutical Nurse – $84,348
Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing opens a lot of doors for jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. You could pursue a career as a sales representative, or you could become a technical writer, writing articles in publications focused on the pharma industry. You can even pursue a career as a trainer/educator, offering guidance for pharmaceutical industries on how to use new drugs, therapies, or machines. The pharmaceutical industry is a lucrative field, making for one of the highest-paid specializations for nurses – on average RNs who work in this industry make around $84,000 a year.
9. Cardiac Care Unit Nurse – $83,438
Cardiac care unit nurses work closely with cardiologists providing care to patients suffering from various heart maladies. They are directly involved in diagnosing, treating, and controlling conditions that affect the complex cardiac system. In addition, they can also be involved in a patient’s process of cardiac rehabilitation by guiding them toward the lifestyle change that would prevent the aggravation of the disease. Cardiac care unit nurses take home a salary of around $83,000 yearly.
10. Hospice Nurse – $81,417
As a hospice nurse, you will be taking care of patients at the end of their lives. This specialization isn’t focused as much on curing or fixing a patient, but rather helping ensure their quality of life during their remaining days. In addition to helping the patient live with the least amount of pain possible, hospice nurses provide the emotional support that is tremendously needed both by the patient and their family. Typically, they work at the patient’s home or in a hospice center, and on average they earn close to $81,000 a year.
11. Critical Care Nurse – $74,600
As a critical care nurse, you will treat patients suffering from extremely serious, even life-threatening illnesses. The job can get rather stressful, so critical care nurses must always be alert even after long hours of intensive work. According to the AACN, critical care nurses make up for about 37% of the RNs who work in hospitals. This is one of the highest-paid nursing jobs, with CCNs making around $74,600 yearly.
Find out more about the experience of a Nightingale College graduate who works as a Critical Care Nurse and is currently on the frontlines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
12. Dialysis Nurse – $73,769
Dialysis nurses’ main focus is treating patients suffering from kidney failure and helping return their kidneys to a functioning state. Although dialysis nurses’ salaries vary based on several different factors, such as institution size or experience level, on average they earn around $73,000.
13. Surgical Nurse – $74,004
Surgical nurses are the health professionals that assist surgeons both during routine and more complex surgical procedures. As a surgical nurse, your responsibilities range from prepping the patient for surgery, monitoring the patient’s vitals and handing instruments to the surgeon during the surgery and making sure post-surgical care is up to the highest standards. In this position, you will earn over $74,000 a year.
14. Nurse Case Manager – $72,076
Case management nurses are in charge of long-term care plans for their patients, so, generally, they work with patients who require ongoing medical attention, such as geriatrics, HIV, or cancer patients. Nurse case managers earn over $72,000 a year.
15. Pediatric Nurse – $59,084
The job description of a pediatric nurse ranges from working with toddlers to treating teenagers. As a pediatric nurse, you also have to educate the parents on how to provide the best care for their children and how to make sure they grow healthy and unharmed. Pediatrics is a very gratifying career to pursue as a nurse, especially if you love children. The median salary for pediatric nurses is about $59,000 per year.
*Data regarding the average salaries for each nursing specialization was gathered using ZipRecruiter.
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Why Should You Pursue a BSN?
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing goes beyond higher pay. As numerous studies show, BSN-trained nurses are linked to better patient outcomes, fewer medical errors, and lower mortality rates.
Also, earning your BSN might become a requirement. In 2010 the Institute of Medicine called for an increase in the percentage of the BSN educated nursing workforce to 80% by 2020. More and more hospitals are falling in line with this recommendation. According to a 2020 AACN survey, 41.1% of hospitals and other healthcare settings are requiring new hires to have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, while 82.4% of employers are expressing a strong preference for BSN program graduates.
Therefore, earning a BSN degree is an important stepping stone to a more fulfilling career that offers higher pay, better benefits, more flexibility, and more opportunities. But advancing your education is a serious commitment that requires time, money, and energy, so, in the end, it’s up to you to decide if this is the right next step for you and your career.
Enroll in a BSN program today and increase your chances of securing a high paying nursing job.