Nursing Salary for LPN, RN, AP

Find nurse salary information and learn about the benefits of certifications.

nursing salaries for medical staff

Nursing is not only an in-demand profession; nursing salaries are also fairly lucrative. With the current nursing shortage, qualified nurses can find exceptional nursing career opportunities across the country.

Before you start your job search, however, let alone your nursing education, you will want to learn what you can about the nurse salary potential that different nursing careers offer.

Factors in Nursing Salaries

Overall, nursing salaries vary depending on a number of factors:

  • Level of nursing degree and nursing education
  • Years of experience in a chosen field
  • State and city where you work (cost of living)
  • Type of work you do
  • Type of specialty you pursue

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Nursing Salaries

Licensed practical nurses typically train for their careers through a year-long education program at a hospital, community college or vocational school. After graduation, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to earn their nursing licensure.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is $41,540. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Registered Nurse (RN) Nursing Salaries

To become a registered nurse, students must earn a two-year associate's or four-year bachelor's degree in nursing or complete a nursing diploma program. After earning their degree, candidates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain their registered nursing license.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for registered nurses is $65,470. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Advanced Practiced (AP) Nursing Salaries

Advanced Practice Nurses hold a master's degree in a particular focus area and provide one-on-one patient care services similar to those a physician would perform. The following statistics show annual nurse salary ranges for the different categories of advanced practice nursing careers.

Advanced Practice Nursing Category Median Annual Salary*
Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) $148,160
Certified Nurse Midwife $89,600
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) $94,487
Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) $89,960

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Certified Nurse Anesthetist; Certified Nurse Midwife; Clinical Nurse Specialist; Nurse Practitioner; Salary.com, January, 2014; Clinical Nurse Specialist.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Recruitment Incentives

The nursing shortage offers extremely advantageous opportunities for current nurses earning a higher degree and for nursing students preparing to enter the workforce. Many hospitals are now offering incentive programs such as:

  • Recruitment bonuses (ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000)
  • Relocation assistance
  • Housing assistance
  • Day care
  • Tuition reimbursement

These recruitment incentives go to nurses who accept a position at their facility and agree to a set work commitment.